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By Angela Dunning

We don’t realize it but we are caged beasts.

Every one of us has been moulded into who we are. From day one our parents showed us how to behave, what to think, and even, tragically, what and how to feel…

Influenced by mother and father, siblings, other relatives, and then our experiences at school, we grow up from the tender beings that we are born as into  replica of everyone else. And, before we know it, it’s time to leave school and begin life as an adult. Again, we fit into the ready-made moulds just waiting for us with their lures of security, safety, economic certainty, and usually also into the arms of another who we believe will love and protect us forever.

And so this continues for a number of years and even decades for some. Until, something deep inside of us can no longer be ignored. Something deep in the core of our belly, or a flickering flame in the center of our heart, begins to grow and become more bothersome. Perhaps causing illness, or a serious accident, a relationship breakdown, or an identity crisis so large that who and what you have been no longer makes any sense. In fact, it starts to feel down-right wrong.

The mould no longer feels comfortable. Instead it is pressing in against our skin and bones, making it difficult to breath. Making it treacherous to take steps forward. Making us stop and look at ourselves and our lives and ask: Who am I? What am I? Am I happy? And where oh where has my vital life force energy gone?

Our domesticated lives no longer feel good. They no longer give us a sense of security. In fact now, they make us feel deeply insecure and anxious. For the tension within between what we’ve become and who we truly are is now becoming unbearable.

The cages we’ve erected around us and the limiting beliefs and roles we’ve consumed daily, often fed to ourselves more so than anyone else, have now become so burdensome that our Wild Soul is crying: LET ME OUT!!!

The animal-within, the instinctual part of us, is dying and in desperate need of relief and freedom; he can cope no longer with these bars.

Like a caged Tiger at the zoo, our animal-self, at some point, needs also to be set free.

For beneath all the layers of compliance, fitting-in, behaving correctly and playing the roles we all play, lies another set of edges entirely.

These edges are where our Wild-Self meets and often clashes with our domesticated-self. The two are not happy bedfellows, in fact, they can be hostile, antagonistic and in conflict most of our lives if we fail to recognise and honor our Wild-Soul.

If we continue to neglect and tame our Tiger, he will get angrier and angrier. Or, more depressed. His life force energy will either threaten to implode from within, or be so utterly drained of vitality that we can barely get through each day.

It is these lesser known edges, these thresholds, gateways and entrances at each of these layers which now need our attention. Like the Goddess Inanna, we must venture forth to each door, knock and wait, patiently listening for guidance as to what needs to happen next.

Which identity do we need to lay down? Which role, persona, complex needs to die in us? Which self-destructive attitude needs to be burnt to cinders in order to allow us to move forward?  Which crown; which self-protective cloak, or long, heavy bag do we need to put down on the earth and accept we no longer need to carry this?

At each of our Wild Soul’s edges we are challenged to drop some façade and reclaim a hitherto unknown part of ourselves in return.

This might simply be the permission to allow ourselves to feel at last. Or it might be a long-buried talent that we need to dust off and polish, giving it daily attention and practice. It might also be our Tiger – our vitality, waiting to be fed, loved and yes, set free at last.

Maybe at our final gateway, we meet our Tiger and we say to him: “Yes. Yes now you may run free” You may drink in the fresh air. You may feel the raging wind rustling your soft, silky coat. You can now let your instincts out with a roar, or a roll, or simply lie in the sunshine, basking in your new found freedom. Whatever you want to do; you may now do. I will no longer curtail you, or hold you back in anyway. I have set you free so that you and I can be me; at last”.

To release our Wild-Soul we need to be brave enough to venture to our wild edges. Visiting wild places undoubtedly accelerates this process, however we also need to find ways of doing this in our daily lives.

In whatever way we can find that works for us, we need to locate each edge and ask: Do I want to continue fitting-in, which inherently involves supressing some feeling or action? Or do I want to let it out? Do I want

to let myself bask here in the sunshine rather than complete another task today? Will I continue try to unconsciously please mother or father, or will I do what is right for me? Do I want to treat myself with love and tenderness, or will I constrain and force myself to perform, whip in hand ready to admonish at the slightest failure? Will I feed my Soul today, or will I neglect her again, focusing on work and busyness rather than beauty, wildness, freedom and truth?

Each day is an opportunity to visit one of these thresholds and make these choices. The older we get I think the less willing we are to simply perform. Instead, the wildness within increases her calls to us to live a more authentic way of being, asking us to tap our instincts in each moment, and follow where our heart wants to take us today.

Can you locate your Wild Edges? Have you found them yet? How do you decide whether to enter them or flee back to safety? How does it feel to decide to live with more freedom regardless of the potential consequences? Can you visualise your Tiger within – is she sad, mad or raging? Can you dare to set her free…?

Angela Dunning is the author of The Horse Leads the Way: Honoring the True Role of the Horse in Equine Facilitated Practice. You can learn more about Angela; her work helping people and horses reclaim their wildness, and read more of her articles at: www.thehorsestruth.co.uk You can also connect with Angela on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehorsestruth | www.thehorsestruth.co.uk

photo by Katerina Plotnikova Photography