Issue #29, February, 2011
Welcome to the February 2011 issue of the Elderwoman Newsletter
- an e-zine for 21st century elderwomen committed to radical aliveness.
View from the Desk
- 'Urgency vs Panic' by Louise LeBrun
- 'Whether the Weather...'
- 'A Conspiracy of Crones'
Reports/News/Bits & Pieces
- Online Reading
- Online Listening
- Offline Reading
Call for Submissions
VIEW FROM THE DESK
Urgency vs Panic
by Louise LeBrun
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to spend time with some women who are new to me, in my life. I have become accustomed to spending time with people who know me well through ample personal contact. I sometimes forget that what I intend to say and what others hear, don’t always match. Such was my discovery during this recent conversation.
As we shared perspectives, one thought that came into my awareness was my mindfulness of increasing speed in the passage of time; and in the acceleration of interacting, living organic systems - be they the individual or the planet. I was reminded of having read of the Schumann Resonance ** or pulse of the Earth (like a heartbeat) ... and how since 1980, this resonance has slowly been rising from 7.83 cycles per second to its current 12 cycles per second! Not only do I ‘know’ this acceleration reflected in the words on a page in the scientific community, I ‘know’ this as a profound truth in the very tissue of my being.
As we were approaching the end of our evening exploration, I shared with this small group of women my deep and vast sense of urgency. It caught me off guard when one of the women present spoke to that notion of what I was calling ‘urgency’ in words that referred to ‘panic’ and ‘terror’. It was a great opportunity for me to stop... take a breath... and revisit: just what do I mean by urgency?
Certainly, not that! Despite what I hold to be the great potential of massive change, having a significant impact on my (and your!) world and all of us who walk through it, I have no sense of panic or terror - and I do have a great sense of urgency.
Urgency! To get on with it; to engage the moment, fully and with 100% of my attention present. Urgency, to stay mindful and present; connected to my own internal truth as the external truths of myriad others hold the potential to penetrate and take the lead on the deeply personal journey of my life.
Urgency! To live... engage!... and express fully all that moves inside me. Being both willing and able to notice that on the holodeck of my experience, nothing presents that is not intended to awaken me to the ‘more’ that I already am - and have not yet noticed.
Urgency! To take the breath that presents in the moment and not try to pass it by for the next. To breathe and relax and let go... into the unknown of my safe and expansive Universe, that I might better know more of ME to be its living expression.
Urgency! To say what’s on my mind, in the moment that it moves... and not seek to wait for the ‘right’ time or the ‘optimal’ time or the ‘best’ time... but to know that the passage of time is the unfolding of my life; choosing to live fully right here/right now, rather than wait for the next invitation to do so.
In the urgency of my being, there is no good/bad, right/wrong, there is only the power of potential and the grace of opportunity, leaving me to determine how much or how little of each, I might embrace.
For me, urgency is a measure of the intensity of my great desire to LIVE! It recognizes that life is all about living - not thinking about living; and it reminds me that the only moment that I can know, for sure, will be mine is THIS one. What do I intend to do with it? Who do I intend to allow myself to become, from it? If not now, then when?
grateful for that brief yet profoundly moving moment with another whose
Adventure has intertwined with my own. I now know mySelf more than I
that moment; and I am even more wiling to accelerate this path... with
** To lean more about the Schumann Resonance that Louise refers to, and how it affects us all, watch this 4-minute videoThen, with those images of lightning still in your mind, read on...
immediately brings out in force all those climate change deniers, eager
prove that humans are not affecting the weather by pointing out our
long history of changeability and unpredictability in the weather
(Because of course if they are right, then we can continue in our
planet-trashing behaviour and won’t have to trade in the SUV for a
turn down the central heating or stop buying stuff we don’t need.)
there is just one important fact
grasp (though most people don't seem to, unfortunately) and if you can
across, the details don’t matter. The important fact is this. Despite all these fluctuations in
its climate over
the millions of years of its existence, our planet has always been able
adjust itself and
stay within certain
limits, using some key mechanisms. What
human activity has done is to cripple—or at least
of those vital mechanisms.
example, two of the important 'adjustment' mechanisms involve forests. Forests are vital
because of the
moisture they 'breathe
out' , which by
creating clouds balances up the increased
albedo (reflectivity) of the polar ice caps during
glacial periods, thereby
warming things up again. They also, as we know, soak up carbon and
has an effect in the overall, climatic scheme of things. So by chopping
forests and at the same time churning out a whole
lot of extra carbon we
have done severe
damage to two of
Earth's important coping strategies. It is just as though a person’s
glands were destroyed, leaving her or him without one of the key
regulating body temperature. The next fever might prove fatal.
