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Have you ever felt like something was missing from your life?  That there was something, somewhere that would make your day to day feel better, more vibrant, happier?  That if only you could make more money or find the right guy or make the grade or do something to make your parents proud or…whatever it is that keeps eluding you in the quest to really feel alive and enjoy your life?  Most of us want to feel fulfilled and happy.  To look forward to our days.  But most of us have something that keeps us from feeling that way as often as we’d like.  Your “thing” could be anything. We all have one, or have at some time in life.

For a long time, mine was (and, truth be told, still is from time to time) validation.  Whether it’s waiting for a response from someone and wondering if my question was worth asking to worrying that no one benefits from the things I put energy into during the day to craving acknowledgment that what I’m doing is good, is ok, is important enough to be doing.  There’s always something to be unsure about, something for which to want approval.  I tend to be an advocate of letting things go, of being present in the moment and finding deeper meaning in the ordinary.   But sometimes I find myself holding on tightly to things that want to stay slippery, and sometimes I am absent from the present more often than I would like to admit.  I miss the beauty in the ordinary. Sometimes, (*cough* often) I put my contentment under condition.

“I’ll feel better once I hear either way from the editor.”

“I’ll feel better when I know what’s going on with that event later in the fall.”

“I’ll feel better when one more person lets me know that they appreciate my efforts.”

“I’ll feel better if this next post gets at least 10 likes on Facebook.”

“I’ll feel better when I can really know that my work matters.”

It can feel desperate.  It can feel like I am in a cage.

So what do we do with the cage?  How do we get out of the little boxes we create for ourselves and into the fresh air of feeling alive?

Well, friends, I propose we find our wild.  We find that part of ourselves that knows deep down to our bones that we are worthy, beautiful, and clear on what matters to us.  We find that part of ourselves that doesn’t care what other people think because we know we are doing what we are built to do.  We find that part of ourselves that walks attuned to our animal instinct that is fierce and loyal and brave and loving all rolled into one story of truth.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “Nature does not ask permission.” She’s right, of course.  Nature just is, authentically, without apology and without a need for external validation.  So when I find myself aching for acknowledgement in order to feel good, I try to remember to take a cue from mother nature herself and stop asking for permission from others to be.  I try to remember that as long as I can find my wild, I can claim that part of myself that knows how to howl and dance on the winds of joy.  No validation required.

What helps you find your wild?

For women who’d like to dig deeper into what leaning into wildness might look like, The Art of Living Wild: Journey into the Wild Feminine is currently open for enrollment.

Heidi Barr

Heidi Barr

Heidi Barr is the author of 12 Tiny Things: Simple Ways to Live a More Intentional Life (due out in January 2021) as well as four other works of non-fiction. A commitment to cultivating ways of being that are life-giving and sustainable for people, communities and the planet provides the foundation for her work. She lives in Minnesota with her family where they tend a large vegetable garden, explore nature and do their best to live simply. Despite working for an app-based tech start up, she plans to put off getting a smartphone as long as possible. Learn more about her work at