Wildness and addiction

posted by Eivind on March 7, 2014, at 3:59 am

Do you feel limited by the conditioning of your childhood and culture? Do you feel as if you’re holding back your gifts for fear that you will be rejected if you gave them fully? Do you feel power brewing inside, but deliberately repress it for fear that you might bring destruction if you expressed it?

If so, you might be interested to know that two topics have been on my mind a lot lately: Wildness and addiction.

Two days ago, I co-hosted an event at the Integral Center here in Boulder, Colorado named “Reclaiming our Wildness”. Healer and psychotherapist Sweigh Emily Spilkin and I gave 40 participants a taste of wildness. They were deeply impacted. They cried tears of gratitude, came up to us and profoundly thanked us, even sent messages after returning home on how their senses had mysteriously strengthened and their addictive tendencies lessened.

Defining Wildness

stagIn planning this event, Sweigh challenged me to offer her my definition of Wildness. One definition I offered her was “letting nature move through me unfiltered by social conditioning”. Not letting social norms and taboos dictate who I am and how I show up. The definition I want to offer you now, however, simple as it may be, is that wildness is the polar opposite of addiction.

I arrived at this definition initally when I noticed how I contract and get scared when I engage in droning, repetitive activities for a long time. When I’ve e.g. sat on Facebook for longer than I know is good for me (moving beyond functional networking to validation seeking), I get afraid of people and the world. I move out in public spaces and find myself totally convinced that I’m a separate individual in a challenging world. I completely forget my trust in Spirit and my remembrance of shared humanity.

This is hardly surprising. Addiction, as I mentioned in my recent Don Jon review, is the acting out of a deficiency of love. It’s a way to numb out in the face of unbearable circumstances. Any addictive pattern is therefore prone to drive home in us that we are not worthy or lovable. And I don’t know about you, but in those moments I consider myself worthless, human beings are not pleasant to be around. There’s too much shame and fear involved.

When I let “nature move through me”, however; that is, when I allow my intuitions, impulses, needs, feelings and desires to flow through me in skillful ways, I feel strong, present, loving and joyful. I’m in service, speaking the truth and loving without condition. Which is ironic given that this Wildness is the very thing we have been raised to be afraid of.

A world of domesticated men and women

Most of us are domesticated products of fear-based conditioning. We have been trained to be tame because the world is afraid of our Wildness. We have been trained to forget that we are expressions of nature. Our elders hadn’t the wisdom to teach us that if we repress our Wildness, its psychic energy explodes out through kinks and pathologies (You just don’t stop energy. In any form. Harness it by relating to it on its terms or get screwed by it.)

The consequence is that the very measures society has put in place in order to maintain order end up destroying it. The shocking lack of wisdom on display in today’s cultural climate results in disharmony, psychopathology, broken families and addicted populations. And our lack of Wildness is at the root of the addictive tendencies that give rise to Consumerism.

I look around and see a world full of severely addicted people. We cannot bear to eat a single meal without entertaining ourselves. We get hooked to our mobile phones and its validation crackpipe mechanisms in the forms of SMS-messages, Facebook likes or E-mails. We engage in obsessive thinking, because we cannot bear the pure joy of being silent. We are even so corrupted that we think we need to have the latest gadgets in order to be “cool”.

And I ask: Is it worth it? My own personal answer is “hell no”. Which is why I will soon bring you a longer article on addiction and how to be with it, perhaps even recover from it, in the best possible way. Not that I’m an expert in the field of addiction in academic terms, but I’ve been on my own journey with it and have gold to share.

And while you wait, remember that any time you engage in addictive behavior, it’s a reminder that you have forgotten your inherent goodness. You are engaging in an activity that will inevitably result in self-shaming and a feeling of being intimated by even the friendliest of people.

If you want to go deeper with these themes, read more about my Coaching services. I would love to work with you!