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America is in transition.

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Women who have experienced the full birthing process know the powerful moment of “transition.” Please watch this YouTube testimony to the power of love. Valarie Kaur, January 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCenwgheIBs

 

Valarie Kaur

 

Nature as a mirror

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At this time of year, we take the time to explore inner themes of renewal, liberation, awareness, attention, rebirth – whether via Passover,  Lent, through the mirror of nature, or in other ways. The SWW Elderwoman circle gatherings have ended, but for those of us who participated, it was just a beginning. This is a perfect seasonal time for beginnings.

In the words of Mary Anne Brussat:

Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.

Endings and Beginnings

As I write this, the Elderwomen series described on this blog is coming to an end.  Ten of us met on a monthly basis beginning in September 2010, braving this exceptionally cold, snowy, and ice-coated Northeastern winter. What a hearty, intrepid, and wise group of women! While the gatherings are coming to an end (a beginning!),  there may be green off-shoot groups growing, after we experience our March Initiation. “Initiation,” after all, means beginning. So keep an eye on this blog to see what is offered next.

You may also wish to see the February Elderwoman newsletter published by my friend Marian. In it she describes the Spring flowers which are already appearing near her home in England. Spring carries especially rich symbolism after a hard Winter. Rebirth, resurrection, renewal.

The above photo of emerging snowdrops was taken in my garden on March 7, 2010. Dream on it! What tender green shoots of hope, life, and endeavor are waiting to emerge in your life, or in the wider world?

Finding Sanctuary

• Finding sanctuary.

• Listening to earth-spirit whispers.

• Sharing our stories and experiences.

• Developing the heart-dimensions of who we are.

• Becoming monks in the world, as we take our learning and presence seriously, playfully, compassionately back into the world when we part.

• Living from a deeper place within ourselves in each encounter as we live our daily lives: the passionate, connecting, transforming power that we can bring to the healing of one another and our world.

Autumn: The Wheel Turns

Photo by Seth Rockmuller

The colors of autumn are appearing: goldenrod blankets the fields, and clusters of red and gold leaves are glowing in the trees here and there. Mums blossom in large pots on porches, and people are starting to put their gardens to bed.

The life force that burst forth in our spring gardens is beginning to ebb, as we gather in our harvests; such is the flow of the spiraling seasons. After the busyness of the summer season, our lives start turning inward. I will take time to reflect upon and celebrate this turning of the wheel of the year.

GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness

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On Sunday afternoon, 2 PM,  September 12th, Marian Van Eyk McCain will be speaking at the Real Food Network Co-op (upstairs in the Community Room, 15 Church Street, Chatham, NY) about her new book GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness. (Please note: the Co-op is not open for business on Sundays.)

Marian and her husband live simply in Devon, England. She limits her air travel for environmental reasons, so we are fortunate to have her with us. Please join us on September 12th!

Published by O Books and launched in London in July 2010, this book brings together the words and ideas of contemporary writers from a wide range of disciplines and wisdom traditions to create a comprehensive manual for eco-spiritual, green and sustainable 21st century living.
In his Foreword , Resurgence editor Satish Kumar says: “I am confident that the book will act like a guide to many who are seeking a right relationship between the human spirit and the natural world.”
Contributors include Marian, along with environmental lawyer Cormac Cullinan, economist David Korten, cosmologist Brian Swimme,  ecologist Stephan Harding, ecopsychologist Sandra White, Episcopalian priest and educator Matthew Fox, wellness expert John  Travis MD,   spokespeople from the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sufi and Pagan traditions and more than a dozen others. The late Thomas Berry gave this book his special blessing when the manuscript was first completed, just six months before he died.

This GreenSpirit event with Marian promises to be very inspiring. There is no fee, but donations will be gratefully accepted. We look forward to seeing you in the Community Room, upstairs at the Real Food Market Co-op on Sunday, September 12, 2 PM.

GreenSpirit Poster – Please help spread the word about this GreenSpirit event.

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Marian is also author of the book Elderwoman: Reap the Wisdom – Feel the Power – Embrace the Joy, which ties in with Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman, a seven-part series beginning in Chatham on September 14th.

Marian Van Eyk McCain

Autumn Years

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Photo by Seth Rockmuller

In preparing for the upcoming series Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman, I came across the article below, which was written when I first decided to present the series. It was originally published in The Eddy, the newsletter of the organization Wellspring Haven.

Autumn Reflections,   by Katharine Houk

Lately, a cold wind has been rattling the last, clinging leaves of autumn.  The mellow days have passed; winter is almost upon us. The harvest is in, my herb garden has been put to bed, and the geese are winging south.

At this autumn time, I am very aware that I have entered what is sometimes referred to as the “autumn” of life, even though inside I feel young, vital, and creative. In the past decade, I have given much thought to what it means to be entering the Third Age of my life: reading, talking with older women, revisiting my past, deepening spiritual practices, conducting research. I wish to live these years in a conscious and fruitful way, savoring each moment.

This autumn I attended a conference especially for women who have discovered that age is something to celebrate. There I enjoyed workshops, drumming, dancing, an “Honoring of the Elders,” small group gatherings, storytelling, and a beautiful labyrinth in the woods, where some deer and two owls appeared at twilight to accompany me on my otherwise solitary walk. Over two hundred women were at the conference, with the workshops being led by the women attending, much as Wellspring Haven conducts its Annual Women’s Campout. Women’s circles are thriving everywhere. It was fascinating to attend a conference designed expressly for Elderwomen, and I came away feeling as though I had experienced an initiation into my Third Age…

Delightfully, being in the autumn of life feels enormously liberating, as I find myself more at peace than ever before.  It’s a feeling of lightness, and spaciousness.  In my life I have learned from many experiences, both joyful and painful, and I intend to keep learning and growing as long as I am able.  Each of us has her life story, rich with experience and insight.  Sharing those stories empowers us.

Entering these final decades can be challenging, considering the changes which aging brings and the social attitudes toward older women in our culture. We are “crones,” or “hags” – two words that used to have very different connotations than they do now.  “Crone” comes from the same root as the word “crown,” and “hag” mean “holy one,” which is why the study of saints’ lives is known as hagiography. It’s time to reclaim the honor that those words formerly conveyed.

…Becoming an Elderwoman, a Wisewoman, is an ongoing process.   Growing older in and of itself is no guarantee of growing wiser.  Here is my (and our) “how-to” challenge and adventure:  How To Become an Elderwoman, someone aging with grace, good humor, joy, and wisdom.   There are things we can do to make our autumn journeys conscious ones, as we deepen our awareness of who we truly are and how we want to live our Third Age.  Let’s grow older and wiser together!