I am relishing this latest Creative Circle class, as we near the end of exploring our Heroine's quest or Journey. We have been journaling and making SoulCollage(R) cards each week, for seven weeks now. Below is a card I made about meeting the Beast, and my brave-hearted little girl (lion-heart or Coeur de lion) who is leaping into the fray, small but mighty.
The mid-life journey (anywhere from mid-40's to mid-60's) has lead me on many inner adventures, and a few life changes too. Why do I look at it as a Heroic Quest?
A woman's cyclical journey through life involves many transformations. She leaves behind one self to become another - from pre-puberty to teen, from maiden to mother, and at menopause, her body and hormones are changing once again. The Heroic Quest involves a separation from the old life, a descent into the abyss, a revelation or transformation, and a return. Most women go through this more than once! Even Joseph Campbell calls mothering a heroic task.
It takes courage to be a woman, but it also calls on the power of the Feminine. We can stride into the forest and wrestle the Beast or bears, but more often the strength that is needed is slower, more patient, as in labour and childbirth.
A woman's strength comes from her center, from the wholeness of her being, and it demands her Presence, her intuitive knowing and response to what is needed. At menstruation, we learned to tune in and listen better to our own hormonal rhythms, our mood swings and emotional needs. At childbirth, we learn to surrender to the body and a baby coming out, and then to its needs for food and rest.
At Menopause, we transform once more, and learn the big lesson of Descent and Return. We are on our way to becoming Elders. And the need for self-care becomes paramount, so we can better serve the young children, men and women coming up behind us.
We can fight these rhythms of change, the seasons and cycles, and suffer being out of whack, out of tune with ourselves. Or we can listen to the inner rhythm, connect to body, mind and soul, giving ourselves that tender, gentle care we so lovingly lavish on others.
That self-compassion and kindness, that gentle self-love goes a long way to healing the heroine's angsts and fears. Follow your intuition, and a pathway will open up in the dark woods. Follow your bliss, and don't let the dragons of fear paralyze you.
This is your Quest, your Journey. And you will emerge brighter, better, stronger than before. The second half of life awaits you. Enter and Enjoy!