I can’t express how inspiring and deeply introspective the week with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes was. As you may know, she has been teaching one or two “intensives” a year for the past three years, after a gap of more than a decade. And I’ve been privileged to go to the three “Mysterium trainings”, plus this past week’s “Original Voice” trainings. There is a group of people from around the world who have attended more than one of these trainings, and it feels like an ancestral “meeting of the tribe” when I see these women again and get caught up with their lives — or just wave at each other from across the room. I receive a strong feeling of “not being alone” in the kind of work that I do that is much deeper than any kind of “networking”. It feels deep, and very nurturing, the very opposite of competitive feelings that have sometimes accompanied my conference goings in the past.
Home from my pilgrimage, I brought home ideas that I will be sharing over the next few months (truly, for the rest of my life). I also brought home a miserable cold, and today, sprinkled with sneezes and coughs, I’m celebrating my birthday! A pile of things unattended to is to my left, and to my right is the 3 page list of “to-do’s”. Tomorrow I have a mammogram. It only gets better!
Underneath, though, is a sense that was deeply confirmed while I was at the intensive: that each of us has inestimable value to bring to the world, and that how we choose to live our lives, who we support in community and in the marketplace, what attitude and intention we return to a dozen or a hundred times a day — that this is where our power as humans reside to impact our world and ourselves for the good. We — I—- am often in the grips of what is not in my control. Even when it seems I have a plethora of choices (buying shampoo, for example), it’s often an illusion. Yet I can choose how to respond to a question from my son; I can choose whether to whine about how unenergetic I feel; I can choose to celebrate what health I do have — that I can move and type and walk, rather than continuing to pine for the days when I was only a size 12.
Someone asked Dr. Estes how to age gracefully in a world where thinness is seen as almost a moral value and youth is idolized. CPE’s response, after a long pause: “I don’t live in that world.”
What world are you living in? Is it the world you want to be living in?
With much love,