Grandmothers know things that have taken a lifetime to earn. They know that women grow out of girls, and that the journey has taken thousands of years. Grandmothers know that girls are sprites, bringing light playfulness to the serious side of our world, and they are emotional antennas, telling what they know, as boys learn to get quiet with their feelings.
Girls grow to womanhood by learning they pulse with the cycles of life. They learn to flow gracefully into the stream of their world, even as they learn to make and guide their own rudder.
Women wrap their arms around life, around their loved ones, around their homes. They bring life into the world and know that they have Mama Bear spirit within, will do whatever it takes to protect their young. Over time they learn that being Mama Bear does not mean self conscious alarm over every step, but is a rambling journey of exploration, fully grounded, finding and giving nourishment, teaching our young how to grow strong and self sufficient. Women nuzzle. Women roar.
Women swaddle babies and guide children, even if they have none of their own.
Women know loss. Women cradle death as well as life, holding dead spirits, dead bodies and missing limbs. We know that to rebirth a soul means to just be nearby sometimes. Silently we care for physical space to show love that reaches into dark souls, and sometimes breathes life back.
We wash bodies with no more spirit and place them gently into the earth for safekeeping, and we reach into the earth for our own strength, seeking the flow of wisdom from our grandmothers and grandfathers. We dig up roots and share them at the family table.
A woman knows that reaching out to sky, or into the world, is a skill we must develop and carry always. There are times we are protected, as children, and times we learn to make our own path, walking long roads to find our ancient sisters, those who birthed babies alone in fields, and who gathered wood alone in the winter to warm themselves, their families.
Once we have struck out on our path, we find that while there are terrifying nights when fierce wind blows away all of our courage, there are also mornings of dew and warming sun to bring us back to life. Sometimes we wait in the dark for small twinkling stars, bits of wisdom within us, tiny light when we need it most. Some call this intuition. Learning to follow those stars, to hold them in our mind day and night, takes discipline and devotion. It is lonely work.
We find our path at times full of "mean girls" and are stronger for withstanding the pressure to give in to our lower selves. We find sustenance in stretching our minds, but also know that our spirits need room to grow into full fledged, full bodied Amazon soul warriors. We find our tribe and build communities out of nothing but meals and stories, trading clothes and hugs.
No matter her size a woman must know that her body is her temple, and that only when she learns to guard her own gates does she begin to know real safety. We love our smile lines and our stretch marks, lines of service, stripes of valor. We shun notions of external beauty and create our own from deep within. This beauty is easily recognized in any face. Women dress well and with attention; first with love and respect for ourselves, then for the enjoyment of others.
Women build their own fortresses, and know who to take in and who to turn away. Men and women of lesser value will come knocking, and discernment is one of her most important tools.
Women find battles in corporate board rooms and in their own homes, in standing on their feet 16 hours a day to serve others, and inside their own minds. Women learn to come to each skirmish with grace, with intelligence well heeled, with determination, with strength of character and with nothing to hide. Once a woman knows how to wield a sword of discernment, and when to make deep cuts, or kill, then she knows when to win at any cost, and when to stand down. She makes the salves that soothe her soul, and heal others, and brings them back to the table of family and community.
A woman knows how to lose, how to win and how to keep going after either outcome.
A woman knows that men are outward facing, hard wired to protect and serve the needs of his family and community, same as her, but very different too. She joins her partner in his work to build a life. She leads him (and others) to build relationships, and follows when he knows the way, and sometimes when he doesn't. She knows the journey is more important than the destination.
But a grown woman will not waste years tending a garden in bad dirt. She admits her mistakes, learns from them, mourns them, and moves on if there isn't good ground to till. A wise woman makes her own ground fertile, soulwork that feeds hundreds if not thousands.
If she digs a hole too deep, she hauls herself out of it. If she needs a rope, she asks for help.
A fully realized woman will spin grace and beauty into the lives of her loved ones, in material things, but more importantly in spiritual realms. A woman knows how to find the best in herself, and how to encourage the best in others. She knits together the lives of many, making those memories that keep us warm, strong and hopeful. She cooks to nourish our bodies and souls, making food into an offering. A woman knows to bless the table, calling down Spirit, and invoking gratitude. She makes sure she is well fed in every way.
Even in the worst storms of life, she keeps a small ember of hope and belief in herself glowing, sometimes so deep down even she forgets. But one day it gets warmer and finally burns hot in her again, shining thru her eyes. Sometimes this process seems divine, and she is comfortable there, in the swirl of mystery and faith and unimaginable grace.
A woman can bring light to every part of her life - she finds that the other side of sorrow and loss is immeasurable and unlimited Joy - and she laughs often in delight at the wonder of it all. Always a Sprite, she creates fun from the mundane, blowing bubbles from dish soap. She works for happiness, and protects it.
Women cherish the pleasures of touch and sensuality. They become more sexual as time goes by and the children no longer need constant tending. Having learned to love themselves, they can fully give themselves to another, without getting lost. With the right partner, they lose self consciousness and send sparks of creation, transcendence and gratitude to the divine.
She becomes a grandmother when she settles completely into herself, sees the mountains and valleys of her life in true measure, and blesses the path of children, women and men who follow her. She knows she can feed them only small pieces of her journey, as they must find their own way. She listens deeply.
Grandmother teaches us to go thru fear, to hold onto our embers and starlights, to forge our own swords. She stands as guide, example and a comfort to show that there is a place of redemption for a life well lived. She holds the visions, of the world and for each of us, seeing us on our path and rightly beautiful. She loves us unconditionally, even when we cannot love ourselves, and knows the value of forgiveness and rest.
Woman knows that life is short, and hard times seem to last forever. And all is well, eventually.
(Inspired by: Steve Pavlina and Tom Chiarella)