When women reassert their relationship with the wildish nature, they are gifted with a permanent and internal watcher, a knower, a visionary, an oracle, an inspiratrice, an intuitive, a maker, a creator, an inventor, and a listener who guide, suggest, and urge vibrant life in the inner and outer world. ~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
It seems that the woman Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about in her iconic "Women who Run with the Wolves" is the woman who is truly alive. This woman is deeply connected to her purpose, but not in the superficial way we often talk about purpose these days. She is not what she does, she is not her vocation or her job. She is not even her calling. All those niches are far too narrow for this woman for, in her core and in her truest reason for being, she is the portal through whom all Life flows.
Although in the world this woman has many expressions, her essential nature is of devotion to Life itself.
Her (Typical) Human Journey
At first her connection to Life/Source is effortless and organic. Unburdened by the forces of heavy external programming, when this girl first emerges into this world, she is free to be exactly who she is and, for some time, she embodies Life/Source that moves within her with ease and grace. She is safe to be full of Life and her deep connection to her divinity threatens no one.
This girl is playful and vivacious, she is mysterious and perplexing, she is serious and inward-bound, she is prolific and expansive, she is sensitive and attuned to the world's suffering and she is caring and generous with her heart.
This girl's openness to her nature and to the nature of all things within her is astounding.
But as this girl begins to make her way in the world, she notices that the world is not exactly kind to her unabashed unyielding originality and that it's not exactly welcoming to her inner fire or her tender flow.
In fact, rather than listening and paying attention to her, the world begins to inject this girl with messages about who she is and is ought to be. Eventually, the world assigns this girl a value and puts her in a box.
On her young journey, the girl receives many messages. She learns about ways she should and shouldn't behave, how she should and shouldn't express herself, how much sensitivity is appropriate and how much power is acceptable.
These messages are often so subtle, the girl has no conscious clue that her original nature is being trampled over. And yet something in her shifts as she begins to realize that she needs to be a certain way to be seen, to be valued, to be accepted and to be loved.
Sometimes this girl's world is routinely harsh and even violent. When that is the case, the girl learns that she needs to be a certain way to not attract danger.
When the outside world tells the girl who it thinks she is, she can't help but take the messages in and we should never blame her because she needs the outside world to help her know herself. In her early years, she is indiscriminate as to who she allows in because she has not yet connected with the power of discernment, the power of her intuition and the ability to sniff out the toxic ones.
And so as the world begins to mold this precious, sublime channel of a girl, she eventually grows up to be a woman programmed to be a certain way.
This is a typical human journey- one that leads the girl to feel confused about her value, one that leads the girl to distrust her inner voice and one that separates her from her essential nature.
Little Girl Lost:
The girl's human journey leads her so far away from her original nature that, by the time she is a grown woman, she has almost forgotten the vivacious goddess of a girl she once was. While the woman nearly buckles under the weight of various external pressures she is carrying, she has no inner well to draw from as she now believes that all life within her has dried up.
This woman is as good at hiding her misery as she is at hiding her inner girl. This woman often appears to be alright; to most, she seems successful and accomplished. She has a family and she does purposeful work. And yet...her soul is aching with heaviness and exhaustion.
You see, this woman's essential nature has been hidden for decades. Now, as a grown woman, she hardly remembers the original girl. The woman has put the girl away and she is now too terrified to look at her, much less dare to let her out.
And so the woman ends up continuing the work of the environment that has perpetrated against the girl's divinity in the first place. Keep her down, keep her hidden, keep her away.
The grown woman has too many excuses as to why reconnecting with her inner girl would not be beneficial. The girl is too hurt, too broken, and too much.
What the woman is yet to realize is that this wounded little girl is this woman's ONLY portal back to her divinity, her light and her deep sense of aliveness.
If only the grown woman could RE-MEMBER the little girl...
The Path to Reclamation and Freedom:
The human journey the girl goes through seems like a tragic one and often times it is because some women don't make it past death on the journey through their life-death-life cycle. When the access to woman's inner aliveness becomes severely blocked, her chances of rebirth become slimmer and her need for timely action becomes even more dire.
The woman Dr. Pinkola Estes calls forth in all of us is the woman who has the courage to DO WHAT IT TAKES to reconnect with her true wild soul. Go back and get her, she says to all of us, go back and get the girl who has a lot to tell you about who you are.
But how do we do that?
I myself know the painful experience of prolonged inner death and the numbness and hopelessness that accompanies it.
I was in my early 20's when I first began to notice that something was off. By then I had a full-blown eating disorder, which I was doing my best to hide, and a flourishing exercise addiction. I knew and felt that something was terribly wrong, but I was too terrified to look at it. I also didn't know how. I was too afraid to reach out and I was too afraid to tell the truth about my own inner darkness.
How did it get so dark and so scary and was I worthy of feeling anything other than then hell I had put myself in?
The journey of the past 20 years of hard work, study, self-exploration and personal practice has been at times arduous, at times confusing, and at times too overwhelming to keep up, but what it ultimately did was that it uncovered certain teachings for me that I continue to feel are just as true today as they were when they first emerged.
"Coming Home" as A Spiritual Journey:
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Each girl's journey begins with her emergence into this world as a whole, worthy, open, trusting, light-filled being. The following is a succinct version of what follows:
-Where she is most connected to Life/Source is where she is most open.
-Where she is most open is where she is most vulnerable.
-Where she is most vulnerable is where she typically get wounded.
-Where she gets wounded is where she tends to close up.
-Where she is closed is where her access to Life/Source is blocked/restricted.
If you've read this thus far and if the words resonate, I hope you continue reading because next we will talk about the journey back home.
On the journey back home, it is important to pay attention to signs, messages and dreams because, in the words of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, they are precious doors. Another important consideration is to not be afraid to notice and to name the deadness or the darkness or the emptiness as they always point in the direction of the wounds and those always guide a woman back to the origin of her aliveness.
The following journey is the mirror opposite of the (typical) human journey I have outlined above. Essentially, it is a journey backwards. Each step on the journey has an accompanying healing practice, which I have intentionally kept broad and will explore more in depth in the later posts.
-Where access to Life/Energy is blocked is where we are closed (name deadness, numbness)
-Where we are closed, we are most wounded (work with closures, how do they show up?)
-Where we are most wounded is where we are most vulnerable (Inner Child Work)
-Where we are most vulnerable is where we are most open (Conscious Protection Practices)
-Where we are most open is where we discover Life/Source within us.
My own personal and professional experiences have taught me that the journey back to our original nature IS ALWAYS THROUGH THE WOUND where we must reconnect with the little girl who is waiting to be healed... who is waiting to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her.
In the end, there is no need to look for Life outside of ourselves. The medicine is to explore the ways in which we are closed off to Life that is already flourishing inside.
Much much LOVE,