Reclaiming Your Wildness as a Man
The world thus far has trained you to be tame.
Society has conditioned you as a man, to hold back, to seek security, to play it safe.
We’re taught that this path will lead, someday, to great rewards. The success, the money, the things.
Little do we know this path of domestication has led us to give away our power. The taboo against wildness, the fear of the animal within, has led us to buy into this game of sacrificing for future rewards.
- We’re afraid of wildness, yet wildness is our home.
- We try to control nature, yet we come from it.
- We wear masks and costumes to pretend that we aren’t really animals.
Yet our quest for domination is rooted in fear. And ironically the more we seek comfort and security, the more uncomfortable we become.
While technology and civilization has brought us many benefits, it has come with a price.
Our temperature controlled environments make us more uncomfortable whenever we go outside. Our supermarkets make us more reliant than ever a food supply we can’t control. Our GPS systems make us feel like lost infants without them.
Our desire for not being at the mercy of nature, has led us to actually being more fragile. And our fear of the animals that we are, has led us to feeling like we’re not at home on the planet that we live on.
At some point we have to ask, when is it time to break the taboo against wildness?
When the weirdo is the man actually moving on the playground and the normal one is the one sitting in a chair for 12 hours a day, isn’t this a sign that something has gotten totally out of balance?
We’ve sacrificed our freedom, our bodies, our sense of brotherhood, and our connection to our own planet.
All in the name of success, or whatever it is.
But unfortunately these are just the obvious costs.
The true costs of being a domesticated man
As men, we often don’t realize just how much we’re constantly holding back. We walk around repressing our instincts to climb, to crawl, to express our sexuality, or to simply take a few moments to look up at the sky and marvel at our own existence.
The wildness within us is tamed by not speaking our minds because we’re afraid of what someone might think. We dumb our gifts down to quantifiable commodities in jobs without meaning, rather than embracing our unique, ineffable medicine we have to give to the world.
We walk around like head transportation vehicles, cut off from the wisdom of our bodies, and the ability to listen to the guidance of our guts.
When our vehicles (bodies) are just machines, we treat them as devices that need annoying maintenance. Even sleep is seen as an inconvenience.
Monetized and compartmentalized. That is the cost of a culture that worships the head and sees the body as a sack of meat that must be lugged around.
It’s time to reclaim ownership of our minds
ess what I’m trying to show you, is that many of the problems we’re facing in our culture are the result of a mindset.
Beliefs shape our perspective, and thus our actions in the world.
The domesticated mindset exalts the “respectable” and tame man, and sees the wild man as primitive, an interesting and novel spectacle to be put on display.
Now, at this point in the story you might be expecting me to say “screw civilization, it’s time to return to the glorious caves and wilderness we’ve so foolishly forgotten”
But that would just be another radical overcorrection.
Whether we like it or not, we can’t go back. We must go forward.
We must learn to reclaim, to integrate, and find a new way of operating in the world.
I believe that way is by boldly owning, embodying and even, celebrating the wild man within you. Not in a naive, romantic sort of way.
But really truly asking, how do we reclaim the wild and integrate it into where we are now?
Who is the modern wild man and what does he look like?
The modern wild man lives in the inbetween. He rides the edges of society and the undeveloped world. He’s at home surrounded by tall buildings and even taller trees.
He hasn’t abandoned society to become a resolute monk, though he does take regular retreats to unplug completely from the hustle and grind.
The new wild man is more like a hybrid human. He’s always looking for ways to learn from the way we thrived as hunter gatherers.
He experiments with embedding those practices and lessons into the fabric of modern living.
Because we’ve engineered movement, seasonality and crucial aspects of our biological blueprint out of our lives, he’s been forced to become an architect of routines, habits and habitat. The wild, hybrid man seeks to consciously shape his own environment, his own rituals, and his own lifestyle on his own terms.
He knows that the wildness is always just underneath the surface. So most of his work isn’t finding or creating wildness, but reclaiming it.
This might mean finding weird and interesting ways to move like a human animal throughout the day.
He makes a practice of squatting, sitting without furniture (much to his wife’s dismay), and crawling down the hallway when no one is looking.
