If you haven’t already gathered, I’m a bones girl.  I talk about bones a lot, metaphorically, symbolically, and literally.   I collect them and have them on display on my mantel at home, and in my office.

When I first read the story of La Loba singing over the bones she had painstakingly collected through the parched desert, bringing flesh upon them and infusing them with the breath of life, I wept.  We’re talking full-on ugly cry.

I felt a mixture of grief and despair, panic and optimism, and profound resonance.  I’ve always known I was a bones girl, I just didn’t know that I knew.  Know what I mean?  The story of La Loba is my story – and it may be yours, too.

On the winter solstice of 2012, I received a phone call from my physician, confirming my fears and his suspicions that there was something terribly wrong going on in my body.  He delivered a shocking autoimmune diagnosis that completely flipped my world on its axis, upside down and inside out.

My prognosis:  a progressive inflammatory autoimmune disease that would eventually overtake every joint in my body, leading to a life of chronic pain and crippling disability.

When I received the news as my baby girl was playing just within arm’s reach, I was stunned.  I began imagining a grim new picture of what our life together might look like, compared to the image I had held until just a few moments ago.  It brings tears to my eyes to recall my infant daughter sharing the space of such a moment with me.

That was a turning point for me.  I participated in the song-and-dance routine protocol that follows such a diagnosis, but my patience for it grew thin very quickly.  While the doctors and specialists were treating my condition as a purely mechanical failure of my one, wild and precious living body, I knew in my bones this was a soul crisis.  Although, again, I didn’t know that I knew. (Are you seeing a pattern here, yet?)

Since those days, I have undergone a powerful transformation – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Bone-by-bone and hair-by-hair, I have pieced my body, mind, heart and soul back together from the fragmented shell I had become under the crushing weight of unexamined expectations I had unconsciously internalized from loved ones, social connections, and society at large.

In the words of Francis Weller, I had become “flattened from the weight of domestication.”  And every joint in my body was fiery hot, screaming, ENOUGH!

Message received.


What messages have you received throughout your life?  Did they come from your body?  Your mind?  Little tugs at your heart?  The soul is subtle and it is multilingual, speaking to us all the time through a variety of different modes and means – perhaps through the body, ideas and inspiration, patterns of persistent emotion or memories, strange coincidences… the list goes on.

The myths and legends in Women Who Run With the Wolves changed me.  With the book as my companion and guide on my path to authentic self-discovery, I was able to connect with my own wildness and chart the way back home to myself.  And I’m still journeying home.  Through the stories I’ve learned what it means to concoct my own formula for fierce femininity and how to empower myself, day-in and day-out, to embody and express it, even when it’s hard.

I want you to know that wherever you find yourself in life right now, you can do the same.  You can connect to the truth of who you are.  Learn to embody your unique brand of wildness.  And show up as the real you, in everything you do, as if your life depends on it.  Because in a weird, wild way, it does. 

Has your body ever sent you a wake-up call?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

In Love & Wildness,




p.s. Wildish Collective begins the first week of March and there are still spots available.  Each month we will focus on one story from Women Who Run With the Wolves, gathering twice each month to locate yourself within the tale and extract the medicine it holds for your life.  I’d love to have you join me so I can share the powerful gift of story with you.  We begin the first week of March.  Grab all the details here.

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  • Two summers ago, I experienced two significant deaths in five weeks. My brain stopped working, and for the first time in my life, I suffered from anxiety. I was unable to drive after dark. It was a humbling experience which lead me to find my spiritual path. ✨

    • Melissa, thank you for sharing. I’m sorry to hear of your number of significant losses and the anxiety that followed. How beautiful that it led you to your spiritual path. Our lives are such a strange mystery sometimes!

  • Joanna,
    I love that you are giving me, and others, this opportunity to find our authenticity! I don’t know where to begin to tell my story, other than I have felt with much intensity that something amazing is trying to come through me. I feel goosebumps, excitement, and form tears when these intense moments come, yet I’m unable to identify what it is that’s trying to take shape. I recently was facing a point in my life where I had to decide whether to leave my current employment, or continue with a new boss upon the retirement of the previous. Despite feeling that my heart wasn’t in the job, I decided to give it a try (because I was afraid there was no other option for me). After only two days with the new boss, I fell and broke my sacrum, forcing me to not go to work. Now, 5 weeks into my recovery and doing well, I see clearly that it was not the right place for me, and I’m thankful the accident happened. I know the timing of this Wildish Collective is perfect and I can’t wait to discover what I’ve known all long, but haven’t been aware of!!! Thank you so much for doing this!

    • Wow, what a story, Deb! It’s amazing how such wild things can happen the moments of realization that follow. It sounds like you are getting tuned-in beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing and for taking the leap with me to join Wildish! I can’t wait for us to get started on our adventure together!