Sunday, March 3, 2019

Ms. Divitias

I have reached a point in my life where it is easier to stop caring what others think. They call it the crone phase. It’s strangely, sadly funny that it is a stage with such an ugly sounding word. Crone. It doesn’t exactly conjure up images of beauty, or aging gracefully, does it?

The problem I have found though, is not the opinions of others, as much as the opinion of my own inner voice. That is much harder to silence. Perhaps that’s because that voice has so few references in society to turn to for what it means to age gracefully, to find beauty in the rounding of hips and belly, to find beauty in the coarse silver that replaces the deep brown, which I never truly appreciated until now, to find the beauty in life’s cares and joys that are revealing themselves in lines upon my once smooth face.

It was easy once upon a time to find beauty in the rounding of hips and breasts when it was a time of youthful transition and transformation. Then it was an image that we prized, that we celebrated. The ugly duckling becoming the graceful swan. The plain caterpillar becoming the stunning butterfly.

With generations upon generations of women becoming elders with beauty and wisdom only they can possess, where are the images of fantastic transformation that we can turn to as we move through this time?  Why are we hidden away, looked away from, during a time when we have so much to offer?

Our wisdom is deep and hard earned.
Our hearts are accepting and boundless.
Our glasses belie the clarity with which we see.
Our memories contain the lessons of our years.
Our bodies have transformed because we now carry within us life in a different form.
Our minds are a repository of knowledge, not only the practical kind of science, medicine, nature, literature and art, but also the knowledge of what is truly important, what is worth carrying with us through life and what can be safely set aside.
Our physical bodies radiate the knowledge, wisdom, struggle, and love of a lifetime in stories spelled out with lines upon our faces and wild silver in our hair, in the twinkle in our eyes and the swing of our rounded hips.
Our transformation into the fullness of our womanhood is a rite of passage filled with fire, heat, laughter, courage, frustration, tears, and finally release and joy, as the deep cry of labor and birth is rent from us a final time as, at last we give birth to ourselves.
Though the process is sweaty and fraught with cries of pain, as any birth is, the new life we bring forth is one of incredible beauty, overflowing with gifts to offer a world that chooses not to receive them.

Perhaps we need only to look to the past to Latin to better understand. In Latin womanhood is divitias feminei sexus, or riches of the female sex. Sounds like the warrior name we deserve that more aptly describes the gifts we have to give. So from here on out, feel free to refer to me as Ms. Divitias!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Packing for the Journey

A thought occurred to me out of the blue yesterday, “The past is past. The only part of it that can affect you, is the part you choose to carry with you.” It certainly caught my attention. It’s not a new idea, of course, but perhaps one that I needed a reminder of, as I’ve been reflecting on the year 2009 over the past week. There were a couple important things that happened that year for me, some of which were emotionally challenging.There was such a sense of freedom in the idea of not carrying it all forward with me. As I sat with it the following words came.

Packing for the Journey

What if the past is a backpack that I put on each day,
and each morning when I rise I choose what I will carry forward with me?
What if I imagine that each memory, each moment of my past
weighed the same; traumas and celebrations alike?

If today is a journey I am about to embark upon,
what shall I pack?

I look to the journey of this day and sort through the memories I’ve laid out.
I pack memories that will keep me warm.
I pack the map of lessons learned to help me find the best route forward.
I pack the knowing of those in my life who will walk beside me.
I pack the wisdom of my ancestors, and my love for those I’ve lost.
I pack my circle of friends, like a life preserver I always have if needed.
I pack moments of joy and laughter as a reminder that sorrow has a companion.
I pack the insights gained to use as a cushion for moments of quiet reflection.
I pack the love I have received, as a gift I know I can now give to others along the way.

Pausing, I find that my bag is nearly full.
If I really wanted to, I could squeeze in hurt feelings,
or that grudge I’ve been carrying.
However, there certainly doesn’t seem to be room for that person I’ve been choosing not to forgive,
or that disagreement that I didn’t want to let go of. 
Well, maybe I could squeeze that one in!
Or, better yet, I could leave a little space in my pack for growth
and begin the journey of today a little lighter than the day before,
not weighed down by the past.

May you pack lightly for the journey of today!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Engine of Change

A peace filled moment to you!

I’ve been listening to a book by Dan Brown called Origin. There are all sorts of interesting things to ponder about religion and science and humanity, as there usually are in his books. There was one thing that jumped out at me that I wanted to share. It’s a prayer.
Prayer for the Future
May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies.
May our compassion keep pace with our powers.
And may love, not fear, be the engine of change.

It jumped out at me especially because of the last line. I think we all know we are in the midst of tumultuous times. There is turmoil in the environment and in our human societies. I scrolled down my news feed in Facebook the other day and the majority of what I saw were images of angry faces. It was exhausting just looking at it, but I kept scrolling because I wanted to see how far it went. Sadly, I couldn’t find an end to it. Anger and fear were the dominant emotions in most of what I saw and read. I admit, I’ve shared some of those kinds of posts myself. After the past week especially, people are on edge. Many women and men I know are feeling triggered by the debate about sexual assault. Things they have kept hidden for years are coming up and bringing with them a wide range of emotions beyond anger and fear, including shame, frustration, and even hatred. It is a challenging time, with many conflicting and volatile emotions. What I have found is missing is gentleness. It is a time when we so desperately need to offer each other and ourselves that very important gift. Be gentle.

If you need to opt out of social media right now, give yourself that gift. If you need to limit your intake of news right now, give yourself that gift. If you need to sleep more because you’re feeling emotionally exhausted, give yourself that gift. Be gentle with yourself.

Remember to be gentle with others right now too. You never know all of someone’s history. There may be something that happened to them in their life years ago that they are reacting to now. They might not even be conscious of it. Give those around you the gift of gentleness. Even those around you with whom you disagree. It is entirely possible to have a discussion of opposing points of view without resorting to anger and unkindness. If there are people in your life who are unwilling to engage in a civil way, then give the gift of gentleness by choosing not to engage. It is unlikely that that kind of discussion will change anyone’s mind or heart anyway, yet, it can serve to harden your own heart.

That is the real risk I see and feel in all of this divisiveness; it hardens hearts. It encourages us to see through the filter of us and them, right and wrong, fear and anger. It encourages us to close off and numb our hearts. It can feel like that is the only safe option. Yet, now is a time when we need to be diligent about allowing love to be our guide, insisting that love be the engine of change, not fear. We need to remind ourselves and each other of the incredibly powerful force that love is.

The world we would create with love as the engine of change is vastly different than the one we would create through fear. I’ll be reminding myself which world I want to live in and help create, and acting from there. There will be moments, or even days, when I will forget. Knowing that, starting today I will be wearing my heart compass necklace again for a while as my reminder. I hope you have a reminder of your own that you can carry with you into your days to remind you of the world you’d like to help create. I choose a world created from love, and I’m rededicating myself to that.

May the remainder of your week be fueled by love.