The Crone and I

Standard
“All futures are tinted by the way in which you choose to view them.” Cat Hellisen ‘Mother, Crone, Maiden’

 

What image pops into your head when you hear the word ‘crone’? What characteristics do you associate with this female archetype? Does she remind you of the 3 witches in ‘Macbeth’, ‘fire burn and cauldron bubble’? If so, is she repugnant to you?

I first encountered the Crone in ‘Women who run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola EstesThis book is a study of the instinctual nature of women – a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing – and tells the story of 3 archetypes representing the stages of life – the Maiden, the Matron and the Crone. Of these archetypes, the Crone jumped out at me, calling me like a kindred spirit. I was 22.

The Crone is present in the myths of different cultures such as Baba Yaga in Slavic, Annis in Celtic, Elli in Nordic, and Kali Ma in Indian mythologies. For me, the Crone has never been the ugly old witch, in modern-day parlance. Neither is she beauty, especially ‘beauty’ as espoused in contemporary society.

The Crone represents a woman of wisdom, the old and wise one; she is an ageless Wisdom Goddess.

Wise woman

This image has stayed with me for a very long time.  Yes, I have been gently teased or unkindly mocked.  Comments like “you are born 40 after all”, “you are an old soul”, “you are all too serious”, “be careful you may become boring”. Well, perhaps I am one, some or all of these, honestly I do not mind.

Through the years, I have learnt the Crone is light-hearted but never flippant, she is gentle not weak, she is healing not malevolence, she is ageless not old, she is wise not (necessarily) intellectual – what an inspiration!  So I continue to embody these qualities… and the journey so far has been a blast! 🙂

Like the Pilgrim in Annie Dillard’s novel ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’

I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them…

Women’s life, like the moon, wax and wane.  Let us embrace, revere and honour her – the Crone in our lives – for she must come to pass.

~ FlorenceT

We touch lives…

Standard

It was masked in righteous indignation and criticism because they were easier to tap into. The holier-than-thou feeling of ‘how could people not see this’, and ‘how could they be so mean’… The suppositions that everyone ought to see or be, and when they don’t, their actions were intentionally hurtful…

I noticed moments after they arose what IT actually was, this surge of aggression that welled up.

A mentee contacted me seeking help to address a bureaucratic process which compelled her to “prove” she was financially unable to meet a required fee. This fee would impact on whether she could pursue her career or not. Now, providing documentation in support is no big deal, guess we are all so used to supplying proof that we would hardly blink.

The reply she had received was a template email reply, which failed to respond to her request and the reasons she provided. The reasons for her financial hardship told of an estranged relationship, a proud family getting by, a neglectful father, the indignities of abandonment and much more. How does one provide proof of these? Do we require bank statements showing minimal balance? Do we require proof of the anxious feelings of insecurity and sorrow? Do we put a fellow human being through greater indignity and embarrassment? If someone had taken the time to make a phone call, her voice over the line spoke volumes, as I found out.

I needed to know ‘why’ for the impersonal reply and was told it was sent because she could have been lying and that she might be taking advantage of the system. Thus, by implication she was required to overcome this baseline by “proving her case”.

Two days of emotional processing later (subconsciously it would seem as the matter resolved that day and I didn’t think much of it after), I realised over and above the anger, I was sad.

I was sad that we have been “programmed” to expect the worse of another, to have a baseline from which we had to prove we are good and worthy.

I was sad that we are “programmed” to see our work as isolated from our environment, as a means to an end of just making a living, and to not see that our actions however small they may be and wherever we may be located, impact on another person.

When did we learn to disassociate our humanness from the industrious machine we call ‘work’?

As Maya Angelou said,

Your legacy is what you do every day. Your legacy is every life you’ve touched, every person whose life was either moved or not. It’s every person you’ve harmed or helped, that’s your legacy.

If we had taken time to put ourselves in another’s shoes and to mindfully exercise the empathy we are all capable of, we would realise few would create a family story such as that told to me. If we had stopped to have a real conversation, we would not have assumed the worse and prejudged the situation.

