As an artist, sometimes I write and sometimes I paint. This time, I'm writing to share thoughts and good things....
This painting is called "Circle of Life" and is by Frank Howell. It is a limited edition serigraph. Copies are available at FrankHowellGallery.com
The idea of recognizing the stages of our lives as women is not new, and there is a wealth of information available to us about this, such as Linda Savage’s Ph.D. work on Reclaiming Goddess Sexuality (though this is not a post about sexuality per se except that when we feel alive, really alive, and not threatened, healthy sexuality flourishes as a natural result).
The Forks in our Lives
I started to acknowledge the stages of my growth when confronted with a fork in my life that was simultaneously devastating and completely invigorating (divorce, dreams shattered, children in jeopardy, all personal pathways interrupted, new directions). At that time, I felt as though I was surrounded by a darkness so huge, I felt lost and totally helpless. The image I described in my journal was of being suspended in space, with no floor, no ceiling, no walls, just vast, dark space surrounding me. This feeling was highly anxiety producing to say the least.
What I didn’t understand at the time was that all creation is born of the void, or the darkness, and in reality, I was in a safer, if intimidating, place. A place of birth.
In order to find strength where I didn’t have any support systems, I turned to Middle Woman--the older version of myself, who would survive these times and circumstances that threatened me. I wrote her a letter.
I will share the contents of this letter but first want to share why I wrote it and how it has helped me so that you, too, can begin a rewarding relationship with your best Selves in order to surmount the forks, changes, or difficulties in your life.
Why I Wrote to Middle Woman Self
I wrote out of faith. I knew that if I were to survive (and dare to dream of flourishing), there was a “me” out there that had developed all that I didn’t now know and I wanted to tap that strength.
How I Wrote
I wrote from the heart, sharing fears and asking for support. Not miracles, I knew there was work to be done--my own work, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual—I wrote to create a connection between us, a faith that would sustain me as I traversed uncharted ground.
Tips for Writing to Your Middle Woman or Elder Self
- Imagine your best Self
- Know that she exists, and acknowledge that survival has already happened in a good way
- Tap her knowledge and experience
- Listen to what she tells you—if she offers advice, take it, follow it
- Be honest, it’s okay to acknowledge fears or difficulties or obstacles
- Imagine the best in Middle or Elder Woman and what she would say to you having succeeded in what you’re trying to do
- Let love shine through
- Offer gratitude and thanks
Wow. I went from being an uneducated single mother working a menial job to being employed in a professional capacity by one of the greatest universities in America.
I went from washing floors and cleaning bathrooms (all the while telling myself if I couldn’t handle the little shit I’d never be able to handle the big shit) to sitting around glossy conference tables with groups of people who came together to make decisions in support of goals that would change the lives of hundreds of people.
Yes I took courses to develop my education. I highly recommend this, but not necessarily in the traditional pathways, get your education wherever you feel it will serve you best.
Yes, I worked hard, really hard. Dreams come into this plane of reality as a result of action. Taking action to build the foundation of your very own, precious dreams DOES bring AWESOME results.
Now I’ll open up to a little vulnerability and share my letter. I’m not perfect and never will be so I feel a bit out there doing this, but if it helps you, it’s worth it (let me know).
Dearest Elder-Middle Woman,
Hello, hello, it's me, Middle Woman; I've grown into you, and though it happened at a reasonable pace, I hardly realized I was there until now, when I realize it's time to reach out to you. Years ago when I was a young and struggling single mother, I wrote to Middle Woman (the me I would become), asking for you to take my hand and share your wisdom, your self-confidence, your strength, your endurance, and your faith. You did; many times I turned to you and you were there, reaching out your hand to pull me up. I can see our hands entwined so clearly in my mind's eye, as I have so many times, and I am sincerely thankful for all that you have shared.
Since I wrote to you, and continued to reach out to you from my mind and heart, I've been able to progress from one who did not go to college and had only a menial job and undeveloped skills to one who now has one of the most sought after jobs in the world as an instructional designer, with influence across the globe, and opportunities that support my learning, my growth, my skillsets, and even better, this job is meaningful in that it improves and enhances the lives of many others. It also brings me a financial income that is life sustaining, which is important and much appreciated. These things that have come to pass have been greater and more rewarding than I imagined possible, thank you.
My first dream was to be an editor, and I became one, earning credentials that are recognized in the field and a lot of really comprehensive experience, which serves me still very strongly, and likely will continue. My second dream was to be a writer, and I am one, who's been published numerous times in a newspaper with a circulation of 20,000 readers, and courses that I help to develop and publish that are changing the lives of hundreds of people for the better. I understand that I am part of the transformation of our society from a production oriented economy to an information oriented economy and I am honored to be contributing in this meaningful way. It is an important historical era, in which I have a part, like my ancestors had a part in their eras. Thank you, Middle Woman, for the work we did as we developed our education to best serve our skills.
I am so grateful for all the circumstances that came together to place me where I find myself today. I am also sincerely grateful for the wonderful, wonderful people (Earth angels) who've come into my life since then. Not only am I surrounded by a group of really fine, highly creative and well educated people who have wonderful attitudes and great commitment to the work we do, but I also found my true love, my sweet gem of a husband, and we've accomplished so much together and are able to enjoy such wonderful companionship and romantic love, laughter, our strengths, compassion and understanding and support for our past histories, as well as our hopes and dreams, and the wonderful comfort of daily routines. I am full of gratitude and thorough and ongoing appreciation for this special relationship and the good influence we are able to have on our four children, our animals, and the home and land that we care for and that feeds our souls and those who visit us here. Thank you Middle Woman, Angels, Great Spirit, my Creative Source, for your beautiful presence in our lives! Please continue to protect this very special relatonship, XO.
