I wrote the following treatise twenty years ago. I was in my late 40’s and had such high hopes for my ‘golden’ years approaching. I thought then, as you will read, that I could do this thing gracefully. I was wrong. Read on, and then I’ll share the epilogue. Do know that I could easily have written this yesterday. It makes me want to cry.
I expect to live forever in this very body. I believe in the seemingly radical idea that our bodies are designed to last 120 years or more. In spite of this calm assurance of my immortality, I seem to be falling apart…..I’m way overweight, my vision dims, my teeth are becoming problematic, my feet, back, and knees complain about carrying my excess baggage around, and memory and clarity of thought often escape me. It’s actually kind of a scary dilemma, somewhat akin to that of the glamorous characters in the movie, “Death Becomes Her”. This dichotomy of belief versus “reality” has troubled me for some time. I keep wondering when I’ll be able to turn my health around; when I’ll be able to do whatever magic it takes to reverse the many years of effects of abuse from within and without. And I may have found the answer!
Blessings to my friend, Carol Dawn for her idea that “menopause means exactly that – the pause that renews.” She suggested that the perimenopausal symptoms I’m encountering may finally force me to turn all the caring I’ve given others my whole life — inward. I may finally be able to partake of my own wisdom and nurturing, to take my own advice, to practice what I teach.
It makes sense to me that as I enter the final earthly stage, however long it proves to be, it would be time to come full circle. As a maiden, I was definitely about serving others; as a mother, I still do. As a crone, I may well be serving others still, and that service may include modeling self-care, self-nurturing, self-centeredness. I see self-centeredness as a huge plus. If one is centered in Self, knowing exactly what is in one’s own best and highest good, and going for it, they actually stand in the best place to be of real love and service to others. I picture it as a piling, holding up a dock. If that massive pole is well-grounded, centered, set deep in its floor, then the waves that are emitted from interaction with the pole are gentle, concentric circles of influence. It holds up its portion of the dock. Should the pole fall over, the waves created could adversely affect those in its wake, and that portion of the dock would fall.
I’m certainly no expert in carrying out these ideas; I’m beginning to explore them for myself. In doing so, I’ve picked up Christiane Northrup’s wonderful resource, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. She assures us that as baby boomers, we are “five times more numerous than preceding generations, [and] the climacteric experience will never be the same when we are finished with it. “Let me share just one gem from a paragraph on page 431 of Dr. Northrup’s book. “The wisdom years, the years after menopause, when all of a woman’s life experience comes together, can be used for a purpose that suits her and at the same time serves others. In Celtic cultures, the young maiden was seen as the flower; the mother, the fruit, the elder woman, the seed. The seed is the part that contains the knowledge and potential of all the other parts within it. The role of the postmenopausal woman is to go forth and reseed the community with her concentrated kernel of truth and wisdom.”
Reminds me of the “refresh” button on the web page. Those of us old enough to be entering this transition remember, “the pause that refreshes”. Who would have thought we’d come back to it with such a richness of promise? Knowing in my heart and soul that we are indeed beings eternal, that in our divine roles, death is a glitch in the plan, I’ve always known deep down that there had to be a “refresh” button built-in somewhere, to return us to our inherent perfection. I hope it works for me.
So far, it hasn’t worked. I’ve lost count of the number of journals I’ve started and abandoned, trying to find the magic cure for my inability to care enough for myself to take care of myself. WHAT IS THAT?!?
I’ve had a couple of amazing dreams lately that put the fear of something in me. Fear is good for some things — sometimes — maybe?
In one dream, I was standing on a steeply pitched rooftop, toes pointed upwards, with sand beneath my feet. Try as I might to stand still, I slipped backward in sand-grain sized increments. I awoke with the unsettling awareness that standing still is not an option. You’re moving forward, or you’re slipping backward. Damn!
At that point, I promised myself I would begin taking baby steps forward. I began… I always do.
In a more recent, and more terrifying dream, I was watching the ocean from the high vantage point of my living room window, across the freeway and up the hill from the beach. I was struck by the amazingly beautiful shade of deep teal blue of the water. Suddenly, as happens in dreams, the water was coming in under my door! Next thing, I was in my car in the driveway, and a huge wave swept us over a ledge! I jumped out of the car and, floating beside it, I heaved the car back up over the ledge, into the driveway, and scurried back to the house, terrified that another wave would come before I could get back inside.
The dreams are becoming more desperate. We all know that your ‘vehicle’ is your body in dreams.
I have more, much more, to say on this topic. And, I think I will end this one here.
Alvita Soleil and I have discussed these topics in-depth, and together, we are hoping to come to some helpful conclusions. We want to help ourselves, and we want to help others, to love ourselves enough.