Friday, November 27, 2009
A friend sent me this and I liked it and hope you do too!!
How to Be Wild at Heart
A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages. Tenessee Williams
The last thing "being wild" means is seeking drug-thrills or being promiscuous. Wild does not mean hanging out in a bar, getting drunk, and wrecking your new car in a cow pasture. Wild is not about your gang slipping into the school at night and trashing the hallways and running off into the night howling with feral laughter. Wild is about real adventure, either in the world, or in the mind. Understanding that WikiHow is about answers and not questions, our task is to think out a 12 step plan, a “how-to” that teaches the caged bird to fly free, and the free bird to accept the limitless sky. Go forth and unleash your heart.
1. Begin by considering the essence of Tenessee Williams' quote. The quote precedes this article. There are two implied characters. The wild at heart who is "caged", and the wild at heart who has managed to "fly free". But, there are two conditions implied here as well. Ought we not also consider what it means to be “caged” rather than “free?” And what is “free” after all? How you perceive freedom makes all the difference between contentment and discontentment. Freedom exists as much in being amongst those around you as it does in being away from them. Once you accept this, it will be easier to stop feeling overwhelmed by company and the busyness of the world.
2. Know who you are, by forgiving who you're not. Who we are is important. Don't change "you" for someone else or to fit what you think someone wants you to be. Maybe you have habits that need attention but your personality is the kernel of who you are and the world needs your special contribution. You can deal with bad habits but if you suppress who you really are, you will suffer internal rage that will affect your life in a negative way.
3. Start a journal. It takes effort to discover what you really want out of life. Writing down your feelings, thoughts and ideas is a great method for making sense of this effort. Maybe you dream of leaving your family and driving off into the sunset, but in reality all you want to do is stay at home. If this is true, you will discover this as you write in your journal. There's nothing wrong or weak about dreams. And there is nothing wrong with living in a world that is not your dream. Ask the question: "How can I make this place I am in an adventure?"
4. Treasure your dreams. Work at keeping your dreams alive while waiting for the opportunity to weave them into your current situation. Don't lose sight of them; occasionally modifications may be needed as part of a reality check but never modify your dreams because they feel impossible or because you feel hemmed in by a situation. Work to change the external barriers so that your dreams can become possible.
5. Never be dissatisfied with what you have. Learn to build on what you have. No imaginable life situation is limiting in and of itself. Think of Christopher Reeve and the strength he held despite his injury and how he made the most of the remaining years of his life. You will always have more than you realize. If not health, then a sense of humor. If not wealth, then health. And so on. Always check off the things that are positive about your life before becoming mired in the negative.
6. Read biographies. It has all been done before, felt before and wondered about before. We are simply fortunate enough nowadays to be able to access an enormous array of insights of others through reading. Learn from other people's struggles for freedom and how other people have dealt with being a voice in the wilderness. Learn about how they found their "special place" that cradled them with hope and care when everything else felt oppressive and negative. Reach for their inspiration and take it as yours.
7. Heed warnings from those you respect. Don't take to heart the criticisms of people you barely know or whom you don't respect. They don't know you and they don't understand what makes you tick. But listen very carefully when someone you respect very much gives you a constructive warning about aspects of your behaviour. If you are honest with yourself and look deep inside, they may just be telling you what you already know. Act upon it sensibly and calmly. Make the difference that will still permit your freedom but will tone down the craziness that you may be revealing on the outside.
8. Avoid materialism. Amassing things can never take place of the strength of good relationships, a sense there are people you can turn to in time of need and appreciation of the world around you. Don't let yourself become weighed down by the things in your lifestyle - an enormous mortgage, a car you're too afraid to drive for fear of denting it, a house you're too afraid to leave for fear of burglary - these are the worst gilded cages you can ever find yourself stuck in.
9. Get out. Simple to say but often hard to do. Get away from your desk, get out of your house, get out of your city, get out of your country. Do something different from the normal. Take a safari in Africa, a canoe trip on a local lake or a trip to a part of the city you've never thought about before. Being mobile will often allay feelings of being caged or tied down to one place or activity. Accept that you are someone who needs to get out and feel the dew on your face early in the morning and the wind whipping through your hair. It is who you are - cater to it, don't bottle it up.
10. Know the difference between anger and wild. The difference is important because it can direct your behavior for your own good or to your detriment:
* Anger is bitterness, holding onto a grudge, a past hurt or an obsession. Anger is haunting, de-motivating and draining. Anger is the enemy of freedom; it is the cage-lock.
* Wild is knowing who you are, what you want and striving for the freedom to enjoy the adventure of life. Wild is unlocking cages that prevent you from becoming who you are fully and making a full contribution to the world.
11. Figure out who you are apart from everyone. There is a strange bind in those who are highly independent and seek freedom and yet desperately seek the approval and tolerance of others. This tension and pull can tear you apart if you do not take care of your internal needs and face the reasons why you crave others' acceptance so intensely. Take time away to build up your self-esteem and beliefs without being influenced by others. Then you will be in a better position to avoid hurt when criticized and will be able to cope with confrontation instead of seeking to run because you feel suffocated or oppressed.
12. Contribute to others' well-being. It isn't all about yourself. It is about you as part of humankind, as part of the amazing place we call Earth. You have an obligation to treasure the life you have and to respect the lives of others. When your dreams, needs and wants do not seem to gel with what is happening around you, sometimes it is a chance to stop and ask yourself how you can make a difference for other people. This shifts the focus away from you. Often, in the process of helping others find their place in this world, you find yours. Don't dismiss the power of sharing your wisdom and teaching your skills with others. It is the most noble thing a person can ever do.