I was going to tell you all about my travels but I’m still getting my life and household back in order. After our 10-day trip, I took my kids on a weekend camping trip with a group from our UU church, then had my parents visit for an overnight, followed the next day by my husband’s cousins from Chicago. The sink is still full of dirty dishes and I can’t even find our camera to upload our Monticello pics!

So I’ll talk to you about a book I’ve been reading on and off this summer: WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I first read about it on a writers’ listserve and recently my friend Therese Walsh urged me to read it.

Having been a sensitive girl, raised full of Catholic guilt, I used to try hard to be “good”, to not make waves, to not seem too different, yet the mold that was prepared for me never quite fit. Over the years, and especially with motherhood, I’ve grown stronger and more assertive. This book is a powerful aid, an exploration of myths regarding the Wild Woman archetype and an exhortation to transcend the boundaries imposed by a judgmental society and dark elements in one’s own psyche.

One chapter that especially spoke to me at this point was 9, on “Homing: Returning to Oneself”. Estes writes that all women need to occasionally return to themselves and practice intentional solitude.

“There are many ways to go home… My clients tell me these mundane endeavors constitute a return to home for them… Rereading passages of books and single poems that have touched them. Spending even a few minutes near a river, a stream, a creek. Lying on the ground in dappled light… praying. A special friend. Sitting on a bridge with legs dangling over. Holding an infant. Sitting by a window in a cafe and writing. Sitting in a circle of trees… Beholding beauty, grace, the touching frailty of human beings.”

Through a summer spent with kids and visiting with friends and family, I’ve managed a few stolen moments to “go home.” I’m feeling the need for a longer stay there, though, along with a bit of guilt for wanting to be alone. I know it’s good for me, but it’s nice to read Estes’s reassurance.

“It is preferable to go home for a while, even if it causes others to be irritated, rather than to stay and deteriorate, and then finally crawl away in tatters.”
“It is right and proper that women eke out, liberate, take, make, connive to get, assert their right to go home. Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking. All these treasures from home are meant to be cached in the psyche for later use in the topside world.”
“It is better to teach your people that you will be more and also different when you return, that you are not abandoning them but learning yourself anew and bringing yourself back to your real life.”

For me, going home includes walking, journaling, swimming and writing. How about you? How do you go home? Has anyone else read this book? If so, what did you think?