Finding 60. This particular big birthday loomed like a star on my horizon the last few years. A kind of wishful destination, my sense that the storms that were buffeting me would subside and the sun would come out and I would walk through the portal of this milestone. Looking back, I’m amused at how literally I thought of it.. that on that day the skies would part and I would be in a brand new place.
The decision to end the marriage came just before my 58th birthday in April of 2015. Happy birthday to me…our drive to Amherst to have lunch with my youngest son Nicky was not a good idea. Trying not to say anything, Nicky of course picking up on the massive shift.. hurt.
But I loved the timing of two years til 60. Two years to clean it up, to wash it off, to purge it in the Fire, to do whatever the hell needed to be done to be ready for 60. Even when I could barely keep my head above water, I saw 60 shining bright, calling me forth. I knew I was going to be really good at the Wise Woman piece, I knew my late blooming tendencies were going to sparkle and get bright at 60.
Although I was gutted from having lost the men I loved within a few years of each other. Sam in 2012 from pancreatic cancer, barely 45 with two babies, and then the marriage I’d hoped would take me all the way…I had high hopes for 60.
When Sam died so young, I made a solemn oath to myself that there would be no whining about aging. I would do it with dignity, grace, and guts. He was ten years younger than me and would have killed for extra time. So I hold that intention and honor my brother. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever ‘get over’ the loss of him. And then I try over and over again, to come back to this present moment and fall in love with what is here now. It’s become a practice that serves me, that keeps me out of debilitating grief, and lets me reorient myself to the beauty that is here now. And there is so much beauty.
Reverence in the moment, gratitude and devotion. The Yogi and Caroline have taught me these will shape shift anything anywhere if you just choose it. I love reverence.. I love the word of it, all of that holiness and awe wrapped into one beautiful word. Just saying it puts me there. Truth.
I’ve worked hard, as is my way. And it was not pretty. More grief, more fear, more uncertainty, more isolation than I’d ever imagined and I was already something of the Hermit archetype. But in Newport I went into true hiding and invisibility. I joked that nobody ‘saw’ me for those two years, although the ones I knew I was meant to know saw me and loved me. But my circle was teensy tiny and home was everything. I didn’t really want to be seen in this vacation paradise by all the happy people in love and massive wedding parties and the cruise ships that lie in wait in the harbor all fall. It’s hard to be blue when there are tourists pouring into your town loving everything and you’re just so sad and scared.
I saw my K. weekly. The plants and the teas and the ceremonies and the visioning. My psychic channels flew open in her sacred presence. I saw Merlin, I saw the love that was coming for me (that’s another pretty interesting story.. sign after sign after sign.. for about 2 years), I saw Sam, I saw my father’s eyes, I saw Hawks and Lions and I saw my self… all of my parts, and some that were waiting patiently for me to be fully animated. To be brought to life, to be embodied.
We blew on the embers. We spit out the Ashes. We swam through the watery depths. We trudged along the muddy earth. We let the winds of the island blow it all clean. There were baptisms in the sea, there were prayers under the Beeches, there were murmurings to the Lady of the Lake. I lived in the mystical realms whenever possible, the third dimensional world had almost no interest for me. It hurt too much, I didn’t know who I was there anymore. I had been stripped of all the familiar identities.. and I did not always let them go quietly.
I did 40 day cleanses. I did 40 day writing purges. I did Kundalini Yoga kriyas. I made vats of soup, pitchers of green juice, gagged down liters of lemon water. I gave up animals and eggs and a certain way of eating and never looked back. I found countless ways to purify my self, to find a focus that would continue to move me forward and allow me to touch into a bit of my own strength to take me down the road. I never stopped praying. 60 was getting closer and as it did I became more and more myself. I filled up with more of myself. Creative acts. Rituals, Making more beauty.
My K. promised me that “The one whom you are yearning for is yearning for you”. And I knew that was true. I could see him, feel him. I had been seeing detailed signs of him even before leaving my marriage. But I was very alone. My hermit-y isolation lasted a full two years plus.
She also encouraged me over and over to look to my ‘history’. That history of loving committed partnerships, the history of beautiful homes and family. The history of inspired work and the right clients coming forth. Sometimes I clung to that notion as a lifeline.
Those two pieces were the glue for me. What I pulled up over and over to remind myself of something that was more ‘real’ than my fears, than my dread, than the intensity of grief that continued to flow through me, up and out.
And 60 came and went. Very unceremoniously. And the pressure was off, thank you God. I was driving myself crazy with the hyper focus. And the week was filled with beloved generous friends, and a little shopping and some other fluffery. And I knew that I’d healed deeply most of the pieces that had torn me up for two years. And I was still me.
My oldest and dearest friend, J. and i strolled through Bloomingdale’s the week between our 60th birthdays. Our old turf. Arms linked, no longer 18 years old strutting our stuff. But we were still just as full of ourselves. Between us we’ve seen a lot of life. Lost a lot. Hurt a lot. Been shaken up in the mix. It’s amazing to have old friends who really really know you, who really love you and who see you with those kind of eyes. Who celebrate you and you celebrate them. Who bow a bit to your vanity as you do to theirs. We treated ourselves to new lipsticks. We not so coyly told the shop girls that we were 60 so they could ooh and aah over our supposed youthfulness. It was silly, it was fun, it was familiar, it was who we have been forever together.
Big birthdays help you take stock. Where you thought you’d be versus where you are. Anything that needs changing, have at it. Keep looking forward but stay in the moment. Even when your heart is breaking. Even when the unknown has you in it’s awfully tight grip and is whipping you around. Even when nobody sees you and you barely recognize yourself. Keep your head up. Find the fresh and new. Fall in love with the moment. Fall back in love with you. Know that you are a miracle, that each day is a blessing, that everything is perfect even if you can’t quite see the shape of it yet. Look to your history, know that whomever and whatever you’re yearning for you also has you in its sights. Dance. Blast your music until you feel 16 again. Find a gorgeous Beech tree to talk to. Go invisible for a bit. Live on soup for the winter. Dream and write and cry and don’t give up. Find somebody who loves you and sees you whom you can pour your heart out to until you don’t need to, and if that takes a year or two, know it will pay you back in beauty and love and true heart.
Know that I am sending you so much love.
And if I can help you get through your own great big huge transition, of course we should talk. Email me via FB or my website.
With love and more love,