It has been one of those years that one looks back on in relief, with a conviction that the storm has passed and a new phase is about to begin. From past years, I am assured that there is always a new slice of wisdom infused into my being and this year is no different.
The pain has been all encompassing, physical, emotional and in some respects, even spiritual. It is hard to know what served as the trigger, but whatever it was, it was quite traumatic and very real. It led me to seek various treatments which all had their place. I always knew, right from the beginning, that I would eventually get through this period but there were moments I was tempted to give in. After all, I am now ‘old’ and life is limited. Maybe it was time just to accept pain as my rite of passage. But, I couldn’t do it. There is too much left for me to do, so my search continued.
Franz Kafka, a Czech writer from the early 20th century, recently piqued my interest and I marvel how there have been some inspired, gifted writers, who have lived relatively short lives in comparison to the years that I have already lived. I resonate with his quote, “I did not think things through in such a human way, but under the influence of my surroundings conducted myself as if I had worked things out.” How often this has been my experience and even this year, I have continued to act as if with powerful results.
So, in my search this year to ‘work things out’, I have endeavoured to open my heart and mind to all sorts of possibilities which have led me to become really clear about what I didn’t want in my life. No knowledge is wasted, and I am so grateful to those who felt they had something to offer me. I attempted to follow advice, which often I didn’t find useful, but with every encounter there was something to be learnt.
I could write many chapters about this journey – maybe I will someday, but I will recount two that stand out. I was visiting a naturopath who had been recommended to me. On the second visit she admonished me to stop trying to be a success. Her words were, “If you have not succeeded at this age, it isn’t going to happen.” She had read my book and also commented, “With the childhood you have experienced, you never really get over it.” I drove home trying to digest these words and suddenly I felt angry. Neither statements held the truth but mercifully they were exactly what I needed to jolt me out of my torpor.
Recently another woman instructed me to stop trying and ‘just be’. She told me that I was a crone and immediately I visualised myself as that disagreeable, malicious old woman with the hooked nose so often portrayed in fairy stories. I went and looked up other interpretations and preferred to go with the one, favoured by some feminist authors, of the crone archetype being a powerful and wise old woman.
Both of these women have inspired me to go forth with my new found wellness, and rather than feeling old, I am really able to embrace my age. Success is often not an obvious or measurable attribute, but what I do know, with absolute assurance, is that my ‘as if’ is now over and this crone is marching forward with more wisdom, which will lead to even more success.