Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

You Were Made For This

--by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Jan 28, 2008)

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these -- to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. [...]

In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

--Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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Previous Reflections:

On Jan 29, 2008 Nnenna wrote:
I find this series truly uplifting. Enjoy it.

On Jan 29, 2008 Jonathan wrote:
It has been too long that I have been without Estes' readings to ponder what life is truly about. In the age of global everything, we loose a grasp on what is most important...those around us. We forget that we have a powerful, positive influence here and every day by living our true nature and showing it to the world. Blessings for bringing this shining wisdom to me today!

On Jan 29, 2008 Sonia wrote:
This quote has really hit home for me today,I am blessed and with this wisdom today!

On Jan 29, 2008 Conrad wrote:
I am inspired by what she said. I will email to several people.
With gratitude.

On Jan 29, 2008 choclet pi wrote:
A very timely email for me, as a the last week or so I have been feeling overwhelmed by all the things that 'need to be put right' in the world.
I am a little confused at the last is good advice, but seemingly starts a completely new train of thought.

On Jan 29, 2008 Easan wrote:
Beautiful words of wisdom. Thank you.

On Jan 29, 2008 DD wrote:
ah... I seem to be in alignment with most who have posted a reply today to these beautiful words. We are One? ah, yes, I think so.

On Jan 30, 2008 meenakshi Srinivasan wrote:
So true. I find great satisfaction in teaching middle school children. The "turmoil" they face is amazing and I feel good being a "calm" center for them to respond to.

On Nov 6, 2012 LJK wrote:
 But what am I made for?

On Aug 31, 2013 marian rapoport wrote:

 it is 3 o'clock in the morning and somehow (though i don't believe in coincidences) my ship was guided to this particular harbor where, yes, i do feel safe and able to moor.  i promise you i will not stay here, but will continue on my journey as a 66 year old woman for whom the beloved crone years are the very best.  the wild and wise path, whose forest trails have been sketched with such fierce tenderness and love by clarissa pinkola estes, is one that the "hungry boots" of my youth long ago touched down on, as if i never had a choice.  i have stumbled much and often tripped on the tree roots beneath my feet, especially when journeying through the woods when dark or moving too fast.  it is fellow travellers like ms. estes who illuminate the markers on the trails and call out with wisdom and reassurance when i'm miraculously back on track. she is a compass, a guide, and sometimes - i suspect - that fierce eagle flying above whose soaring and dipping show what it looks like to be free.  

i suppose that yes, great ships are meant to sail in the vastness of the ocean waters.  but without a harbor to rest in and sometimes call "home," they would easily weary and sometimes get lost.  in that blessed sense, clarissa tosses me an anchor that i cherish for it is one of the few i have ever known.  of course, she soon sends me on my way, but with the loving admonition that i brave the choppy waters and still - in my soul - know that i am safe. 

On Nov 7, 2014 Lee Ireland wrote:

 Oh, how these words ring true for me these days!  Many thanks for sharing them  and offering them to us in our public conversation.  Gratefully, Lee ireland

On Nov 14, 2016 Vesna Mitrovich wrote:

 at last a little hope post election.  except this was written years ago!

On Nov 30, 2016 Stephanie wrote:

 Powerfully inspiring---a timeless message!

On Dec 2, 2016 Mary Louise Wise wrote:

 Thank you for this reflection.  I have been talking with class members in a counseling course I teach, about
kindness.   And I will be sharing your reflection with them next week.  

On Jan 25, 2017 David Clark wrote:

These famous words. "Ye are Gods. Be ye perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect. These things that I have done, ye too shall do, and even greater things than these shall ye do." Those words were meant for YOU.

On Apr 13, 2017 Lorna Bryant wrote:


On May 3, 2017 Lori wrote:

 I stumbled upon this post this morning as I was checking a quote. The full message is a fun find and feels incredibly powerful 9 years later. Thank you for these beautiful words. <3