Tag Archives: Life Enrichment

Reducing, Releasing and Receiving: My New Self Care

I’m coming full circle around to where this all began more than 20 years ago, with the Mad Goddess speaking to me in my middle age about sovereignty and self care. It’s playing out so differently this time, because the landscape is new. I’m passing through another transition.

Then it was all about preparing for the empty nest, or empty next as I liked to frame it, pursuing my interests and talents, carving out my unique niche in the world, making the dream come true.

Now I’m moving through my younger old age, not yet Crone, but perhaps crossing the threshold between Priestess and Sorceress as presented by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard in their model of the thirteen stages of a woman’s life,  I’m standing in a liminal doorway, crossing into the next unknown.

13 Stages of women's life depicted in a wheel

Women’s Wheel of Life by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard
I suppose you could put a mystic spin on all that, but really it’s about meeting my own truth and shaping the wisdom season of my life.
I’m practicing the three Rs. I think back then it was Reevaluate, Reimagine and Reset. Now those Rs are Reduce, Release and Receive.
All of this stuff I’ve accumulated over the decades of my adult life, longed for, worked hard for, held as success, now I feel the weight of it bearing down. We don’t own our material belongings as much as they owns us. Owned in perceived value; we can’t just throw it away or donate it, it cost us hard earned money. It should all be worth something.
Our stuff owns us in the time needed to use it, clean or maintain it. It claims our space for keeping it, saving it because we fear we might need or want it some distant day. Or saving it for children and grandchildren who have no use for it, don’t want it and will give it away.
Reducing the clutter has not proven easy. There is emotional attachment to things, but I find that the memories stay even when I let the things go. I had a beautiful perennial garden, twenty-four by forty feet, raised and enclosed with wire fencing to keep out deer, rabbits and other invaders. It bloomed with fragrant roses, peonies, and lilies. Spires of holly hocks, lupine and foxglove, and carpets of phlox.
It became too much work for me to keep up with. It’s overgrown with weeds and I’ve been giving my perennials to my daughters and younger gardening friends. I transplanted a few to small flower beds near my deck. I’m transforming the space into a wildlife garden, with mostly mulched beds, garden structures, and ornaments like wind chimes and sun catchers. I’m planting a few easy care shrubs and native wildflowers to attract birds and other wildlife.

My beautiful perennial garden is not gone, it is transformed, shaped to fit my life now. The stress of no longer being able to care for the formal perennials is gone. The strain on my arthritic back and knees is gone.

I’m gathering up all the bric-a-brac I no longer need, sets of china rarely used, books I no longer open, clothes I think will fit me again (they never will), all the little chotskies filling the shelves, the collection of wrapping paper and bows—who am I kidding? I give gift cards these days, or purchase a gift bag if needed.

Cluttered room full of vintage and furnishings

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

I keep telling anybody who will listen, I want less things in my life, and more experiences, with family, friends, and even on my own. I’m releasing my material stuff and going through my baggage, setting it down, walking away.

I’m clearing the space my stuff takes up in this world and opening it to receive what comes next. It’s slow going, it takes all the courage I’ve conjured up as an Warrior and Matriarch. I’m trusting it will make my life simpler and richer.

I want to travel light the rest of my years.

 Release, Reduce, Receive.This is my new self care.


Happiness Is Wanting What You Have

Somebody said that. I don’t know who, or if they were important or well known. Whoever it was also added that happiness is not having what you want.

Fifteen years ago I was meandering around the interwebs looking for things. I wasn’t sure what things, but things that would fulfill me, fill me. I’d know when I found it.

I found SoulCollage®. I knew I wanted it, or rather, wanted to learn how to create the telling cards and use the system of self discovery that was going to bring positive change in my life and others I would teach.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the spare change to fly my ass out to the West Coast, the only place training was offered at the time, let alone to cover the fee for the weekend intensive. So, I did what I always do, read every word I could find and improvised.

Almost ten years later, SoulCollage® training made it’s way east, to Chicago. This time I scraped up the fee, enrolled in the training and pointed my little VW Bug toward the Windy City.

It was everything I expected, and less. Let me explain. I was not disappointed in the least by the substance and quality of the training, the experience of community that I found with those of like mind, or the unique location—a former Catholic campus, turned residence home for retired nuns and priests.

Are you kidding me? A gaggle of middle aged feminists dallying with tarot-like image cards to access our soul purpose? We may as well have hauled out the Ouiji board and pentagrams.

Turns out the nuns were not only curious, but very open to the concept. As I explained it to one of them over lunch she smiled and said to me, “Oh, you mean you’re trying to know your inner Christ.”

You say potAto, I say potAHto . . . we’re both still eating carbs.

So, back to the part about being less than I expected. It didn’t change my life in any revolutionary way (at least not then). Probably because like many things I want with all of my being when I see them, once in my possession there are new wants to pursue. Nature of the beast, or nurturing from a consumer driven environment pushing us to always acquire more in our doing, being and having? New flash!  There is never enough, we are never enough in that paradigm.Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.45.07 PM

So, as it turns out, I’ve made quite a collection of SoulCollage® cards, and a funny thing happened along the way, a subtle change in my wants. Sure, some of my cards  speak to me about consumption and abundance, and time running out, about wanting what my eyes see—like this one. Can’t you just hear her, saying it . . . “Oh, I want that!”

But so many others are about hidden magic, creativity, freedom from expectations and a sense of wonder at the unexpected. Like me, a recovering Catholic school girl pulling up to a nunnery and not running in the opposite direction; totally unexpected. Or so enjoying the three days spent there that I have wanted to return ever since!

It’s very first world, to be able to say I’m learning to want fewer material things from the physical realm. It means I am secure and my needs are met—there is no wolf at the door. It’s the epitome of privilege to say I’m learning to want what I have instead of having what I want.

It’s where I’m at and who I am right now. And it’s enough.

I am the MAD Goddess, and I’ve got the *magic* in me.

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Autumn ~ The Season of Rich Reward

The Goddess of Autumn is holding court in all of her autumn finery and I am, gratefully, a guest at her table.

autumn-leaves

I think that autumn is truly becoming my favorite season. In my realm of the northern hemisphere winter predominates for six months, from mid November to mid May, leaving the remaining seasons to share the other half of the year among them. Spring bulbs often get nipped by a late, last frost, summer seems to be the most mercurial of them all–with occasional low temps that feel almost like winter, and then, almost overnight, fall is upon us and tender perennials wilt in the cold nights of early September.

Yet, every so often we are blessed with an autumn such as this year’s. This is what I’m talking about when I say I’d gladly trade a month or two of early winter for a lengthier fall transition.I suspect it is a fitting analogy to my stage of life as well. I would much rather linger in this sweet spot of relative health—physical and mental firmity—than slide too soon into a lengthy old age.

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So for now, I am living in the moment, enjoying all that I have to be thankful for, including the rarity of fall days with temperatures to rival summer’s best (and minus the humidity). I am drinking in the beauty of deep orange, red, purple and gold with which Mother Nature has dressed her hair. I am relaxing in the misty morning sunrises and rosey hued sunsets. It’s like finding the pot at the end of the rainbow and discovering it’s brimming over with jewels and gold bullion. I feel a sense of enrichment during this time of the year more so than any other. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of possibility, a space to expand into for the future.

As I head into the dark half of the year, a time for turning inward and staying close to home and hearth fire, I am taking this moment of richness and rewards reaped, to ask–what next?too-soon-september

If you have been following the journey of the Dark Moon Lodge, we have come to our fourth and final task. Click here to learn how to sustain your life of enriching experience.

*Previously published in shorter version at Sage Woman Blog

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