By Deb Matlock
“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Henry David Thoreau
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” Albert Schweitzer
So much of what makes me smile each day involves either witnessing a moment of wildness or a moment of kindness. Watching a hawk soaring in the sky makes my heart sing. Seeing a person giving another a hand in the grocery store makes me pause and realize how truly interconnected we all are and how absolutely beautiful that is to see. Seeing four different people pull over to try to help a dog running down the side of the road has the amazing ability to erase the pain of seeing all those who passed by. In moments like these, we are connected through kind, loving hearts. There is a deeply wild comfort in this connection.
Much of my work involves reconnecting with our wild selves and our sense of wild nature. This work often involves spending time in the outdoors reflecting, communicating, and sensing ourselves as part of a larger whole. Indeed, these are all important components of finding our wild selves and nurturing our wild essence. However, these focused moments may only be part of the story. What does it mean to live in wildness day to day through all the moments of our lives?
To live in our wildness takes courage, vision, a sense of connection, and a non-negotiable commitment to let our hearts and souls speak. Living in kindness may well be no different. To be kind, we must have courage to stand up for what is right; to call out actions and injustices and speak a deeper truth. We must have a vision for a world filled with love and compassion and this vision must matter enough to us to cause us to act. Kindness most certainly requires a sense of connection; a sense of knowing that when one suffers, we all suffer. Kindness seems to me to be a beautiful, simple, yet intrinsically profound expressing of our wild selves…that part of us that sees us as part of a whole and yearns to live with and into this connection.
For years, I have loved the notion of random acts of kindness and paying it forward. Whenever I have been on the beneficiary end of one of these actions, the impact on my heart, mind, and overall spirit is immense. Similarly, when I have had the chance to lend a hand or brighten someone’s day in even the smallest way, I feel a lightness inside that opens my heart and clears my mind. Acts of kindness, whether given or received, have the power to transform each of us and thus the larger whole. One moment of kindness can change the course of a life and possibly even inspire more acts of kindness in others.
Wildness and kindness…are they natural partners? Do they feed into each other and allow us to experience life in a deeper and more connected way? I think so…yes, indeed.
Deb Matlock grew up in the mountains of Colorado and is deeply committed to nurturing the connection between people, animals, earth, and spirit. She has spent twenty-five years working as a professional environmental and humane educator and naturalist. Additionally, Deb offers shamanic-style spiritual guidance, animal communication, nature connection workshops, and retreats through her business, Wild Rhythms. She is passionate about helping people find connection and deep spiritual meaning in their lives and in the places where they live. Deb holds a Master of Arts in Environmental Education from Prescott College and is pursuing her doctoral degree in environmental studies at Antioch University New England.
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