Reading Matters: Warming the Stone Child

“Whenever there is adoption, there is its corollary, abandonment”

Meredith Resnick, Psychology Today

This sound book ( I can find no written word copy) is extraordinarily powerful for those of us ready to listen.


When we drop a small pebble into the river, the smooth, unspectacular surface penetrates down, down, down beneath the surface til it settles to rest at the bottom.

Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes

In this way this spoken book has penetrated down deep in my soul.

And I am profoundly grateful to Dr Estes for framing me and my soul challenge in such a way as I can see.

Hungry Ghosts

Geneen Roth opened my eyes writing on the Buddhist notion of hungry ghosts:

When I first heard the Buddhist description of hungry ghosts–beings with stomachs as big as caves and throats as narrow as pins–I was positive I was going straight to hell as a hungry ghost. After all, this was an exact description of my experience with food. And not just with food, but also with life.

these were ghosts who scared me.

Unmothered Child

Dr Estes takes this image to the furthest limit weaving her stories from folk lore and mythology around soul hunger and the depth of longing and physical pain of the un-mothered child.

And I am entranced.

Her spoken word has carried me for days, feverish.

Nurturing, guiding, explaining, over and over, teaching me to parent myself and not to rely on others around us to fulfil my hunger and longings, no one can provide all our needs, says Dr Estes gently, part of me as her soothing voice is present in my hearing, so real -swallowing and breathing as she speaks on the recording, we must become stronger for ourselves, says Dr Estes.

Dr Estes explores what an unmothered child experiences and couples us – through her spoken word – to our own internal mother and it is deeply healing.

Each time I listen to her stories, the tape expands to fill me and my internal mother grows – She becomes stronger and is more able to nurture me and I feel strong.


Even the smallest darkest ember will burst into life once fanned by a high power.

Life is fucking hard

This week, writing in the New York magazine the Cut, Ask Polly answered a question with this statement:

“Life is fucking hard and its not very romantic at all in its difficulty when you’re unable to see yourself clearly or feel your own feelings.”

and went on to say:

“Ordinary, lovable people who can see you clearly and who understand that flaws are human and not a deal breaker are everywhere once you start to see yourself and your own flaws in the same way”


“Start now to be a regular woman who has needs of her own. Don’t try to be a fantasy girl. Be an awkward interloper someone who says the wrong thing and feels the wrong way and is all sharp elbows and mumbled words and lopsided smiles and perfectly timed mistakes. Open your heart and embrace the awkward interloper. Give her your love. She is more than worthy of it.”

And someone how my reading and listening this week is joining up the dots in my life.

Sue Boardman

Here are some more words from Dr Estes (via the contemplative grandma: Sue Boardman) for which I am very grateful as they led me directly to find the book I hold out to you this week:

You Were Made For This

“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, on

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