© Marian Van Eyk McCain, 2011
Would there be one, in fact? Many of us, at this stage of our lives, have become newly independent creatures, forging a life for ourselves that transcends the culturally prescribed roles we had for so many years as workers, as wives and mothers and day-to-day caregivers of the young and the old. We are cutting loose, breaking new ground, marking out new trails, ‘doing our own thing’ at last, with a fierce and urgent joy and redefining what it means to be elders in the 21st century world. Bringing us together in a flock or a herd, or even in a gaggle, would surely be a bit like herding cats.
If there was a collective noun for us, I think it might be ...’conspiracy’. Because one of the most surprising—and utterly delicious—things I have discovered about being an elderwoman is that all the time we are exploring these new freedoms and creating these new lifestyles for ourselves, all the time we are busy being independent, enjoying our solitude, deepening our relationship to Nature and to our own creative pursuits whether these be writing, painting, photography, gardening or quilting or whatever they are, we are doing it together. And we are supporting each other, sometimes in obvious, tangible ways and sometimes in mysterious, numinous ways that we cannot exactly define but only sense.
For there definitely seems to be some unspoken, mostly unacknowledged kind of freemasonry that operates between crones. We send each other secret, wordless signals. Have you noticed those little smiles of recognition that happen, in the street or on a bus, as we sense the passing presence of another ‘one of us’ ? Have you noticed the accelerated development of friendship that happens nowadays when you sit down with a new acquaintance of similar age and interests and the same zest for life? Maybe it is because there is less cautious defensiveness in us now. We are more open than we used to be, more willing to let ourselves be seen, more able to trust. And more intuitive too, probably: more attentive to the subtle energies that flow between us and which connect us by invisible threads to each other and to all the other life forms around us.
I so enjoy bearing witness to the delight of women who first discover my Elderwoman website and other conscious aging sites, who find their way to this newsletter and find out that there is a social network now that’s just for them—women who thought they were alone in this enterprise and suddenly discover that it is not a solitary enterprise at all but a sisterhood.
Nowhere is the sisterhood more visible or more keenly felt that at the annual Crones Counsel gatherings. Every one of these gatherings is both a homecoming and a new adventure. I just wish I could attend them all. If the need to trim one’s carbon emissions by staying out of the air was no such an important imperative for me these days, I would definitely go every year.
There is a sadness, though, in the realization that there are millions of ‘third age’ women who still don’t know what they are missing. Women who are busy bemoaning their lost youth and trying to recapture it—a hollow pursuit that can only bring frustration—or who, through caution or particular circumstance, stay locked into the old ways, pursuing ‘business as usual’, and suffering the gradual onset of a sense of meaninglessness. For example, I know a woman for whom all that is left is the frantic scrabble each morning for something—anything—to fill the day, to pass the time until there is something on TV in which she can lose herself, enabling her, at bedtime, to cross off another 24 hours in the seemingly endless wait for death.
And yet I know women many years older than her whose lives are crammed with meaning, women marching with banners, heading up committees, creating art, meditating, blogging, dancing...
What is it, I often wonder, that makes the difference? Why do some people, as they age, seem to lose their zest and shrink into the shadows whilst others, even if they have health problems, find themselves wading ever more deeply into life, savouring every breath and every moment? I wish I knew.
But what I do know is that whenever something new starts moving in the collective unconscious, it usually isn’t long before it swells into greater visibility and starts popping up everywhere. There are more of us than there used to be, of that I am certain. That is clearly reflected on the Internet, by the rapidly increasing number of websites, blogs, books and organizations concerned with conscious, joyful ageing.The conspiracy of crones is widening daily, as we speak. And that, dear sisters, is very good news indeed, don’t you think?
© Marian Van Eyk McCain, 2011.
REPORTS/NEWS/BITS AND PIECES
Here’s a snippet from the Nov/Dec 2010 edition of the Positive Aging Newsletter
CHECK-LIST FOR HEALTH
this isn’t everything Dr.
Oz recommends, it certainly provides a good start.
To read the rest of the Positive Aging Newsletter, click here.
Judith Ann Henry, whose poem 'Eagle's Blessing' appeared in the previous newsletter, now offers this one "...about frontier women...and making it in tough economic times."
writes: " I appreciate the
ability to connect with others in our commonalities no matter geography
age. Some readers have contacted me on Facebook....and I most
pen pals. "
The moral: Don't mess with Elderwomen!!
Brenda, a long-time subscriber from Brisbane, sent that one.
...And from Gloria, here's another:
...And from Gloria, here's another:
I was at my local COSTCO buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my
pet, Champ, the Wonder Dog, and was in the check-out line when a woman
me asked if I had a dog.
The Elderwoman Newsletter by Marian Van Eyk McCain, February 2011
The Elderwoman website: http://www.elderwoman.org
Marian's e-mail: marian(at)elderwoman.org
NB: replace 'at' with the @ sign, and please remember to insert OKEM in the subject line to make sure you get through my three layers of spam filtering!
Unfortunately, the filters are a necessity to stop my in-box flooding with spam.
- oh and when you write to me, please remember that my name is spelt MARIAN with an 'A' (the same as Robin Hood's girlfriend)