What I’m reading today! – Women Who Run With the Wolves

“Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.” ~Clarissa Pinkola Estés 

Ah… yes… here we are again. The woods. Forests. Trees. No wonder this book jumped out at me. 

It’s not a new book… but is a new book *to me*… as in, newly purchased. I’m reading it now.

I could have waited to write until I was finished with Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.  but that might be a long time coming yet.

Why?

Because this is not an easy, breezy book that one whips through.

So, what I thought I’d do instead is to simply introduce this book of prose and purpose… or as the cover says: “Myths and stories of the Wild Woman Archetype” and then share something that has come up because of it.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Dr. Estés is a Jungian. Perhaps you’ll wonder what that is? 

Jungian therapy, sometimes known as Jungian analysis, is an in-depth, analytical form of talk therapy designed to bring together the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind to help a person feel balanced and whole.Psychology Today

To me, most modalities of therapy are helpful, including Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral (DBT) among (many!) others… but the depth of Jungian therapy (obviously!) resonates with me most. I’ve tried both CBT and DBT and while they do help to keep things organized (the mind is certainly a messy place sometimes!) they – alone – didn’t reach the places that needed to go for healing. In combination with others, perhaps… and for things like quitting smoking or other “single result” issues… yes, certainly. But still, for me, diving deep is always more healing.

Published in 1992, Women Who Run With the Wolves has become a textbook for Women’s Studies and a “Bible” for women searching for their purpose and voice. And… aren’t we all?

“There is a time in our lives, usually in mid-life, when a woman has to make a decision – possibly the most important psychic decision of her future life – and that is, whether to be bitter or not. Women often come to this in their late thirties or early forties. They are at the point where they are full up to their ears with everything and they’ve “had it” and “the last straw has broken the camel’s back” and they’re “pissed off and pooped out.” Their dreams of their twenties may be lying in a crumple. There may be broken hearts, broken marriages, broken promises.” 

For me, it happened at forty and the choices, blessings and debris lay (lie?) all over this blog. Now, I find myself on the brink of sixty-two… and once again, more choices to be made going forward. And something has occurred to me and I’d like to talk about it. It’s about women finding their voices. 

Follow me… 

When I called myself “The Self-Help Whisperer™” it was about this: 

Someone who is skilled in taming or training a certain kind of animal, using gentle vocal commands and body language as opposed to physical contact [or] an expert or guru in a particular field or subject. Source

But it never occurred to me (but should have!) that whispering also means:

The act of speaking in a quiet voice. (Same source as above)

Women have been instructed to “be silent” since… forever.

I know it’s in the Bible! Let’s see… ah, yes… I Timothy 2:12 says: But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 

What’s it mean? In my words: Women! Be quiet! 

Oh yeah, I could go into a while “thing” about “a woman’s place” and all that jazz… not just in church but in society… 

*sigh*

However, I’m speaking of a more personal mandate. It’s the one where I learned that I was too much of everything… including mouthy… in school, at home, at work, and yes, at church and in a society that (whether we want to admit it or not) is still quick to label women in power as “bitches,” or worse.  

So, why DID I choose the word “Whisperer“? And more to the point, did it have something to do with my feelings of self-worth and esteem? I only ask because I’m struggling with which direction I should go with this blog and wonder if some of the problem is that I’ve been whispering when I needed to shout? Know what I mean? 

So, that’s what I’m up to these days. 

Oh, and this book? It’s gorgeous, spiritually sumptuous and absolutely perfect to be reading at this time in my life. I think it might help me find my place… again. I don’t know why I keep losing it!

If you’re a woman and haven’t read it… I highly recommend. But don’t hurry it. It isn’t that kind of book. 

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