A Wild Romance: Courting the Mystery of Your Soul
By Rebecca Wildbear
The natural world mates and creates through an alluring love dance, and it wants you to feel and remember your part. Many male bird species create an exquisite show to attract females. Frogs, spiders, ravens, eagles, and a variety of other animals each have their own unique courting rituals. Furthermore, wind dances with trees, and the first snow flakes of winter kiss the grasses. A thunderstorm roars, and lightning brightens the sky.
Have you ever sensed anything stalking you…..Mystery, Earth, your soul? Or perhaps it is the heartbeat of your own longing cry to love and live, fully alive?
A grand romance is calling you, if you’ll surrender to the mysterious fascinations that can devastate, enchant, or carry you into magic and rapture. By imaginatively romancing the world, you may open to the wildly diverse world of sunsets, rattlesnakes, poetry, or art. Take a moment to wonder: What stirs and touches you deeply? What evokes your terror, tears, or tenderness? Saying “yes” to these allurements grows you more alive, and you’ll forever be evolving; yet it also necessitates a periodic reshaping of your life that can be deeply challenging. As Bill Plotkin writes in Wild Mind: “By opening our hearts and imaginations to the daily mysteries, a romance with the world upsets our routines, making us vulnerable to the great changes destined in our Souls and in the Soul of the world, the anima mundi.” You can fall in love with anything - an idea, the ocean, a man, a woman or a tree. As you do, you may find yourself striving to understand what each thing is at it’s core, and to assist it and yourself in unfolding uniquely. This often requires a dying, a sacrifice to our old ways while giving birth to the never-before-seen.
A love affair with a human is one sweet romantic possibility, although our culture often suggests that it’s the only romance. Music and movies promote the myth of the “Other” with whom we’ll be made whole and life will become perfect. In We, Robert Johnson writes: “Romantic love is the single greatest energy system in the Western psyche. In our culture it has supplanted religion as the arena in which men and women seek meaning, transcendence, wholeness, and ecstasy.” In human relationships, we often become disappointed upon discovering that the “Other” is human rather than the embodiment of our fantasy. Yet, perhaps our innate human longing for romance suggests the significance it plays in our psyche? A deeper outer romance becomes possible once we’ve embarked on the journey of soul and our inner romance.
Romance with humans feels both attractive and dangerous. There is a yearning to merge and yet the fear that if we do surrender to this magnetic draw, our identity may be shattered, and the familiar home of our present way of being will end. As Rumi says: “The price of kissing is your life.”
The inner romance feels equally as alluring and devastating as the outer romance. Each person has an archetypal Inner Beloved, which we project onto our outer lovers. Usually, we fall in love with people who possess qualities similar to our Inner Beloved. These are also the qualities that our ego does not possess, but most needs to experience it’s full aliveness. The Inner Beloved, a guide to soul, wants us to abandon the story we’ve been living, as it has glimpsed a greater story.
You can discover your Inner Beloved (often called the Anima/Animas in Jungian psychology), by attending to your impulses or surprising capacities, or you may encounter your Inner Beloved in dreams, visions, and the attractive/repulsive qualities you project onto others.
Having a romance with your Inner Beloved does not imply that a human/outer romance is second best. Rather, inner and outer romances may complement each other, while being distinctly different. In an outer romance, we learn to love and be loved by someone who is truly “Other” (not our other half). As we see the “Other”-ness of the other, we must develop the capacity to both love ourselves and the “Other” in their “Other”-ness. In the process, we discover our wounds and have the opportunity to deal with unfinished emotional business.
Your Muse, deeply connected to the Inner Beloved, is the wellspring of your creativity, inspiration and deep imagination. Your Muse partners with your soul and inspires how your soul’s gifts manifest in the world. It can usher you toward what’s most worth doing in life. Whether or not you fancy yourself an artist, there is some unique song, poem, dance, or other soul-infused form of expression wanting to be birthed through you.
Through the eyes of mainstream contemporary America, courting our mysterious souls is dangerous. The Western world needs its citizens to continue to be consumers and worker bees. In order for people to live in this dull flatland, the human imagination must be crushed. Contemporary poet, Diana di Prima rants: “The only war that matters is the war against/ the imagination/ all other wars are subsumed in it.” You can reconnect with your mysterious soul and deep imagination by engaging in practices to court your Inner Beloved and Muse.
Here are two practices to court your Inner Beloved: 1) Feel your longing for the beloved, and imagine into it’s longing for you. Be patient, willing to wait. Ask yourself: What’s my best way of courting - poetry, writing, singing, dancing, or another art form? Whatever artistic expression you chose, let yourself embody your longing for the Beloved through this, as that’s the most powerful means of inviting the Beloved’s presence and gifts. Don’t expect a particular response. Journal or draw whatever comes. 2) Imagine yourself and walk as your Inner Beloved. Move and experience your body and emotions as it would. Move toward what it would finds alluring.
Here are two practices to connect with your Muse: 1) Slow down, close your eyes, breathe, and remember/envision a bundle of resources awaiting within you. Don’t try to force the Muse to appear. Instead, remember that he/she has existed and come to you before (in dreams and waking life). Welcome these memories and offer gratitude. Invite the presence of your Muse to show up in an image (human, animal, tree, or wild place) and/or as a presence in your body. As soon as you make contact, ask for support. You may present a particular question or decision about which you are seeking input, as a gift to the Muse. Your muse may respond with an image, feeling, insight, body sensation or movement, memory, dream, or something you see or hear in the world around you. The Muse may not respond immediately. Whatever happens, offer gratitude, and act on what your receive. 2) Embody your Muse. Let him/her direct your paintbrush, crayons, or clay. Don’t try to create anything particular; instead, let yourself be surprised by what arises.
In conclusion, the natural world lives in an alluring love dance, and you are invited to feel and remember your part. You may sense what is stalking you through dreams, allurements, deep emotions, body sensations, or projections. True romance always feels attractive and dangerous. Deepen your inner romance by cultivating a relationship with your Inner Beloved and Muse. This can usher you toward what’s most worth doing in life. There is some unique song, poem, dance, or other soul-infused form of expression wanting to be birthed through you.
A soul guide and creator of Wild Yoga, Rebecca Wildbear, MS guides with Animas Valley Institute, offers individual sessions, and leads Wild Yoga Journeys in Costa Rica. This fall, she’s offering a program in Utah, Courting the Muse: Embodying Your Soul-Infused Artistry. For more information, visit www.rebeccawildbear.com.