Bowing to Mystery
By Maggie Fenton
Winter Solstice is my favorite holy day. No other time of year makes me so aware that I’m a small animal on a big planet in an enormous universe. I love the symbolism of light coming out of the darkness. Looking out to the southwest from my kitchen window, some days I see the southern sun making long shadows in the still woods. Plants and animals (including humans) slow down, rest and prepare for the light to return. The moon and stars are brilliant in clear night skies. Humans are not in control of this mystery. We can study it and gain a smidgen of understanding but bowing to the mystery seems totally appropriate at this time of year.
December greetings from Pixel Hill,
Lovely Crones! It’s that time of year again when many of us celebrate a special or sacred time. The days become shorter, second by second, as the month advances even though deep winter is not yet upon the land.
This is a season of contrasts. Solstice brings more light each day as temperatures drop and cold winds howl. We can be blinded by the sun one day then wrapped in fog or a blizzard the next. The media bombards us with images of happy families and jingle bells. Buy! Buy! Buy! it screams, while the next minute flashing a clip of hungry children in a free food line or someone huddled in a blanket on the sidewalk. At the same time many will be joyfully observing traditions, enjoying beautiful lights, feasting, celebrating in a place of worship or participating in family activities. The world of the internet makes it possible to share festivities with so many more far-flung friends and family than we ever could in person. Even if we are trying to cope with loneliness.
It’s small wonder that some of us may be experiencing conflicted feelings. Let us practice kindness, my dears, both to ourselves and others.
This month’s question addresses an emotion familiar to most of us at one time or another.
“I often feel like breaking things! I get so angry that I just want to smash something. It could be my husband (which is often the case), politics or crazy stuff happening in the world. This blind rage comes over me and I pick up the nearest thing and break it! My supply of drinking glasses and dishes is dwindling! Not to mention the mess to clean up. Please don’t recommend hitting pillows, it doesn’t do it!
P.S. I am in therapy.
Breaking things and bedlam
Dear Breaking things and bedlam,
As I’m sure you know, therapy helps but it’s a process. Anger isn’t, it’s a form of emotional self-protection that demands action. Punching a pillow is useless and often makes it worse. So does throwing unbreakable dishes that can bounce off the wall and hit you in the face. Some women keep a stash of thrift shop items if they have an easy to clean private space to use when only breaking something calms them.
Women are still conditioned not to express anger openly. You are not alone and here are a few things that have helped other women when the white-hot anger burns.
Remove yourself from the situation if you can. Go for a walk, run, bike ride, even a long hard shower can help. If you feel up to driving safely go to a quiet nature spot, dog park, coffee shop, bookstore, see a movie, something to change your focus. Reaching out to a friend might or might not work for you.
If you are trapped in the passenger seat, look out the side window, pop in the ear buds and turn up some music that fits your mood. Elsie wore out two “Traveling Wilburys” cassettes during her own worst anger years.
Explore the many coping strategies out there. If something works for you, use it. Dear one, anger doesn’t mean you are a flawed person, just human. Claim your power and use it to give yourself what you need. You may discover strengths you didn’t know you had.
Ruth Cohen, Our Newest Member of The Mother Board
As the youngest member at age 66, Ruth says she is “learning from the older, wiser and more experienced Crones” with whom she now serves on the Crones Counsel Mother Board.
Her first Crones Counsel was in Salt Lake City in 2017. Having found her tribe, she has attended the two in-person gatherings since, and, then, graciously she volunteered to chair the 2020 gathering in Portland which, unfortunately, had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. She is enthusiastic about Crones Counsel and, as a relatively new member, is able to look on the organization with new eyes, bringing energy and perspective to the Mother Board.
Ruth and her husband live outside of Portland, OR, enjoying the splendors of the Pacific Northwest. Within a 25-mile radius of their house, there are over 20 wineries! (Ruth’s picture was taken in Frankfurt, Germany during their recent November 2021 trip abroad.)
They live in close proximity to the Oregon Coast and Mt. Hood. The area abounds with hiking trails and plenty of bird-watching. Last year, during Covid, Ruth let her hair grow and started feeding the birds and squirrels who live in her yard. Having begun to worry about them when she and her husband are gone from home, she wonders if the animals can survive without her for that time. Probably.
Ruth’s 40+ year professional career was as a Geriatric Care Manager (Aging Life Care Specialist) working with elders and their families. She also served on the National Board of Directors including a stint as President. Now, through her company CC Consultants and its flagship program, Evolving Elders, she continues to work with people at mid-life and older, tackling the issues of caregiving, resilience, and “what’s next” in life through workshops, seminars and retreats. Her husband, Jerry, joined the company after he retired as State Director of AARP in Oregon.
Ruth is indeed a welcome addition to the Mother Board.
Many of you will join us on December 18th for our Winter Zoom when we celebrate the Crone. Based on the book Crones Don’t Whine by Jean Shinoda Bolen, here are some qualities of “Crone.” Of course, you don’t have to possess them all to qualify but it’s worth thinking about how you fit the model.
(Thank you Ruth Cohen)
Crones don’t whine
Crones are juicy
Crones have green thumbs
Crones trust what they know in their bones
Crones meditate in their fashion
Crones are fierce about what matters to them
Crones choose the path with heart
Crones speak the truth with compassion
Crones listen to their bodies
Crones don’t grovel
Crones laugh together
Crones savor the good in their lives and
Crones are resilient. (Ruth’s addition!)
Giving It Away
By Pat Casner
I’ve got to use it up, spend it, give it all away
Everything I’ve got and have been given,
My talents, my gifts, my body, my mind,
All that’s been given to me in this life.
My time is running short, no one knows,
Time may be out, the end could be now.
Things must be done, completed, finished.
I can’t hoard, hold back, hold in what
must be given, shared, passed on.
I can’t waste this precious time.
Can I be brave, more courageous,
and do what I must do?
I must live fully, and use all that I have to give.
Pat holds a master’s degree in Holistic Health Education and Counseling, spent 37 years teaching Childbirth Education and birthing, is a certified hypnotherapist, and have had years with a private practice in psychotherapy. She now lives in Malawi, Africa with her husband working in agriculture and teaching nutrition.