And in the failure to attend to the interactions and the relationships, we lose the opportunity to stay true to our humanness.

So in spite my anger and sadness, I believe we are not inherently mean nor are we intentionally hurtful, few are. Yet our unthinking and not-mindful actions can hurt.

We can choose to engage with and to make a positive difference to another’s life.

  1. Pay attention.

Behind every letter, email, text message, and in every conversation… there is a person and a story. Pay attention to it.

Listen, truly listen with a compassionate heart and an open mind. In that moment, be prepared and seek to understand.

  1. Be mindful.

Let go of judgment of another or what they may think of us. Attend to the person, not your idea of the person. Choose to be mindful to every word, every gesture, every pause, … they are meaningful.

Let go of time as the arbiter of our actions, there is always more time. Easier said than done, I agree though it is not undo-able. Perhaps we’ll be inspired by what’s next.

  1. Stop, know this.

What we do is not just about us, our efficiency, our productivity, our task completion. What we do impacts on another person, what we do influences the culture in which we work and how we live.

Kindness shown is always felt, and more likely to inspire kindness.

 

Not everyone has to do “great things” to make a difference; every one of us can do small things with love and that makes a difference to those we come in contact with.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

 

Changing times #Haiku Challenge 1@RonovanWrites

Standard

RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 141 with prompt words – Breeze, Blow

Age old breeze of time

Sweeping debris, unceasing

Change is ever, more.

~ FlorenceT

In gratitude of the present. These are the days…

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

And time marches on…

Standard

It takes time for hurts to be forgiven, for a heart to heal. It takes time for a house to be a home, for a connection to be a commitment.

I was always aware of time, keeping close watch on deadlines, setting time frames, being on time. This ‘trait’ of being punctual and fulfilling obligations in time is a motivator for many of the things I did. In some ways, it was a blessing as I have achieved many things in life driven by this elusive concept of time. And it had also placed many pressures on me, some in hindsight so needless.

Watching children grow, and having certain expectations of how they ought to be “by this time” – whether they are 5, 10 or 15 years old – is laughable. Setting time frames on natural development of a life has come about in the last century – with books on the developmental milestones of little persons taken as gospel truths. A guide is not a standard. And these so-called “standards” get worse as they grow, from how mature a child ought to be by a certain age, to what experiences they ought to have encountered, what behaviour they ought or ought not exhibit… in order to be an ‘enough’ person.

Time marches on regardless of a person’s progress. What does a woman in her 40s ought to possess, to have done, to behave, to be considered successful in life? Or fulfilled in life? Looking at the years past, there have been paths not taken, wrong turns, joyous rides, proud moments, accidental encounters, courageous retreats… and they happen with time. They were not events to which time is the driver, quite the contrary. Yet they are the still life which are most remembered or cherished.

I have learnt patience, of letting time runs its course. Heck, I have no control over it! I have also learnt to take care of myself, to do what I desire, what I will, what I must in the best way possible without the spectre of time on me.

Life has been slow and fast at various points of this life but none as the last 12 months (that I can remember :-)).

It has been slow as I had only been able to present on each moment at a time, taking one step after the next without looking too far as that future had been overwhelming. In that I learnt a valuable lesson in mindfulness, in finally knowing time waits for no one nor does it rush. Enough is being the best I can be in that moment. Finally, I realise the fallacy of “missing out” if we don’t rush on, if we don’t grab every opportunity presented “just in case”. What is right is only right if it is right with me.

The past 12 months have also been fast. Measuring by the magnitude of accomplishments, the height of joy, the depth of sadness, the immensity of feelings and degree of resolute focus needed, I have lived more years in the last one year than I thought possible for me. What a lesson in the enormity of human capacity, because we are not that different, you and I.

We experience time in its passing through our lives – growing, maturing, aging and death, focus and intention, love and loss, happiness and sorrow; through the cycles of the natural world; and the decay of human-made objects. We don’t see time, it is not concrete.

