How I Feel About Wilder in 2019


After facilitating five Wilder Retreats and one Wilder Workshop since writing this introductory post about its origin, Wilder has grown in its meaning and purpose. As the teacher grows, so does the teaching, and I have dedicated myself to some good hard growing in the time since 2016, (and don’t plan on stopping). However, it was comforting to read this original piece from when Wilder was just an idea, and be reminded that the foundation is still unchanged.

Six months after starting Wilder, I retired from professional running. As tends to happen with any big life change, how I move in the world and see the world has shifted some. It has been shifted by life, by kids, by world events, by the people who have attended Wilder retreats, the stories I’ve heard, the teachers I’ve stood beside, the softening I’ve witnessed in people, the things I’ve seen unfold in the months and years for many following a retreat, the letters and emails I’ve read from past participants. My enthusiasm and commitment to this kind of work has only grown as a result.

More than ever, I believe there is a transformative power to this work, and I will continue to do it, and teach it. It’s a kind of work that celebrates our humanness in a way I am unabashedly addicted to. Spending several days in a row in a community of people doing this work is beautiful, and surprising, and it works on you, and airs you out like clean sheets in a warm breeze. If writing and running have a place in your heart, regardless of the specifics of your experience, speed, career, or goals, Wilder is worth looking into. Even if the pulse of your wildest running or writing has grown faint, if it still whispers to you, and you think you want to hear it, Wilder is worth looking into. Maybe especially then.

Most of us runner/writers stand more confidently in one practice or the other, and we all have ways of getting in our own way in both, and we all have things to teach and learn. When you come to Wilder, you see what happens when we unsettle the ways we’ve been trained to run, write, speak, and listen for four days. We do not focus on craft, or a particular project. We focus on the specific practice of Wild Writing. Wild running. Getting to know the mind and the body as it is. The heart of the thing is uncovered. The voice grows. What it means to be human is evident.

Before applying to Wilder, please read about the different events offered and click to read the details of the retreat you are interested in. In particular the section that says, “This retreat is for you if…” And “This retreat is not for you if…” If it speaks to you after that, please apply. I’ve love to have you at a Wilder in 2019 or beyond.

June Wilder is currently accepting applications from newbies and alumni, and the application window closes February 22.


Lauren Fleshman