Waking Up on the Wild Side


by Marianne Rowe

Lately, I am learning about waking up on the Wild Side.

I’m learning that although I think I know the territory (inside or outside) that I’ll be entering in my day… mostly I don’t.

I’m learning that although I think I know what and who I’ll be meeting in my day… mostly I don’t.

I’m learning that although I think I know how I’ll be moving (in time, location and mood) throughout my day… mostly I don’t.

The Wild is Everywhere

Not so long ago, I thought of the Wild as a forest or ocean or mountain or desert— an element of natural terrain that I could enter and exit pretty much as I chose. I would go to these environs to receive teachings or find sanctuary or be challenged, and then I would take my new-found wisdom, peace or strength and return to what I thought of as “daily life.” Even though the Wild was not always easy or comfortable, I kept returning again and again, knowing that it had an offering of guidance and, sometimes, a mirror for me.

Now, I’m discovering that every day and every where I am invited to engage qualities of the Wild— the Unknown, the Mystery, the Energy of Being Alive, the Unpredictable, the Uncontrollable. Sometimes these qualities are more obvious than other times… but they’re always there if I really let myself be awake to them, if I don’t deny or ignore them, if I let myself be humble and just be curious. These qualities are always there… all inviting me to engage by Letting Go and Surrendering.

When the Wild is defined as any unknown territory— any place we enter without assumptions, expectations or any stories— we find that we’re walking around in it all the time. Lately, for me, the Wild has been showing up as unexpected turns in conversing with a friend, driving around town, reaching my 66th year, and using technology (I experience this last one as the Wild much of the time).

Approaching the Wild with Surrender

I find that when I approach these circumstances with the same attitude that I approach rafting the Colorado River, spending the night gazing at the stars, or letting myself be spun around by ocean waves, I find myself laughing and being amazed, even if there is also some crying and frustration. I find that when I surrender to the landscape, I find myself in awe.

Waking Up on the Wild Side calls me to be vulnerable by being still and…

  • Engaging senses;

  • Releasing tethers;

  • Being curious;

  • Embodying the elements (water, fire, earth, air);

  • Exploring the shadows;

  • Accessing resilience.

Hmmm, Waking Up on the Wild Side sounds a lot like practicing Mindfulness. Come to think of it, recently after a particularly Wild week, I said to Katie, “These are the times I practice for.”

The Wild is part of my being: I am part of the Wild

So, my realization is that the Wild is not something beyond my neighborhood, my house, or even my body. It is not some “out-there” thing called Nature. The Wild is part of my being, or, more accurately, I am part of the Wild. And, as a conscious human being, I can see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, and feel it. As Walt Whitman wrote, “I am larger than I thought.”

What is your Wild?

What does it call from you?

Getting Wild at the Studio…and Beyond

If you feel inspired to explore your relationship with your Wild further, The Studio has some “mild to spicy” invitations for you:

Impermanence: Vulnerability and Mortality,” 4-week course, Mondays, Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29:

Thriving Amidst Uncertainty,” 4-week courseTuesdays, Oct. 9, 16, 23, & 30

Letting Go: Sunset at Asilomar Beach,” a FREE Community Event that’s happening Oct. 26

Mindfulness in Nature: Finding Wonder in your Backyard,” a deep connection with the natural world for kids and their parents, in collaboration with The Lyceum of Monterey County, Oct. 13

Waking Up in the Wild: Weekend Retreat at Mount Madonna Retreat Center,” a time for connecting deeply with yourself, each other, and the natural world, Nov. 9-11. Please note: registration deadline is Oct. 23

The Bright Side of the Wild Side

When we Wake Up on the Wild Side, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and we give ourselves the opportunity to receive kindness, healing, and transformation. When we wake up on the Wild Side, we find ourselves being…




and humming along with Lou Reed, “Take a walk on the wild side… doo, todoo, todoo, todoo, doo, doo…”

Katie Dutcher