Women Who Run With the Wolves

Whatever happened to those 12 books?

Whatever happened to those 12 books?

January 15, 2021
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On January 4th, 2020, I posted a post on 12 English books to read in 2020. At the same time, I picked 12 books in Swedish ones too. This was the third time I chose a given set of books to read, as a way to actually read those unread books already in my possession.

For the first time, I did  n o t  follow through.

I read ten of the English, ten of the Swedish, leaving two + two unread, and those I just might donate/give away, because even though they spoke to me at the beginning of 2020, they sure didn’t for the duration of the year, and still don’t. On the other hand, two of the books I did read were really good, and I’ve already started to reread Women Who Run With the Wolves, because it is simply that good. Being Wrong is also a book I know I will reread in years to come.

Given how good I am at living up to internal (as well as external) expectations, you might be entertaining questions such as:

What happened to her, why didn’t she follow through?

She’s loosing it, isn’t she? I mean, she couldn’t even live up to this publicly displayed reading challenge. 

Or, for that matter, you might be thinking:

Oh. My. God. She’s human, after all! 

She must be feeling so upset at not living up to this promise!

The thing is, I neither feel I am loosing it, nor do I feel upset. Not even close. On the contrary.
My strong Upholder-tendency is simply being tempered, fine-tuned, used by me with more discernment, specifically what to let go of, even though it might be something that’s served me in the past. If it doesn’t any more, it’s Bye Bye! So if anything, that’s what happened.

The fact that I can temper this tendency, and that I should temper it, might be one of the more important lessons I grasped in 2020. So for this year, I haven’t, and won’t, do a repeat of this practice. I do have an intention to reread books in 2021 though, books that have made a big impact in me, for any number of reasons. And even though I shot way past my Goodreads reading challenge of reading 65 books last year (I read 88), I set the same target, 65 books in 2021.

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2020, a year to remember 

December 31, 2020
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The bottom line: 2020. One of the best years of my life, in large part due to new connections I’ve made this year, as well as the old ones that have deepened. 

When asked, I say that 2020 has been one of –if not The– best years of my life.
I mean it. It has.
In no way does that diminish the fact that’s it’s been one of the worst years for many, which pains me. However, it is my understanding that my experience of 2020, all the riches, connections and insights I’ve been given, also means that I emit nurturing and nourishing energy to a world in desperate need for just that. 

If I had to single out one aspect of 2020 that makes it the best year ever, it would be connection. The depth of connection, of communion even, I’ve experienced this year, goes beyond any and all things I’ve ever experienced. Ever. Starting the year off with a hide-away together with my two Buddhas Caspian and Dominic certainly set the tone for just this aspect of 2020, and then, for some reason, I finally signed up for an AKIMBO-workshop, after having thought about it for years on end. The Creative’s Workshop started in February. The Corona-virus beginning to sweep across the world just then had some participants lean out and leave the workshop, whereas the rest of us leaned in, fully, completely, the global community a life-line in so many ways during the months to come. 

Covid also caused me, Caspian and Dominic to set sail with Buddhas by the roadside, our podcast. We’d been experimenting since the summer of 2019, but never got the ship ready to actually set sail. When covid hit, we all felt a great need to talk with each other with covid as a central theme. Deeming it better to get our conversations out there then not, made us release the pod into the world, no matter how rough, raw and rambling our conversations are.

The Creative’s Workshop also spawned a number of groups I am still enjoying the company of, the Monday afternoon Reading retreat being one of the most consistent of them all. The void left upon the closing of the Discourse-platform the workshop ran on gave way to a Creative Community that’s now as vital and natural a part of my day as air and breath is. But then again, TCW also gave birth to my tankespjärn-community, which gifts me one of the highlights of my life, the monthly Zoom-calls. I love, love, love the way tankespjärn flows freely from heart to heart, from head to head, from soul to soul. 

At the end of the year, my time is spent in another AKIMBO-workshop, The Story Skills Workshop, where yet again, I am like a little goat kid let loose on a field filled with interesting things and fascinating creatures to discover, play and have fun with. This part of me in not only on display in online-workshops though. I’d dare say this is an accurate description of how I’ve showed up in the pharma-project I’ve invested many working hours to this year too. And not just me, my colleagues were game to discover, play and have fun right alongside me.

A new website will see the light of day come the new year, and with Lena I’ve set up an advisory board, meeting every third week to dive deep into what’s and how’s, anchoring them firmly in personal why’s. And those personal why’s… identifying with the Upholder-tendency with regards to internal and external expectations, this year has helped me level up. May 17th as I planned to head out to get my daily 10K in my body… something whispered No. Not today. You are not to leave the premises today. I listened. And I stayed put, letting go of that intention of mine, to move at least 10K/day, one which I’d adhered to for the better part of a year. But no more. 

