The International Women’s Day on 8th March, got me thinking on what it means to be a woman and reminded me of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ “Women Who Run With the Wolves”.
It is a hand-book that every woman should have – a book that one could refer to now and again throughout one’s life.
Clarissa tells us how to get in touch with one’s ‘wildish’ self, our intuitive self. She wants us to unlearn years of social conditioning on how a woman should be and start becoming what a woman really is instead.
She touched on many aspects of life like grieving, forgiveness, rage, humour, endurance, battle scars. Through stories, she illustrated how one should deal with these as a “Wild Woman” would.
She guides us how to navigate life’s Life/Death/Life cycle – ‘What must die, die.” Nevertheless, there is rebirth in death. One could triumph through it by drawing from such experiences. Such tensions actually create a certain energy that heals and help transform a person.
She also advocates that one should grieve for all deaths, no matter how small they are. Only with proper grieving would one be able to let go of that matter. That was why she cited the importance of tears in grieving. Tears allow one to be in touch with one’s instinctive self and have a healing effect.
Clarissa pointed out an important definition and process of forgiveness. It is not a one-off thing but rather, a multi-step process that may take years to complete. One should not be pressurized into forgiving someone a 100% all at once. It is actually natural for one to progress incrementally rather than give blanket forgiveness.
Humour, especially bawdy ones, has healing powers that goes deep within. Perhaps it is as earthly as the ‘Wildish Mother’ that nourishes our soul.
Girls were taught to be obedient and suppress their anger. However, one should rage when one needs to. It is not only appropriate to do so; it ensures that one is not cut-off from one’s intuitive self.
Be a member of the “Scar Clan” – wear one’s battle scars with pride, document them on a piece of cloth. A true woman wears them like a badge of honour.
Loss and hardship drives us closer to our instinctive nature, pushing our limits to new boundaries. Through it all, one gains endurance and learns to be more perceptive, allowing one to find insightful solutions.
The “Wild”, has a certain savage creativity that would nurture and renew the soul. As long as women return to their ‘wild’, intuitive self, they would be able to survive the trials and tribulations of life in a way a real woman would.
So the next time you feel like you’re “walking into a wall”, be a “Wild” woman and “walk through walls” instead.
Note: This article first appeared in my other site, http://lithistcul.blogspot.com/, on 12 March 2008.