For sure, life has been one massive series of transitions into the new for me this year and, yes, I’m at that middle stage in a woman’s life when many things get to change, all at once…with an impact that varies according to how relaxed and flexible that woman is as that new wave comes into the shore. Will she ride with it, will she lose her footing, will there be rocks she didn’t see lying there beneath seemingly tranquil water…all remains to be seen and there is not one set of binoculars that could help her foresee the new vista that will be hers on the other side of the transition. Yet, as I have long maintained, this is meant to be a “coming of age” not a downward-spiralling aging process for a woman; a power time, if she will let it be whatever it is going to be without trying to predict or control it…
Chronologically, my year of transitions began with my AuraTransformation just six weeks into the year and which, though the jury is still out as to what that has, fully, meant for me (and I’m not sure when or even if I will be ready to share its ins and outs…but you can research the process via the linked website if you are curious) that step certainly seemed “big” and momentous enough to me before I went through it (following months of reading and research) that I thoroughly expected to walk out of those two sessions a changed persion….and we all know what expectations can do. And so I did; because I tumbled from that second day of the “treatment”, as though from a loose rock, straight into a nasty bout of the flu; a lost footing that felt like a recalibration of sorts, one which forced me to pull back and take stock enough that several great things came out of it, all of them altering my trajectory. So, I guess, you could say that it “worked” as a portal and is doing its thing in ways that continue to surprise me.
Then, I have just turned fifty in the last week; something which I have approached with unbridled optimism and even excitement (none of the woe and sardonic humour that most people seem to apply) yet it is a formidable portal, nonetheless. As it approached, I seemed to garner my unseen arsenal of personal strengths about me as through preparing to wear them all in a new and no-longer apologetic way. It felt like that season of watching the fruit spring from where the blossom had once been and I’ve been smacking my lips on how ripe that all feels; how I relish the opportunity to wear all the deeper, stronger colours of myself and be all that I am without hiding any of it anymore. A week into stepping into what feels like the lush garden of my fifties and I am still ambling around bare-foot, touching all the trees, wearing a Mona Lisa smile upon my lips…
Add to all that, I think I am “allowed’ at last to call myself menopausal since its been a good long while now since my body followed what you could call a monthly cycle (and such joyful liberation with that!), the new rhythm having finally arranged itself and settled about me like a new garment made of extra fabric than I was once used to but suiting me much better. I hope so; I long for all those ups and downs not to return (as its done before, after long pauses…but never this long) as I feel like I know how to drive this vehicle now; or almost so, with not so many scrapes against the curb. I feel so much more settled and “like myself” all of the time and all the many adjustments in how my body, my skin, my libido, my moods, my appetite…etc. behave are becoming more familiar to me now and, yes, so-much prefered to the old ways (OK, so the skin and hair take some more work than they once did but I’ll get there). Again, this all feeds a sense of my stepping into the power and wisdom of the years ahead, which will be all about me rather than about child rearing or juggling the family dynamic. Heaven forbid that grandchildren ever be dropped at my door for longer than a few hours at a time; those days are behind me now, I never was such a natural at it…always a struggle for me as it meant being far more grounded than I am naturally capable of. The days ahead feel like they are truly mine, perhaps for the first time in this or many lifetimes….and the sense of spaciousness is overwhelming and thrilling.
Then my daughter is preparing to leave home and it is at once exciting and nerve-wracking; actually, more of the former and I’m thrilled to see how ready she is, at last. Yes, I know it will be so different I almost can’t imagine it; and that my mother really struggled when the same transition came up to her as I left the nest (and it half broke both of our hearts to know it about each other and yet be apart) but this feels different. Together, we have constructed our relationship and our personal priorities differently, and more openly, to that old format and I have a sense of self that goes way beyond my role of parent, as does she beyond that of daughter. It will only get better as we allow each other the space to manoeuver and to, then, inspire each other even more. I’m in joy for us both yet it feels like unhooking something a little more each day during the processional months leading up to it; like carefully disengaging the woven cloth from the loom, loop by loop, teasing it into its own shape and admiring what has been made, partly with the labour of my hands but now profoundly separate from them and with its very own pattern. It feels at once commonplace and yet earth-shatteringly momentous to be walking through this phase, knowing it will happen as surely as the clock will tick the hour that brings it…and no turning back to these family days, which we will all be, one day, so nostalgic about. I can’t help but be affected by this, pragmatic as I am and, yes, it is quite the portal to step through.
Somewhere running along side me, accompanying me through this corridor of many doorways, there is a strong and steady beat keeping pace for me….could be my own softly treading footsteps, could be the sound of my heartbeat, my in and out breath as I meditate each morning. Rediscovering that my meditation practice holds me steady through all the transitions that life inevitably brings has been a big gift, this year; perhaps the biggest. In those tender moments, once…sometimes twice… a day for as long as I need to sit there and be completely still, I have re-befriended the void and that’s good since void is all there really is on the other side of all these life-transitions. I have come to realise that the only reason that people sometimes struggle through them is because they insist on carrying their expectations with them when, really, they cannot know what is on the other side nor take what they thought that they knew through there for comfort. They can take precious memories, yes; but they can have no surefire guarantee that what those things taught them “then” will apply or hold currency where they are heading. That’s the point. There is no forecast and we arrive at the threshold stripped down to our most refined essence, which it serves us well to be as familiar with as we can be. Relationships, daily routines, body functions, all these things are open to total reinvention when we go through such transitions and yet, when we regard that unknown vista ahead of us as pure potential, it always takes perfect shape for us and in ways we could hardly have fathomed or predicted before.
All I really know about the new phase ahead is that emptiness and void feel like my closest friends; and so I struggle with any kind of routine or commitment right now, resisting the merest hint of them like they are ropes that would loop and bind me before I’ve had chance to explore for myself. Even the most appealing work commitments (like the design brief I’m working to this morning, which ought to excite me yet, because I have a deadline to work to, I can feel myself bristling in resistance) feel like more than I really want hanging about me right now and all my efforts have been to simplify my business so that it can pretty much run itself this year. My urge to express opinions, to try to advise or instruct people how to live their lives or to share my deepest thoughts (except in their purest, least premeditated form, as with this post which came up quite suddenly…) was never more like a sail with no wind than this. Liberty is calling me across the open horizon, loud and clear, and if that’s what the void on the other side of so many portals is about for me then that is what I will head for, as a feeling that is just so good that it can’t possibly lead me astray. With this acknowledgement, I find that where I am now is as uncomplicated as it could be since it is all about pursuing what brings me enjoyment, joy being my most reliable signpost and the only one to which I feel I, truly, need to pay attention; knowing it won’t lead me off piste. Yes it takes so-called sacrifice to do this; effort to simplify your life, to want less that is unnecessary, likely to clutter or put demands on your fiances and time yet it feels so worth it and all part of the honing process as you work back to what is really important; what is really, truly, what you are all about in your heart.
So whether I write here (or not), whether I paint ever again (or not…and it seems to be a resounding “not” right now), whether I develop the many new strands of my work (again, or not…since I remain constantly attentive as to whether to continue or to change paths at a moment’s notice); or whether I dare to do what summons abject terror into the hearts of most by doing absolutely nothing until the calling comes, all remains to be seen and is open to daily evolution. What I can be quite sure of is that its is all part of my particular version of stepping through a giant doorway into the brand new landscape which has yet to become “my life” and which, if I remain true to these thoughts, will remain in a constant state of “becoming”, like a flower eternally unfolding petals, for all the days of my life.