Native American woman

To be awake is to be alive.
            ~ Henry David Thoreau

Discovery is an adventure and at the same time an awakening.

Far too often we live our lives in a state of sleep. We wake from the land of dreams and stars to a morning where we begin the daily rigors of our lives. We shower, we drink coffee, we shuffle to our jobs, we perform our jobs, we shuffle home, we participate in some activity and we once again toss ourselves into a state of sleep to regenerate for the next day. We do it again the next day and the pattern continues until the weekend or our day off where the routine takes a slightly different turn, but probably similar to the weekend before.

For those who have not yet woken from this sleep state, there is a longing for something greater. There is a sense that beyond the drudgery and the mundane, there must be something grander, more joyful, inspiring and freeing. We read books about people who have followed their dreams and have left their days jobs to start and finish novels. We read magazine articles about people who have moved to Oregon to take over an organic lavender farm. We wonder what it would be like for us to be the woman who left everything to move to Greece and live on the ocean.  And while these all sound like wonderful adventures that most of us women would embrace whole heartedly and with great enthusiasm, they are in fact someone else’s experiences.

This is often where we get ourselves into trouble. We long for something different, yet at the same time, we  may long for someone else’s experience.

I read.

I read way too much.

 I read books on nutrition, yoga, voluntary simplicity, spirituality, travel and other people’s’ life changing experiences. (Eat, Pray, Love – anyone?)

Every time I finish one of these little treasures I think, “wow, I can do that” or “wow I should do that.”

I become profoundly affected by what I have read. So much so that I often fantasize about what it would be like to own an apple orchard or start a farm or move to a remote island in Hawaii, grow organic coffee and live off the grid.

But in retrospect, these are someone else’s experiences. And why they may have found happiness with pursuing and eventually obtaining their dreams and have been so kind to share them with me through writing or video, they are not my experiences.

That is where the Wild Wise Woman comes into play(and for you gentlemen, the Wise Man). No, I am not talking about three of them that travel in packs and follow a star.

I am talking about the essence of who you truly are. The core energy that lives inside of you.

So often we don’t listen to that true self that exists just below the skin. You probably listened to that energy when you were young because no one told you different. You probably also loved ice cream, coloring in a coloring book and staring at the sky for no apparent reason.

But as we grow older and we seek wisdom in the world we live in through study and reading and living, we often lose connection with the wisdom within us.

We read things or hear things that often times cause us to live from a place of fear. Maybe it’s not an obvious fear, but we start to be cautious with what we do, what we eat, where we go, how we live. We base much of this not so much on our experiences, but what others have told us, what we have read or heard on television or what we overheard in a grocery store.

We stop listening to the wisdom within us and we lose connection with the very essence that can bring us peace and happiness.

I realized this in a moment of utter clarity. It was on Halloween.

I sat outside in the quiet, cold, fall air surrounded by lit jack-o-lanterns and a bright moon and pondered the things that I wanted to do, the things I loved to do and the things I had stopped doing for one reason or another. Maybe some of it was out of fear and some of it was because I wasn’t a “teenager anymore” and some of it had to do with being judged by the society in which I now lived. As I pondered all this, I heard the voice of a wise woman within me telling me to be happy. Finding happiness meant reconnecting with things that I had lost and embracing things that I have always wanted to do.

So I painted my fingernails black.

Okay, you are thinking what the hell does that have to do with ANYTHING?

Well, I wanted to paint my fingernails black and I got so caught up in being judged by others that I didn’t do it. I just wanted to blend in and not “stand out” here in Camden, South Carolina.

But the simple act of painting my fingernails black opened up this whole world of ….well, it just opened up the whole world.

I stopped worrying about what was expected of me and how people around me expected me to show up.

I started showing up based on what the Wild Wise Woman within felt like that day.

It turns out the Wild Wise Woman loves to cook and bake.

So we have been cooking and baking and I love it! It brings me happiness to sit down in my cozy space in the kitchen with a cookbook to dig up ideas for dinner or for dessert. It makes my heart and soul dance to stand over a simmering pot of goodness as it bubbles its way to perfection. AND it makes my heart sing as we sit down as a family and feast on what has been conjured in the kitchen with love and wisdom.

I have been crafting jewelery again. But not like before. I released the idea that the jewelry I crafted  had to appeal to the masses and I started creating what was pleasing to my creative spirit. The Wild Wise Woman loves to sculpt with clay and metal and create things that have meaning and significance. With each piece I craft I come closer to center. I embrace the creative spirit rather than being haunted by it.

The Wild Wise Woman wakes me up in the morning with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. I don’t trudge off to work. I embrace the experience with wild expectation!

 Being connected to the Wild Wise Woman connects me to my self. It brings me back to center and reminds me that life is joyful.

Living with this connection brings a sense of wisdom. Life is not about punishing ourselves nor is it about excess. It is about being true to ourselves, whatever that looks like for us as individuals. It is about having a free spirit and a wise and compassionate heart.

The more we open ourselves up to the Wild Wise Woman, the more we open up to ourselves and the deeper we connect with our life experience. Our relationships grow deeper. We open up to others, just as they are and as they choose to show up, not as we expect them to show up. We show them the same courtesy that we wish bestowed on us because the Wild Wise Wo/man is different for each of us. The knowledge and power that we carry within us is our own, to use for our spirit’s growth.

And when we connect with it, it is a power to be reckoned with.

Rather than looking at each day as a challenge to be met, I now look at is as an adventure, a journey. Who will I meet? What will I learn? How will I laugh? How will I grow? Who can I make smile? What will I create? and of course, What will I make for dinner and what will I bake?

She has taught me to dance, this Wild Wise Woman. She has taught me to trust that voice within me and to follow my bliss. She has given me the magic talking stick to speak my peace and share my joy.

She is indeed magical and wise.

And here’s the beauty of this particular kind of magic.

She lives in each one of us.

She lives in you.

She lives in me.

And she wants very much to be heard and to share her ancient power and wisdom with you.

The kicker is, we only have to stop and listen.

We haveto  slow down (turn off the televsion) and really listen and connect with her.

And the first step is to be fully present with yourself and listen.

Maybe you will hear her when you are washing the dishes, or taking a shower or sitting down for a cup of tea at the end of a long day.

Maybe it will start as a memory of what you loved to do when you were 11, 17, 24 or even 33. 

She whispers like that.

She reminds us of who we are.

She encourages us to run to it with our hair blowing wildly and skipping barefoot.

And when you reach it, for the first time, it’s like coming home.

It’s like a kitchen filled with warmth and cherry pie.

Or perhaps a front porch filled with the warmth of jack-o-lanterns and the glow of waning moon overhead.

But however you decide to get there, start your journey with listening.

And follow your bliss.