For much of my life, I immersed myself into the modern mainstream culture and achieved a pinnacle of the American Dream. To do so, I became a master at pretending in order to fit in.
As a single, affluent, well dressed, attractive woman with advanced degrees, I was able to purchase a home, drive a fancy car and climb my way up through the management ranks of corporate America, by the time I was thirty. Successful by all external measures, my perfect presentation belied how I felt on the inside. Confused and disheartened to realize that these things did not make me happy and joyful (as was promised by the media, culture, my family and friends) I slipped into a debilitating depression that led to thoughts of suicide.
Once I was able to move through this difficult period in my life, I was determined to overcome my fear of not belonging and to slay my deep-seated feelings of loneliness. In the process, I was surprised to realize the irony in my quest. The truth is, I was lonely and longing for my inner self.
Reconnecting with hidden and lost parts of my essential nature was easier said than done. It took me decades to methodically unearth my original self under the plethora of well-crafted masks I had so successfully created. But, with the help of teachers, mentors, spiritual guides—and most importantly nature—I reclaimed my “authentic wildness” and my full self-expression. Now, as an Inner Wildness Guide, I live a deeply fulfilling life helping other women realize their authentic wildness. I can do the same for you.
Here is a more detailed version of my story:
As a young child, I was free spirited and spent my leisure time exploring the wilds. Raised by a single mother, we lived a simple life for many years. When I was eleven everything changed when my mother married an affluent man who adopted me. In a matter of months (with little time to adequately prepare) I joined a new clan, moved to a different town and switched schools. In order to feel a sense of belonging among my new peers and relatives in this foreign upscale environment, I learned how to shape myself to fit in, eventually becoming a master at the various nuances of expected behavior and appearances.
Carrying that skill forward into young adulthood, I forced myself into the mold of a yuppie. My professional career began with an MBA and a coveted position at IBM. Later I married a prominent Silicon Valley CEO, and raised a family. I had it all—a beautiful home, a husband, two kids, a dog, elite social status, luxury vehicles, vacations and designer clothes—but despite all of my external success, I eventually felt depleted and trapped by the never-ending expectations to be the best, please other people, look good and fit in. There were times when I couldn’t keep it together, nor did I want to, and I slipped into lonely and dark depressions.
Then one day an unexpected and remarkable shift happened when I was visiting a ranch in Montana and was spontaneously compelled to dig for a buffalo bone that was trapped in the hard sediments of an animal graveyard thousands of years old. It was not an easy task, but when I finally unearthed the object—skin to bone—I felt my blood go hot as an electrical surge fired up the DNA in every cell of my body. The flash ignited something primal in me, and my authentic wildness was re-awakened.
After that I began collecting bones, which evolved into rescuing decomposing animals from busy streets. It did not matter to me that the immediate culture found my passion to be macabre; I persisted in following my bliss. In the process of studying and preserving animal anatomy, I became a self-taught artist, creating sacred art out of the animal remnants. Working intimately and spontaneously with the animals reminded me of my early childhood—a time when I was deeply connected to nature—before I had learned how to survive and thrive in the civilized world.
By connecting with passion through my love of animals, bones and art I was lifted out of my depression and experienced a profound journey of transformation where I shed the external personas I had created (that no longer served me) and developed a deep rapport with my inner self. Today I am living my life’s highest purpose by guiding women on similar journeys to re-connect with their inner essence and realize authentic wildness in a civilized world.
You can read more about my life story in Confessions of a Bone Woman: Realizing Authentic Wildness in a Civilized World.