This past week, I was at Stef’s new house. We were standing around in the kitchen, me getting ready to leave.
I was looking at my friend’s dog – I had caught eye contact with her, a German shepherd named Luna. She looked at me, tongue wagging.
It was such a genuine gaze, of curiosity and inquiry. She was content – she was home, her humans were near, her bowls were full, and the cat was sufficiently annoyed.
At that moment, we were talking about how animals don’t get anxious about getting older. They don’t worry, or not to the extent that we do in any possible way.
They simply live.
They don’t fear (if they weren’t mistreated). They don’t doubt themselves. They don’t change their minds.
It reminds of something I read a long while ago that stuck to me:
“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.”
– D. H. Lawrence
Too true, no?
I remember this because I was so struck by how true it is. It’s a stark contrast to my way of living, to the human experience.
We calculate, anticipate, hover, try to make the most out of things, try to lessen the impact of other things. We worry about what we look like, how we’re perceived. We build walls, or fortresses, sometimes to keep out those we assume are “bad”.
And it’s not that animals don’t do this – they do worry, fear, and cower from things they have been affected by.
But I feel like they, in their most natural state, just live.
And we, in our pseudo-natural state, struggle to live. We have the capacity to look at ourselves and think we are less than what we are. We judge ourselves and allow the external “realities” to govern our outlook, our desires, inclinations, etc.
I say pseudo-natural because I believe, in our true natural state, we can live free, the way we were created.
The difference between animals and humans is, animals begin, continue, and die in this state. Humans begin in this state. Then it’s downhill from here. Hahaha that sounds so pessimistic!! But it’s true.
Humans raise other humans to see what they see, believe what they believe, want what they want, and become who they’ve became. It’s natural. And then other humans present truth according to their beliefs and devices, forming a culture, society, way of thinking that serves as “truth” based on repetition, proximity.
We then live our lives as if this is our comfort, our home, because it’s what we grew up with.
I think a big part of our human lives is spent trying to recover the freedom, the wildness that is truly (not pseudo) natural to us. It’s the reason for rebellion at all levels, whether the teen against her parents, a social or economic class against an elevated group, the artist against the norm.
It’s a significant reason for our unhappiness, the numbness of our day-to-day. We don’t cherish living until we face death, where, in an instant, we tap into that wildness within, the one that cries out at injustice, howls for love, runs fearlessly at life. And there, we crave and love life.
But everywhere else, we are buffered from truly being. We’ve surrendered ourselves unknowingly, and sometimes knowingly. Our hearts have been quieted, shushed, neglected, ignored, beaten, admonished for being what they are – wild, unique, and our life force.
I think, in a sense, we are all searching for ourselves. We want to return to that animalistic place of integrity to our selves. We want to live without putting ourselves against external measures. We want to stop feeling sorry for ourselves because we know, even without knowing, that we were meant for more than a sorry numb life.
We want to live unapologetically, fully expressive of our strengths, pursuing our inherent desires, in sync with our heart and soul. We want to return to the wild. Aware or unaware, we yearn for the freedom only we have the keys to unlock.