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Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Woman’s Way: In search of a feminine way

#78 Tao Te Ching

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

translator Steven Mitchell

What is a woman’s way? The way is not a clear cut path. It is not a philosophy, nor a religion. It is neither a prescription nor a cure. It is not a set of values or beliefs.

It is a practice of looking deeply, listening intently, reflecting on the inner journey as well as the external challenges of menopause. It helps to hold an attitude of being open to what may come, to exploring the changes one is living through with acceptance. A way is like a path in the woods one has never been on before. One follows the slight indentation of earth and leaves between the trees, looking for signposts that indicate the way.

(from the introduction to A woman's Way, the Tao of Turning Fifty)

I have finally been working on my book this week - got it spiral bound and printed so I can see what it will look like and make any final editing changes. It's been over a year since I began writing the peri-menopausal manual, and it sat for some months on my computer while I did other projects.

What got me back into it was a candle sitting on my desk that says Just Do It.

I finally decided that I can't wait for someone, either clairvoyant, psychologist, life coach or friend to point to me and say: you must publish a book on peri-menopause. The need to write this book comes from inside of me. The need for the wisdom gathered in this book is great. I believe that all women approaching their mid-life will want to consider this resource as a bedside book, as a reminder to them that others are going through the same journey of self-discovery.

As Judith Duerk says, It is difficult to find the Feminine way in this world of pressure, productivity, blackberry addiction and busyness. No one heeds the warning signs until too late - an accident, a health crisis, losing a loved one - then we decide that it's time to slow down and really look at things, really listen in deeply, try to right the balance.

It has been difficult for me to find my own feminine way, to trust it, to treasure the time alone needed for research, writing and reflecting. I have a hermit side that loves to sit and read and take notes, but also another side that feels anxious to get going, get out there and be busy, get things done. The two can work together, if I put the 'get busy' personality onto the book project, then the stalled editing process can pick up again.

I guess it's about finishing something, re-reading the work and saying, I can live with that, or that has to go. Being patient enough to rewrite what I don't like. Hanging in there for the disagreeable parts of the work like proofreading and cross-checking references. Finding a balance between house management duties and writing time, because some days the to-do list is more attractive.

I am holding a retreat this weekend, and holding a space open within for new learning there too. I need this retreat as much as the participants do - that's the weird thing, but it's true. We are all so much 'on' all the time. Lately some friends of mine are sick with colds or flu (aren't we all arming ourselves for this flu epidemic? battering the hatches....), so we cancelled our women's circle meeting. I told one of my friends, this down time is good, it's healing to have time off to reflect, take care of ourselves, hang out in pyjamas all day, even if you're coughing and sneezing.

And I feel it too - the need to turn off the phone, unplug the emaqils, still the racing mind, pick up the pieces of the fragmented self, some AH time with myself.

I wish you that,
Jennifer/musemother
ps see my Facebook page for information on America's Giving Challenge. YOu don't have to be on Facebook to contribute to tprf - my favourite humanitarian aid group who are currently at #7 and aiming for #1
click here : http://apps.facebook.com/causes/birthdays/199489?m=e0bc6388

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