“Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
A provocative question that each time I read it jerks me awake. It is one of the questions I am living into, in this Nature Year. Each time I visit the White Lions and the wild life they share in their ancestral homelands of Timbavati I am struck with the importance of rights, freedom theirs and my own. Their wildness, their right to live free is no different to my own right to live a wild life, and yet we place so many restrictions, barriers and walls around our and others path to freedom .
The increasing threat to wild animals, our waters, eco -systems and indigenous peoples by humans is a dis -ease that threatens the entire natural world. Our own true nature and our interconnectedness are all directly linked.
Where I have been this last month is wild. Its a natural world that can have four seasons in one day and each time the elements change the whole landscape changes in a moment. A tree can uproot, pools of water appear. Its magnificent and extraordinary and here in the stillness there is a wildness so deep when I look out on the land, I too want to live free of the things that bind me. So I continue to shed, in many ways. Traversing the many complex layers of South Africa asks me to get more simple, in order for me to see what is really there. The elements dicatate many activities. Rain can wash a road out. Midday is too hot to walk and its snake weather. And so I have learnt patience and with patience comes more peace. What if in the midst of our modern lives and city life we actively refuse our domestication, or to be dominated by the social roles that we are conditioned to live by, or forced upon us. What if instead we live in terms of our dreams, passions, potential and genius. What if we take risks, and we access our unique and unpredictable beings that lie hidden beneath the masks we think we have to put on, or the roles we enter into, we are then wild.
Recently I read that the Bushmen only used to hunt for their need, not greed, and always prayerfully. I have been sitting with this. Always prayerfully, here the sacredness of beings is in your face. I see a hundred year old tortoise slowly walking in the road, We have to wait for it to move. What medicine does have for me that day. The ants devour baby chicks here if their teenage mother is not taking care of them, and they wander into unchartered territory!
What I learnt when I worked with very sick or homeless people is that if I don’t feel, I close down my heart, when I see suffering and dont feel, a part of me shuts down The only way for me, has been to go right into the suffering and not sit on the outside looking in. How can I serve is not the question, how can I serve best so I can keep my heart open is the question. There is still much broken heartedness here in this stunning beautiful country where Apartheid is still alive and well.
“You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up.” Louise Erdich, The Painted Drum
This is a time to renew our sacred contracts with each other and more importantly with Nature, if we are to truly live in Spiritual Unity. It is our humane responsibility to take action. We are not living in self-serving isolation, sitting on or behind our safe and secure white picket fences, saying, well it did not happen to me or they did not treat me that way. Or they did not shoot my lions for trophys. Or, what I hear a lot here, it was before my time, relinquishing all responsibility to make a change. There’s still much work to be done.
Linda Tucker who has dedicated her life to returning the White Lions to their ancestral homelands of Timbavati, writes “Our animals are caged because human consciousness is imprisoned. Become truly responsible for your life” Sitting on fences is no longer an option, passive me, my, I’m alright Jack responses, are no longer an option. Your one wild and precious life is waiting and so are we.