The taste of damp sweet Spring teases the palate
A craving for warmth sends chills deeper into bones
Tiny green sprouts struggle for survival
Feeding upon the humus of the old
Birth and death reflected in a drop of morning dew
As the shadows of winter fade my journey turns
Once maiden, then mother
resurrecting once again
Dipping an apprehensive toe into cool wise waters
Enter the crone
As fertility of my flesh fades
Seeds of creative freedom sprout
Feeding on memories of pain, passion, of youth
Dipping the quill into the dark
Rich ink of the soul
May life begin again
Last Sunday Rev Sinkford spoke about resurrection, how we are born and reborn many times in our life. One life change shaking us up and moving us in new direction. Pema Chodron dedicates a whole book to the idea that when things fall apart, when the solid ground beneath out feet suddenly becomes thin as air and we find ourselves in a free fall, it's not necessarily a bad thing. These are moments of tremendous growth.
As I gallop headlong through my 45th year of this life I am confronting new realities. My eyesight is less reliable, requiring drug store cheaters to read. Allergies are cropping up that have never been an issue in the past. And now I begin the transition into the crone phase of this full and wonderful life. With the onset of menopause come new challenges. My early morning meditations are often accompanied by a hot flash or two, reminding me ever more deeply not to mistakenly think myself immortal. Sleep can elude me more with the occasional night sweat. Taking time to relax physically and mentally has become important. For this reason I have taken up knitting, finding that as I tie little knots into yarn, the tight bundles of knots in my mind loosen as do my muscles. Another great relaxation is walking back from school with my six year old daughter. The more present I am in the moment, the more relaxing it is. Mindfulness is a practice for all ages (pun intended).
I search my feelings for anything hinting of fear or anxiety but find only a sense of relief. I've wondered at this for a time and it has dawned on me that the women I most admire have all achieved their greatest accomplishments late in life. I've caught myself many times searching for gray hair on my head and being disappointed when I don't find it. I'm hoping that I have my greatest accomplishments still ahead of me. Most of the women I work with in the USNPCA and the UU Peace Action Committee are older than me and I admire their wisdom, beauty, poise and relentless persistence for the cause of peace and social justice. They are my constant inspiration and role models.
Our culture is so devoid of spirit and heart. I find myself yearning for a ritual that would connect these moments of passage with my larger sangha or social circle of friends. With first menses there is a blossoming into womanhood, the maiden. It is a busy time of love, heartbreak, work, struggle and finding our inner strength. Many cultures have beautiful rituals surrounding this rite of passage. As we birth new life, dancing with a new spirit who carries some of our spark, we connect with a deep, primitive force that makes us one with all of existence, past, present and future. By burying the placenta under a rose bush for which my daughter is named, I created our own ritual. Prior to birth our culture has the baby shower, and my pagan sisters performed a beautiful birthing ritual for me just prior to Alexa'a entry into this realm. Suckling our young we feel a sense of the order and perfection of this life, just as we doze off to sleep the new born sleep. We nurture our child and forget ourselves, focused on protecting that bit of our heart with legs, arms, and an inquisitive mind not yet afraid to engage this world. We give all we have... and then we let go. The hormones begin to slow, the family needs us less and at last there is space to create in a new way. A chance to more closely examine the cracks in the mortar to see what we have blocked away in our busy-ness. Finding wisdom hidden in the hair and mud buried beneath years of tacky wall paper. In there we are all three; maiden, mother and crone. In this sacred matriarchal trinity, I am reborn whole.