Every once in a while, here on the Naturist Lens site, I feature a guest for a blog post. Joy has in in the process of remaking herself through what she calls rewilding. Now, I need to speak about this business of rewilding. For Joy it is about a holistic re-evaluation of her life through an examination of every facet of her being.
Rewilding is a process, a journey. Not many dare to take such a journey. In Jungian psychology terms, a life event usually propels one to answer a call to discover the depths of self, to make a heroic journey of individuation. Often the call is subtle, and sometimes the call is a matter of life and death. For me, it was truly a matter of life or death. Because of others around me – my wife and children, I chose life. However, that’s just the start of something bigger.
For Joy, it was a matter of restructuring life because of a change in relationships. For both of us, it propelled us to risk changing our lives, hoping that those important to us in our lives would still be there on the other side of the process of self-discovery. Individuation is about self as individual and most often those who risk the journey through the shadowlands are seen as selfish. All that most others can see is that our retreat into the inner spaces leaves them on the sidelines rather than at the centre of our attention.
There is a difference about self-discovery with the intent of becoming a more authentic person who is better able to be in relationship to others, and being narcissistic. Most people do their best to please and care for others. Mothers are masters of this, typically sacrificing time, energy, and self-care to meet the needs of their families. As for fathers, there is often an equal selfless quality demonstrated as self-needs are buried in order to earn the living and be the parent that children need. Both men and women learn this at an early age, the role of being a caretaker, taking care of their tiny world by appeasing the powerful adults in their lives. Those who don’t learn to be selfless, are self-centred something reinforced by parents who reaffirm in so many ways that they are at the centre of the universe, little emperors and empresses – kings and queens of the universe.
Beginning the journey of individuation or rewilding is an act of changing the way one is in the world. The constant parade of choices come as a result of living an examined life and making corrections so that one’s psyche ends up pointing to the “self’s” true north. Each of us has a unique journey to make, that’s why it is called individuation. My journey began as a cerebral, spiritual journey as that was who I was. My body was basically just a container for my mind. I have to admit, that though I have learned to connect to my body, it is still an ongoing spiritual journey for the most part. As I age, I am coming to grips with my physical self, learning to honour the body. For Joy, the journey has been heavily based on her physical presence, evolving to become more and more spiritual. For both of us, meditation has been part of the journey.
The act of rewilding, just as the process of individuation requires that we constantly return to the outer world bring what we learn about ourselves to the world around us. As we change, we affect changes in others, sometime for the better, sometimes resulting in losses. Regardless, at least we end up living more honestly and authentically. Neither Joy nor myself expect or demand from others. Others have to take responsibility for themselves. Of course, if you are raising children, there is a real responsibility for men and women to honour that responsibility. Like doctors, being a parent requires that we consciously choose to do no harm. Yet as we age, we also have the responsibility to teach them about being honest and authentic by how we live and navigate in a complex world that would have us be docile and obedient. Just something for you to think about ….
In case anyone is wondering, Joy read and approved of this post before I published it.