Permission to Just Be
Remain still and you will hear
The new. Rustling the curtains and
Throwing open the windows while shouting,
Now is the time!
As the winds of change rush forth
Into the wild, unafraid
Challenging all that you know
Teasing the mystery
Stand in the center of the storm
Fell the calming stillness
Truth being the quietest voice in this void
Always there, but calling little attention
You know this sound well
Unlock the chains and
Throw out the endless lists of excuses
Now is the time!
Follow this whisper
Walk through the window and
Let yourself be free
Living at a campground during a pandemic is an opportunity to watch the natural world up close and without distraction. While we have no campers due to the closure, we continue to see the resurgence of nature in all of its glory. In the past few months, we have been privy to the birth and death of a variety of animals and plant forms. This heightened connection to the sacredness of this ground has heated powerful emotions within.
It is difficult to put into words the beauty of this place. For many thousands of years, humans have walked this beach and for many thousands of years humans have neglected it in the very worst of ways. How easy it has become to ignore what is right in front of us, while distracted by the desire for money and things. All having little to do with this organic togetherness.
During my morning bike ride, I was struck by a connection to something beyond. Looking up at the mountain side, across from the beach, I was certain I felt the presence of an ancient woman. This vision of a native Chumash woman standing boldly on the edge of the cliff, looking at the very same landscape as myself, brought tears to my eyes.
On this day, feeling a strong tether to the past, I wept for this ancient and wise woman and felt her own tears falling down the mountainside. She and I are the same. We are from different times with very different pressures, but the transformation of middle age is familiar ground. Her powerful energy was emanating so intently, I had to step off my bike and gaze at the mountain. Hair flowing, back straight, eyes casting out into the eternal distance. She is me and I am her. I felt her deeply and mourned the loss of an ancient feminine circle of faith, trust and love.
As women age, we have historically been marginalized. While it may be nice not to be seen entirely as a sexual being, it is a strange transformation to feel invisible from the rest of society. Women are the caretakers, nurturers, mothers, daughters and lovers. Right when we begin to step freely into our feminine power, trusting the wisdom of the ages, the rug is pulled from underneath. A strong woman becomes gruff, or “bitchy” while a strong man remains a leader. Why our society has chosen to abide by these perceived roles I will never understand. It is this pain that I shared with the ancient woman, an understanding of how difficult it is to redefine ourselves and find our place in this ever-changing landscape.
Couple this with my recent medical crisis, the societal walls of productivity began to close in, leaving me choking with expectation. If not a working professional, then what? I am so much more than what I do, this is true. My true love is writing and will always be, but with a job title, health insurance and retirement, I am tethered to the rest of society by these expectations.
This morning, feeling the breath and tears of the wise woman, a certain permission was granted to just be. Be sick, be aging, let my hair turn gray, be wild, be free, be everything I have been conditioned not to be. She and I sing the same song from these hills. We sing to our destiny, our purpose and our fast approaching departure from this place. With a desperation not found in early life, middle age women feel the beat of this song resonating in every act of self-love, acceptance and grace. We sing to the power of the ocean taking some of its strength for ourselves. If the waves can persist billions of years under unfathomable stress, we too can step into our power, embracing this eternal energy with the wisdom only found by living a beautiful and flawed existence.
This knowing peppers the landscape with the brightness of the universe, a simple yet breathtaking vow. Finishing my ride, I begin to feel my grandmothers and see their joyful smiles through the morning fog. They are here with me and gently reminding me all will be well. Their strength lifts my spirit and a calmness washed over me as if the tide against these shores. My truth is my own, yet I am never alone. Women from the ages walk with me, guide me and lend loving support. Now each morning, I look to the mountainside and feel her presence. She feels my heartbeat and for a few moments we sing together.