I look back and am so grateful for the protection that we've enjoyed, and look forward with gratitude to that which will come. I am grateful for the mystery, the unpredictable synchronicities, the inspiration, and the love that feeds my spirit as I move about in this world, this place, that I love so very much, the Earth. I think back on the times that felt difficult, challenging, hard, emotionally exhausting, and I remember that there was always something to bring comfort, whether in the form of a person, an activity, a circumstance, a story, a bit of music, a dream, or any number of the other ways in which you communicate with me, in which you love me. I am grateful for this comfort in my life, thank you XO
So here I am today, realizing that I am no longer Child, Little Girl, or Young Woman, but Middle Woman, solidly placed and having her first glimpses at who Elder-Middle Woman may be.
A large part of me is human, as it should be here in this place, and with that comes some degree of struggle, and I am writing to reach out to you for assistance. The invitation for help in gentle ways, is extended with humility and appreciation, and I extend my determination to be worthy of it and see it through for the benefit of all. I have some areas of weakness, some areas where knowledge needs to be developed, and some small fears. I also have sublimely strong inspiration, substantial faith, and unflagging enthusiasm for the possibilities that I can bring to life with your help.
So, Elder-Middle Woman, one of my weaknesses is that through the years of struggle, when I was younger, I made decisions that no longer serve me. Some of those have to do with my level of movement/exercise, and some have to do with stresses I put on my physical systems, such as smoking or drinking alcohol. So I invite you to gently lead me towards better expressions of movement, reclaiming my love of dance, my love of walking, my love of being in Nature, and towards better practices of eating what my body will thrive on and exposing it to fewer stressful substances such as smoke, nicotine, chemicals, and the like.
I have devoted much of my life to the development of my mind, and the demands on my time have been such that there has been no balance of physical activity - but I love to move, the feel of sweet movement, and am open to bringing more into my life if time will allow. I have also sought solace in chemical substances such as nicotine/cigarettes, which I would like to replace with fresh air, with no backlash from the sometimes unwise choices of youth.
There have been times when I loved sitting alone, either in Nature or in my home, or when I have been with other people when cigarettes brought comfort, ease, peace, acceptance, etc. Now I find that I am open to the idea of letting them go, gently, easily, with no adverse physical health issues whatsoever. Let these substances only gentle me, not own me. I like that the new activities I am engaged in keep my hands occupied and there is hardly room to participate in activities that are not life sustaining to me.
I am open to more of this, and more of simply enjoying the beingness without the unbalanced support of these substances. I enjoy them, and I'd like them to be only enjoyable, rather than addictive. I so appreciate any gentle help you can give me in addressing these issues. Please help me to make the life sustaining choices simply easy and rewarding. Thank you.
Another area that is challenging right now is the learning that must take place to make me good at these new endeavors. I am watching my business become a reality - brought from the dream world, a long time in coming, and I love it as I love my children, fiercely, devotedly, unceasingly, relentlessly, and with great interest and excitement. I am now encountering business practices in this world that I must learn to understand, and I ask you to send me the very best contacts who can help me set up the systems and negotiations and processes that will support the growth of the inspirational ideas you send to me to bring to life, to reality, for the benefit of all. Please help me to connect with them, to understand what I need to understand to be effective, efficient, and fruitful. I am grateful for your assistance.
What I know of my ability to learn is that I can, and I am ever so grateful for the very good mind I have in this lifetime, the unceasing interest and unquenchable enthusiasm that underlies its continuing search for satisfaction and the ability to put out in the world, to contribute in a meaningful way to many others. I also know that whatever I want to know is out there and will come to me if I seek it. Please send me the best of the best for all who can benefit, thank you. And so it is.
Now we come to fears. I have some, which I invite you to help me put to rest for all time. I fear there will be no audience for my outpourings of creation. Let there be a huge audience who will purchase, and benefit, who will soak up the great inspiration of these pieces of spirit, of art, of soul food. Thank you. And so it is.
There is fear that I will be unable to negotiate all that I need to learn to be competent in the realms of business operation. Let me easily learn all that I need to, to streamline things for all those involved. Thank you. Bring to me the people who can help me, and let their hearts be in my best interests and in the best interest for those who will feel my influence, thank you. And so it is.
There is fear that I will not know how to deal with a huge, ongoing income of money, to make it stable, to make it grow, to make it life sustaining for me and my family. Please help me to easily understand how to make money work for the best for all concerned. Thank you. And so it is. Energy is life sustaining, may it grow and become nuclear so that it sustains itself for the benefit of all. And so it is and so it will be. Thank you.
So Elder-Middle Woman, here is my first invitation for you to join me in what we are creating. I give you strength, as you give me strength, I love you as you love me. I welcome your input in dreams, in my mind and heart each day and night. I extend heartfelt gratitude, and celebration for all that is possible and will become reality, for the benefit of all. May the Great Spirit guide us. XO
Sincerely, with great affection and love,
Me, Middle Woman XOXO
Please don’t be shy about sharing your comments on this post. I’d love to hear if you’ve written to your Middle Woman, and how that has helped you, and I’m sure that others would too. There’s much strength to be gained from sharing.