As a 16 year old, 40 seemed so old. I figured though if I reached such a milestone I would be totally blessed with wisdom. I would become the wise woman who is enlightened and sits in this amazing sphere of knowledge. Younger women would come to me for advice. They would seek my counsel. I would open my heart and tell them my stories of ancient times and lessons learned.
Well I do not feel like that wise woman I imagined back then. Yes I do offer counsel for some - this is what I believe is my life purpose. But turning 40 didn't bring that. And I must say I am not the wisest of women I know. In fact I am still learning many lessons of life and my stories are certainly not ancient! In fact my best life lessons have only occurred in the last decade as I have entered into my realm of mindfulness.
To celebrate my birthday I thought it fitting to attend an amazing women's empowerment retreat. This is a retreat that is held twice a year which I probably would have attended regardless of it being my birthday weekend. However the synchronicity of the dates aligning was perfect. Even the chosen topic for the weekend was spot on.
The location of the retreat was the Gold Coast Hinterland and the journey there was not without its symbolism of what the weekend was to bring. As I drove through the hinterland I could see evidence of a freshly lit fire still smoldering. Life either side of the road was about to undergo an amazing transformation as the seasons change. The fire had destroyed the dry, fallen trees and leaf matter. The grass was burnt.
In a few more weeks the black charred ground will be replaced with fresh, green shooting grass and plant life. New life was about to be birthed from the shadows of the fallen. Light was entering the darkness of the ground under the canopy of the trees above.
Whoa - I almost stopped my car. Isn't that what this weekend was about? Isn't reaching a milestone in birth years about having the opportunity to begin a new decade with freshness? Winter always gives way to spring. Holy cow! This birthday was going to be huge and I was about to be given an opportunity to shed some of my old behaviours, release the stagnant, useless habits and open myself to new growth. Holy fn goddessness!
I shed a tear, I slowed my car. I stopped racing to get to my destination. Was I ready? Hell yeah...it was time. Time to meet the shadow, time to explore my limiting patterns in a way I had not done before. It was time bring light into the darkness and allow life to blossom.
At this point I will acknowledge this is not the first workshop I have done that explores this side of me but it is probably the most significantly symbolic given my coming into what I had declared as a teenage my "wisdom years".
The weekend did not disappoint. I was opened to some amazing tools for entering the shadow. I received confirmation that the timing of this journey was right. I was even given some surprising insight that was totally not expected. And I still have work to explore.
Importantly at the end of the retreat I feel a true sense of rebirth. I have a knowing of gratitude, of life and of stepping into a power I didn't think was possible yet as a teenager I knew was coming. It is just not quite as I had imagined.
Today on completion of my meditation I found myself writing of my gratitude, my wisdom, my wealth and ultimately where the power of being me rises from. Deep within I know living life and enjoying it for the moment is what matters. Let me conclude with what I wrote:
I have the opportunity to walk in the garden, appreciate the vegetables and fruits of my labour, collect the eggs of the feathered folk I tend and I have the love of many I call soul family.
I am full of gratitude for all I have in my life. I have opportunity to do what the heart desires. I have opportunity to trust in the process. I am able to work with people to discover life beyond work, beyond fulfillment and I have opportunity to give them a new perspective and I am able to see them on their way to their own healing.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be one with nature. I sit on her soil, I eat her gifts, I admire her charm, I appreciate her beauty and I am in awe of her power.
I am thankful for family and friends who accept me as I am, not who I was or who I might one day be. They know me now and for them it is enough to be friend, lover, sister, daughter, or aunty right at this very minute.
I have shed and I have been reborn. Should anyone tell me I am not important, I am not rich enough, not smart enough and not worthy - I will show them my bank of gratitude and just smile.
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is a great gift.
Be grateful for everything you have.
See the positive in it all and do not dwell on wanting more.