“When seeking guidance, don’t ever listen to the tiny-hearted. Be kind to them, heap them with blessing, cajole them, but do not follow their advice.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
When Clarissa Pinkola Estés wrote the book Women Who Run with the Wolves, I remember what a smash hit it was with women. And maybe men, too. My fourth sister sent it to me so we could celebrate our womanhood. At the time, it seemed that I was so busy being a very busy person — I barely had time to glance at it long enough to re-discover or to create another woman within. Women wanted to break free from something and move toward something else. Why not run with the wolves? women asked themselves. Good question.
“The tiny-hearted” . . . who are they? One of my good friends once told me that the person whom I was dating at that time had a “baby soul.” I am thinking that this might be akin to “the tiny-hearted.” It definitely set a different perspective into motion in the ways of someone else stating the obvious from an outsider’s viewpoint. I started to recognize the outtakes of spending time with this particular Tiny-Hearted as not being so great. I wasn’t exactly looking for evidence, but the manifestations of tiny-hearted living were all around and right there before me.
I googled “tiny hearted” and found a synonym for it: cowardice. At this particular time in my past, it took me a while to realize that I was the one who was ultimately being tiny-hearted. I was the coward for not grabbing a canteen and taking off to run with the wolf pack. All of that time . . . I thought it was the other person who was making me unhappy.
It is true that I felt this way. I was a victim of my own “if-only . . .”. It took me a while to galvanize my heart and to screw my courage to the sticking post, but I eventually divested my life of this tiny-hearted baby soul who had taken up residence within. It took some time and a lot of back sliding. Ultimately, like a pro racecar driver, I took down the rearview mirror and motored away. For good. Whew. Now where was that finish line?
I regained my soul when I threw that rearview mirror out the window into the ditch as I sped down that dirt road into a new future. I imagine some magpie or jackdaw soaring above the ditch on a sunny day and catching a glimpse of shiny in the grasses. It circling down and looking at itself in the mirror.
But maybe my memories of this time in my life are wrong. Maybe I was much stronger than I remember. A memory has a way of shift changing, and it can only perform in retrograde. It has no means of being remotely real but in the very making of it — in the present moment. And even then, it isn’t itself. It must be coded and shelved for easy access first. And it isn’t activated until someone cares enough to call it to the forefront of a future present moment.
This is why my takeaway memory of reading Estés’ book is not quite clear. I truly don’t remember reading it clear through. Perhaps I spot-read it. I do remember that the writing was insightful and intuitive. And encouraging. The book dared women to dare. To do and to be. To discover Essence. Estés was a pioneer. And I am thinking most likely still is.
Thinking about this now, I am reminded of several of my favorite quotes of Eleanor Roosevelt:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
and my absolute favorite . . .
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
My life has changed. I have changed. I am the same but different now. While running with the wolves, I believed that good things would come my way. And they have.
The wolf pack has nurtured me and served me well through the harrowing times I have chosen to spend with the Tiny Hearted. I thank Estés for her clarity and her wisdom. For pushing me into the wolf pack when I felt most isolated.
Now? I have shifted into a new paradigm, and I would rather Run with the Goats. Goats are noisy, joyful, and erratic. They bleat and shout and yell as they run willy-nilly in a general direction. They look like they are always having a great time. They are opportunists and jump on anything that is taller than them. They are not afraid of falling. They balance precariously on the least likely of perches. They scuffle for top-goat position. They do not fear knocking another goat off of the apex in order to have their minute moment of Hallelujah! I made it! — all before being donked off by another fun-loving goat. There is just something so ludicrously haphazard about goats.
These videos are awesome. I hope you take the time to view them. They continue to put a smile on my face each time I watch them. The wolves? They are amazing. The goats? They are foolhardy and look the moment in the eye. They do not heed the making of a memory because they are too busy having fun.
Okay! No more goat videos! But you get the idea of Goat Spirit by watching these.
Today? I am going to listen to Eleanor. Believe in the beauty of my dreams. Do something that scares me. I am going to jump on top of something really challenging and do a skittering balancing act. And when I topple off, I am going to jump back on. There is so much to be celebrated in the trying, in the shouting, in the dancing. In the tossing of the rearview mirror. In Running with the Goats.