Coming Home to Myself

Sep 20 / Becky Grisell
On a sunny day late in the summer of 2017, when fall was beginning to make its appearance through the color of the leaves and cool morning air, I watched a YouTube video about the return of the wild wolves to Yellowstone National Park.

Perhaps you’re familiar with this story?

The wolves returned to Yellowstone’s ecosystem in 1995 after having been killed off in the 1930s. Their return had an astonishing ripple effect on all the animal, plant and river life in that natural space.

Since the wild wolves have returned to Yellowstone, the elk and deer are stronger, the aspens and willows are healthier, and the grasses are taller. When the wolves chase the elk during the hunt, the elk are forced to run faster and farther. As the elk run, their hooves aerate the soil, allowing more grasses to grow. Since the elk cannot remain stationary for too long, the aspens and willows in one area are not heavily grazed and can therefore fully recover between migrations.

Additionally, the coyotes in the park have been outcompeted and essentially reduced by 80 percent in the areas occupied by wolves. With fewer coyotes hunting, small rodents are more plentiful, and raptors, like the eagle and osprey, have more prey and are making a comeback. The endangered grizzly bears successfully steal wolf kills more often than not, and thus they have more food to feed their cubs.

In essence, we’ve learned that by starting recovery at the top, with predators like wolves, the whole system benefits. A wild wolf population makes for a stronger, healthier, and more balanced ecosystem. From plants to insects to people, all parts of the ecosystem have benefited from the wolves. When a species—even a dangerous predator—returns, an ecosystem becomes whole again.

When I saw that YouTube video, I began wondering about my own inner ecosystem. I started asking questions like: Are there any parts of myself that have become extinct through neglect, sickness, or poison, through being hunted and killed? Have some parts of myself been exiled or banished out of fear, anger, or shame? Is there a memory or an experience where I was stalked or where parts of my humanity were profaned or desecrated? Did I have to put on a costume or a mask to survive? Am I pretending to be someone I’m not to be accepted or find a sense of belonging?

I began wondering if there was a “wild wolf” that wanted to come home?

I started envisioning a life of wholeness and purpose, a stronger, healthier, and more balanced life, where my mind, heart, and body become integrated, whole, and free. I imagined coming home to myself.

I began a lifelong journey of radical hospitality and acceptance. I am continually discovering new aspects of my inner and outer worlds that I reject or resist that need love and care.

In the process of welcoming in my inner and outer world, I grow more intimate with my own places of exile and woundedness. I discover a deep well of compassion for the strangeness of others. As I come to know my compulsions and places of grasping, I begin to offer more love to those in my life who are struggling with places where their own freedom has been lost.

It has become a generous act of love on my part to make space and sit compassionately with the difficult parts of myself, listening to what they really want to tell me.

What does ‘coming home to yourself’ evoke within you?

Begin imagining a life of wholeness, purpose, and freedom. What do you notice?

As you consider the inner ecosystem of your soul, are there areas needing a bit of aeration in order for other areas to thrive?

Gently hold your own inner ecosystem in your imagination. What do you feel? Hear? Smell? Taste? See?

Are you sensing a “wild wolf” wanting to come home?

Becky Grisell

Becky is a trained Spiritual Director, writer, and founder and curator of Cascade Ministries. She places high value on being a safe person and creating a safe and sacred space to explore and connect with God’s activity in all of life. Her approach is holistic, addressing the brokenness of life while focusing on the hope of the Gospel. She received a Master of Divinity with a concentration in spiritual formation. and Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Spiritual Formation. You can find more out about Becky at, on Facebook, or on @becky_grisell. She can be contacted directly at