Time is a relative concept, as physicists can attest. It is always moving and always static. Always forward, irreversible and parallel to our human living.

What motivates us ought to be more than a concept, don’t you think?

So as we approach the new year, for us I wish a year of timeless soul-deep intention, passionate being and meaningful doing.

Namaste.
FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

#Tanka Challenge 6 @ColleenChesebro

Standard

My contribution to Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Prompt Challenge, with her prompt words – Wind and Grace.

 

Autumn leaves falling,
wind aloft, being carried
to a distant shore;
As love awaits beyond time,
to claim and be claimed, the same.
~ Florence T

 

And a song along similar theme, for your enjoyment:

 

~ FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

#Haiku Challenge 113 @RonovanWrites

Standard

RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 11with prompt words – Beach, Time

phillip-island

Heat reflecting off

quartz edged and facet, mirage

Time drifts as it will.

~ FlorenceT

 

Image of Phillip Island, Australia, courtesy of A Matter of Taste.

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

Time lost

Standard

Drunk

He tries looking beyond the crowd, to the source of the haunting voice. It has appeared from nowhere …and he just has to see. If only the throbbing would stop…

His head is ready to explode… and the pressure behind his eyes… what a sweet song. Who is she? A feeling of dread … of curiosity… of…, oh he can’t think, trying to focus. On the voice.

His chest constricts, a twisting sensation. Gasping for air, he chokes on the smoke assaulting his throat… Taking another gulp, hoping for some soothing, some comfort… Awful… yeah, he has left his drink for too long. Tepid beer…

Lifting his arm, he tries again to usher the crowd aside… his hand connecting with the nicotine-filled air and drops to his side. That voice…if only he remembers but…

Swivelling back on the barstool, he raises his hand , lifting his index finger…red, he decides as his eyes connect with the bottles lining the wall behind the bartender. His mind drifts to bodies swaying gently, the sensations of her dress brushing against him, her hands in his hair…his heart fills full; she was smiling, her eyes shining with love for him, her beauty was unsurpassed, he would tell anyone this…now…but…

Mhmm, damn thirsty, he thinks as he downs it in one long swill… nice red. Crimson spreads across his striped shirt. He does not notice. Craning his neck to catch a glimpse of her. He is not leaving without seeing who she is… no, he can’t leave his friends.

Oh, where are they? They must be up front, where she is… yes, he remembers…they used to dance to her songs. He must say hello, she’ll remember them…she must. He jumps off the barstool, his forehead meeting the floor in one graceless fall. His world darkens.

Ticks and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is in response to a weekly fiction writing prompt hosted by RonovanFriday Fiction with RonovanWrites.  Join in for some writing fun!

– FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

#Haiku Prompt Challenge 40 – New, Time

Standard

RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Prompt Challenge #40 – New, Time

I wrote this a couple of days ago while sitting in my car in traffic.

Fly

 

Knowing, not knowing
New sensation, can’t resist 
Time for renewal.

 

 

 

Finally have time to post it.  As it so happens today is my birthday, another haiku came to mind.

Seasons

 

Time expands, contracts
Moments live on eternal
Experienced anew.

 

 

 

 

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Living the Rhythm of Life

Standard

My guest post on @RonovanWrites

ronovanwrites

Florence 2This month’s guest is Florence Thum of Meanings and Musings. Lawyer, Therapist, College Professor, Writer, Blogger, Mother, and more. And no, those are not in any particular order. A lady from Down Under with a lot to say and lot of ways to say it.

As I venture here as a guest still wondering what I could possibly offer on RonovanWrites, I am reminded ‘write what you love’. At the moment, what I love is TIME because I have so little of it. It is what I covet most.

Time poorTime cannot be bought, it is beyond my control. If I do nothing, if no one does anything, time will still pass in its own rhythm, in its own time.

Time is.

Of course my perception of how time passes, the judgment I bring to its passing and to my being in it as it passes, is my own. That…

View original post 791 more words