I picked up this book again, after almost ten years. I am moved to my core again. This time in a very different way. I am excited about how Clarissa Pinkola Estes makes light of the most confusing or hidden ways of the feminine and of being woman. I think I might just quote her here for a few blogs to share what I read and learn.
I chose to begin my journey in this book with Chapter 7
Joyous Body: The Wild Flesh.
"Angst about the body robs a woman in some large share of her creative life and her attention to other things."
As I am reading this I realize I am desperately trying to understand why women in the western world allow others to become the authority of her body, and in the process her intuition that finds its voice via the body. Working as a birth supporter and being immersed in the world of women and babies and birth I am astounded by the amount of fear around being a women(the right kind or the right size or the right age...)
"Where there is a wound on the psyches and bodies of women, there is a corresponding wound at the same site in the culture itself, and finally on Nature herself. In a true holistic psychology all worlds are understood as interdependent, not as separate entities. It is not amazing that in our culture there is an issue about carving up a women's body, that there is a corresponding issue about carving up the landscape, and yet another about the carving up of the culture into fashionable parts as well. Although a woman may not be able to stop the dissection of culture and lands overnight, she can stop doing so to her own body. The wild nature would never advocate the torture of the body, culture or land. The wild nature would never agree to flog the form in order to prove worth, prove "control", prove character, be more visually pleasing, more financially valuable. A woman cannot make the culture more aware by saying "Change." But she can change her own attitude toward herself, thereby causing devaluing projections to glance off. She does this by taking back her body. By not forsaking the joy of her natural body, by not purchasing the popular illusion that happiness is only bestowed on those of a certain configuration or age, by not waiting of holding back to do anything, and by taking back her real life, and living it full bore, all stops out. This dynamic self-acceptance and self-esteem are what begins to change attitudes in the culture. "
I read this and found her words a lovely way to recognize why the birthing of our children matters. Why its important to give women the chance to hear their true voice and for them to birth their babies their way, supported without fear and with the complete truth without bias or agenda. Our future as a species as people/human beings and culture demand that we take care of how we create and honor life. Has prevention not always proven more affective.
"The body is like an earth. It is a land unto itself. It is as vulnerable to overbuilding, being carved into parcels, cut off, over-mined, and shorn of its power as any landscape. The wilder woman will not be easily swayed by redevelopment schemes. For her, the questions are not how to form but how to feel. The breast in all its shapes has the function of feeling and feeding. Does it feed? Does it feel? It is a good breast.
The hips, they are wide for a reason, inside them is a satiny ivory cradle for new life. A woman's hips are outriggers for the body above and below; the are portals, the are a lush cushion, the handholds for love, a place for children to hide behind. The legs, they are meant to take us, sometimes propel us; they are the pulleys that help us lift, they are the anillo, the ring for encircling a lover. They cannot be too this or too that. They are what they are.
There is no "supposed to be" in bodies. The question is not size of shape or years of age, or even having two of everything, for some do not. But the wild issue is, does the body feel, does it have right connection to pleasure, to heart, to soul, to the wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it in its own way move, dance, jiggle, sway, thrust? Nothing else matters."