Tag Archives: aging

Becoming a Crone at the Speed of Light

Haven’t written a lot due to psychic strain from MASSIVE and WONDERFUL internal shifting. It’s the opposite of writer’s block: it’s content overload. Per usual, I would prefer to have all the insights gathered in a tidy satchel; but I’m finding that by sitting on the shore scooping up nuggets to put in my bag, I am missing the bigger flow. I don’t just want to extract nuggets, I also want to create my own stories and reach more people with them. I jumped into the river and am learning to embrace the messy. Please bear with me as I write more infrequently than I like and more deeply than I can even follow upon re-reading 😉

The louder the wild woman inside me roars, the more tension I have with my deep desire to have all people like and approve of me. We’ll be hitting critical mass soon, at which point I will just be who I am comfortably. There’s  intuitive mourning going on as I’m certain there will be unintended consequences and more sifting of my support group.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see my nephew ‘dabble at play-acting‘ in his college’s theater program. To and fro, I listened to a fabulous collection of folk tales told by Jungian Psychoanalyst and college professor, Clarissa Pinkola Estes about the Crone. (Sit on your hands, Christian folk, the Crone isn’t a witch.)

Clarissa speaks of the Crone as an experienced woman, not blank, but one whose slate has been written upon. She uses her wisdom to guide the tribe, generations, and the self into a balanced and connected whole. We don’t operate fully without all of us being engaged. Her stories include the jester, the cycle of life, (the fascinating and pre-sanitized version of) Jack and the beanstalk, and in all of these she reminds us that our voice, our Creative energy, and our life-affirming spark of hope exist independent from our physical years. And though it will nauseate our children, she speaks beautiful stories of passionate love decades past the time when AARP membership becomes viable. She speaks of embracing the wealth of aging. Obviously I love her.

The Crone sees from the ariel view, and isn’t afraid to speak from that place. Yes, established religion (not God) is oft-challenged by such raw insight and throughout history people who aren’t awed by the influence of those with religious control have a history that ends in BBQ. But the Crone’s message is one of ‘dig deeper,’ ‘live more fully,’ and ‘behave — barely.’ Whether with plants or stories, she aims to heal, find meaning, and loose the stories within us. Again, love.

Yesterday was gorgeous here, and I had to get outside. I drove to Beacon Rock on a lark (left the house planning on a new set of earphones and a walk along the McMenamin’s promenade, but once headed east, got lured by the Columbia Gorge’s siren-call.)

It was another beautiful day in nature wherein our beautiful Earth and I communed magnanimously and uninterrupted. Perfect! Reaching the top of Beacon Rock I found I had the  place to myself. This has never happened!  I would be lying if the thought of ripping my shirt off didn’t occur — just something about being outside in the sun on a beautiful day on top of the core of an old volcano that makes a girl want to fly free…

It was marvelous!

About 2/3 of the way down the path, I heard what sounded like a guy on a cell phone. Peaking over the handrail, I saw a guy and a girl trudging up the hill. She was walking ahead and he was behind talking on his cell phone. C’mon, really? A few days earlier I’d seen a headline: ‘Is your wife happily married?’ It came to mind.

Before acknowledging my cavernous leap to judgment, I listened to figure out what he was talking about. Family emergency, IT troubleshooting, something to justify talking on his cell phone instead of communing with the lovely woman who had joined him on this trudge? Before leaping STRAIGHT into someone’s business, I want to rule out a justifiable reason for being a complete dick to one’s girlfriend. Only fair.

A couple switchbacks closer — just below me now — he said into his phone, ‘Oh, just hook it to your rear-view mirror,’ followed by some laughing and more small talk. Thirty seconds later we met at the corner. She was behind him now. He put his conversation on hold to give me a big smile and say hello. He was not unattractive. She looked invisible.

I nodded to him and passed him. He rounded the corner.

“Is he your boyfriend?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she said quietly.

“Tell him to hang up,” I said as I walked by.

He must have hung up. From two switchbacks away, I heard him ask, “What did she say to you?”

“She said you should hang up.”

Being a Crone is going to be a lot of fun.

In which she trips on hands…

I may have strayed too far into the Vortex today as I am tripping on hands.

I’ve moved. Packed and unpacked, scraped, cleaned, wiped down walls and floors, carried stuff. I spend six months writing in an ergonomically unfriendly way, and my hands are achy and tingly. So I was sitting in front of my heater spacing out as I was waking up this morning and I focused on my hands. Hands as object lesson.

Weird looking creatures. Attached to a wrist. Palm is a base from which finger appendages launch. There are five of them per hand, bringing a total of ten, the Hebrew number of accountability, to most people’s equation. Each finger is a symbol of a path to take and each has its own strength. When they work together, clasped together, pulling together in the same direction, there is tremendous power. Fingers don’t become other fingers when they cozy up to get something done. They pull together, get the job done, and still maintain their own space. Like we should with other people. Hands as how to interact with others in health.

In Hebrew the concept of clapping, the music our hands can make without further instrumentation, is associated with praise. Yadah. When we see something beautiful that resonates deeply, we spontaneously applaud. We do this in groups without worrying what other people will think of us, it’s so powerful. Yadah transcends ego.

Hands are a primary translator between the Spirit and the physical. What the human feels, the hands do. If we feel aroused, our hands begin the dance. If we feel warm, our embraces bring the closeness; if we feel angry, our hands can strike out. When we need to protect, our hands are the first line of defense. We want to feel secure, our hands build homes. We want to feel loved, our hands support others. We want to feel safe and surrounded by beauty; our hands create beautiful things that they install in our spaces to express our hearts. We receive deep feelings and messages from what our eyes cannot see, and it is our hands that do the capturing in poems and making music and art.

Our hands begin clumsy and then become organized, tactile. As they accompany us through life, bringing the actions of our feelings and desires to pass, they are beautiful with smooth skin or tough and strong with leathery skin. They get beat up, like we do as we make peace between provision and self-expression — the physical and the Spirit. Eventually they get splotchy and wrinkly just like all of us do when our path has been long and well-lived.

So I look at these hands with a few spots and more wrinkles than I wish I had — the ones that are starting to look like Mom’s — with their night-time tingles and sometime aches and I think of all of the people I love and have loved. All of the anger I have had, all of the hopes that I’ve worked toward manifesting, the boldness to be creative, the frustration with working in places that didn’t serve me, the condolences I’ve given to friends, and received from friends, the words I’ve crafted, the dreams I created as I rubbed lotion over my swollen belly with these very hands. I marvel at these hands — the quiet servants and manifest-ors of the life that is in me — and realize that the signs of their wear are the signs of my life being lived well.