What is it we seek when we venture into wild spaces, dip our toes into wild spaces, or retreat wholeheartedly into the wilderness? What is it that compels us to the plight of the wild, to want to protect wildlife and even the idea of The Wild?
As our connection to the wild erodes, our spiritual need for an innate connection to something beyond human civilization grows all the more intense. We read books about suburban people venturing into the wild, from childhood on, we make movies, we tell stories, we take photos of our travels. We long for something more, something that charges us beyond the mundane urbanity. We seek something, our wilder animal selves, our stronger more harmonious, natural selves. And we are at a crisis: we don’t know how to find this wild. We fear the death of this ego.
And so for many, wild animals become sort of totems of that wilder self. Americans, for example, non native, have plundered the idea of a “spirit animal,” – from the totemic traditions of native peoples. We want so much to identify with the wild; we even make wildlife mascots of our colleges and teams, and enact rituals by performing wildness in this way.
Yet, our search is superficial without really going to the brave depths of what a search for the wild within must mean on our planet.
So why are we, as humans, revering the wild while also destroying wild habitats, polluting rivers, changing the climate, and growing more people consuming more domesticated animals, chopping down more trees, developing more land, mining more resources? Why do we long for the wild, while we have created the a mass crisis of wildlife extinction?
How do we find the wild within? And how do we hold sacred and protect our wild ecosystems and the animals who live amid them given the rapid explosion of human development and the wasteful, gobbling monster of human consumption? Wild Within is that journey for answers: to save ourselves and the wild life and places on this planet.
Finding the Wild Within is a journey of self-discovery to develop an appreciation for wildlife and wilderness. It is a meditation on kinship and community, on solitude and the soul, on relational awareness and activating our deepest sense of self. By being present in our lives, we make better choices for ourselves, for each other, and for the planet.