Where are your names, dear one? What are your true names?
Do you know them? Can you remember them? Are they spoken proudly on your lips, written across your forehead, held in your hands like swords and shields, hung around your neck like an amulet, a symbol of power and identity and self? Or are your names hidden? Are they secreted away beneath layers, under covers, swallowed down and held tightly in the dark, closer than your heartbeat, lest anyone see them, hear them, mock them, take them away?
What names have you taken for yourself? What names did you once bear but have given up, lain down, thrown away?
When we are young, we yearn to be told who we are, what we are, where and to whom we belong. We join ourselves to tribes and to others who help us work out the edges of ourselves; where we blend, where we end. We drink their words and eat the portions meted out for us hungrily. Tell me who I am. Tell me what you need me to be. I will give you everything, do anything, I’ll be anything you need. Help me know what and who I am? And for heavens sake, don’t leave me. Don’t ever, ever leave me.
We took the names they gave us, we became what they wanted us to be, because we were afraid. We were afraid of the wild.
But they lied about it, you know. We won’t die out there. It’s what we are. We are made of the wilderness.
You do not need to be afraid of the wild. Your name is written there. It’s spoken in the wind. It’s carved in the rocks and hills and mountainsides. It’s in the call of the wild things. You are of the wilderness. They cannot threaten you with anything, nothing can hold you, when you trust the place they threaten to cast you into more than you trust them.
We will cast out all fear with courage, my friend, and the school of courage is out here – in the wild.