The Rewilding of Modern Woman
“What if there is no need to change?” – Opriah Mountain Dreamer
After a couple of days in a row waking up in my parents house, aged 29 after a pretty gut wrenching break up I knew for the first time, that something truly had to change. I squirmed and screamed into my pillow, I ate, I slept, and suddenly I knew… it was me. I was responsible for everything that had happened in my life to date and I had the power to change it. Its easier to put it into words now as Ive spent years learning the language. At the time I just sat up and went “Oh, I feel… different”. I felt relief knowing the power was with me, but also a huge weight of responsibility, I had to do the work, I couldn’t run.
I went to counseling so I could figure out what I was doing wrong (eurgh!) and to make sure I never do it again (euurrrghh!). Then one seemingly random day I booked myself into an Introduction to Mindfulness course. Amongst all the warm, fluffy compassion, there it was, those words… “What if there is no need to change?”. Tears of relief stream down my cheeks as the weight of the world is lifted from me and I am given permission to just … be. Ironically, from that moment on, everything changed.
The title of this article has become an elephant in the room for me while asking myself the questions that surround it as it suggests a need for change. Why is rewilding of modern woman even a suggestion? Why cant modern woman just accept who she is. Ah, *spoiler alert* acceptance of exactly who we are on our journeys is my answer to the rewilding of modern woman.
In this article I will look at what it means traditionally to be a wild woman, women’s historical roles, the sacred balance of feminine and masculine. And what it means to be a modern woman, our roles as women on this earth today, what are the consequences of living in a modern society. Then I will look at how some of us lost our wildness and therefore track the way back bearing in mind we cant all run off to the forest and live off the land. I am writing for the woman at her desk on the 12th story of an inner-city office block, for the woman at home raising her kids, for the woman who rides the surf all year round before work, for the woman calling the rituals at a ceremony, the farmer, the traveler, the banker… not for all women, but for any woman.
If I am to talk about the rewilding of modern woman it is imperative first to look at what it means to be wild – living in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated. We have to look a long way back to find undomesticated women, to the Neolithic period, that’s around 10,500 years ago. Before this time humans are described as wild, living nomadic, hunting and gathering lifestyles before entering into a time of critical transformation where evidence shows a revolution of agriculture, settlement and ultimately, civilization.
It is interesting to note that about the same time there was a shift in knowledge and consiousness of the men and women at the time. It wasn’t until this point in history that men realised they were part of conception. Did a spirit introduce a seed into the womans body? The first devine being worshiped was the mother Goddess. “When the male began to assert that he was essential to fertilization, the old mental attitudes suddenly collapsed. This was a very important revolution in man’s history., and it is astonishing that is it not rated equally with the wheel, agriculture and the use of metals.”
A wild woman is in her power as a conscious being on this earth. She is instinctive, she knows her place bringing life into this world, she protects, hunts, is ruthless in pursuit of what is just, she cares, she feels.
We all spawn from these original wild women, but through domestication, we lost the words… not the heart or the knowing, the instincts, we lost only the language. And somewhere in history we required a need for permission to be our wild selves.
Define Modern Woman
Defining modern woman is tricky. I know well that there is fire out there and to making sweeping generalizations will trigger some powerful responses (bring it women!). Modern woman does not like to be defined. So honoring that, here I go…
A Modern woman who has lost their connection to the wild is a woman who has at some point in their lives felt they need permission to be, to feel, to react, to speak truth, to move. Modern woman is also a woman who says fuck that, but perhaps in not always the healthiest of ways, and not always getting the result they wanted.
One thing I believe that connects modern women is that we are all looking for an answer. We ask a lot of questions about our situations – why me? Why did he or she do that to me? How can I make it better? What do I want? What does he want?
These questions are deep within us. We are desperate for answers, for some relief from the pressures of society, civilization – I know I don’t want to be ‘civilized’ any more! Modern woman can feel trapped in what is expected of them, by how much of themselves they ‘must’ give away, by their own damning inner voices.
On the bright side, modern woman is the woman that is alive today. We hold all the power to influence the present moment and the future. We are the experts in being women today and therefore we are the rightful keepers of all the pleasures and the pains that go with that.
So what are the steps to rewilding mordern woman?
The most obvious step that comes to mind is the reconnect with nature. Even if its simply noticing the clouds in the sky on the stuffed commuter train to work, noticing and connecting with the clouds, letting them be there. But better still, permit yourself to walk barefoot on the earth, feel the sensations of the grass, cold and wet, or the rocks, warm and dry on the soles of your feet. Connect with the people who have walked there before you.
Question the mainstream and check in with yourselves about what you really want. Ask why often – quietly (or loudly). It may well be that once we ask ourselves, for example – Do I really want to wear make up today? And asked ourselves why a couple of times, the answer may be yes. That’s ok. Wild woman knows what she really wants and doesn’t follow the herd, unless she chooses to consciously.
Find your pack. Women need support. I know better than anyone that feeling of fighting for independence, not needing help, doing it all alone and I know now that I don’t need to do that anymore. I found my pack and have the support I need at my back to be able to step forth in my power and do my work in this world. I believe in my work and know it is needed, I do my job better when my pack of loving, howling wolf women are behind me.
Know thy self – Feel it all! I believe that acceptance of life exactly as it is is key to rewilding ourselves and setting ourselves free. But in order to accept we must first witness others and ourselves in order to make the decision to accept things as they are. Look deep women. This isn’t just something to post on Instagram, Feel it All… feel the joy, feel the happiness. Feel all those feelings we deny in ourselves, anger, pain, fear, and loneliness. They are there too, trust me and its ok. It’s ok to feel what you feel.
Act wild sometimes. ‘fake it till you make it’ right? Sometimes when my computer is being slow I claw at it like I’m a cat, it’s much more fun than being actually frustrated at it. I learned this trick from my little nephew who loved pretending to be a cat. That’s another trick, attempt to observe the world like a child. Imagine seeing, or feeling, touching or smelling something for the first time. Observe with curiosity.
Speak up. This one is my Everest. Shame is a product of a civil society that has too long been at the helm of driving us ‘forward’. Nothing, and I mean it, nothing that you feel, desire, crave, want, hope for, love, hate, want rid of, is wrong. None of it. Speaking these truths to people we trust can really help us to find acceptance and then joy. This takes lots of practice and is a massive job of rewiring our brains after a lifetime of shame. The walls we built up around ourselves are beautiful masterpieces we have spent our lives constructing to keep us safe, but they also keep us disconnected. And deep down, as raw human beings, we need connection.
Now, more than ever is time for women to return to their wild, howling selves. Society has done it’s best to divide and conquer and oh how it almost got us! These walls we’ve built, the silencing, the competition that’s been fabricated, we cannot let it continue, or it will own us forever. Every day I wake up and I hear more and more people talking about togetherness, unity, mother earth, love, compassion and I am so encouraged. Recent big events in our world have finally come to a head and people are no longer dividing, they are joining in love. In these early days it’s a lot of talk and what I really want to share is my passion in rewilding ourselves, finding our power, joining together as a pack and bringing healthy vitality back to our earth.