I recently read this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh:
To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that, to help with the transformation and healing of other people.
Though I am definitely not in a position to be a monk (who is?), I do make space in my life for time to work on my transformation and healing. It was very difficult at first to make time for this work. For me, it has become easier with practice and it would be an enormous understatement to say that it has been time well spent. Today, I make space for listening, praying, moving my body, and being inspired. I also take time for silence, for gathering with friends, for church, for going away on retreat, for reading and writing, for creating and gardening.
I have found that it is necessary for my survival. But it is also essential to my emotional and spiritual vitality, so that I can grow fully into the legacy for which God has created me. This is bold, I know. But I am ready to be bold.
The legacy is one of being healed and transformed. And then, of offering healing and transformation to others. I know that it is audacious to think that my life can have this legacy. But I am ready to be audacious.
Last night I gathered with owner Carrie and friends at Crema Cafe to listen to one of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ live sessions on the Dangerous Old Woman. What beauty. She talks about acquiring wisdom and of standing firmly in that wisdom as we age. Of not bending down, shrinking and disappearing as the years pass. Of living fully into the legacy of being a woman in this world.
Why is this old woman dangerous? Because she is countercultural: She isn’t bound by what our culture tells her should happen as she ages. She refuses to hide just because she has become less physically attractive. She won’t succumb to the belief that she is irrelevant, past her prime, less important with each passing day, with each passing year. For this is a lie. And she knows it.
One of the many pieces of rich wisdom Clarissa passed on to us through her storytelling was a reminder of the work we need to do, the awareness we must have, the examination we need to make of our lives, to prepare for truly giving to the world. Which is why we are here.
She described this in terms of a colorful visual image that I wanted to share with you:
Our life is like the laundry.
We need to wash it, rinse it, hang it out to dry.
And my thoughts follow:
What needs to be washed?
What needs to be rinsed?
What is ready to be hung out on the line, in the sunshine, to blow in the breeze, for all to see?’
There is something unique for you to share, so don’t hide it. Be bold and audacious, even more so as you age. Know that you have a legacy to live into, because you do.