RED SHOES: Healing Injured Instincts & Returning to Joy
THE RED HANDMADE SHOES
The story of RED SHOES in Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D, is one of my favorites.
In this story we learn about a child who loses her handmade shoes for which she created for herself. They were not particularly beautiful looking but they were handmade by her. She was very happy with her creation and that made them very special to her. By making the shoes the child was marking her rising out of a "mean psychic existence" into a passionate life of her own design. Her shoes represent an enormous and literal step towards integration of her resourceful feminine nature in day-to-day life. It does not matter that her life is imperfect. She has her joy. She will evolve.
Later in the story we find that a rich old woman took in this orphaned child and purchased a new pair of red shoes to replace the old red shoes she loved, which the old woman had disdain for because they were not in her opinion "pretty" enough. Though the girl wore the shoes, she did not want to, she wanted the one's she made, however, out of obedience to her adopted mother, she wore the new ones anyway. Somehow, the shoes took on a life form of their own and would cause the little girl to dance and move in any direction no matter what the child wanted. And so she danced wildly without restraint or control on and on she danced....Eventually, someone had to cut off her feet for her to be free of the Red Shoes.
My parents, being my first shoemaker, fashioned shoes for me that almost killed me. #METOO Childhood Rapes, Soul Murder & 'Trauma Blindness'
My ex-husband's Red Shoes fit very similar to the shoes my parents fashioned for me...and those shoes almost killed me, too. #METOO Marital Rape & Patriarchy: An Act of Violence
I only wear shoes I have fashioned for myself now. It is more safe, sane and spiritual.
The story of RED SHOES is how someone fashioned RED SHOES for a young girl, but the shoes controlled her. That was the cost of someone giving her the shoes and her wearing them.
Eventually, someone had to cut off her feet for her to be free of the Red Shoes. Her feet, in the story, eventually grew back. Red Shoes is an insightful story with wisdom for all. The insights in the story that can be applied to women and men. I believe we all long to be "free, at least inside, and be true to ourselves. We all long "to be."
"If you want to re-summon Wild Woman, refuse to be captured.
With instincts sharpened for balance---jump anywhere you like, howl at will,
take what there is, find out all about it, let your eyes show your feelings, look
into everything, see what you can see. Dance in red shoes, but make sure they're
the ones you've made by hand. You will be one vital woman."
Women Who Run with the Wolves is a profound book. Many of the stories are about how to sharpen your awareness, your instincts, how to live the "instinctual life,” one that is "truly rich to the soul.” I re read this book often for insights and encouragement. This is what I know: Examine everything by whether it makes you feel "more alive.” If so, you are living close to your passions, soul, spirit, heart. If not, then your choices should be re examined. Many of the stories in Women Who Run with the Wolves are about how to sharpen your awareness, your instincts, how to live the "instinctual life,” one that is "truly rich to the soul.” I re read this book often for insights and encouragement.
This is what I know: examine everything by whether it makes you feel "more alive.” If so, you are living close to your passions, soul, spirit, heart. If not, then your choices should be re examined. I listen closely to what people are not saying. I also ask myself, "If you knew the answer, what would it be?" When inner joy is in tact, well, nothing can destroy us.
A story about "How to Stay with One's Joy"
from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Women Who Run with the Wolves
In the Chapter Returning to Life Made by Hand, Healing Injured Instincts, Dr. Estes explains, "Psychically, it is good to make a halfway place, a way station, a considered place after one escapes a famine. It is not too much to take one year, two years, to assess one's wounds, seek guidance, apply the medicines, consider the future. A year or two is scant time.
The "feral woman" is a woman making her way back. She is learning to wake up, pay attention, and stop being naïve, or uninformed. She takes her life in her own hands. To relearn the deep feminine instincts, it is vital to see how they were decommissioned to begin with."
"Whether the injuries be to your art, words, lifestyles, thoughts, or ideas, and if you have knitted yourself up into a many-sleeved sweater, cut through the tangle now and get on with it. Beyond desire and wishing, beyond the carefully reasoned methods we love to talk and scheme over, there is a simple door waiting for us to walk through. On the other side are new feet. Go there. Crawl there if need be. Stop talking and obsessing! Just do it.
"We cannot control who brings us into the world. We cannot influence the fluency with which they raise us; we cannot force the culture to instantly become hospitable. But the good news is that, even after injury, even in "a feral state," even, for that matter, in an, as yet, captured state, we can have our lives back.
"The psychological soul-plan for coming back into one's own is as follows: Take extra special caution and care to love yourself into the wild gradually, setting up an ethical or protected structure by which you have some tools to measure when something is too much. (You are usually very sensitive when something is too little.)
"So the return to the wild and free psyche must be made with boldness, but also some consideration. In psychoanalysis we are fond of saying that to be trained to be a healer/helper it is as important to learn what not to do, as it is important to learn what to do. To return to the wild from captivity carries the same caveats..........."
"Yes, there is pain in being severed from the red shoes. But is is our only hope. It is a severing that is filled with absolute blessing. The feet will grow back, we will find out way, we will recover, we will run and jump and skip again some day. By then our handmade life will be ready. We'll slip into it and marvel that we could be so lucky to have another chance.
"To stay with one's joy, we sometimes have to fight for it, we have to strengthen ourselves and go full-bore, doing battle in whatever way we deem most shrewd. To prepare for siege, we may have to go without many comforts for the duration. We can go without most things for long periods of time, anything almost, but not our joy, not those handmade red shoes.
"A feral woman cannot afford to be naive. As she returns to her innate life, she must consider excesses with a skeptical eye and be aware of those costs to soul, psyche, instinct. Like the wolf pups, we memorize the traps, how they are made, and how they are laid. That is the way we remain free.......Even those in worst circumstances as portrayed in "The Red Shoes," even the most injured instincts can be healed.
"If you are striving to do something you value, it is so important to surround yourself with people who unequivocally support your work. It is both a trap and a poison to have so-called friends who have the same injuries but no real desire to heal them. These kinds of friends encourage you to act outrageously, outside of your natural cycles, out of sync with your soul-needs.
"If you want to re-summon Wild Woman, refuse to be captured. With instincts sharpened for balance---jump anywhere you like, howl at will, take what there is, find out all about it, let your eyes show your feelings, look into everything, see what you can see. Dance in red shoes, but make sure they're the ones you've made by hand. You will be one vital woman." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves
Posted by Coral Anika Theill Author, Advocate, Speaker & Reporter Memoir: BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark
A startling memoir of one woman escaping an abusive marriage and oppressive religious cults and trying to find "justice" in a failed system. Anyone concerned with issues of abuse and injustice in America should read this book.
BONSHEÁ – Yaqui Indian – meaning ‘out of the darkness into the light’
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