What Does Wild Mean To You?

As a child, I was the definition of wild. I acted on impulse and instinct, and was given full freedom to explore and adventure. Although we grew up in the small city of Halifax, we had a 16ft x 16ft log cabin tucked away in the woods on a lake, that my parents built when I was three years old.

Far from cement sidewalks and the boundaries of school, my siblings and I climbed trees, swam naked, caught frogs, and read sundials made with sticks in the sand.

Because of my spirited upbringing, as a teenager, I was able to hang on to my longings to live a wild and free life. I tried university for one year, but kept thinking there had to be a better way to learn. I ditched science textbooks and calculus written on a chalkboard to join a 188-foot sailing ship.

I set off on an 18-month journey around the world, where I climbed masts barefoot, and spent my days covered in tar with sea salt caked into my hair. I learned how to navigate by using math to calculate the position of the ship in relation to the stars.

It was learning without the boring classroom. I remember coming back to Canada after being away for so long and wondering how people lived the same lives day in and day out. It wasn’t long before I set back out to sea on another adventure, this time destined for Europe.

Then, in my mid twenties, in between trips at sea, I met a man who loved the ocean as much as I did. The difference was, he was a surfer and not a sailor. I feel deeply in love with him, and knew he would one day become my husband. The thing was, he lived in a house and owned a car and went to work everyday. He had a steady, predictable, “normal” life, with no big aspirations to change that. And he liked it that way!

At first, I tried to make the relationship work by seeing him in between ocean passages, but going away to sea became harder and harder. I didn’t want to be leaving him, sailing off to remote places of the world anymore. I wanted to build a life with him and in the back of my mind, I also knew I wanted to eventually be a mother. The kind of mother who saw her children every day.

So I stopped going to sea and got myself an office job managing vessels. The transition to an office job was extremely difficult for me, but I felt strongly that I needed to make it work. I could feel a shift happening. A need to conform and fit into traditional society.

John and I grew our relationship together, and I sat at my desk everyday to receive my bi-weekly paycheque. And in doing so, I traded in aspects of my soul for a career I thought I needed to have. For a world I thought I should be a part of.

The shift didn’t happen over night, but for over a decade, I fought every urge in my body that told me I wasn’t cut out for a 9-5. It never felt quite right. I always felt like something was off. There was this little voice inside me that was trying to get me to stop, but the part of me that wanted to conform was even louder.

But wild is something that lives in me, and in my mid thirties, after two children, my wild—aka the real me—got tired of being pushed aside. Alongside a few wake ups calls, the little voice got louder and louder and I couldn’t ignore the part of me that wanted to come alive again.

The part of me that wanted to live MY life, not someone else’s. I believe that wild essence lives in all of us and that we can only push it aside for so long, before we need to pay attention to it.

I’d like to offer you a poem, written at a time when I was recovering the natural wild within me. 

Call of the Raven.

I wake to the sound of ravens

calling me by name

stirring me out of a dreamy slumber,

out of the cabin and onto the deck.

I look upwards for clues.

What are they trying to tell me?

What do they want me to know?

Three of them now,

getting louder as they swoop down into view

darker than the darkest of nights,

so close I can hear the power and precision in their wings. 

They fly over and under the trees

dancing with each other

almost shouting at me now.

And so I follow.

Into the woods I go

curious where they’ll take me.

I try to keep up

over the mossy boulders,

past the mother pines,

they race beyond the trees and towards the lake.

Inked navy blue against the grey sky.

They fly overhead one last time,

their wings brushing the tree tops

as they soar into open flight.

I stand barefoot and speechless,

pine needles tickling me underfoot

mayflies glittering on the surface of the still lake

the first rays of light piercing through the forest canopy.

Yellow finches tiptoe along the edge of the trees

and the sound of a woodpecker

comes alive in the distance.

And that’s when I feel it

The stillness of the moment,

the openness of my mind

the peacefulness in my heart

all that is here in these woods

wild and free,

as I am.

  • Getting Back To Your Wild and Free
  • Chasing Money: How To Monetize Your Wild
  • What Does Wild Mean To You?

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