Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Wild Night

Brette, Kirsten and I (aka Impact Guild) hosted a casual girlfriends' night out to see and discuss the movie Wild.  The movie, based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir by the same name, presents many opportunities to reflect on the nature of transformation and the paradoxes inherent in a wild life.  To deepen our group experience of the movie, we prepared a set of juicy discussion questions to talk about afterward.  We hoped our inquiries might stretch the group to engage in a different kind of conversation than they normally would, something maybe more intimate or varied.  But there was some awkwardness there.  We really didn't know if the group would engage with our questions or not.

After the movie was over, all twenty of us walked across the street to a cafe.   Our breathy conversation filled the air with gray mist and the magical sound of women chattering.  As one woman after another arrived into the warm cocoon of the cafe, Kirsten, Brette and I handed out two different sets of questions.  We invited each guest to pick a question they wanted to answer and discuss it with someone nearby.  

And similar to our first Impact Guild event, it was the sound of women's voices, the torrent of spirit and friendship, that lingers in my mind.  A cooing lullaby mixed with a rally cry that conjures deep in the bones comfort and a sharp, maybe dangerous strength--loosening me up and sparking magic in my veins--calling me home and challenging me to step out all at once.  One woman dreamed of competing in an amazing race, another recalled skinny dipping in Mexico, and a third learned that there might be hope yet that she'd survive her morning sickness.  Healing and play and adventure, it was the sound of all that.  

Before saying goodnight, we handed out a third set of questions.  Some were more personal, a few were darker, and all of them, we thought, were a siren call to go inward and explore--in a journal, in meditation, or on a long walk.  One sheet of questions at a time was taken, tucked into a purses and nestled in between notebooks, until there were only a few left for me to take home.

It was a rare and amazing satisfaction to feel these questions land in the hands of other women.  And so I thought I'd share them again here on the blog.  If you've seen Wild or plan to see Wild, please feel free to print these out, give them away, or even better, use them as an excuse to open a bottle of wine with friends and wonder aloud what wild means to you.


Group questions:

Set 1

If you were going to take a 90 day expedition, where would you go?

If you could only take what you could carry on a long journey, would you take books?  Which ones?

What is your relationship to wildness?  Where do you get your wild fix right now?  Where in your life do you need to invite a little more wild?

Set 2

Where do you go to refresh or refuel?

If you were hiking alone for 90 days what foods would you miss?  What would be your Snapple and Lays?

We all make comebacks in our lives, maybe a lot of comebacks.  What is your next comeback?  What kind of expedition or adventure could you take to kick it off?

Take home questions:

In Wild Cheryl is attempting to become the woman her mother imagined her to be.  Is there a person in your life who has a vision of you that empowers you?  What would that person want for you right now?

What is your relationship to time alone?  How much do you get?  How much do you need?  What length retreat would be the right length for you?

In Wild, Cheryl goes out to nature to “be in the way of beauty” pointing toward the idea that there is some kind of care or goodness or benevolence in beauty?  What is your relationship to beauty?  to nature?  Can exposure to beauty heal?

Cheryl goes to some very dark places in her life.  In some ways, it could be argued the depth of her darkness makes way for the brilliance of her redemption.  What relationship does our dark side have to our light?  What do we gain from embracing our darkside?

Amy is Cheryl’s friend.  She is there for her in the dark times, supporting and challenging her at the same time.  She sends boxes that arrive on the trail.  Who is your Amy?  Does she know this?  What do you need her to know about your friendship?  What kind of support could you ask her for this year?  What support might you offer?

Motherhood sometimes seems like a long hike, not too unlike Cheryl's walk along the PCT….maybe you packed the wrong stuff, bought shoes that were too small, ran into scary shit you didn’t expect, and encountered some beautiful things too….if you imagined your motherhood journey like a long hike--what have been the last few important stops or episodes, and where are you headed next?

Cheryl’s hike has a lot to do with her grief process.  Her experience of her mother’s grief first leads her to a very dark place and then she course corrects with the hike on the PCT.  If you have experienced grief, how was your journey different from Cheryl’s?  How is it the same?  What insights or thoughts came up for you about grief during the movie?

1 comment:

  1. I just saw Wild with my four closest girlfriends this past Friday. One of us left sweating, one crying, one emotionally affected all of us dramatically but in different ways. I hope you don't mind, but I forwarded some of the "take home" questions to them. I would think some are difficult to answer in a group, but I love the personal digging needed to answer these. As always, you are amazing Cristina in your thought provoking posts! Thank you!