Known as the father of Environmentalism and the founder of the Sierra Club, John Muir said about his childhood in Scotland, “With red-blooded playmates, wild as myself, I loved to wonder in the fields to hear the birds sing, and along the seashore to gaze and wonder at the shells and seaweeds, eels and crabs in the pools among the rocks when the tide was low; and best of all to watch the waves in awful storms thundering on the black headlands and craggy ruins of the old Dunbar Castle when the sea and the sky, the waves and the clouds, were mingled together as one.”
His parents punished him for running off into the wild, when there were better things, they thought he should be doing with his time, but it was no use. Muir writes, “the natural inherited wildness in our blood ran true on its glorious course as invincible and unstoppable as stars.”
Throughout his career, Muir would be called a wild man by many, spending many years in the primitive Yosemite Valley and advocating for the preservation of wild areas. You could say, he was wild about the wild.
In our modern civilization we have tamed the wildness right out of us. To be wild, is to be uncontrolled, reckless and impulsive. Things, a society founded on rules has no room for.
The Japanese advocate the practice of Forest Bathing to destress from modern society. By simply taking a walk in the woods, we find peace in a wild setting because we are reminded of our wild origins. Once upon a time, in the state of nature, we were free from polite society, which requires conformity and compliance to maintain order.
It is easy to get bogged down in the pressures of our complex world and repress our inherent wildness, but in doing so, we lose the freedom that goes with it.
But what if we were to bring part of our wildness into civilized society? John Muir turned his wildness into a lifelong passion. This crazy, wildman would become a powerful champion for the creation of the National Park Service and prove fundamentally instrumental in preserving Yosemite National Park.
By allowing his innate wildness to take over, Muir found his passion in life, which would become a guiding force for change in our modern world.
If you feel like you are just going through the motions of life without purpose, maybe all you need to do is get in touch with your wild side.
Go into the wilderness if you can, or if you can’t, maybe the wilderness of your mind.
Know that the trees and butterflies do not judge and that every life form that exists differs from one another. Respect that every being serves a purpose on this planet and you are no different.
It is here, in this environment free of the constrains of society that we can express our true nature. Allow yourself to go wild, occasionally. Hug a tree. Climb a tree. Take your shoes off and run barefoot in the grass with arms open wide, kissed by the golden sun.
Now, think about what you truly want in life. What makes you happy? What is really important to you?
It is here, where your passion will speak to you, when all the complications of life are stripped down to their essentials. From simplicity comes your drive to be who you are and make your unique contribution to the world that only you can offer.
Maybe your passion for the job you already do, has just been re-enforced. If that is the case, great! Keep going.
Maybe you realize your passion lies on a different path than the one you are currently on. If this is the case, know you have the courage to make the changes necessary to pursue your new goals.
Set goals. Mini goals, at first. With each accomplishment, your goals will get bigger, until you finally, find yourself living so completely on your new path, that you could never imagine doing anything else.
Only when we let go of our convoluted and busy way of life will we have the freedom to find what drives our very reason for being on this planet.
And when you do that, you will have a motivation, an eagerness, a wild passion “as invincible and unstoppable as stars.”
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