Can you feel it? We are in the “Great Pause”. It’s a time to slow, a time to notice. We have been busy, working and following the rules. Abruptly our world has been changed by the pandemic. Many of us are still at work, but as we strive to work from home we are challenged with our emotions; uncertainty and unease, and new dynamics with those who share our spaces. We’re not working from home, we are working with home – children, partner, cooking etc. Work is not separate and given space, it has to coexist with our lives. I wonder whether what’s happening at the moment, this moment of readjustment, is actually a really good thing?
Our old life values
I hear people trying to be productive, wanting to write a long to-do list, and achieve so many things, so many new activities in this gift of time, but you know it’s just not reasonable. Because if you do only that, you shut out what’s important. You go back to shutting out how you feel. You go back to not seeing your partner or your kids or your pets all day. You buy food from somewhere and you don’t spend time with ingredients making food with love. You’re too busy for home care, for appreciating and loving the space you live in. You’re too busy to for a walk or a cycle and noticing nature and the seasons, you’re busy working and commuting. You look forward to Friday, instead of living in every day with joy.
We are in a transition
That was the old life. We are in a holding space, a transition to a new life. Life will never be the same life it was before. Just like 9/11, life will change, we’re not sure how at this moment in time, but we know it’s has changed for ever in some way. Social distancing has never been part of our global reality before. Will French people kiss each other as a greeting in the future? We don’t know, the new life has not yet started. We are in lockdown and so we are in a cocoon.
The midlife transition for women parallels this experience. Through life many women are shaped into what society wants them to be and to do. Their feminine gifts around nurturing and caring may be exploited, if they don’t have strong boundaries, a strong sense of self. They are expected to run the home, look after the children and have a job. Now we are in the Great Pause, many women are taking their foot off the accelerator. They felt exhausted, but unable to change, and now is a chance to pause, to slow down. They don’t have to dash from work to school pick up, to after school clubs, dinner, homework and on and on. There no external distractions or opportunities, it’s time to just be.
Now we can look back at our old life because we are not in it, with a detached objectivity. Was it all good? Did some things ******? Frustrate? Infuriate you? Why? What was happening at that time? What were you doing? How were you acting? Were you maintaining healthy boundaries? Do you want to do that again in the future or do you want to do something else? How could that look? Just choose what you want to do at any moment in time. There will always be an ebb and flow to work and life. We can’t separate the two, they are each part of our experience, but we do need balance. It’s important to not allow yourself to be pulled by one aspect too much – too much work or too much home, in either, you lose yourself.
Women’s midlife transition
Women’s hormones start to change in midlife and this is a good thing. It is a natural process which helps them prepare for the next stage in their lives. They are no longer willing to put up with the things they hid from themselves previously. This is the opportunity for personal growth, for knowing themselves on a deeper level and bringing more joy into their lives. This peri-menopausal transition is a cocoon. It’s a time when you can go inside and look at what’s happened in your life, what led you to now, what paths have you trodden so far on your journey. Either on your own or preferably in a Women’s Development Circle, you can work through your thoughts and emotions, find and allow yourself to drop the baggage you have taken on of other people’s views and expectation. Now is the time to cultivate wisdom and compassion, to reinvigorate your identity for the next phase of life.
A new life
Man or woman, we have choices. If we simply keep doing over and over, the same pattern, the same behaviours, the same thoughts and emotions, we have no opportunity to learn, we trap ourselves. We have improved nothing in our lives. Importantly we ruin the planet for future generations. Going back to the old ways is not an option. We need to find a new way individually and collectively. How will we thrive from this? There is a myth that you must be busy to be successful. What is success? Our views around money and success are being challenged. In lockdown, success is not getting sick and staying alive. Many people are feeling happier as they are spending quality time connecting with their loved one. Their priorities have shifted, they no longer take people or being alive for granted. They want meaningful connections with themself and others.
We are still in the loop of lockdown, in the cocoon. If you are a woman in midlife you also have choices. Do you try to conform to what society celebrates and turn back the clock or do you choose to look at society’s views? Do you take the time and decide whether they are views you want to buy into? What will you choose to believe? How would you describe post-menopausal women? Are they the way makers, they show the way to a better world? Are they beautiful and radiant? Visible, important and inspiring? Post-menopausal women are driving huge positive change in our society.
Be aware of this space, of this gift of the Great Pause. The world is changing. We are at moment like no other in our life. Our country, our community, our lives have changed. A moment to notice a fork on the road. Do you want to become the bitter old woman, clinging on to the past, blaming others? This is the toxic feminine. The other path is that of the Wise Woman who has worked through the hidden emotions, like an archaeologist of her life, she has looked in the depts of her life and found the hidden gifts. Gifts that have always been there, but they were buried. You know the Wise Woman she has the childlike joy, and the kids like to hang around her. She has a mischievous twinkle in her shiny eyes, she doesn’t want to be anyone’s enemy, but she is also no one’s victim. She stands in her truth and power. She brings wisdom and compassion to the world. Now is the time to choose your path and the world you want to create from that place.
“Your action, what you do, depends on who you are. The quality of your action depends on the quality of your being. […] So there is a link between doing and being. If you don’t succeed in being, you can’t succeed in doing.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power
I invite you to join the Wisdom Queens Development Circle if you want to journey with other women who also choose to become Wise Women. The Development Circle runs online Sundays 7- 8pm 10th May – 21 June
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/102890728940