Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Heroine’s Journey or Quest at Mid-Life

Ever notice how the GPS in your car never criticizes you? It never tells you that you’re on the wrong path, or going in the wrong direction. You simply input the destination and go on your way. If, you should make a right turn, rather than a left, the GPS simply says, “Recalculating…” It occurred to me how much SPIRIT is like a GPS. We simply tell SPIRIT where we want to go and start the journey. We can choose any path to get us there. There is no way to be lost. SPIRIT simply observes and gently “recalculates” as we go along. 
- Teri Goggin-Roberts at

The Heroine’s Quest involves an inner journey. It involves leaving the known or ‘outside’ world, facing unknown challenges, and returning with new knowledge. The journey at midlife involves moving down into her inner depths, leaving behind the upper world of cultural norms and roles, and descending into the Self. She may need protection from angels and guides as she learns to trust the Benevolent Universe is always providing for her.

The Heroine leaves behind the masculine realm of outer success and doing, to enter the feminine realm of Being.  She descends into her body’s knowing, and discovers the importance of taking care of her health, perhaps through facing an illness or accident. Self-care becomes primordial. She listens to her hungers, and appetites, her need for stillness and rest, her increased need for solitude. She discovers a need for food that supports her health, and exercise or movement for her muscles (but first she may feel like she is melting, a caterpillar turning into bug soup before growing her wings).

She descends into the realm of feelings and emotions, her restless heart. She learns to receive as well as to give. Pleasing others must be left behind. She removes her defensive armour, and gets in touch with grief, rage, feelings of loss, fears, mortality. She faces the shadow or dark side of suppressed emotions; she gathers the lost pieces of herself. A tempest is brewing.

She gets closer to the wild creative soul, allows herself to touch the raw, instinctive side, her sensuality and sexuality, her desire or lack of desire. She listens to her dreams.

She enters the ground of her being. It may feel like going underground, a depression, and a temporary withdrawal from the world of outer values. Her inner world calls out loudly. She rests there awhile to get her bearings. She asks herself, What am I hungry for?

To begin the return, she reconnects with the healing powers of earth and sky, trees and water, cycles of the moon and seasons, even the ground she walks on. She creates self-soothing rituals. She sticks with the quest, the questions, even when answers are not forthcoming.

She needs to reconnect with her inner knowing, her intuition, and develop trust in her IGS (inner guidance system). She explores practices that help: meditation, chi gong, yoga, expressive art, rocking movements, soothing music, naps.

She begins to heed her long held dreams, her longing to express herself, her creativity. She remembers what she used to love doing when she was young: pottery, piano, bicycling; she learns new ways to be in Flow through art: poetry, watercolour, journaling, SoulCollage(R).

She begins to speak her truth, unafraid of what others will say; she expresses and honours her core values. She finds her Voice. She is true to her Self, she owns her authenticity, her likes and dislikes; she knows her own mind. She discovers her feisty spirit is alive and well.

She enters the Guardian years, after menopause, with a new found wisdom and a desire to give back. She recognizes this has been a sacred journey. She gives thanks. She grows in compassion for herself and others.  Wise Woman or Juicy Crone, she will soon be an Elder.

She is aware now of the gifts of this journey, and returns to share what she has learned with other women.

(C) Jennifer Boire

with thanks to the authors who have inspired me to write about heroines and midlife: Maureen Murdock, Joseph Campbell, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Joan Borysenko.

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