It is so much easier, I am here to tell you, to be loving, to be of service to your tribe and your clients and your business, to show up for all the rich and juicy parts of your life and work, when you’re feeling okay. When your response to “How are you?” is Good. Okay. Tolerable. Even fair-to-middling.
Part of the service I lovingly give to my readers and my clients is to talk honestly about exquisite self-care as women in the third third of life. Menopause and beyond is quite an adventure, isn’t it? And those of us who are Shero women entrepreneurs in our 50s and later, well, we love being radiant shiny examples of good health and vitality, don’t we? We get to set the example, and carry the torch, for the impact and importance of women’s work in our later years. For me, though, I was smacked in the face with some realizations when I got bad sick last week. The biggest one: I am attached to being fit and haven’t yet begun to come to terms with what aging really means.
Think about it.
If my life runs its course, if I don’t die in a car wreck or a plane crash or something like that, I will live for a bunch more years (maybe 25, maybe 30), and I will get to deal with my body as it becomes more frail. As bits and pieces and organs and systems and tissues and who knows what get affected by ailment or infection, I will continue to find (I get it now!), as I found this week, that I don’t bounce back as fast as I did when I was younger, and the impact of sickness goes deeper and wider than ever before. I was lucky enough to begin reading Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond right before I got sick. This book is a powerful ally for those of us who have begun the journey. I know, I know! The Journey with a capital J, of course, begins at birth and ends and death. What I’m talking about here is another journey, one that has the same destination, but can be said to begin the day we begin to see that our imagined invulnerability and immortality is just that, imagined. The day we begin to accept our own humanness like we never have before. The day s**t gets real, yo.
So now that I’ve gotten well enough to write down some of the insights gained during this week of fevers, and pain, and ER visits, I have a few gifts for you. File them away for when you need them, darling. For unless you die young in a car wreck or a plane crash or…, I promise you s**t will be getting real for you too. May the realization be long coming. May this be a very gentle unfolding, dear one.
Try a version of the Lovingkindness Prayer that includes aging
Are you familiar with Lovingkindess work? It’s a really handy and powerful tool. You can find many versions of it all over the internet. It helps restore balance and sanity and ease to relationships that are being stressed by one thing or another.
Lewis Richmond offers a version that brings powerful love and healing to the aging process. Repeat each verse to yourself a few times and then move on to the next.
As I grow older, may I be kind to myself; As I grow older, may I accept joy and sorrow; As I grow older, may I be happy and at peace.
As each of us grows older, may we be kind to ourselves; As each of us grows older, may we accept joy and sorrow; As each of us grows older, may we be happy and at peace.
As all beings grow older, may they be kind to themselves; As all beings grow older, may they accept joy and sorrow; As all beings grow older, may they be happy and at peace.
Lower the bar, gorgeous, lower the bar.
This week provided so many opportunities for me to set, and reset, conditions of enoughness that matched my reality. Some things, like canceling client calls and my own call with my business coach, were easier than other things. Seriously, even though my job was to rest, sleep as I could, and allow my body to heal, I couldn’t help driving myself nuts about how well I was keeping up my meditation practice, about how I should be spending my time doing something, anything, productive.
In fact, taking a few mindful breaths every now and then, as I could, became my meditation practice. In fact, hauling out my yoga bolsters and blankets and doing an extended restorative position when I could, became my yoga practice.
And you know what? Beating myself up for the amount of couch time and tv time did nothing to speed up healing. Yes it would be lovely to be a fully realized being, even in adversity (picture Mother Teresa, please), to spend sicktime in a meditative state, or writing insightful pieces, or making art. But! I am a realized being, yo, and I realized that healing downtime, for me, is what it is, and takes what it takes and I could serve healing best by kicking self-judgement to the curb and getting out of my own way.
Ask for help.
This is an important part of what I get to share from my loving heart to yours. I’m single, my daughter is grown, and I live alone. A day came, mid-week, when I had an incredibly scary episode of Rigors (severe chills, clenching and shaking; I thought it was convulsions and I’m lucky it wasn’t), I was too exhausted to do anything but collapse in my bed. Here’s the magical power of social networking: A friend from across the country (who knows none of my local friends) happened to call me and, concerned, put the word on Facebook. She and other friends who got the information about me insisted I call my doctors (MD and acupuncturist), both of whom told me to get to the ER.
Then one of my Facebook friends, who used to be my neighbor here, called my landlady, who called my next-door neighbor, who knocked on my door and took me to the ER. All this while I was still in bed! She stayed with me. As the hours wore on I began to feel better enough to call around for others to spell my angel neighbor. My brother-in-law showed up.
Yes, this is a convoluted way to ask for help, and I don’t suggest you take this route (although it was kinda social-network miraculous, wasn’t it?). Let friends and family know what’s going on with you. Let people shop for you, cook for you, help you. And when you’re feeling better take the time to keep the energy moving. Step into your own generosity. Do things for others. Share naches and rachmones (Yiddish for joy and compassion) where needed. Give so that when it’s your time you can receive fully, lovingly and joyfully.
Solar Eclipse in Scorpio on Tuesday November 13th
Talk about s**t getting real, right? Scorpio energy is exquisitely good at digging it all up and exposing it to the light, that which you’d like to examine and that which you’d rather not, thank you very much. Scorpio keeps secrets and owns up to all that’s true, comfortable or not. Scorpio commits deeply and passionately, and walks the walk of those commitments. Scorpio is incisive, discerning and intuitive. The Dark Moon is the time of the Divine Feminine, of our shadow side, of our deep desires. Oh, and Mercury is retrograde and will be for another two weeks, making communications and technologies less reliable than usual, and inviting us to take time to review, rethink, revisit, revise, reassess anything and everything. During this New Moon window (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of next week), take some time in sacred space, at your personal altar or somewhere outside that sings to your soul.
- What commitments do I need to make to attract what I deeply want and need?
- For my body: What self-care actions can I take to improve my health during the Fall and Winter months?
- For my business: What have I been avoiding resolving, and am I ready to to take the necessary next steps? Pick the one issue that rises to the top, that feels most important, and take some time meditating on it.
I find that in New Moon workings, dealing as we are with internal energies, it’s best to concentrate on one idea rather than many.
Suggestions for your business:
- Think before you speak and act. If there are negotiations going on, slow them down. Add an additional proofreading cycle and another pair of eyes to everything you do before you hand it in.
- Looking at some year-end purchases? Wait a couple of weeks.
- Your colleagues and those that work for you thrive on getting your feedback. Take the time to have one-on-one conversations full of appreciation for how they support you and make you look good. Let them know you are committed to their success as well as your own.
Suggestions for your health and your body:
- The holidays are just around the corner, with excesses everywhere you look. Make some commitments at your altar about what you’ll eat, drink, and how you’ll take exquisite care of yourself.
- Stay connected to Spirit, and if you don’t feel connected and supported enough, review your commitment to spiritual practices.
- Fresh and seasonal produce is in short supply now and will continue to be for a few months (I’m lucky to be in northern California—we have a winter crop going now and we’ll have asparagus in February!). Find your best source of good produce and plan on consistent healthy eating. Stews and soups are fabulous choices this time of year: quick prep, lots of meals out of one pot.
How do you stay connected and committed to your best and highest, even when s**t gets real? Please share in the comments what you do when things are difficult, and what you do when they get even worse than that!