Sunday, July 01, 2012

Mid-Life Journey Through the Wringer

One summer, while vacationing in Nantucket, I went down to the ocean with my teenage kids, to watch them body surfing and jumping through the 10 foot high waves. It looked like fun, my husband was joining them, but I hesitated on the edge, watching. In one brave moment, I decided to dive through a big wave and reach them on the other side, thinking I knew how, from observing them.

Wham! I was pulled under, rolled around and sent into a spinning topsy turvy roll, struggling to get back to the sandy shore. My husband held out his hand to help me, only to get thrown on top of me, as we rolled over and over, unable to stand or catch our breath until the Wringer was done with us. Once I got back on my knees on the sand, gasping for air, I pulled up my bathing suit, shook the sand out of my bottom, and walked shakily back to the cottage to lie down for a while, thoroughly K-O'd by the ocean's powerful waves. A lesson in surrender, and a full Neti saltwater cleanse at the same time.

Recently I was looking at a SoulCollage(R) card I made called Transcendence or Coming Through, which shows a big blue tsunami sized wave, and a woman in performer's mode, arms up, as if to say, Ta-Da! I made it through in one piece.  Thinking back on my menopausal or mid-life journey, that is what it feels like now. Ta-Da! I'm ok now, I can breathe and stand on my own two feet.  Made it through! I know the mid-life transition can feel that way for some women. It's like a huge wave that sends you rolling, topsy turvy, no longer sure there the sky is, where the ground is, where your center is.

And make no mistake, you have to dive in to that wave, you can't really avoid it. But I want to reassure you, you will come out the other side, as long as you take time for yourself: lots of down time, slowing down to feel what you feel, taking notes, and allowing life to teach you whatever lessons it needs to show you. There's no point avoiding the work you need to do - there's no point shutting down your emotions, withdrawing from the process. This is major roadwork - renovations are underway. You are not the project manager, you are the house being renovated. Or so it feels like sometimes.

As Alexandra Pope says in her wonderful book The Wild Genie you have to go down and in before you can come up and out.  Face the fears, the demons, give yourself some stretching time to be in your body, do some yoga or tai chi, let yourself write down what you need, allow yourself to imagine what you love, what would really bring you alive, get in touch with your wild feminine landscape - your inner creative fire. Don't fall back asleep - this beautiful transformation called mid-life is a wake-up call to a deeper, more authentic you.

You will make it through the wringer - find some friends to talk with, read all the books and blogs you can find, and perhaps even look into The Tao of Turning Fifty, written by a woman who has been through the wringer and now can say, Ta-Da!

musemother  free book excerpt and link to

1 comment:

mxtodis123 said...

Diving a wave and having that happen is a frightening experience indeed. Your post brought up an old memory. I grew up in the country and in the summer we always went to a lake to swim. All my friends, and the best looking boys, were hanging out and jumping in on the deep side, while I found myself on the shallow side with the younger kids.

Wanting to be like the others, I put on my tube and swam to the big raft. Oh, did I ever feel grown up! Would have been okay if I had jumped in wearing my tube, but I had to go all the way and jumped in without it. I found myself going down, and down. Oh boy, did I think that was it. I eventually did come up and made a desperate swim for the shore. Never did that again.

Thanks for triggering the memory.