Integrate…my guiding word this year. A word I don’t really care for the sound of and haven’t been able find a prettier, more beckoning synonym for. A word, tho’, that best describes the work going on inside me. Work that is wanting to express itself in my actions as well, but that is always much slower in coming into being for me.

It is still Winter, and I continue to take my days gently. It is the best medicine for my nights, which are broken so often now with hot flashes. I smile to think of the last year when mild, warming waves came to me regularly. Strong enough to keep a fan nearby, in case, but so easy. How Lesley-like, I thought, thinking I was getting off lightly. That all changed a few months ago. And even more recently, deep chills have been added to the mix. And goosebumps so powerful there should be another word for them…ostrich…emu? But they feel more wondrous than scientific. And I feel as tho’ I am being rewired.

And I suppose I am…in body…in mind…in soul. In deep ways and everyday ways. But it’s so easy to keep doing and being in the same old ways. My word is there to keep my attention on actually weaving the understanding and experience I have from all of these years on the planet into some new ways. And I have a feeling that will be the work of more than just a year! The closest poetical word I found to describe the process I am in is ripen. The rosehip metaphor that has accompanied me since the beginning of this menopause journey gave me that one.

I am glad the growing of a rosehip woman is less straightforward than it is for the rose. There is so much sustenance in the seeds I hope I am nurturing…for myself and my world. Or so I whisper to myself as I grow…


There is a four-year-old post here with the same name, and when I read it and wandered back through what I was sharing then, I see now the beginnings of what has deepened into a way of life. Those first years after my mother died and my caregiving ended was the same time I became aware of the rosehip-colored glasses I had donned. And in the same way that reading glasses have become my constant companions (not that I am quite used to those yet) these rosehip glasses have changed the way I see so much.

On the night of the New Moon, I had a small ceremonial, one I’ve enjoyed many times in the past. The elements are simple, darkness and warm light, a stack of old magazines, perhaps some scissors and paste. Tho’ I have come to prefer tearing, not cutting, for the softer, ruffled edges. And I didn’t intend to paste that evening’s gleanings onto pages, but to pin them to my studio wall to inspire me. But instead of finding pictures that spoke to me, I found myself sifting through old tearings and hearing not a whisper from them. The pile for recycling grew and grew. When I finished, there was a small scattering of pictures that I may or may not keep, pictures of something I am challenged to bring into being in my life…pictures that are Real to me, not so obviously staged, styled or arranged.

I half-heartedly turned to the magazines and leafed through a few, but felt the same disinterest. It was curious to me, at first. But then I knew what was behind it…

The same something that makes me turn away from the computer-generated scenes in movies…and the plastic-surgeried faces of the elder-women I hope to look to out in the world…the lovely, meaningful artwork heaped with plastic paint…the charming front-porch decorations that soon overwhelm my spirit which seems to feel all of the plastic packaging and shipping boxes and striving for a look behind the pretty tableau…

It’s not that I don’t understand the longing for a cosy front porch…or to express myself through creating. And several times a day when I see the age spots appearing on my face, or my jawline soften, or my eyelids lower, I notice and feel…taken aback for awhile. My mind follows little trails of pondering what benign treatments there might be, what herbal skin oil might help. But this different sort of striving, to stop or mask what is a natural process, I also soon notice. And I think, instead, of the beauty I saw in my mother’s and my grandmother’s wrinkled, spotted faces. And I shift back towards acceptance…sometimes even peace, and occasionally…joy.

I would just be so grateful to find this acceptance more often in the world than I do. I begin to feel curmudgeonly with all of my noticings…and rather lonely. For it is not just about acceptance of aging, it is about seeing the connections between not accepting and the journey women have in this shiny, new century. And it is also about seeing the connections between all we unthinkingly buy to answer lovely impulses of creativity and nurturing and the cost of it all to our earth…and to us. How few have discovered that the acceptance of the limitations that keeping the earth always in mind (and its natural, needful rhythms and beautiful, complex relationships) …can also bring peace and joy.

For awhile now, I’ve been trying to find a word or phrase to encompass it. The ones in use don’t really satisfy me…making do…sustainability…stewardship. In the past, I would have come up with a poetic phrase for it, but others don’t catch on to one’s own poetic phrases very easily. And it feels important for more and more to catch on to seeing what we are each creating, day by day…with what we notice and what we don’t. So, I’ll just keep trying to describe it in words and pictures, here, there and everywhere. And keep trying to live out my own response to that noticing…however imperfectly.

This line from that first “real” post in 2014 sings out to me “During midlife, the desire to be real to ourselves, which comes from our soul…” I can see now how I have been struggling to express both this desire to be real and to find more of it in my world. It’s not a message that is exactly welcomed with open arms, or so I find. Yet quieting one’s soul-voice is the opposite of what the world…and the earth…need right now. And as my rosehip-colored glasses seem to be on as often as my reading glasses are these days, I suppose you may expect much more sharing of my own Real in the year to come.

A few notes…

  • Please know that you have to scroll back up to the top of the post to find the comment form…just click the word “comments”
  • Wisteria & Sunshine closes for new membership the evening of the 31st, Wednesday. Getting Real, in lovely ways, is one of our compasses there. We will reopen in the Spring…
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