Thursday, September 25, 2014

Creativity ~ Part II: Domestication vs. Wildness

Creativity: An 8-Part Series

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don't miss:
Part I ~ Imagination

There are beautiful and wild forces within us. ~ St. Francis of Assisi

Assisi, Italy
Copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey

When I was very young, I had a powerful dream. Young women dressed in white—clearly some type of initiates—filed forward to be approved by a Head Mother. One, a scraggly and unkempt girl, didn’t fit. Two guards forcibly dragged her along in line.

Copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey

The dream was simple and vivid. It was my wild nature fighting against domestication. And often, that domestication is governed by you, not an outside force such as parents, teachers, or a religious institution. We often suppress our wild nature because in its wake comes chaos—or so we think. In truth, wildness opens avenues. In wildness lies curiosity, compassion, and a connection to the rhythms of life. All life. The trees, the plants, the animals, the Earth. Without this connection something in us will die.

But the good news is that no matter how long the wild nature has been abandoned, it can always be brought back to life.

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In Women Who Run With The Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés states, “Once [women] have regained [wild woman], they will fight and fight hard to keep her, for with her their creative lives blossom; their relationships gain meaning and depth and health; their cycles of sexuality, creativity, work, and play are re-established; they are no longer marks for the predations of others; they are entitled equally under the laws of nature to grow and to thrive. Now their end-of-the-day fatigue comes from satisfying work and endeavors, not from being shut up in too small a mind-set, job, or relationship. They know instinctively when things must die and when things must live; they know how to walk away, they know how to stay.”

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Kali is a goddess of destruction and creation who predates Hinduism. Sometimes known as the 'forbidden thing', she shines a light on the dark places that keep us from total liberation, shadows that encompass our authentic sexuality, our rage, our killer instincts, our animalistic natures. These are often suppressed, but they wield power by allowing our fears and anxieties to flourish. Kali represents the Divine Feminine, and she doesn't do well with domestication. By confronting the terror that Kali illuminates, we slowly become unfrozen. We are able to speak, live, and create in a divinely natural way, following the rhythms that course through each of us. We become wild in the truest sense, deeply connected to our soul-selves, following the path we're meant to pursue.

How might we recover our wildness? One age-old way is through stories.

It’s been my experience that when I tell others that I write romance novels, 1) women giggle with delight and quietly share with me how much they love such books, and 2) women tell me how they long to write and hope one day to share a story with the world. (I will also add that men are generally supportive, but there is also that small minority who have no interest. When done with respect, there is no harm in this.)

Copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey

Why do I write romances? Because in a majority of these stories, whether they be historical, contemporary, futuristic or paranormal, the heroines are women in search of the core of their wildness. By the end of a story, they will become brave enough to not only face the villain and love the hero, but they will also find a strength that is soul-deep, soul-knowing, and a piece of themselves they can’t live without.

This is why women giggle when they learn my profession, because despite the stigma associated with reading frivolous romances, they’re drawn to the myth and power woven into these tales. Stories transform the teller and the listener. Stories light the way on the darkened path into the hearts of women (and men), illuminating the pitfalls but also the guideposts along the way.

There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories. ~ Author Ursula K. LeGuin

Copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey

I’ve always enjoyed the game of finding which female character in Greek mythology most draws you. Is it Athena, filled with wisdom, or Artemis, who runs among the animals in the woods? What about Aphrodite, the seductress, or Persephone, the innocent who succumbs to Hades and takes springtime with her? (There are versions in which Persephone willingly binds herself to the god of the underworld. A simple shift in intention can change everything.)

What stories resonate with you? Those that do are engaging directly with your wild self. Don’t ignore the connection, but instead actively explore what bubbles forth from inside you.

We have an archetypal need to be spoken to through stories because they bring us into contact with our inner being. ~ Carolyn Myss, medical intuitive and author

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Works Cited
Beak, Sera. Red Hot & Holy: A Heretic's Love Story. Sounds True, Inc., 2013.

Estés, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run With The Wolves. Ballantine Books, 1992.

Don’t miss Part III in the Creativity series: Shape-Shifting

Until next time…

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