Sometimes I make these mood boards and phrases or photos just call to me. I don’t always understand why in the moment but occasionally the meaning reveals itself further down the line. This was one of those times. “A wolf will never be a pet.” It came up while I was searching for content and there are so many ways to interpret this. You can never make a wild man yours if he doesn’t want to be tamed. Dangerous things should be left alone. For me, it hit on something deeper. It made me understand my path and it reminded of lessons my dad shared growing up.
When I was a kid, my dad always loved wolves. He would preach on how they always stuck with the pack and they functioned as a team to support the whole. That as a family they thrived. They each had a role and they each gave back to the pack. He said that we were like a wolf pack. We would always find our way back to each other and we would always put the pack first and that would make us strong. As a kid, that always brought me comfort.
At 26 I felt incredibly alone. I was in a unhappy marriage, I felt isolated from my family, and I was finding myself while working in a different city every week. It was lonely. I kept sketching variations of this lone wolf howling like it wanted to reconnect with the moon or even its pack. Finally, I was in Arizona and decided to get it tattooed on my arm. As I was getting the tattoo I realized, I’m the lone wolf. I knew that at that moment, I was alone. But if I wanted to, I could find my pack again. I could reconnect with the earth, the things I loved, and the people I cared about. I asked for a divorce shortly after. I didn’t get it until years later but I knew then I wasn’t happy and I needed out.
I remember telling my friends and family that I felt like a caged tiger. Like I was in this cage and people were watching my every move and trying to tame me. As if somehow, me releasing the full extent of my energy and ambitions would be dangerous. I was made to believe that I wasn’t smart enough, I didn’t have the education, I was too loud and too much, and somehow that would damage the people around me. I could visualize myself just pacing the cage and silently challenging the people watching me. While there was a great sadness inside me, there was also a fierce determination that needed a target. I had all these ideas, this energy, this confidence that had to be placed somewhere but the people around me had me convinced I needed to be, say, and do less. Turns out, I was never a tiger because a tiger doesn’t long for its pack like I did.
At 29, I finally returned back to my family. I got that divorce and headed home to the Reno Tahoe area. As a pack, we were in fact much stronger. My family and I challenged each other and we grew, individually and as a family unit. We went through hard times and we supported each other. I started Haven and Flux, reunited with old friends, met new friends who added new skills and resources to our pack, and we launched Britt on Blast. We, as a pack, have one goal - to support each other and our community.
Two years later, my family has gone through some of the hardest losses of our lives. We lost both my grandmother and grandfather within nine weeks of each other. I’ve had to step up for my family in ways I never imagined. Ways I didn’t even know I was capable of all while running and starting businesses. Life is not fair and it is not easy. The significance of our pack and the lessons my dad taught me as a child are not lost on me. My dad is the alpha of this family, and I am his successor. When my dad has to watch out for one half of our pack, I watch over the other. It was never that my dad didn’t want to be at my games or in my life, it was that he had to provide and he knew I could handle the rest. My dad saw something in me as a child, probably himself, and he knew that if I understood the ways of a wolf I would know how to approach life and it’s challenges. He knew that I’d always find my way back, just as he had. He knew that when I felt weak, when I felt like giving up, I would need the pressure of belonging to something greater than myself to keep going.
So why did “a wolf is never a pet” call out to me? I think because for a long time I let people keep me as a pet. It was also the understanding of a wolf that brought me back to myself. A wolf is a complex animal. They’re dangerous and temperamental and could tear you to shreds. They’re also highly intelligent animals who are fiercely loyal, protective, caring, and playful. Wolves educate their young and take care of their injured. A wolf may go through periods alone, but they are not interested in a life of solitude. A lone wolf is searching for another wolf. The path of a wolf is not easy, it’s tiresome, requires risk, and it can be overwhelming. Everything in a wolf’s nature tells it to belong to something greater than itself. A wolf is not looking to be managed by another, it is looking for it’s equal. An equal who can bring to the pack the same standards of strength, loyalty, and determination that it holds itself to. A wolf needs a wolf because no other animal understands the balance of freedom and loyalty within a pack. You cannot tame a wolf, you have to trust it.
What the hell does this have to do with candles? Well, Haven and Flux candles are designed with the intention to bring you back to yourself. To improve your mental health, to help you trust yourself and draw in the things you desire most. So you never end up like I did at one point. You are my pack, this is my design process, and together we can make this whole world a better place one candle at a time.