“Always trust what the heart knows” ~Hafiz
It is the year of the Black Water Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac. Yesterday in yoga class, my teacher Margaret Pitkin talked about the power of the Dragon and invoking our hearts to dream and to fulfill those dreams. She shared a story of going into Staples and seeing everyone walking around looking half dead, as if their energy was being sucked from them. When she walked out of the store, she imagined a world where everyone you meet is inspired and energized. She said to us, “imagine a world where you wake up every morning, jump out of bed, and shout YES!” To this, the class laughed and smiled, and I breathed into the joy of the moment. We spent the rest of the class opening our hearts through shoulder stretches and back bends, making our chests broader and energizing each part of our bodies, from toes to fingertips.
Since winter began, I have been quieting my mind and meeting a kind of happiness that I cannot express in words. The best I can do is to say it emanates, and I feel it around me and in me equally. At the same time, I have been exploring the winter woods, and my search for wildness has brought the question of what it means to live wildly myself—what does it mean to have a wild heart? When Thoreau spoke of wildness, he spoke of the Greek word for beauty or order, which was their name for the world. In our language, that word is cosmos, and we have come to define it as harmonious order. The author Jack Turner writes, “in the broadest sense we can say that Thoreau’s ‘In Wildness is the Preservation of the World’ is about the relation of free, self-willed, and self-determinate ‘things’ with the harmonious order of the cosmos.” The important thing then, is the relationship. To live wildly, to have a wild heart, one must first wake up to the heart, and then live as part of the earth, recognizing the relationship: we depend on the world for our sustenance and our lives, and the world depends on us to keep a balance and contribute to the harmony.
The heart, the forest, yoga, dreams, wildness, winter, happiness: these are all connected. To dream is important. To open the heart is important. Dreams are realized with an open heart. An open heart is a wild heart. A wild heart honors the cosmic connections that keep us alive with energy.
Now I know I am wild, and what is the next step? I cannot say, but I will trust what the heart knows.