A lot has been swirling through my psyche since my experience of the Croning Ceremony (see July 3 Newsletter) and before that, my hike upon the Inca Trail (see June 1 Newsletter). Something has shifted in how I am seeing myself in the context of this thing called aging. I am becoming more aware of the biases and conditioning that have been colouring my perspective and distorting how I have been approaching this stage of my life. This shift began with subtle stirrings – experiences previously identified that drew me out of my habitual self and found me magnetized to natural elements such as the moon – and is evolving into a kind of re-acquaintance in how I be with, and relate to, my Self and my body. Interestingly, both reflect the powerful nature and influence of the Divine Feminine – an element that is becoming a hallmark of this journey for me.
Reconnection with my body began earnestly while hiking the Inca Trail. I was aware that my physicality – that is my level of fitness and stamina – was not as it once was when I was younger. But, in that context I felt perfectly at peace with this reality for the deeper lessons that slowing down provided. Since that time, however, I have become increasingly aware of a belief that whispers to me from the dark corners of my mind telling me “but I’m 50…I’m doing well for my age.” What is that? What is this voice? Is it the face of shadow that encourages me to believe that I need not strive for more; that I can aim lower because I am older? Or is it a voice of reason that encourages the surrender of a previous stage of life to make room for what another age and stage provides? The answers are slowly rising to meet my awareness and as they do, I am awakening to another perspective. Fueled in part by the provocative writings of Teri Degler in “The Divine Feminine Fire” I am beginning to view my body, my age, and my physicality through a more sacred lens. While I feel no need to compete with younger versions of myself, I also feel compelled to treat my physical self in a manner that honors it as a blessed container for my spirit. Wanting to feel better in my body is not about vanity. Rather, it is about viewing differently, this part of myself as a valued aspect of my spiritual experience.
So often the body is denigrated, demonized, hated for what it is – or is not. There is a constant tug of war it seems, to both accept one’s body as it is while simultaneously wanting more from it. In the wake of such tumult, a conscious shift is arising in both my attitude and my beliefs regarding my physical self and specifically how I experience this as an aging woman. As I work more consciously with the concept of the Divine Feminine, I begin to see my body as the house of this sacred force and understand, that to honor her means embracing a lifestyle that supports how I live within her walls. As I make healthier choices for myself, I feel better and know that I am honoring differently, a part of myself that I have been taking for granted and somewhat neglecting. And I begin to realize the impact that unconscious beliefs have had upon me, for concealed within the darkened corners of my psyche has been their influence, creating within me self-limiting thoughts about what I could and should expect of aging.
Being 50 – I am discovering - does not have to mean that I relinquish a vision of my youthful self to a conditioned belief of what someone my age “should” look and feel like. Rather, it means that I embrace my physicality differently and from the vantage point of one who is living consciously within a body that is now (at last) understood as a sacred part of this lived experience.