The Wanderlust Warrior Project
A Book Review By Dr. Stuart Grauer, Author Fearless Teaching
It’s an age of loneliness and anxiety, diagnosed in western nations all over the world. The struggle is to speak up: reach out, reach in, tap your soul, take risks, tap your community, stand up, move on, grow; at all cost, to bust out of the constraints of self, ego, isolation, stagnation, and narrowmindedness that can feel like the water we swim in in times of enlarging minds and increasing ego.
These are “me too” times, and not a soul among us has not been manipulated or controlled as we seek to clarify our will and our life paths—or to find the courage to. We can never fathom all the messages controlling our lives, often subconsciously, and we could all use a hand in slicing through all this complexity, in staying real, seeing straight, and in standing tall. And, it is an age of distraction, but the warriors among us know the body, mind, and heart are there for us for life, waiting for us if we can only slow down and observe. I’m an old man not a searching young woman, but I’ve known plenty of trouble and I kept reading “The Wanderlust Warrior Project,” watching strength and strategy come tumbling out of the pages, enough to press on through loneliness, isolation, manipulation, complexity, and distraction I recall.
“To tinker, is Gilman, Mikulecky, and Tayebi’s metaphor, a courageous one in times when almost everything else is virtual if not synthetic or plastic, not real. “Tinker,” the authors urge: “Every object, every idea is a widget, a gizmo, a thingamajig to be figured out.” Including yourself.
Each chapter of “The Project” challenges us to tinker with another comfort zone that we can examine, and stretch. Whether it’s from your inner, kind soul or your badass punk, this book stretches you beyond a simple role, beyond the limiting theories of what you’re supposed to be like. The Project softens up the idea of risk, makes it feel not just safer, but more tempting and attractive. It’s a crazy-anxious world we live in, especially for young women, especially for all women, but for me, too, and we all need permission to let go of that as much as possible, to redraw the boundaries.
Here’s the permission. The “Wanderlust Warrior Project” interviews intriguing and successful women, and through each of them we can see possibility for ourselves. In a world preoccupied with “How to get your body ready for the beach,” here come a series of role-models of courage and who are so much more inspiring, so much smarter than the influencers and bosses our young ladies really do deal with in jobs, schools and colleges across the country. The new warrior has wanderlust by nature, because she knows she has never “arrived” and anticipates that healing, influence, success and warriorship are journeys we choose again and again. Not one among the interviewees appears to have been born with warrior traits, but each one has been cultivating them over years and continues doing so.
“The Wanderlust Warrior Project” gives us all permission to look the lies and manipulations squarely in the eyes and see them clearly once and for all for what they are: to stare into your own eyes, and bridge the actual and metaphorical—our lives can have purposes, inspirations, visions, and dreams. For young women looking for courage and passion, this Project is your global companion to march through meticulously, like a formal program, or to just leaf through for random gems you are liable to catch on almost any page. It’s like having a coach in your pocket, always giving you examples of how you can succeed or learn or shine, always transcending the noise. The Project entices you out of your comfort zone, however entranced or stuck you are. I’d love to see school community service clubs working through this book.
For Gilman, Mikulecky, and Tayebi, and for me as well, scratching the surface, just getting by, and never going deep, is the enemy—these authors press us towards “dazzle” and towards always better questions, towards flow, towards the wild. Once we can get to our wilder spaces, beyond media, expectation, fear and ego, we can all discover and celebrate values of being a more evolved and confident. We can look after one another a whole lot better. “And as we let our own light shine,” said American spiritual teacher and feminist Marianne Williamson, “we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”