The Shrinking of Wildness

Photo by  Jeremy Bishop  on  Unspla

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unspla

The shrinking from wildness starts early.  I just led a workshop for 7th grade girls and the retreat from that inner freedom had already begun.  In some ways they still retained some wildness.  They were free and full of fun when painting, spreading it on each other and reveling in the mess.  But then we journaled.  We journaled about self-confidence and the responses were heart-breaking.

"I have low confidence, and so always think of myself negatively."

"They (meaning other people) don't care about my achievements"

"Other people won't be impressed by (what I do)." 

"I don't have anything to brag about."

"I don't want to sound _________ .
Fill in the blanks with conceited, self-absorbed, rude, inconsiderate.


This is not ok. 

This is REALLY not ok.

If we want to raise a generation of girls with confidence, body  ownership, and an outlook that can positively impact the world, we have to start with ourselves, because they are modeling us. 

They are inheriting these words and these quotes from us.  Every time we shrink from being unapologetically ourselves, we are sending the message to girls to shrink as well.

And that is not limited to moms.  All of us women are modeling behavior and believe me, girls are watching. 

We tell girls we want them to grow up to be brave and strong and confident, even while we turn our backs on those very concepts in our own life.  We stop taking risks, we don't stretch ourselves, we settle.  So often, time passes and we realize we've compromised in our lives, and we have oriented ourselves towards an unsatisfying "good enough," perhaps also believing we are not deserving of more.

It reminds me of the line that I heard recently, that it is not the pain that takes us down, it's the shame of the pain.

Wildness is wilderness and neither know shame.  It is becoming the biggest tree in the forest because you can.  There is joy in growing and a reaching for as much light as your limbs can find.  It should be ok for us to take up space, be big and bold and be seen and to take joy in saying "here I am."

The river does not stop moving because it approaches rocks or even a cliff.  The stream continues through, cleansing and washing everything into its path, becoming a waterfall in its leap of faith.  We are like these forces of nature and lest us not be like quicksand.

with fierce and wild love,
Jennifer

Vuja De

I recently discovered Vuja De.  It is my new favorite expression and not just because I like the way it rolls off my tongue.  I returned from three weeks of meditation and when people ask about my trip, I often struggle to explain how life altering it feels.  Nothing tangible has changed, and yet, everything is brighter and more vibrant and infinitely altered.  I was listening to a lecture by Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton, on the concept of original ideas when he threw out this term "vuja de."  I literally stopped the car, fumbled with my phone and replayed it three times.  Vuja De is the reverse of deja vu.  It goes like this. 

Suppose you're in a situation that is very familiar-perhaps you're driving to work or doing something else that you've done a hundred times before-and you suddenly feel as if you are experiencing it in a new light, as if it's the first time.  Waiting for a taxi and notice all the empty cars?  Vuja de moment and Uber is born.  It's a birthplace for original ideas.  I researched this further and while it's an expression used more recently by Adam Grant and Tom Kelley of famed company IDEO, the term actually originated from comedian George Carlin.
 

After three weeks of meditation, life feels like a series of vuja de moments.

The thing is, more of us do not experience many of these moments, because we often choose the default options in life.  We don't question the norms of everyday life.  If I could offer anything, add this to your bucket list:  spend a week away in meditation, or silence, in contemplation, or alone in nature, or in prayer.  Find a program or retreat that resonates with you and do yourself a favor, at some point in life, make time for it.  Everyone should experience moments of vuja de. 

And while I cannot offer you weeks of solitude, I do have options that can spark a bit of vuja de.  The two day Awakening the Third Eye meditation workshop coming up June 3 & 4 and is a great way to build and solidify a personal meditation practice and to open you up to deeper states of consciousness. 

Another dive into your own originality is through the The Inner Wild Child Immersion.  It is filling up quickly, but there are still spots left.  Find out what it feels like to rediscover your fearlessness, your creativity and your invincibility. 

Go on, take the plunge and experience your brilliance. 
Vuja de it.  

More on Adam Grant or to watch his Ted Talk:  www.adamgrant.net

You Are The Spark

As a kid, I loved creative endeavors, but I gave them up at age 7.  My sense of my own creativity was squashed early on.  After a few scribbled paintings, I was told that I was better off sticking to academics and sports.  I believed the feedback.   Instead, I hung out with creative people and riffed off their energy, joking that I couldn't draw a stick figure. 

When Kate Randall and I led our Inner Wild Child Immersion last year, she guided the group to their inner wild child through art.  I was standing on the sidelines when she encouraged me to be a participant.  I had not painted anything since I was little.  I was nervous.  I mean, as a co-leader, I was suppose to look like I knew what I was doing.  And what I knew for certain was that I was bad at art.  

But something happened when I grabbed the paintbrush.  There were no rules.  There was no goal or intended outcome.  It was liberating.  I grabbed every color on the floor and went for it.  I smashed paint, dribbled it, colored over it, squished it up and spread it out.  I stomped on my canvas and I caressed it.  I scribbled outside all the lines.  When I was done, something had let go.  I felt whole and satiated.

It was at that point, I realized the deep primal need to create and to express without rules.  I also recognized that I had been creating my whole life.  It just didn't look like art.  My favorite jobs were ones that I got to shape and build something.  I created programs out of scratch, I invented metric systems to evaluate intangibles, developed profiles for the right executives for new industries.  My beliefs about creative endeavors had been far too limited.  Everyone has a need to create.  As I went through the timeline of my life, I have been at my best and happiest when I've sparked something.  When I brought something to the world that was not there before.  When we create, we are liberated.  

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor.  It's a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don't cheat us of your contributions.  Give us what you've got."

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

If you are unsure how to begin, join us in for the Inner Wild Child Immersion this May.  (Sorry men, this time around is for women only)

www.inner-wild.com