I want to be wild.

And on the inside I can feel it.  Expansive, rich, deep, ancient, untamed.

My daydreams consist of roving through the woods, both literally and metaphorically.  Traipsing across forest floors of spongy moss and fallen foliage.  Journeying to the farthest corners of my imagination and finding myself inside the silence of an ancient, hollowed sequoia.  Along the way, picking the ripened fruits of a meaningful life well-lived.

But on the outside, I often find myself pushing up against the machine of modern life.  Completely at odds with the endless mundanity of “civilized” life with all its conventions and contraptions:  scheduled, predictable, mechanical, digital, sensory-overloaded.

For a long time I thought to truly be wild meant I would need to sell all my possessions and move my family to a handmade dwelling near a body of water, Walden style.   For years I seesawed back and forth between romantic visions of life stripped down to the bare roots of existence and the very real fact that I like things like running water and central heat and air.  And don’t get me started on my borderline clinical obsession with white subway tile.

Duality is a hallmark feature of life on this physical plane.  It seems all the world is a smorgasbord of diametrical opposites.  And that includes us, too.

A central tenet of Jungian psychology is that within each one of us is contained the whole.  Therefore there are countless aspects within ourselves and our lives that contradict one another – some of them conscious, much of them unconscious.

Here’s the kicker:  holding this “tension of opposites,” as Carl Jung described it, is at the heart of individuation, of coming into alignment with the true essence of who you are.  This friction fuels your growth.  Just like pistons firing to create forward motion, simply carrying the inherent contradictions within you and your life moves you toward a more whole, awakened state of being.

Where you are is right where you need to be.

That said, there is good news and bad news.  The bad news:  this tension is not necessarily something that can be remedied.  Diametrical opposites are just inherently, well, opposite.  The good news?

You can learn to transcend the tension.

What I have found in doing this work, both for myself, and with clients is that it comes down to this:  acceptance.  Learning about the principle of holding the tension of opposites acted as a kind of permission slip for me to relax into this tension.  And it can do the same for you, too.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to be a walking contradiction. 

I can appreciate the convenience and comfort of life in the 21st century Western world and welcome the influx of the longings of my untamed heart.

And the best part?  It’s that giving myself express permission to carry this inherent contrast led me to this life-giving realization:

To be wild doesn’t mean breaking away from the reality of life as you know it. 

It means cultivating a willingness to open to parts of yourself that get buried or pushed aside in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  The little pieces of you that try to come through in the still moments between scheduled appointments and soccer practice.


The longings of your heart.  Daydreams.  Questions forever circling in your mind.  Your visions for your life.  All of your crazy ideas.  Flutters of joy.  Bouts with sadness.  Enthrallment.  Disenchantment.

All of them are you.  Each one a different key to unlocking your wildness.

You can learn to engage with them, receive guidance from them, and apply their wisdom to weave deeper meaning, authenticity and intentionality into your one ordinary, extraordinary life.

Next up on the blog, I’ll be sharing how to utilize the power of archetypes to help you do just that.  But first, I want to hear from you.  Are there any contradictions you’re currently contending with?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

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  • Hello.
    I experience contradictions in all areas of my life.
    Like you said some days I think about live in the jungle, next day I want spend 2 weeks in New York.
    Some days I’m in love with the idea of be married, the other day I’m feeling like I’m loosing my freedom.
    Some days I want to stop work and live nice simple life, other day I want as much money I can make.

    Crazy contradictions…
    Namaste Linda Pisani Elder

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Linda. Yes, all of these internal contradictions make for a very rich and full inner experience! I’m looking forward to diving into the topic of duality in future chapters of Women Who Run With the Wolves!