Thursday, October 13, 2011

Survival Skills For Young Women: Lesson 2

Lesson 2's Quote:  “A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.” -Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Today's lesson is centered around the idea that every woman in her truest nature is wild.  I don't mean she has a reckless lifestyle or enjoys partying a bit too much, although if that is your cup of tea I completely accept that.  Wild, in the sense I am speaking of here, means that she has a deep soul-craving to explore, to create, to wander and to discover herself again and again in new and surprising ways.  The wild woman is infused with life.  She isn't afraid to dance to the beat of her own drum.  She's the truth-teller.  She uses passion and intuition to lead her to and through all the world.  She dares and creates and destroys- she makes all creative acts and arts possible.

I realize that not many women live in this free, soulful way.  That's why we find it so refreshing when we come across such a woman.  For a moment, we see into a beautiful, open soul that is inviting and passionate and we feel envy because we know, deep down, we want that freedom of expression.  Women have died a thousand deaths before they are 20 years old.  They've gone this direction, and been cut off.  They've had this hope which has been cut off, they've had that dream that's been cut off.  In other words, they've been domesticated. There is a deep hunger in women.  This hunger, rather than a hunger to be a certain size, shape, or height, rather than hungry to fit the stereotype; women are hungry for basic regard from the culture surrounding them.  Women have a soul need to develop and to blossom in ways that make sense to them.  

 The 'hungry' one inside is longing to be treated respectfully, to be accepted and in the very least, to be met without stereotyping.  However, our media, our peers, and our culture confuse us as we mistake our deeper hunger for a more superficial one.  I believe many women feel the hunger to discover themselves at a certain point in their life, and when they begin to fully understand this hunger, and find the courage to explore it, they are at their most interesting and most creative.  

I suggest that everyone read "Women Who Run With the Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  This book is chalked full of beautiful stories and myths of the wild woman archetype.  Through reading these stories, I began to understand myself more fully and more deeply.  Clarissa also gives beautiful insights into what a woman can do to stay in touch with her wild nature, her creative soul, her truest self.  I soaked up all her advice, and wanted to share it-

"It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires."

This quote is all too familiar to me.  Staying in a relationship where you do not belong is a prime example.  Other examples are staying trapped in a major you don't find interesting or inspiring, a job you dread, or a friendship that no longer nurtures your soul.  Doing any of these for an extended period of time will suck the life out of you and take you further and further away from the wild woman in you. 

"What is the basic nutrition for the soul? Well, it differs from creature to creature, but here are some combinations. ... For some women air, night, sunlight, and trees are necessities. For others, words, paper, and books are the only things that satiate. For others, color, form, shadow, and clay at the absolutes. Some women must leap, bow, and run, for their souls crave dance. Yet others crave only a tree-leaning peace."

"When women open the doors of their own lives and survey the carnage there in those out-of-the-way places, they most often find they have been allowing summary assassinations of their most crucial dreams, goals, and hopes."

This last quote really struck something deep inside me.  Upon first glance of my life, I feel I have for the most part done my best to navigate in such a way as to stay true to myself.  However, upon looking closer, I realized how certain relationships, cutting remarks, judgements, no matter how seemingly small, had made me stumble.

Clarissa talks about how once women are adults, they have the opportunity, sometimes for the first time in their life, to be free and to reconnect to their instinctual self.  This is a beautiful process as self discovery begins and in new and unique ways.  However, sometimes women marry too early.  This isn't a tragedy, if a woman marries a man who wants to see his wife blossom.  But if he does not recognize and cultivate her ideas and her dreams, the wild woman will begin to domesticate herself.

Don't be with anybody who kills off your ideas, either through apathy or because they don't understand them, or because they refuse to understand them.  Do not make them the centerpiece of your life.  Be with a lover who is a gardener- he nurtures, he watches you grow, he not only wants you to survive but to thrive.  He must look at you as a living, growing, breathing creature.

The lesson here is that wild women are endangered species.  You must become a protectionist.  If you want to live as a wild woman, you must not become seduced by excesses.  You must surround yourself with people who support your ideas.  You must avoid being close with anyone who douses your passions.  You must give up your need to be liked (I'm still working on this one- see lesson 1). You must be brave.  Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.  Don't be afraid of spontaneity. Be gentle with yourself.  Be what deep down in your bones you know you're supposed to be.  Be the courageous and patient woman.  May you have a partner who nurtures your creativity. Refuse to be bitter.  Love a little, forgive a little, and create a lot.  Restore the wild woman.

All images via Pinterest

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