a primer

Garden of the Gods. Colorado, 2018

“To move into that contemplative realm is the greatest adventure. It is to be open to the infinite and hence to infinite possibilities. Our private, self-made worlds come to an end; a new world appears within and around us and the impossible becomes an everyday experience.”


Thomas Keating, Open Heart, Open Mind


Some form of STILLNESS is vital to this program. It can take time to find that which helps you quiet your mind, decompress, and connect to your idea of the Divine. Getting outside and walking in the woods is a wonderful way to start, for instance. One way or another, commit to some form of quietude once a day or as often as possible. 


Things have changed rather a lot here at STILL/wild. For a long time, a traditional contemplative practice - 20 minutes twice a day - was the foundation of STILL/wild. Recently, however, I have come to understand this: of the 36 million or so Americans who meditate, roughly 25% of them will, at some point, experience UEs, or “unwanted effects,” as a result. (More HERE.) These unwanted effects can include increased anxiety, depersonalization, and depression, for example. While these UEs are generally short-lived and don’t result in cessation of practice, for some number of people – especially those who have experienced trauma – meditation can result in episodes that are long-term and terrifying. I am a firm believer in the healing power of meditation for most people, but can't continue teaching/recommending this practice to everyone until I learn more about trauma-informed mindfulness. In the meantime, if you are someone who has had a bad experience meditating, please visit Cheetah House. The folks there stand ready to help. 

In the meantime, there are many other ways of honoring the contemplative dimension of your life. Read more below.














  • Practice putting down your phone as often as you think of it. Unplug. Look around. Sit quietly. Notice whether you feel discomfort, relief, or both—more on unplugging HERE.

  • Get outside - into the wilderness. 

  • Get your hands in the dirt. Plant things! Outside or in. 

  • Set a beautiful table and make or serve a delicious meal - for yourself or your tribe. Light candles, use your favorite pottery, serve mulled wine.

  • Take a candle-lit bath. Put a few drops of essential oil in your bath water, light candles, listen to sacred music. Start with Saint Hildegard of Bingen.

  • Build your own personal alter with special items that help you feel connected to the Divine. 

  • Read INTO THE WILDERNESS, chapters 1-4.


Christian Stegall, STILL/WILD Woman

Great Sands National Park



  • Dance, sing, move. The wild nature is fully expressive. It's important (and profoundly liberating) to release your body and voice. Begin now.

  • Slowly but surely, begin to reconnect to the natural world, to the wild places around you. This is a vital piece of the STILL/WILD movement. More HERE.

  • Create! Paint, sew, write, take photos. Also, create wild, mystical living spaces. More on STILL/WILD @ Home HERE

  • Practice, at home and elsewhere, speaking Truth to Power. You can begin by having whatever Fierce Conversations you need to have. (See Susan Scott's book, FIERCE CONVERSATIONS.)

  • Read about women, including those in the STILL/WILD Tribe, who embody the S/W ethos; Women who have a dedicated STILL practice, and who are bringing about much-needed cultural change. Learn from them, as I do, and follow their example. We look to the women, now. 

  • Pray, if you happen to be a person who prays (either that or "set an intention," as they say) to find your own unique, change-making contribution. Trust that Way Will Open. Consider volunteering at various orgs in your community to see if the work they're doing lights you up. You'll know it - the work you're called to do - when you've found it. Important note: If you're a caretaker, currently - if you have young children, for instance - you are already engaged in WILD work. Then again, you and your children might find some change-making work to do together! 

  • Reach out to Sara if you feel so led!


We begin with stillness. Then we live out loud. 


Clearly, WILD manifests differently for all of us. We can touch the WILD dimension of our lives not only in the change-making realm, but also in physical and intellectual ones, for example. That said, in my experience, one can only have a dedicated STILL practice for so long before feeling inexorably called to some sort of change-making work - at home, at work, or on the world stage. (Think coaching, healing, social and political activism.) You'll find your way, and I'm happy to help. Begin by cultivating your own WILD nature, and then turn that fierce and compassionate energy outward. For more on entering into both the STILL and WILD dimensions of your life, see below.

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