My Review: Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Self-help unlike any other you will ever read, Women Who Run with the Wolves is a genre of its won.

Estés speaks on creativity and creation, on staying true to yourself, on nurturing and developing your talents, on self-love and love of others, on making an impact, and on everything in between in a series of folk tales accompanied by analyses. Although I don’t typically enjoy folk tales, Estés speaks directly to what feels like my soul (that I just discovered with the reading of this book). Every page is dog-eared, every other paragraph underlined.

From Estés I steal the self-description of “ardently introverted but fiercely striving to be in the world”.


Below, some of my favourite thoughts.

On growth
• Paradoxically, as her old life is dying and even the best remedies will not hide that fact, she is awake to her blood loss and therefore just beginning to live.
• Death is always in the process of incubating new life, even when one’s existence has been cut down to the bones.
• His trust is not dependent on his lover not to hurt him. His is a trust that any wound that comes to him can be healed, a trust that new life follows old.
• We know that we will have to burn to the ground in one way or another, and then sit right in the ashes of who we once thought we were and go on from there.

On being true to yourself
• When we are connected to the instinctual self, to the soul of the feminine which is natural and wild, then instead of looking over whatever happens to be on display, we say to ourselves, “What am I hungry for?” Without looking at anything outwardly, we venture inward, and ask, “What do I long for? What do I wish for now?” Alternate phrases are “What do I crave? What do I desire? For what do I yearn?”

On forgiveness
• Nothing that a human may have done, is doing, or might do, is outside the bounds of forgiveness. Nothing.

On pain
• If you want to kill something, just be cold to it.
• We often wound people where, or very to close to where, we have been wounded ourselves.
• If you have a deep scar, that is a door.
• Rage corrodes our trust that anything good can occur. Something has happened to hope. And behind the loss of hope is usually anger; behind anger, pain; behind pain, usually torture of one sort or another, sometimes recent, but more often from long ago.

On creativity and creation
• A woman arrives in this world-between-worlds through yearning and by seeking something she can see just out of the corner of her eye.

On healing
• When men have wounds like these, you can smell them coming. No woman, no love, no attention heals such a wound, only self-compassion, only attendance to one’s wounded state.
• Letting his heart break—not break down, but break open.

On letting life flow
• Yet if we live as we breathe, take in and let go, we cannot go wrong.
• Humans deserve to be dripping in beautiful remembrances, medals and decorations for having lived, truly lived and triumphed.
• I cannot say how, only that it was so.

On love
• There is an immortal soul-to-soul connection that we have little ability to describe or perhaps even to decide, but that we experience deeply.

On failure
• Failure is a greater teacher than success.

On bad habits
• The woman feels if she just holds on to the old pattern a little longer, why surely the paradisical feeling she seeks will appear in the next heartbeat.

On storytelling
• The writing began long before the writing began.
• Psychology, in its oldest sense, means the study of the soul.

My only wish now is for a Men Who Run with the Wolves edition, so everyone can benefit.