“The JOY we seek, can only be created from the JOY we have within.” ~ Eleesha
Yesterday and today, I picked up a few red leaves off the ground and brought them inside. I’m not sure if I just wanted a splash of color to commemorate the Season, or to remind me of my own Season of Life….Autumn.
Typically, this isn’t my favorite time of year, especially as the days get shorter and colder. At least in these early fall days, we’ve been able to enjoy some sunshine and warmth. I even thought this week, “Autumn isn’t so bad.” Probably a good thing, since I am in the early Autumn of my Life!
I’ve been wanting to write this blog since the beginning of the year, but the year was so full of change that I never felt I had the focus or desire to write. However, this has been percolating for many years. It started with just wanting a photo of my mom, sister, myself, and my daughter showing our profiles and depicting the lineage of 3 generations of mother and daughter(s).
Even though this is the closest photo ever taken with all four of us, it was several years ago when I first started observing and witnessing the changes in our 3 generations of women in my family and how our lives were energetically similar to the 4 Seasons. However, it wasn’t until my own transition out of Summer and into Autumn when I truly saw it. It never registered in my consciousness that I was even living in Summer until turning 50 and discovering new lines appearing around my eyes. I had to leave where I was, to really see where I had been. Now I was joining my sister in Autumn, and really wrestling with this process. A 10 year difference is pretty significant when your 8 and 18, but when you both are over 50, the difference isn’t so much any more. Even up to about 40, I always felt like I was witnessing my sister (and brothers) grow up and grow older, I never thought I’d actually meet them there…but here I was, and here I am!
The beauty of what I was able to see with my daughter, myself, my sister, and our mother is how our lives are made of different Seasons. It’s been a few years and a few more changes have taken place since turning 50. My daughter graduated from college, studied and lived in Italy, returned home to work, and left again to work a job that requires a lot of traveling. At 25, in my eyes, she is leaving Spring with all the newness of Discovery where it’s all about firsts and finding out what brings a person JOY and begins the development of who one desires to become. She is now just entering Summer where there will still be firsts, however, it feels more of a time of directing her energy outside of herself and creating in the world, into Growing and Expanding what brings her JOY, cultivating her talents and giving Life to her dreams. Whether her energy will be put into her career, deepening her education with graduate studies, or perhaps getting married and starting a family…..okay, I can at least hope to be a Grandma someday! If Spring is when the bud comes forth, Summer is when the flower blooms and the fruit ripens.
For me however, in these last 7 years, the nest has emptied, not once, but a second time as my daughter is traveling with her job. Perhaps it would be similar if I had more children, but I don’t. I only know the experience with one. For me, it feels like the empty nest has deepened and widened. This year also brought another emptiness with the passing of mom, who at 96 years and in the Season of Winter, continued to live JOY and made this time of her life more of a Winter Wonderland. She was able to look at life and embrace each day with wonder and delight, as if through the eyes of a child. It wasn’t because she had a failing brain, lack of cognition, or loss of memory, it was because her heart was full, full of Love. No matter what came her way, no matter the Season of her Life, Love was her Way of Being. Love is how she showed up to living each and every day, for God, for herself, for her family, and for her community. She was an Inspiration to not only me, but to many. Seeing the Polarity . . . Similarity . . . and Possibility of Spring and Winter . . . side by side, with my daughter and my mother . . . has been such a Gift. JOY and Love do not have to fade in the Seasons of our Life, especially as we enter Autumn and go deeper into Winter, even if our skin may wrinkle and our hair color turns gray .
So as I watched the rain come down today and feel the need to turn the heater on in my car, I was reflecting on how the Autumn of my Life really is a beautiful and welcoming time. I just moved my living space, and although wherever I am is home for my daughter, this condo is really the first step…..not so much as a mom to someone…..nor even as a daughter of someone…..but for me as a single woman. This Season, in this month, and in this year, feels like a Rite of Passage to rediscovering myself and recreating myself.
When I got divorced, I went straight to chiropractic college with a 4-year-old in hand and Mom (Gramma) beside us to offer support in this transition. However, I never really stopped to breathe life into me, nor creating me, other than as the mom, the student, the fitness instructor, the chiropractor. My highest commitment was to be the best parent I could, and the best chiropractor I could. At times, I played mom and dad, I knew how to nurture, give and do for her. As a chiropractor, I knew the same, how to be of service and to give and do for others, my clients. I really didn’t know how to give a lot of feminine, nurturing, creative energy to myself. I knew more how to run the masculine energy of working out, studying, working, managing various responsibilities, and paying bills. I really didn’t know how to find union in the male energy of doing and the female energy of receiving as it related to my being.
So now with this new living place, I feel the urge to create a different feeling, decorate differently, create more in writing, nurture myself, heal what needs to heal, and really discover, after a lot of years, what brings me the greatest JOY in this Season of my life, less as mom… because my daughter and I are becoming more and more like friends or sisters… and more for just Me. It’s a Season that is probably not different for a lot of women, but with all the talk of what happens to us physically during this Change of Season, what has happened to the dialogue on the energetic, spiritual, mental, and emotional components? From my perspective and living in this Season, I feel our culture has lost the connection of our feminine generations that for centuries really taught us about living life on all levels. We’ve lost our connection to Nature and the teaching from observing Her and the cycles of life from birth to death. Instead, we gather information when in crisis from the Internet, versus gathering and reaping knowledge throughout our lifetime from our inner wise woman, the wise women of our tribe, or spending more time learning the language and lessons of the natural world.
Autumn is about the Harvest and Gratitude for the Bounty of Life. It’s about giving thanks for where you’ve been and what gifts you have reaped in the journey. When I look back, I realize how immersed I was living in this Season of Summer: growing a child, growing my education, growing a practice. There was a lot of creative energy, but there may also be a lot of doing energy of getting things done. The beauty of Summer, is that our menstrual cycle is also running, preparing for creating and sloughing off, if not needed. So even if we run a lot of masculine energy, the feminine energy is still cycling through us. However, if we run a lot of doing without consciously rejuvenating ourselves, I believe we get into trouble in Autumn. I believe that is where the problem lies with all the symptoms in our culture regarding menopause, especially as it relates to Adrenal Fatigue. Especially, if we are “running women” and “strong women,” living full lives, taking care of many, doing for others, and giving less to ourselves at the end of the day.
When we reach menopause, the cyclic procreative energy ceases. It means the adrenal glands pick up the slack of the ovaries in terms of hormone production. So if you are running the adrenals to the max in the Season of Spring and Summer, how can your adrenal glands even possibly take on more work in Autumn? Also, when the adrenals are pumping out large amounts of cortisol to keep up with the high demands of living, our nerve system is being stimulated too much, and too often. We’re in “Sympathetic” overdrive of the fight or flight system versus “Parasympathetic” tone of rest and digest. There is little rest, little time out, nor complete rejuvenation of your bodily systems. Also, the ovaries are located in the creative energy center (i.e. the second Chakra of the body) along with the uterus or womb, This energy center is no less creative as we age simply because it can no longer make a baby. Energy is neither created, nor destroyed. Whether a woman, or a man, we all are creative beings. As a woman, in the Autumn Season of Life, I believe we just have to consciously rid ourselves of energy that isn’t in our highest and best; look for new ways to create; find JOY in different resources; rediscover our talents or maybe discover new ones; and explore different avenues in how we choose to Birth our creative endeavors into the world.
A woman doesn’t have to be a less creative being, just because her cycles have waned. However, it does mean she needs to find ways to rejuvenate her whole being, as well as energetically slough off what no longer serves. Whether it’s old memories, past experiences, beliefs, ideas, habits, practices, or any Way of Living & Being in the world that doesn’t bring JOY, Love and Gratitude, we need to take inventory, forgive, bless, release, embrace the wisdom received and recreate again. I believe that the beauty of living life in the Season of Autumn and Winter, is truly celebrating the depth of JOY and Love the years have brought us. Even though the Seasons Change and so do We, we can bring a greater awareness and consciousness to using our creative energy for ourselves and the new creations we choose to birth into the world.
Through the Way of the Feminine Force, my hope is that women see how powerful in how they live life, not just as mothers, but also as role models and teachers of living by example. Our Way of Living can truly shape our future generations of daughters, and sons. It’s not just for the physical health of the individual, but also for the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of humanity. When I serve women, as well as the men, and entire families in my chiropractic practice, my intention is that each person carries the potential for transformation within themselves and for others. It’s about holding the highest vibration of energy within our consciousness so that our creative energy, which is female and male, will always spread the fruits of JOY, Love, and Gratitude in the world, no matter the Season of Life, for ourselves, our families, our children, our children’s children, and beyond…
JOY & Love Always…and in ALL Ways,
Dr. Cheryl XOXO