Resting in the cradle of gratitude. That’s what I’ve been doing since my Dec 15th book launch, where I was overwhelmed by the support of friends. Since then, my heart has been further warmed as I’ve been contemplating both the years of advice and the kind words coming in as people read the final result. True, I’ve been busy. I gathered with friends to celebrate the holidays with warmth and laughter. I set up a page to sell my book on my website and have mailed them to people in AZ, CO, NJ, GA, OR and Grand Marais. I’ve gotten them into Hennepin and Dakota County Libraries and am preparing several new programs for upcoming bookings. I’m catching up on tasks like housekeeping and paperwork. I’ve gone to a bunch of events related to books or the environment and sung in the choir for a Martin Luther King Day program.
But, more than I’ve been able to in a long time, I’m resting in the cradle of gratitude. I didn’t feel the need to post anything on Facebook, but looked occasionally to see what friends were up to. I was struck when my friend Carol posted these words. (Sorry—we don’t know who wrote them.)
And then it happens… One day you wake up and you’re in this place. You’re in this place where everything feels right. Your heart is calm. Your soul is lit. Your thoughts are positive. Your vision is clear. You’re at peace, at peace with where you’ve been, at peace with what you’ve been through and at peace with where you’re headed.
I thought “Yes! I’m in that place.”
I’ve been through a lot the last few years, but it doesn’t matter now. I crossed the finish line. I’m in that special place. There is still, and will always be, a lot to do. Challenges will come again. That’s the nature of life, and all the more reason to breathe deeply and savor this place while I’m in it. I will continue to share, by speaking, writing, and maybe travelling with my book, but I will take time to embrace the things that make me happy. The things I wrote about in my book, but that the book sometimes kept me from doing! Walking in the woods or at my happy place—the zoo. Swimming. Contemplating dragonflies. Capturing and sharing the moon and Mother Nature’s other treasures through photos. Journaling. Beautifying my yard. Reading other people’s books. And resting.
Today, January 28th, is my 70th birthday. When I told a friend, he said “It’s just a number. It doesn’t mean a thing.” He must have assumed I was dreading it. Just the opposite. To me, that number is proof that I’m an elder. Native American culture tells me that’s an honor, and other sources agree. I’m entering an era of wisdom, freedom, and personal power, rich with spiritual meaning. I have permission to do what I want, what I feel is important in my last chapters, and also to rest.
I had this new picture of me taken right before my book came out. I didn’t want people seeing a younger me in my author picture, then meeting a “crone” when they came to hear me speak. But I must admit, the picture—unedited except for removing the reflections in my glasses—doesn’t look very cronish, despite my silver hair. Why? I was happy. The sun was shining, my good friend Carol was there taking my picture, and I was, frankly, laughing inside, thinking I was probably the only person ever to have her author picture taken in an outhouse. But I had built it, and it was cute, clean, and fresh, so I thought it was the perfect frame for me.
Crone can mean a disagreeable, malicious old woman, or a wise old woman with an open heart. If we are lucky enough to get old, let’s aim for the latter.