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The Wisdom of Wild Things

Audrey Hepburn once had a pet deer. The fawn’s name was Pippin. She called it Ip for short. The actress had been advised to take the animal home from the set of her 1958 film, Green Mansions. The director wanted them to get acquainted so that the deer would follow Audrey on camera. This naturally wild thing became quite attached to the gentle artist. It even accompanied her to the supermarket in Beverly Hills as documented in this photo by Bob Willoughby.

I had a dream recently about a family of deer. The fawns were nibbling at my bird feeder which I had forgotten to take in for the night. I stepped outside to retrieve the feeder and shoo away the young deer. Then I noticed their daddy. The large buck had even larger antlers, and he immediately went into protection mode. I raced back inside my home anticipating my front door being rammed by this agitated, wild thing. The animal tried to break down my door as I resisted and used all my strength to maintain a barrier between us.

Two years after working with her deer co-star, Audrey went on to film Breakfast at Tiffany’s which was adapted from the novella Truman Capote published in 1958. Both the screenplay and my dream have important messages about the wisdom of wild things.

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly’s neighbor Paul tells her, “You call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing, and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself.”

So many of us put up protective barriers and walls assuming we are keeping out things we fear may harm us. We end up sabotaging our success and blocking our growth by letting our fear contain us. I tried to block my door and keep out that wild thing from barging in for fear it would harm me in my dream.

“Be anything but a coward,” Capote wrote for his character. We can’t let fear dictate our actions and beliefs. These fears we carry are unproductive. They block opportunities from entering our lives.

“It is a natural thing that we should change.” Holly’s last name Go-lightly inspires us to go with the flow, and be one with nature. Even her first name is an evergreen plant that grows in the wild. We must learn to surrender to change and not fear the unknown. In my dream I didn’t know what would happen if I let that wild buck break through my door. I didn’t realize I was preventing a “breakthrough,” one that could bring all sorts of positive possibilities.

“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” Capote reinforces the point I am trying to make here. I realize now that the symbol of the stag, a power animal honored by ancient Celts and Native American tribes alike, had a message for me but my fear in the dream kept that message from entering my consciousness, until now.

“No matter where you run,” Holly’s neighbor Paul told her, “you just end up running into yourself.”

The wild buck at my door, that was my power, my strength, and I was holding it back. I was resisting it from entering my living room, and my life.

The ancient Celts had a mythological god with antlers they called Cernunnos. He was the lord of wild things, a mediator between humans and nature. He connected people to the natural world. He symbolized prosperity and abundance and was depicted in ancient art and on cave walls with a bag of coins.

Audrey Hepburn let the deer enter her house. She did not fear the wild thing. She embraced it, and in doing so, she welcomed prosperity, power, and abundance into her life.

Face your fears. Open your doors. Let in the wild things. This is the wisdom for the week.


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