This was the final piece of the puzzle I needed to be able to see that for me, with my strong Upholder-tendencies, being open to letting go of routines and habits that no longer serve, is of vital importance to me. Otherwise, I risk running myself to the ground, doing things I rationally perceive to be good for me. My rational self serves me. And, if I am not careful, it might well topple me over at times too. Looking back at the summer, which is when the pharma-project was put on hold, I am grateful it happened as I was severely singed around the edges, not far from burnout. Doing absolutely nothing for the better part of not just three weeks of vacation, but a few more weeks, having learned how to listen to that inner voice that told me to stay put was of immense value to me recovering, regaining strength, energy and capacity.

Besides gardening, the only this I did over the summer was read. Being 10-15 books behind my Goodreads reading challenge for 2020 (to read 65 books) at the beginning of summer, by the end I was 10-15 books ahead instead. Today, I finished my 88th book of the year, having read 23 087 pages in all. folklore played more or less around the clock during the summer holidays too, and I’ve binged a significant number of series too, Vikings, Game of Thrones, Handmaid’s Tale, The 100’s and currently Orphan Black, to name but a few. Given that, my fingers got a bit restless so I’ve knitted, crochet and even started to mend my own jeans curled up in the cozy corner of the sofa, watching Netflix, HBO and SVT Play. 

The book that made the most impact out of the 88 was, without hesitation, Women who run with the wolves, a book I’ve dubbed my take-to-a-deserted-island-book. I imagine I could reread it every year for the rest of my life and still find new gems and gain new insights from it. I’m actually of a mind to start a recurring book-circle to help me get it on a deeper level. For sure, this book helped me finally take the plunge into what I call my deep dive into shame, that I initiated around the half-year mark of 2020. It will continue on in 2021, who knows for how long. I do sessions with D on the topic, as well as write. A lot. 53 000 words so far, and who knows what this will turn into. In due time. At the moment, I share it in a small and select community, where I’ve received endless support to continue diving ever deeper. Which I do. 

With my body in focus being my intention of the year, I started off with an undefined idea. I knew there was to be an element of play, but I had no idea how little what I thought the year would focus on (strength, suppleness, endurance) I have focussed on. Or… perhaps that’s not true. Perhaps that is what the year has been focused on, only not in the images I had in mind when I wrote it. With Wivan as my Walkfeeling-coach since April or May, I am not surprised that I’ve started to become much more attuned to the signals my body emits, and the cyclic pattern of them. Plenty of barefoot-walks, daily cold showers since October, starting to ask my body for advice, and even going indoor-climbing with Caspian. Lindy hop-classes have been sadly interrupted by Covid, not so surprising, and unfortunately the same is true for choir-practice. But not until we’d managed to do a live-streamed spring concert, and then, before the second wave was upon us, an All Saint’s Day concert too. 

Christmas Eve was spent with my children, at home, and turned into an evening I will forever remember, in sync with my sentiment for the rest of the year, possibly the best Christmas Eve I’ve ever experienced. (That’s a story all in itself, and one I will share, in time. Rest assured.) And today, as the children will have New Years Eve-dinner with their father, I look forward to an evening all on my own. Going deep within, luxuriating in my own company, I cannot imagine ending this year in a better way. 

I’ve already set the intentions for next year, which, for me this time around, won’t start tomorrow, on January 1st, 20201, but actually started already on December 22nd, 2020, the first day after the winter solstice. The intention reads Ask – Listen, to and with All of Me – Act, and it is with that intention top of mind and deep in heart, that I bid 2020 farewell. A year I will always remember.

 

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For the wildest woman

July 1, 2020
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”For the wildest woman, the animus cycle of increase and decrease is natural.”

For the past… oh, five, no, seven, possibly going on ten years, I’ve had the urge to describe my experiences in terms of in and out, exhale and inhale, up and down. The way of the wave, crashing onto the beach, only to recede and gather force, to come at the beach again, and again, and again.

If you were to go through my writings, you’d find countless references like these, of me letting go, letting come, that which wants to happen.

”It is an archaic process, an ancient process. Time out of mind, it is how women approached the world of ideas and the outer manifestation of them.”

There’s a Duracell bunny within me, that can run for a long time, endlessly drumming away.
But I know, I have to let my batteries recharge now and again. Otherwise, this bunny will run dry on energy, and not be of any use to anyone.

”This is how women do it.”

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Women Who Run With the Wolves (book 5 of 12)

June 13, 2020
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Women Who Run With the Wolves.
By Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

In a sense. That’s enough.
You should simply get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.

”Creativity is a shapechanger.”

550 pages of gold. Pure gold.
I would estimate that less than 20% of those pages have escaped my pen, my marginalia is on most every page. And there’s probably at least 100 dog-ears as well, pointing to the absolute gems of the book. The pieces I simply cannot imagine not being able to easily find again.

”As we create, this wild and mysterious being is creating us in return, filling us with love. We are evoked in the way creatures are evoked by sun and water. we are made so alive that we in turn give life out; we burst, we bloom, we divide and multiply, we impregnate, incubate, impart, give forth.”

