Book: Women Who Run with the Wolves

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a collector of stories, a Jungian psychologist, and an all-around amazing, inspiring writer.  This classic book takes one topic per chapter and through storytelling and analysis, reveals lessons for women (and all humans) on being connected to one’s true, wild nature.

Lessons for Yogis and artists:

1) The Life/Death/Life Cycle.  There’s a time to inhale and a time to exhale.  A time for asana and a time for shavasana.  We must combine doing with non-doing, activity with rest.  We must respect the cyclical nature of our lives (and of our creative lives…. there’s creating and there’s incubating.)  The deaths and rebirths are good.

2)  When things seem off, and when we seem disconnected from our true selves, we must learn to listen what our body and mind knows deep down.  As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “The way to maintain one’s connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt.”  Slowing down and getting into our bodies on the yoga mat can help. This will direct us towards what work is truly important to pursue.

3) When it comes to listening to others, it’s important to be very selective.  Beware for what Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls the Tiny-Hearted: “When seeking guidance, don’t ever listen to the tiny-hearted. Be kind to them, heap them with blessing, cajole them, but do not follow their advice.”  As an artist, consider whether a person knows their subject matter, and knows the true you, and has good intentions.  Similarly, if others do not understand your own approach to yoga, you’ll want to compassionately shield yourself from what they may have to say about it.

I have read the introduction, Singing over the Bones, over and over.  I first heard about this book in an art class called Body Imaging, I think.  Or maybe one of my photography classes… I remember seeing a slide of a photograph of a woman with long, long hair and someone said the image reminded them of this book.  Loooove it! I have a copy I’d be happy to lend to anyone in my yoga class or anyone in the area. ~Jordan

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