The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Where There's A Will There's A (Wild) Way

'Three Sisters,'
Blue Mountains, Australia
Will (verb) meaning wish, desire, preference.

Will (noun) meaning purpose, determination, mind.

The phrase ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ is almost 400 years old. In 1640 the English writer, George Herbert, published a selection of proverbs. One of these reads:

To him that will, ways are not wanting.

The phrase has only slightly changed, but the sense is the same. If one has a determination to get something done, then they will find a way in which it can be done. It tells us that nothing can hold us back from our objective. It is an incitement to never give up. It is a rallying cry, advocating that, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’

Within the phrase, and those like it, lurks a desire to control. A will is not simply a determination of the mind, it is a determination to impose order on our own lives, or the lives of others or the planet itself. It is unsurprising that Herbert coined this proverb in the middle of the Scientific Revolution, a time when the world and cosmos were being referred to increasingly in mechanistic terms.

Pursuing the idea a little further, we might conclude that it is a determination to impose order on an otherwise wild place or being.



What of the word wild? Where does it come from? What is it?

There seems to be two possibilities for the origin of the word itself. One is that it derives from the Old German word wald, meaning forest.

The other likelihood is that the word wild and the word will are more closely linked than we might think. Wild may be a shortened version of willed. The rationale for this is that a wild place follows its own will. Hence it is self-willed, self-wild.

A Wild Way

Consequently, if we were to dismantle the phrase ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ and replace it with ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a Wild Way’ we might more closely unite and understand the connection between the two words – will and wild.

Coincidentally, with such an appreciation, we might even reconnect with a part of ourselves that, in westernised cultures at least, has largely been suppressed and hidden.

The eco-psychologist, Bill Plotkin, identifies four facets of the self. One of these he calls the Wild Indigenous One. This aspect of the self is, according to Plotkin, ‘is fully and passionately at home in the human body and in the natural world… The Wild Indigenous One is our most instinctual dimension, every bit as natural and at home on Earth as any elk, elm, or alp.’1

When this wild way within us is re-discovered and experienced then the control and dominance implied in the familiar phase of where there’s a will there’s a way is seen for what it is: a self-harming impediment to our full selves, and a disrespectful and exploitative way of treating the earth.

Once we recognise that wilderness is not a state of disorder, but rather a state in which order is not imposed, we are able to find our natural wild state within the fullness of nature.

The American poet and writer, Wendell Berry, expressed this insight beautifully in his short poem The Peace of Wild Things, written in 1968.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

May we all use our will and come into the peace of wild things.


1. Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche, New World Library, Novato, California, 2013.

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