The quotes I’ve chosen are from the chapter named Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life, and this book will forever be intimately linked within me, with The Creative’s Workshop, which I started about the same time I picked up the book. Even more so the weekly Reading Retreats I’ve shared with a few of my fellow workshoppers, which is where I’ve gotten a lot of hours into this book.

”If you are scared, scared to fail, I say begin already, fail if you must, pick yourself up, start again. If you fail again, you fail. So what? Begin again. It is not the failure that holds us back but the reluctance to begin over again that causes us to stagnate. If you’re scared, so what? If you’re afraid something’s going to leap out and bite you, then for heaven’s sake, get it over with already. Let your fear leap out and bite you so you can get it over with and go on. You will get over it. The fear will pass. In this case, it is better if you meet it head-on, feel it, and get it over with, than to keep using it to avoid cleaning up the river.”

As this is one of the twelve English books I’ve chosen to do book reflections on upon finishing them, the simple fact that I’ve written not just one, but two blog posts referring to Women Who Run With the Wolves before the official blog post on it, says a lot.

The fact that I’ve brought it up in threads in The Creative’s Workshop more than ten times, adds even more weight.

And then there’s the realization that this is The Book I would bring with me to a deserted island if ever asked that somewhat cheesy question What book would you bring with you to a deserted island? I imagine I will be rereading it over and over again. Or simply use this book as my daily companion (replacing The Book of Awakening, perchance?), picking it up, flicking to a random page, and reading a stanza or two.

”A powerful way to renew or strengthen one’s intention or action that has become fatigued is to throw some ideas away, and focus.
Take three hairs out of your endeavor and throw them to the ground. There they become like a wake-up call. Throwing them down makes a psychic noise, a chime, a resonance in the woman’s spirit that causes activity to occur again. The sound of some of one’s many ideas falling away becomes like an announcement of a new era or a new opportunity.”

Now you’ve gotten even more, and yet, only from one chapter. And there’s. So. Much. More.
So. If you weren’t convinced when I wrote this to start with, I write it again:
Get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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Betrayal occurs

June 12, 2020
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Betrayal occurs when those who have power see the trouble and look away. Betrayal occurs when people break promises, hedge on vows of help, protection, speaking for, standing with, withdrawing from acts of courage and acting preoccupied, indifferent, unaware, and so forth instead.

– Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves

I haven’t finished reading this book yet.
I thought I would be done by now because I did finish the book part of it earlier this week, but then, I peeked at the notes. And was hooked.

Imagine.
A book where the notes section – you know, with minuscule font size, page upon page, referring to something you simply cannot be bothered to flick back through the book to find… – draws you in. Where it contains almost the same amount of marginalia-worthy, dog-ear-enticing phrases and pieces of information as the book part of the book. Like this stanza.

Betrayal occurs when those who have power see the trouble and look away. Betrayal occurs when people break promises, hedge on vows of help, protection, speaking for, standing with, withdrawing from acts of courage and acting preoccupied, indifferent, unaware, and so forth instead.

Have you been betrayed?
I have.

Have you betrayed?
Looked away? Broken a promise, hedged on vows to help, stayed silent, pretending to be busy with other things?
I have.

I think there’s not a person on earth who would answer these questions differently.
And I don’t know that that is something to strive for.

But getting conscious about it.
When I betray – or even better, when I am about to. Giving me an opportunity to n o t.

Betrayal occurs when those who have power see the trouble and look away.

Daring to witness me, call me out on my own bullshit.
To n o t look away.
Not from the trouble, and not from me, trying to escape – myself?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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I. Have. To. Write. About. It. Now.

May 18, 2020
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One of my 12 English books to read and blog about this year, is Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Normally, I never write about the book until it’s finished, which is when I write my book reflection. However, this book, which I am approximately 60% through, has certainly challenged me, as almost not a page goes by without me making copious notes in the margin and the number of dog ears is just ridiculous! I usually don’t mark pages with dog ears, but the best of the best of this book has me crying out for me to make it easily accessible in years to come, and alas, the book probably has 50 dog ears by now….

Anyway, as I was reading this book during my weekly Monday Reading Retreat, a paragraph jumped out at me, and I simply cannot hold it in anymore. I. Have. To. Write. About. It. Now.

”Creating one thing at a certain point in the river feeds those who come to the river, feeds creatures far downstream, yet others in the deep. Creativity is not a solitary movement. That is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, sees it, senses it, knows it, is fed. That is why beholding someone else’s creative word, image, idea, fills us up, inspires us to our own creative work. A single creative act has the potential to feed a continent. One creative act can cause a torrent to break through stone.”

This.
This is what The Creative’s Workshop is to me.
It feeds me.
There is so much creativity just whizzing and bouncing along in the workshop, it’s almost ridiculous, and it feeds me and my creativity to levels I’ve not experienced for many years.

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