It is hard to accept that 8 out of 10 people don’t feel passionately about how they spend their work lives (which is most of their day) in this, ‘one wild and precious life.’ Do you?
Even among the minority who ARE passionate about their work, few of them feel they are following their north star, aligning what they love doing with earning a living and making a contribution to others. It is no wonder Oscar Wilde said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
When we settle, exist, or opt out, we resign ourselves to lives which Clarissa Estés called the mangled, muffled, mediocre middle. A.A Milne’s poem, Halfway Down, captures our tendency to surrender into our comfort zones: “Halfway down the stairs is a stair where I sit. There isn't any other stair quite like it. I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top; so this is the stair where I always stop.”
The opposite of a life of mere existence or entombing familiarity is living a wild one. Wildness means to be unrestrained, not domesticated or cultivated. Contrast the work lives of people like Patch Adams, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein and Nancy Wake, with that of the typical glassy-eyed office worker. Finding that success, money or status, doesn’t lead to a sense of aliveness, many high achievers take to the wilderness to taste it away of work. Extreme outdoor experiences or travel can provide a transient sense of aliveness, but for the more gutsier, the real challenge is to live your entire life at the edge, rather than dip into it occasionally and only in a physical sense.
It may be a measure of how disconnected we have become that those rare people who live an integrated, authentic life, pursuing a career they love, makes them an outlier, rather than typical. With individuated people being so far removed from our day-to-day lives, we seek out biographies or watch movies about people whose exploits have us on the edge of our seats. Rewilding involves returning to a more wild or natural state. It involves un-doing domestication and tuning out the voices of society, which dissuade you from doing what you love and what you were born to do.
To rewild your work life requires a radical overhaul, not a series of token tweaking. It’s a holistic or integrated approach to living, rather than the popular model of compartmentalising. In order to help facilitate this, I take people on outdoor excursions, which combine wild and beautiful environments with discussions centring on finding one's calling in life and summoning the courage to pursue it.
As author and outlier, Kurt Vonnegut, suggested, “Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the centre.” Pushing beyond the middle step, one can edge higher to see the more panoramic possibilities available to each of us. Whether directly or indirectly, we all know of people whose job is their bliss and which perfectly expresses who they are. Each of them went through a process in order to move from that mangled, muffled, mediocre middle and into their slipstream.
In Greek mythology, Gaia was the great mother of all, the creator and giver of birth to the Earth and the entire Universe. Taking time away from our urbanised, more artificial and sterilised environments, nature helps us reconnect with our wild or essential selves. Join me and take a walk on the rewild side as a catalyst in transforming the career aspect of your life into something infinitely richer and more fulfilling.
After immersing himself in the stories and history of humankind, mythologist Joseph Campbell concluded that the greatest act of human development occurs when we take our hero’s journey - to discover the gifts we have to offer and then develop and share them. In order to do this, however, he said that “The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
Transformation can only begin when we leave our familiar, habituated and routine lives behind. Haruki Murakami said that:
“Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap... And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.”
Isn’t it time to discover your edges of possibility?