“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen
I love the painting below. If I could copy it I would, and hang it in my living room. This was posted by Ravenous Butterflies.
I don’t know. I have friendships sustained for years, some from high school, others from work mates. The problem is that they are not close geographically. I have one friend nearby but she’s in a strangely different place currently, having given up her home to her nephew and moved in with her sister. There it is Invasion of the Body Snatchers as she has ever so slowly—step by step—become like those living there, in her sister’s house. (Forgive the mixed metaphor but it is so necessary.) She has let her hair grow long and longer. Now she can’t wear it down as she used to like it as it is too scraggly. It is always back in a type of French bun. It is now dyed the same color as her sister’s. She was an absolute coffee fiend. Now she drinks a soft drink, a cola, the same as her sister. I could go on. An outward manifestation of an inward surrender of self. I don’t know how she manages but she seems ever so happy these days. That’s what I don’t know, don’t understand. Can we be happy in the surrender of our very self? The philosophers say we cannot. Maybe they’re wrong.
“A woman may crave to be near water, or be belly down, her face in the earth, smelling the wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. She may have to plant something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows. She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock trying out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. She may feel she will die if she doesn’t dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes – Women Who Run With Wolves
Kristin HorniWhen We All Lived In The Forest (the group) Colorado 💜
This certainly looks like the top of the Manitou Incline in Manitou, Colorado where I used to live. I so loved it there. And there were many clear nights of skywatching, days of hiking. Dogs ran free, time was easy.
“Women have another option. They can aspire to be wise, not merely nice; to be competent, not merely helpful; to be strong, not merely graceful; to be ambitious for themselves, not merely for themselves in relation to men and children. They can let themselves age naturally and without embarrassment, actively protesting and disobeying the conventions that stem from this society’s double standard about aging. Instead of being girls, girls as long as possible, who then age humiliatingly into middle-aged women, they can become women much earlier – and remain active adults, enjoying the long, erotic career of which women are capable, far longer. Women should allow their faces to show the lives they have lived. Women should tell the truth.” Susan Sontag – The Double Standard of Aging (1972)
Annie Leibovitz – portrait of Susan Sontag.
It seems to me that the double standard of aging is yet worse today than days gone by, with women being the biggest perpetrators of deception themselves. Well, women and marketing. Marketing and products. It’s not easy to find original and simple of anything anymore, much less “beauty” products. Buying face lotion is a lesson in patience getting past the rejuvenating and replenishing and restoring with vitamins and retinol A thru z. Removing wrinkles and spots and age itself is easily bought over the counter—surgery in a bottle. And then the surgery itself—beyond Botox in a needle—is available to everyone, not just models and movie stars. Oi! So it appears as if women have to have the courage to just be themselves, not as a member of a group. The group itself (of aging women) is splintered the same as so much in our world today. Put this in the corner of “Self Matters.”
Once upon a time
when women were birds,
there was the simple understanding
that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk
was to heal the world through joy.
The birds still remember
what we have forgotten
that the world is meant to be