Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Into the Wild

In the film of The Fellowship of the Ring, when the Hobbits asked Strider where they were going together, after they left the inn called The Prancing Pony, he answered, “Into the wild.”  In that tale they went off the path, across wild country to avoid confronting the evil dark riders.

My forays off the path in the wild have not been nearly that exciting (there was one close encounter with a low-swooping owl at dusk – hardly a dark rider, but it got my attention). I could probably think of other outdoor adventures.  But the wild part of my mind, my inner life, is another story: it feeds my imagination. “Wild” can mean many things. Right now I think one of the wildest places on the planet (in a sad and tragic sense) is in Haiti: the wildness of catastrophe.

Today I found myself reading an online sermon entitled “Finding Wild Space.” Because I’m intrigued by wild places, inner and outer, the title caught my attention immediately.  The writer of that sermon, Rev.  Anne Sutherland Howard, had a different take on “wild.”  She wrote, “Wild space is that part in each one of us that does not fit our consumer culture’s definition of the good life. Here’s how it works: Imagine a circle. Within that circle is the dominant cultural model: white, male, middle-class, heterosexual, educated, able-bodied, Western, successful. Now, put your own model of yourself over that circle. Some parts may fit, maybe almost all, some may be different. The part of us that falls outside the conventional circle is our wild space. The parts that do not fit may be obvious: race or sex or physical characteristic. Other parts that do not match up with the successful conventional model may not be so obvious to others: surviving the death of a loved one, a lost job, the struggle with addiction or depression, the vague disappointment about not “making it,” or our refusal to buy into the conventional model. Anything that causes us to question the definition of success is our wild space.”

This passage got me thinking about the choices I’ve made that may have made me seem less than successful, according to the writer’s definition. I’ve never earned very much money. I’m a woman. And I’m outside the conventional model in many life-style choices.  Yet living at the edge is where I’ve always been most comfortable. In that space, I am closer to possibility, creativity, and very interesting people and ideas.

What is your wild space? And what does it mean in your life?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The entire text of “Finding Wild Space,” by Rev. Anne Sutherland Howard, may be found at Day 1, http://day1.org/1679-finding_wild_space . The passage here was reprinted with the permission of Day 1.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Comments on: "Into the Wild" (2)

  1. Good article, provoking some interesting thoughts about my own wild spaces this morning. They’re wild in the literal sense: I’m often far beyond the areas where others feel comfortable, beyond the ‘safe’ places as most define them, out in the wilderness areas of Alaska and feeling very much at home there. After a few days ‘back of beyond’ I find it mildly disconcerting to return to a world of clocks and stoplights and the confines of buildings. After a while I’ll settle into the familiar of family and friends around me, but there’s always a longing underneath it all to go back to the wild again, back to where it feels fresh and alive and where just taking a breath is different…

    Like

  2. Yes, you are in the literal wild! I looked at some of the great photos on the Northern Light Media site. I understand your longing. Thanks for the comment, Helen!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: