Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Granting Mercy to The Wounded Spirit: Learning is The Miracle Medicine for New Life

In The Good Souls on June 2, 2010 at 10:45 PM

…a badly burned little koala bear who was caught in a horrible flash forest fire and who tried to escape by running across the burning ash, thereby having badly injured burns to his feet. The firefighter found him cowering by a tree stump…

May peace be with you and with your heart.

There is free will. And also, often, there is a destiny component to poor choices we make. From some of the worst of the worst, can come deep learnings, deep meanings… thus ‘failed’ matters ought not be attributed just to our naivete or lack of foresight/ insight, or perhaps injured instincts.

Even when a partnering in work, home, or love, or business did not work out, there is something larger than grieving it, and that is, learning about it– the how, why, when, where, who, what lies underneath, out of sight, unconsidered, necessary–

Thus learning, not just for oneself… but in order, also, to teach others… to light the lanterns for others who are also treading a dark, dark forest.

To any and all who find need of these words…

When knocked sideways more than once in a seeming dead reckoning repetition of something negative… it is good that one sit with someone wiser and loving… a truthteller who tells hard truths with soft edges. Tell such a person what’s happened to you. Listen to and follow their wisdom for you. No excuses. No more. None. Rather, now, only listening and learning. Trying new ways. Speaking your story, but taking in new. Often the more listening, the more learning. The more observing, the more insight. The more learning, the more New Life.

You know the saying, ‘same actions create same outcomes?’ To my mind, another way of saying this is… new life is built on learning, not on endless blind grieving.

I know it’s hard to turn gradually from grieving so hard, to learning bit by bit, building new life. To learn to trust onself again. It’s been and continues to be hard for all of us, each in our own way. There is no one on this earth who is not suffering, caring, straining, weeping about something…

Yet, for deep angers, disappointments, big hurts, jagged woundings, being burnt and more than once … the eventual remedy is learning to see, deeper and larger… in ways that bring consciousness yes, and also bring warmth to us each day, little by little, lifting us back into the most Loving Being we were born to be… rather than sitting endlessly in the ashes with no fire lit, a cold hearth.

The tending to the fire gracefully enclosed, the fully lit Life Force of Love, comes from us. Not from ‘out there.’ A woman who is healed is a formidable and sweeter than sweet soul, having her scars on the inside where they belong and her warmth for others on the outside where it belongs. Not the other way around.

We are all still working at this… some are a few steps farther along than others, some a few paces behind. This is fine. We all have different challenges, and we all learn quickly or slowly depending on what the challenge is.

There’s not a one of us who hasn’t bashed forehead against wall over same issue more than once, before finally being able to just stop, let go, and travel onward. Remember? from wwrwtw, “Tears are a river that take you somewhere… somewhere better.”

To love with little return is one of the ways of many human beings on earth, to keep trying to love even when clear one ought just stop and move on. This is not a failing however, but rather an extremely touching human trait of being dedicated to loving as much as one can, sometimes even when one senses or knows better.

Thus, with such a deep drive to love inherent, it takes time to process what is good and not good for the soul… and eventually, it is usually with great bewilderment and regret that one finally realizes that a certain idea or dream cannot be, and leans forward to row free of the wreckage, and onward.

As you know, none of us are alone, although surely it can feel like arctic wind across our bodies in the midst of summer. But, even if we were in prison, even if we were living in Antarctica, we are not alone in the world of souls. The world of souls cannot be imprisoned or isolated.

I dont ‘believe,’ I know that though we all have different challenges, we are all walking along together. All of us– the scraggly, unwieldy, passionate, strong, defenseless, brave, upbeat, sorrowful, strange, far-seeing, half blind, fiery, part-dim, beauteous, bountiful– all of these in just one single woman. You.

All of these traits in all of us. Every soul filled to the brim with radiant actualities. And further possibilities. Siempre. Always.

Peace be with you.
with love,



1. The communication above is here in order that it not scroll off the facebook page nor be buried in comments where I first posted it, having trouble posting the original without it disappearing (duendes, e-goblins)…  so the person on fb whom I was writing it to, might have a better chance of seeing it in full here as fb collpases long comments to a few lines. Thank you B for making the original cry that so many have also made while treading forward on what I call ‘the zig-zag path.’ If others too, have need of these words, those souls are very much welcome here also.

2. The photo above is of a badly burned little koala bear who was caught in a horrible flash forest fire and who tried to escape by running across the burning ash, thereby having badly injured burns to his feet. The firefighter found him cowering by a tree stump and approached, bent down and offered a drink to the little guy from his water bottle.

It made me weep to see how the little creature trusted so much and put his little paw on the firefighters’ hand, not only that it occurred, but that others across the world could see it occur…  that so many might see and thereby remember our true relationship– a soulful one– near and with creatures.

I knew I had to keep this story above the waterline, so there is my article about the Aussie firefighter and the little injured koala bear, which you can find here at themoderatevoice.com… a politics and culture blog where I am deputy managing editor and a columnist along with 20 other international journalists. Wait a few moments at that site for the youtube filmicito to load too. Creator bless us all.

  1. I came back to re-read this tonight and “hear” in my “voice” the need to take some deep breathes as suggested in one of the intries in this blog.I’m glad the words don’t vaporize after we read them! I need to come back and review and gain new prospective!

    I would like to keep a dream journal but how do I capture the dream long enough to write it down? I even made a “dream bowl” once to try to help with my dream retention, making the bowl was wonderful as it was full of all the things I love,herbs, essential oils and so forth but no luck with dream retention. Suggestions?

    the last dream I had I remember one piece of and really I can’t figure it out…I think my next purchase need to be your dream interpretation for beginners Dr.E.


  2. beautiful. healing. nourishing…as are you too. as always, thankyou and much love x

    • For anyone Stuck: Not saying visit more places to suffer. Saying, take and give mercy/healing as one can. Write in your journal, or talk with someone wiser about this matter, or dream and record; sift for clues, or create and create about your ‘stuck’ image. You will become clearer, be released to travel on with new insight. Take time to work at it in whatever ways you and wiser others see fit. With love, dr.e

  3. Cannot stop crying after reading the linked story. Admittedly, not only for the lucky koala who found help, but for myself when you wrote: “But there was no vegetation to run to.. thereby signaling as creatures do when they know they are cornered and a predator much stronger and bigger than they has espied them… “I know it’s all over, go ahead, kill me, I submit.”

    In spite of all my protestations, I have submitted my life to burns and transgressions; in turn, I am guilty of transgressions that cowered those weaker than I. I cannot empty from my heart your description of the huddled and terrified creature in the moments before Treeman drew her back to life. Must near-annihilation precede trust and life? Are you saying that there are even deeper and more frightening places I have yet to go? Have I missed the extended hands? Have I been blind to offers of that which would have reconstituted my shriveled soul? Why can’t I find joy in this story? Why am I stuck on the horror of Little Girl’s submission to death?

  4. I am grateful that you shared these words …I am one that needed them. Very, very much. Grieving for sure, lost for sure, untrusting of myself with out a doubt. I’m trying to shed and molt and become and let go of the abondonment and abuse and negativity and rejection and just be complete and whole. I want to feel that I belong and am “worthy” enough to be…wherever That I’m equal to anyone and deserving of love and connections. I don’t want to feel embarassed and sorry and ashamed that I do, or say or show up. I don’t want to question my presence in a room…or at an event. I want to feel …what I say. I want to be aligned. I want to grieve what is and isn’t and can’t and won’t and shouldn’t and be free…. I took the first step just a few weeks ago by stopping trying to obtain a degree for something I don’t want to be “when I grow up” a real lie to myself. I’m not an accountant and I don’t want to be… I have a different calling.
    I was told when I started this work or this mission as you call it that the tools would come if I was ready and I’m amazed beyond belief …an total awe of the gifts that have been provided. I am trusting as I take each step and then wait …and look and watch before I take the next step… that I will read, hear,discover or be gifted yet one more tool.
    your crown of wisdom and love you share with the world is full of gems that shine bright…thank you for sharing the light with those who need a little extra help seeing the path.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: