Happy Saturday! I received this story the week of Thanksgiving 2016 and found it to be one that stuck with me and wanted to share it. I hope you find it useful.
The Old Woman
From Michael Meade’s Why The World Doesn’t End
The old people of the tribes would tell of a special cave where knowledge of the wonders and workings of the world could be found. Even now, some of the native people say that the cave of knowledge exists and might be discovered again. They say it is tucked away in the side of a mountain. “Not too far to go,” they say, yet no one seems to find it anymore. Despite all the highways and byways, all the thoroughfares and back roads that crosscut the face of the earth, despite all the maps that detail and try to define each area, no one seems to find that old cave. That’s too bad, they say, because inside the cave can be found genuine knowledge about how to act when the dark times come around again and the balance of the world tips away from order and slips towards chaos.
Inside the cave, there lives an old woman who remains unaffected by the rush of time and the confusion and strife of daily life. She attends to other things; she has a longer sense of time and a deep capacity for vision. She spends most of her time weaving in the cave where light and shadows play. She wants to fashion the most beautiful garment in the whole world. She has been at this weaving project for a long time and has reached the point of making a fringe for the edge of her exquisitely designed cloak.
She wants that fringe to be special; wants it to be meaningful as well as elegant, so she weaves it with porcupine quills. She likes the idea of using something that could poke you as an element of beauty; she likes turning things around and seeing life from odd angles. In order to use the porcupine quills, she must flatten each one with her teeth. After years of biting hard on the quills, her teeth have become worn down to nubs that barely rise above her gums. Still, the old woman keeps biting down and she keeps weaving on.
The only time she interrupts her weaving work is when she goes to stir the soup that simmers in a great cauldron at the back of the cave. The old cauldron hangs over a fire that began a long time ago. The old woman cannot recall anything older than that fire; it just might be the oldest thing there is in this world. Occasionally, she does recall that she must stir the soup that simmers over those flames. For that simmering stew contains all the seeds and roots th.at become the grains and plants and herbs that sprout up all over the surface of the earth. If the old woman fails to stir the ancient stew once in a while, the fire will scorch the ingredients and there is no telling what troubles might result from that.
So the old woman divides her efforts between weaving the exquisite cloak and stirring the elemental soup. In a sense, she is responsible for weaving things together as well as for stirring everything up. She senses when the time has come to let the weaving go and stir things up again. Then, she leaves the weaving on the floor of the cave and turns to the task of stirring the soup. Because she is old and tired from her labors and because of relentless passage of time, she moves slowly and it takes a while for her to amble over to the cauldron.
As the old woman shuffles across the floor and makes her way to the of the ancient cave, a black dog watches her every move. The dog was there all along. Seemingly asleep, it awakens as soon as the old weaver turns her attention from one task to the other. As she begins stirring the soup in order to sustain the seeds, the black dog moves to where the weaving lies on the floor of the cave. The dog picks up a loose thread with its teeth and begins pulling on it. As the black dog pulls on the loose thread, the beautiful garment begins to unravel. Since each thread has been woven to another, pulling upon one begins to undo them all. As the great stew is being stirred up, the elegant garment comes apart and becomes a chaotic mess on the floor.
When the old woman returns to take up her handiwork again, she finds nothing but chaos where there had been a garment of great elegance and beauty. The cloak she has woven with such care has been pulled apart, the fringe all undone; the effort of creation has been turned to naught. The old woman sits and looks silently upon the remnants of her once beautiful design. She ignores the presence of the black dog as she stares intently at the tangle of undone threads and distorted patterns.
After a while, she bends down, picks up a loose thread, and begins to weave the whole thing again. As she pulls thread after thread from the chaotic mess, she begins again to imagine the most beautiful garment in the whole world. As she weaves, new visions and elegant designs appear before her and her old hands begin to knowingly give them vibrant shape. Soon she has forgotten the cloak she was weaving before as she concentrates on capturing the new design and weaving it into the most beautiful garment ever seen in the world.
The excerpt continues here – http://www.boyceco.com/ceremony/TheOldWoman.pdf
If you have never done one, the 21 day meditation sessions, I highly recommend it. I have been taking part in this for almost 3 years and it’s what got me back into meditating daily…priceless. Begins 7/13/15. Enjoy ever moment.
When I saw the preview for this movie, I thought it was a great way to introduce and shed some light on how little humans go through some of the same things we do as adults. Some facing things like depression. However, as I watched the trailer, I know that this is a movie that the parent and child want to see together. It can aide in a parent not ignoring the emotions of the his/her child; but also let the child see that these are not odd or not “normal” and that adults deal with it as well. This is edutainment at its’ best – a teachable moment! Enjoy it! #40lifeafterbirth
In the last month, I have either had conversations or seen interviews or over heard women talking about age. The surprising thing is even those considered younger, who one would think should not be concerned, are hiding their age. I have never understood why it was something not to share or celebrate. I have at times, tied my age to accomplishments but I have not used a delay in a goal to not embrace my age. I feel that age allows you to contrbute to another (wisdom, information, battle scars, etc.) for another woman or man.
Because I have experienced age discrimination in my career many times, I have to attest, this maybe the contributors. Based on peoples’ belief or non belief about where they are or should be; they bring in their own perceptions, really baggage, about you; and your fear of others view?
Regardless, I’ll continue to reveal my age, if I feel it’s needed or just because I’m glad for every year I am…#40LifeAfterBirth
The dialog around what the outcomes are from worry, whether it’s a constant fixture in your life or one that comes like a wave and then goes – but returns; worry can be hard to shake and cause turmoil in one’s life.
I realized that before the age of 40 and a little one, I don’t remember this being something that I dealt with. Even being an entrepreneur, I would sometimes face the conflict around finances but not loosing sleep or pivoting into worrying about minor things that become major. But not putting this on parenting at all, but thyself. After getting use to worry for my child, I think worry tried to become comfortable in my house…something I didn’t realize or recognize until last week. And that was the best medicine for it, recognition. Why? I was able to acknowledge it and change my thinking. Now, I am changing my thinking – a level of reprogramming that I physically feel. NOW, for me, worry has no place here…work in progress. #40lifeafterbirth
British philosopher Alan Watts poses the question in his speech on worry, which he describes as “a mind in the grip of vicious circles.”
Live simply and take life more easily. #Happiness lies in giving yourself time to think and to introspect. Be alone once in a while, and remain more in silence. – #Yogananda
The Art of Stillness is a recent book that I stumbled upon during my favorite show #SuperSoulSunday. I passed it on to someone else who struggles with stillness )thinks they must be busy physically and mentally all the time) and is in denial about the outcomes of not being present is producing in their lives. Now I know this isn’t always easy because this “thing called life” can make it hard; the hustle and bustle of the day; and demands we and others place on us. However, being present makes for a huge contributor in being happy. How? You focus on the moment and most times you can find much to be thankful for. The mind and body relax and calm and seems to elevate the spirit.
Silence can be scary for some. The time to be introspective can be a time of being critical of ones self and not loving. Something that helps when this arises is heart meditation mixed with recognizing what the heart is saying and offering it words of encouragement.
Try it! #40LifeAfterBirth just gets better.