You can often find him climbing trees, much to the shock of old ladies.
Generally though, by moving like an animal, he’s always doing things that other people find strange.
Though he doesn’t often express it, he finds the way they live even stranger.
The wild mind leads to a wild life
As much as possible he tries to eat with the seasons, buying locally grown, organic produce and grass fed meat when available.
Secretly, he dreams of what it would be like to live in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, or on a farm where he can just get away from everything and live a simpler life.
However, connecting with and building a tribe of other men is a priority to him.
He sees it as his duty to help other men uncage, knowing that the men around him are suffering, just like he was.
He helps them by showing them that they can start small, and rewild themselves from wherever they are.
So, the uncaged man makes the initiative to invite his friends on hikes, movement sessions and retreats. He challenges those around him to play a bigger game, and to step into their deeper purpose.
Wildness is his superpower
His wildness is a gift to all of those he meets, because little do they know, it’s the source of his true power.
Nature nurtures him, and making a practice of being surrounded by nature recharges and energizes him. It gives him the fuel he needs to live in the service of others.
Sometimes this means cutting through the bullshit of the domestication game of trading time for freedom.
He’s not afraid of calling out those he loves when he sees them playing small, or sacrificing their happiness for someday. This might not make him popular in the moment, but they often thank him later.
He celebrates his masculinity, and never hides it
The uncaged man sees his masculinity as something not to be feared or shunned, but as something to be celebrated.
He understands that women have been suppressed by a male dominated culture for too long, but he also sees the fallacy in trying to act like one gender must be elevated above another.
He knows that patriarchal society hasn’t just suppressed women, but also put men in a box, a place where they are expected to be like unemotional automatons.
By reclaiming his wildness, he has reclaimed his ability to feel fully, to be in tune with and embrace the full spectrum of emotion.
He knows that feelings aren’t an obstruction to his purpose, but are a gift — a valuable guidance system for his most aligned action. By feeling more he is more connected to the Why behind his purpose. This why is fuel that propels him to serve the world in a deeper, more meaningful way.
This of course, is a messier, more chaotic way to live than acting like he doesn’t feel anything.
But there are other gifts to feeling completely. Feeling fully, he embraces both the light and the dark, and by owning his shadows his life is not run by them.
The uncaged man knows that by courageously confronting and owning his darkness he will eventually find freedom, strength and power within the shadows.
We’re not done yet… The Greatest Gift of Wildness
Reading all of this, you might think “I’m in, let’s do this.” But you haven’t even heard about the best part yet.
When you reclaim the wild, uncaged man within you, you no longer view life completely from the realm of the mind.
Not only will you no longer feel trapped in your own head, but you no longer see life merely as a series of problems to be solved.
Life is so much more than a problem to be analyzed, dissected and figured out.
Life is an adventure to be lived.
Wildness is the greatest vehicle for adventure there ever has been. When you break the taboo and awaken the beast sleeping with you, you realize, that all the freedom, adventure and purpose you’ve been looking for was…
…right here, all along.
It wasn’t something you needed to earn, or sacrifice to uncover.
Of course, the game of earning, building and becoming can be a fun game to play.
But at any moment we can return the freedom and joy of the wildness that is us.
We don’t need to find nature. We are nature.
By reconnecting with the wild, we rediscover… ourselves.
A Roadmap for Uncaging as a Man
Though the wildness is always right underneath the surface, domestication has fucked us up to a pretty significant degree.
We need to figure out how to rehabilitate ourselves from captivity. We need to learn how to band together as men again in a way that celebrates and honors both the masculine and feminine sides of the spectrum.
And of course, there is the real, practical concern of:
How do I live more like a primal being, even while I’m in this civilized world?
In the next post I’ll be sharing with you some of the most potent ways you can start on this journey, from wherever you are.
And of course, I’ll be unpacking all of these things even more in-depth over the next few months.
Uncaged Man is my mission, and I plan on doing this for a long time. There is a lot of work to do. And I hope you’ll help me spread the word to help more men uncage.
I think there are some buttons somewhere around here for that. ;)
For now, I’d love to know: why do you want to uncage?
Why do you want to reclaim the wildness within you?
In wildness and strength,
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