An Excerpt From ‘Women Who Run With Wolves’ By Clarissa Pinkiola Estes With Response by Valerie Lyn
By Clarissa Pinkiola Estes Best selling author of Women Who Run With the Wolves
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale. One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these—to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”
Response: By Valerie Lyn
What are the changes that we strive to both provoke and evoke? What is the legacy that we wish to create, not those simply seen and felt tomorrow or the next day or the next day but those felt and experienced for generations to come. What is the message, the gift we wish to glean from our ancestors and the message of value we wish to leave for our children? Can we muster enough courage to look beyond self to lay the pathway for something far richer and better. Can we pause to see, not in fear, but with clarity and wisdom that in doing better we become better, when we look beyond our small selves we can truly become infinite. No, we can not fix the world and yes together we can go far in mending the pain and grief within it… but when we unite in a commonality, rise above nationalism, religiosity, and all the other isms that exist and look into and tap the depth of humanity without preamble, without hypocrisy, without an agenda of the benefit for self… We become.
A growl roils deep within my being. My muscles move in harmony with the motion that rises from deep within the earth. I find myself listing from side to side, powerful with unspoken energy. Moving forward I hear her, nature, sigh amongst the treetops and in the very essence which is the ground… the dirt… the earth. My spirit soars alongside the majesty of the eagle and walks beside my brother the bear. I trot out to see what has become of all that I believed I knew and realize nothing and everything is the same. I sniff the air testing it, tasting it, scenting the blood that dances within the air and my hackles rise and twitch but I am unafraid, unafraid, only merely curious.
Into the glade I trot and before me lay my sister, her body twisted and torn, and before her- my brother- and another and another and another, as far as the eye can see. I raise my muzzle and wail a sob born of profound loss, a sadness as deep and green as the hills and valleys I roam, it speaks of grief, of gut wrenching lament and an unabashed fear. Quaking head lowered I am quelled by the fear and the panic that has risen in me. From afar I hear the answer to my howl as it is echoed back to me. A wail that makes me shiver and the hairs on my hide quake as if moved by the soft fingers of a summer’s breeze. The cry grows louder, near, as does my fear rising nearer to the surface of all that is me. I turn and see a fearsome sight, one that dispels my fear. I am not alone… not alone and I have never have been if I had ever bothered to see, for my sisters and brothers are with me, wolves from another pack, a different pack, emerging to stand beside me. The bears tower before me large and erect even the before believed weak rabbits sits by my haunches in solidarity with my grief. Eagles soar over head and the treetops rustle with life, affirming that I indeed am not alone not in my grief nor my anger. This is our forest, our land, our brothers and sisters that lay as dust upon the earth…together we are strong… together we are strong.