My friend, colleague, founder of Bodacity, and women’s business coach Jannette Anderson, started a book club. Jannette’s first choice was, Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living, by Glennon Doyle, also the author of Love Warrior and other publications, primarily memoirs. Doyle is a mother of three, struggled with bulimia, and later dealt with alcohol addiction. She has a TEDx talk called Lessons from the Mental Hospital.
Jannette used some of the chapter themes in Untamed as jumping off points for discussion. The book has over sixty chapters; some a page and half long and others twelve or more. Chapter titles include Rules, Imagine, Smiles, Poems, Boys, Mirrors, Racists, Questions, Conflicts, and Lies,
On week three of the book club, we were encouraged to write an uncensored and free-flowing list of what we really want to be, do, and have. Another exercise was to write 100 descriptions of our Most Wonderful Life:
It was not until Part Two: Keys I began to appreciate some of Doyle’s perspectives. My reading had peaks and valleys. When I read Amazon reviews, I saw others also had mixed experiences. Descriptions ranged from “excellent wake-up call” to “eye opening” to “hit close to home” to “overly long and rambles” to “preachy” and “self-serving.” Regardless, I am glad I read to the end.
Part memoir, part self-help book, Untamed’s main theme is about awakening to our unconscious programming and living freely from cultural expectations. We are called to authentically live with less automatic pleasing and striving, and with more honesty, especially with our feelings.
Many of Doyle’s messages remind me of the sound bites from the 1970’s feminist movement from how women’s bodies are used in the media to the importance of finding our own voices. However, Doyle’s writing differs in its raw vulnerability.
Untamed explores concepts of personal reflection and development, boundaries, body image, managing stress, and the role of anger in women’s lives and voices. Doyle also weaves in dilemmas facing women of the role of mother—from being a martyr to providing a viable role model.
Part One: Caged
Doyle opens with the metaphor of a zoo staff’s demonstration of a well-trained cheetah that is ignorant of freedom of choice. Doyle describes, in vignettes, seeking guidance to move forward from some of the dilemmas facing women including the messages of you should and must do.
Part Two: Keys
This section delves into psychological awakening including:
- insights focused on emotions.
- developing a connection to a self knowing in which Doyle integrates God into being internally still, which I would name spirit or divine knowing.
- using our imaginations to lean into our dreams.
Glennon Doyle Quotes:
- “Four years ago, married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.”
- “Creating a life with her was the first original idea that I ever had.”
- “I can feel everything and survive. What I thought would kill me, didn’t. Every time I said to myself: I can’t take this anymore—I was wrong.”
- “Our minds are excuse makers; our imaginations are storytellers. So instead of asking ourselves what’s right or wrong, we must ask ourselves: What is true and beautiful?”
- “If I am willing to sit in the stillness with myself, I always know what to do.”
- “I’ve spent thousands on potions and poisons, trying to be youthful. I have denied myself for decades, trying to be pure.”
- “What if we used our motherly love less like a laser, burning holes into the children assigned to us and more like the sun, making sure all kids are warm?”
- “The opposite of sensitive is not brave. It’s not brave to refuse to pay attention, to refuse to notice, to refuse to feel and know and imagine— the opposite of sensitive is insensitive and that’s NO badge of honor.”
- “This culture depends on the sensitivity of a few because nothing can be healed if it’s not sensed first…folks like [us] are inconvenient. We slow the world down…it is easier to call us broken and dismiss us to consider that we are responding appropriately to a broken world.”
- “Maybe we can stop trying so hard to understand the gorgeous mystery of sexuality. Instead, we can just listen to ourselves and each other with curiosity and love, and without fear.”
- “To live a life of her own, each woman must also answer: What do I love? What makes me come alive? What is beauty to me, and when do I take the time to fill up with it? Who is the soul beneath all of these roles.”
- “The more often I do things I want to do, the less bitter I am at people for doing what they want to do.”
- “When women learn how to please, we forget who we are. When women lose themselves, the world loses its way. We do not need any more selfless women. What we need right now is more women who are full of themselves. A woman who is full of only herself no longer internalizes the world’s memos and expectations. A woman who is full of herself knows and trusts herself enough to say and do what must be done and lets the rest burn.”
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.