Photo by Kelly Lund on Unsplash
It came to me in a dream.
A man is alone in the forest. The night sky falls away as nearby birds wake, signaling an oncoming sunrise. He wanders out into the morning fog, hopeful that a new day will bring renewed purpose. There is no compass or map, just one foot in front of the other, across frosty earth.
In a moment of magic, the glimmer of a Wild Thing stops him in his tracks. It is a wolf, but unlike any creature, he has ever seen. Its brilliant light pierces through the trees, with hypnotic warmth and intensity. The suffocating, thick fog dissipates, and a beam of sunlight washes over the forest.
In awe, he stands motionless, inhaling long, deep breaths. He exclaims, “I must make this Wild Thing mine.”
Observing the wolf relaxing near a tranquil green hedge, he moves closer and invites it to walk with him. With soulful eyes, the wolf shifts its gaze in acceptance, and they begin to journey together.
Day after day, the man takes in big mouthfuls of the light, gulping in its life and power. As time passes, the deep cold and hunger he once felt plagued by, seems like a distant memory but is replaced with a new, sobering realization. “I have no plan or capacity to maintain a life with this Wild Thing.”
Panicked, he takes advantage of the wolf’s trust. Guiding it off the path, he coaxes it into a rusty, abandoned train car, locking it inside a box of darkness. The man walks away, back into the heavy fog, telling himself that someone else will hear the wolf’s cries and release it, despite being in a wasteland.
In truth, he knows that help is not on the way. Eventually, the wolf will break free, even if it is injured or left on the brink of starvation trying to escape because Wild Things always find a way to persevere. But in this dark place, the wolf remembers thriving in a lush, peaceful forest and wonders what it did wrong to deserve being lied to and abandoned.
Upon waking, I remembered a quote by Matt Kahn that captures this wholly. “Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.”
In other words, if you are swimming in a vast and beautiful ocean, you cannot connect with those that prefer sidewalk puddles.
My message is for the wolf. Wild Thing, I speak to you.
Your light is magnetic. Intoxicating. It is dazzling and beams out of your pores. You cannot hide it, nor should you try to. What you must do in this world of people seeking a balm for their pain, is learn how to protect and share it selectively.
A culture of cowardice will drive some towards light givers, just long enough to temporarily fill a void, burp once full, and then run away. Learning to exit when signs point to another’s inability to walk alongside you with care and appreciation, is a critical skill to develop. Tune in to the unspoken energy.
Is there consistency? Reciprocation? Do you feel mutual respect, openness, and accommodation? Are you giving and receiving?
You deserve the effort, love, and light you give. Work, relationships, it all applies. Walk away when you need to, Wild Thing. A full life is waiting for you.