In February of 2012 I sat under an almond tree and watched a sunset over Madrid. An idea came to me: to start a foundation to help people “Embrace The Wild.” I worked on building a foundation for a year, but it never really took off. Embracing the Wild, on the other hand, has become my life mission.
One of the biggest obstacles I’ve encountered these past four years is the negative, pejorative and fearful images our society has attached to words like wild, animal, beast, brutal, and savage. All these words are used to depict bad things, excessive people and terrible acts of violence. To the point that I now see a clear connection between humanity’s incarceration of everything wild and a parallel movement to subdue women and strip us of everything that makes us truly feminine.
Civilization has destroyed women’s strength at its roots by erasing the wild from our lives. Impulse, instinct, attraction, sensation, emotion and feeling ARE the wild within us.
Women were always exceptionally good with emotion, uncertainty and cycles. While men are physically stronger, women can express and contain intense emotion at greater levels. There is something about a woman’s body and its chaos of hormones that make her love connection, seek emotion, thrive in darkness and manage several layers of information through feeling. The body of a woman dances with death at every pregnancy and birth. Humanity’s first Gods were female. Our first shamans were women. Women led our tribes through unpredictable nature because we instinctively tuned in to the same patterns, mechanisms and rhythms followed by everything wild. Until our tribes were killed, conquered, subdued and civilized.
Four years later my advances are still discrete. It may seem like I’m wasting my time to many of today’s speed-crazed global citizens. My family certainly thinks so! But this is a first critical lesson of the wild: it moves slowly. Every rapid reaction we see in nature has been building energy for a very long time. This is true for a “sudden” earthquake or a volcanic eruption, but also for a lion lunging for its prey. Hours of careful observation go into choosing the most effective time. And who knows how long energy builds up inside a volcano before it finally explodes?
When I look back at the profound things that take place in the back of peoples’ minds before we see a tangible change, I recognize this same pattern. Many businesses require years of hard work, trial and error and many expensive losses before it takes off. Couples often take several years to finally admit that their relationship is over. Most people need decades to become aware of what they really wanted to pursue all along, buried under the clutter and noise of everyday work.
So the first step to #EmbraceTheWild is about slowing down. The second step is to face, and give in, to our own emotions. Our emotions are like that underwater section of an iceberg. We occupy that part above the water. We know perfectly well what it looks like.
Our awareness walks around our own little ice island every day. We know very little of what sits in darkness below the water. When somebody asks how we feel, we can only connect to a very small, superficial part of what we actually feel. There’s plenty more, frozen below, waiting to come to the surface. It’s called our unconscious, and it’s so wild that everybody fears it, cages it, denies it, tries to escape from it.
Freud pioneered the first discovery mission of this unknown wilderness of the human soul. Psychology has thoroughly analysed our mysterious, underwater darkness, that we call our unconscious. But nobody dares plunge into the water. It’s safer to talk, label and discuss emotions from the safety of our minds, couches, and scientific studies. As long as our brain is analyzing emotion, we are still fighting it and subduing it. It is only when we stop talking, thinking, fixing, analyzing and planning; only when we actually breathe deep in silence to relax our muscles and give in, that our hidden emotions defrost. They become liquid, they move around our body as sensations, we finally feel them.
The wild moves like water. The energy of our wildest essence timidly appears to us when we get comfortable with it. Like a wild animal, that’s been held behind bars for too long, it tests our intentions, before letting us in on its secrets: our childhoods, our parents, our family histories and our destinies. Like a virginal bride, our unconscious unveils itself in a slow ritual of deception, with complicit giggles and brave, tremoring revelations. Emotional rhythms are playful in their spontaneous chaos: ripples of calm transform into colorful storms of tears, small whimpers give way to full blown growls or screams. The wild has no linear order. It’s all curvy, cyclic, full of surprise, changing beats and provocations. It’s what we’ve always labelled as “feminine.” – to its deepest, most essential core.
When we understand our own wild unconscious, we learn how to interact seamlessly with animals, plants and the Earth. We no longer try to control uncertainty. Rather, we learn to ride it, like a magnificent, yet moody and demanding, stallion. Here lies the source of women’s power. In our intrinsic ability to seduce and befriend the wildest, most unpredictable horse of them all.
I was born in a generation of domesticated women who try and find their power in the games of men.
I was educated in a culture of liberation that pushed me to study engineering and to strive for a top job at a multinational. For decades I honed my talents and perfected my skills. Only to find that men would always be better at men’s power games than me. I realized a cold, hard fact: their games bored me anyway.
Every day I am more convinced that my strength, my influence and my ability to lead the world lies not in my mind and the strategies I devise, but in my heart, and the emotions it can contain. It’s taken a lifetime to uproot and erase all the ideas and disciplines in today’s mindset that condemn and insult everything wild or truly, deeply feminine. I’m done with this ridiculous game of pushing me to be more linear, predictable and competitive.
I’ve embraced the wild. It’s made me more powerful than I ever was, in a soft, mischievous and selfless, loving way. It gave me back my womanhood. For once and for all. Do you #EmbraceTheWild?