Gathering of Grandmothers
Women of Spirit and Power
Gathering of Grandmothers: Words of Wisdom From Women
of Spirit and Power is a collection of
stories, poems, wise sayings and visions and women
supporting each other in the later stages of life.
It speaks to the rite of passage of women moving into
the second half of life with grace and wisdom. If
you want to read stories about positive women who
are making their life count, this is the book for
The book is edited by Lynne Namka and features her
unique kind of wisdom plus 25 other authors. This
anthology addresses women ages 50 to 101 becoming
their true self in the second half of life. They write
about aging with zest and enthusiasm with much to
give to older women and the younger generation. The
book offers readers wit, humor and zest as these women
share their deepest fears, hopes and decisions to
age consciously. As Margaret Mead said,'There is nothing
like the zest of a menopausal woman!' These authors
are gutsy, opinionated women who have something to
say about the deeper essence and mysteries of life.
of Grandmothers: Words of Wisdom from Women of Spirit
and Power is available from iUniverse.com
for $16.95 plus postage. It is also on Amazon.com
and Barnes and Noble at the same price.
Face, Flowering Spirit
One afternoon, in my early forties, as I stood in
front of the mirror, I noticed with horror that the
skin around my mouth was breaking down into fine wrinkles.
The light is stronger and less forgiving at that time
of day, and I was wearing my new reading glasses.
My denial fell away in that instant. My whole
body reacted; my heart rhythm jumped, solar plexus
tightened, and stomach felt slightly ill. I
was not escaping aging...I was becoming my mother's
face, my grandmother's face. I wasn't ready.
The frown line between my brows came first, and at
a young age, by twenty-two I think. My dad had
the same frown line, and I had consciously modeled
mine after his. As a child I looked very young
for my age; I was also the youngest in my family and
the neighborhood, and was certain this was a disadvantage.
I felt that lines would help me look older and add
character, and I cultivated them, using my face in
an expressive way that encouraged their development.
The frown line added a serious, thoughtful quality.
The smile lines, like sunrays around my eyes, became
indelible in my thirties. I didn't mind them
because I had memories of elder women in my family,
especially my Aunt Betty, and her smile lines were
the signature of her warmth and joy. Yes, wrinkles
have been gathering on my face, faster this decade
In my experience, when something is taken away, there
is often a gift in return. It is not always
obvious, and it may not be easy to receive. Sometimes
I must stalk it as a hunter stalks prey, quietly,
with patience and above all, endurance. Clearly
my young adulthood was over. Gone, I
knew in that moment, and not recoverable. Living
in this culture, where aging is not honored, this
new experience of myself came with both fear and pain.
What did this mean in my life? The stalk began.
First there were periods of intense sharing with my
women friends. It was too fresh, too fierce
a feeling to share with male friends yet. That
would come later. My women's lodge gathered
sixty women together for a Council on Aging.
We invited active old women in their seventies, eighties
and nineties to share their wisdom with us.
We risked plumbing the depth of pain we collectively
have that in this culture, female beauty is synonymous
with youth. With quiet rage, women shared feelings
of becoming anonymous, unseen. We spoke how
we want to be when we are very old. We laughed
and cried together; we danced our beauty. I
discovered there were many of us on this path exploring,
seeking a new way. It helped.
Around forty-six, the deepening began. I needed
large chunks of time alone, and my husband, what a
wonderful partner, encouraged my claiming that time.
I had a strong need to sleep alone, and felt as though
I was birthing myself anew. My spiritual practice
reawakened with a richer vitality. My listening
changed subtly and powerfully as an unquenchable thirst
for truth emerged.
I developed peace with my wrinkles as I turned forty-eight.
The movement of my life stemmed from a different,
deeper source. I began to feel called to places,
people and work, by my inner listening rather than
personal desire. I felt a creative quickening inside
that was reminiscent of the surges of energy I had
as a teenager. My uncertainty, shyness and self-consciousness
left. I started writing; I knew as a small child
that this would develop, as I grew older. I
began telling my truth firmly, clearly, and lovingly‚Ä'a
Approaching fifty-one, I feel like ripe, mature fruit
that is ready to nourish others; it is clearly time
to give back. My community is asking for that
giveaway just as I am ready to respond. I am
an energetic light for others and can bring objectivity
well seasoned with love. I can accept the
mantle of mentoring another. These attributes
are abundantly available in my friends as well.
We are seeking to move into our elder years in ways
that speak of far memory and distant times; there
is resiliency, deep power, and courage. We are
choosing to allow the gray to emerge in our hair,
and face lifts are not a topic of discussion.
So there, women's magazines! This culture will
have empowered, elder, wise women who claim their
voice and the right to speak it, and we will not be
invisible. Withering face, flowering spirit,
how beautiful we are!