Friday, September 28, 2007

Second Blooming

A friend told me this story:
One day, I was agonizing with my therapist. “I've wasted my life. I should have owned a business by now. I should have applied myself, should have done everything I could to make my dream happen. Now it’s too late. I'm too old.”
That’s when he smiled. “Oh, really,” he asked. “And how old will you be if you don’t do it?”

We have plenty of time.

It’s not too late. Whether you are 45, 65 or 85, as long as you’re alive, you have time—Even if you have just one year to live, it’s not too late. Preposterous? You say? This "book" IS preposterous. For it’s all about making the impossible into the tangible. Lassoing your dreams at any age.

Times have changed, that’s for sure. There’s a myth that when our mothers were fifty, they looked forward to bouncing grandchildren on their knees and a comfortable decline into old age. My mother didn’t fit that model. Did yours?

My mother’s generation went a little mad, ushered in the feminist movement, encounter groups and EST. My mother painted all morning, sipping martinis and listening to folk songs on national public radio. My mother held art shows in our home, inviting her friends—artists, flamboyant yet soft-spoken gay men, doctors—to view the splashes of color, shape and form that covered the walls of our home.

My mother and others of her generation exploded the myth of the stay at home little wife. Though she was painfully shy, my brilliant and determined mother taught my sisters and me to look into our own hearts and find out what was going on in there. And at age 78, she’s still doing this.

Thanks to those pioneers, today’s fifty-year-old woman isn’t declining into old age. She’s starting a business or training for a second career. She’s exploring her creativity, volunteering her wisdom, building and innovating. She’s just beginning to experience her power. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
I had a dream. I was an old woman, about to die. I was sitting outdoors, just outside of a great lodge with big, open oaken French doors. Wrapped in a white wool shawl, I stared at a blazing fire in a circle of women.
When I awoke I understood…

Back before the industrial age, back, before the age of Discovery, circles of women would gather to exchange wisdom handed down for centuries, generation to generation. From these experienced elders, young mother learned to care for their children’s coughs, bloody noses and skinned knees. New wives learned the secrets of marriage from more experienced sisters. At age 12, women were welcomed Into the Red Tent where they learned to care for therselves during menses.

Of course, we can’t go back to circles around fires—except on the occasional workshop weekend at a conference center. We wouldn’t want to give up penicillin or radio or cars.

Still, we need to go back, to reach out our hands and pull the archetype of the wise woman forward through time.
Wise women are needed now—to help other women reinvent themselves and our world. Wise women are needed, to temper and soften and hold onto men – to listen to their wild ideas, to forgive them for their mistakes and help them to come home, too. Wise women are needed to tell their sons, fathers, uncles and husbands, “It’s okay to rest; take time to listen; get off the treadmill, it’s okay.”

“Death of the old form and new life or birth are fundamental to initiations.” Jean Shinoda Bolen. And our world is in a time of intense initiation—initiation into a new cycle of consciousness, a new way of perceiving ourselves and our world—into a global community, a worldwide circle of elders, guiding society into this new age.

When I use that term, “new age”, I am not only referring to the cosmic shifts astrologers have been predicting for the last hundred years. I am talking about a new age in which technology is moving information at the speed of light, a new “flat” world where, as author Thomas Friedman explains, a working class teenager with a laptop and an internet connection has access to the same information available to the CEO of a multinational corporation. This levels the playing field for accomplishments never before conceived of. I can get this story to you without spending a penny. You can read it from anywhere in the world.

At the same time, this new age is a time of challenge; for the flat world also gives access to those with less noble intentions, and that teen in England may potentially make a connection to Harvard University or Osama Bin Laden.

This is a time when our choices matter.
Will we install solar panels in our homes and office buildings? Wlll we allow wind farms to be developed off our coastlines? And how will we fuel our cars? Indeed, in this new age, will we even drive cars—or is some new mode of transportation being dreamed up by some teen in Australia or Katmandu right now?
The world is changing… so are we. How will we choose to live our lives now? Now that we have that chance to bloom again?

The earth is calling me through my feet – I can feel her drumbeat building… gather the women into circles and share the wisdom.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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