The valley spirit never dies.
It is named the Mysterious Feminine.
And the doorway of the Mysterious Feminine
Is the base from which heaven and earth sprang.
It is there within us all this while.
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.
-Tao Te Ching
Can we truly live an ageless existence? What would it feel like to not corral our ambitions, our dreams, our creativity by a number that has social paradigms associated with it? Where young means vibrant, beautiful, inexperienced and potentially unreliable; where old is withered, gnarled, muddled, wise and patient.
To begin, maybe we need to understand the endemic patterns and attitudes to age; to really see how pervasive is the imagery we are fed, the lines we learn to speak and the narratives we adopt. Maybe we need to become sensitive, really sensitive to language, media, family lexicon and marketing. To become mindful of our own learnt prejudices, awake to our personal fears and then we learn to begin again, free of limiting stories, humble, curious and ready to step forward into fresh experiences and insights. Because as Byron Katie explains so eloquently, ‘A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.’
We have a family friend whom my teenagers refer to as Bill the Legend. He skis hard all day with my tribe and he enjoys a glass or two of red wine in the evening whilst sharing erudite stories of his last trip in the Autumn, cycle touring through Vietnam. He runs twice a week and cycles three times a week and is always at Colwell Bay with the triathlon club on a Monday night for half mile swim. He is one our best friends and is only three years younger than my parents who are in their four score years. Yet Bill is an ageless, joyful and sensual man, who has friends that span three generations. Abraham said of his tribe…
‘We are not proponents of a long life. We are proponents of joyful life, and when you find yourself in joy, the longevity usually follows. We do not count the success of a life by its length; we count it by its joy.’
To my mind, pleasure is a sparkling gift or special power (siddhi) and key to liberating us from the narratives of defining ourselves by numbers. Imagine tapping into an abundant well of delight, love and beauty regardless of the how many turns around the sun you’ve lived. This is not the superficial pursuit of easy gratification driven by an unconscious acquisition of power and status; no, this is a deep spiritual connection to shakit or personified in the goddesses Lakshmi, Kali and Kamalātmikā, where pleasure brings ‘our consciousness alive to the perception of earthly beauty and delight, including sexuality in all its forms, and to embrace the possibility that the fulfilment of material and physical desires can in fact be a part of a soulful unfolding of our spiritual evolution’ (Uma Dinsdale). In this way pleasure and sensuality frees the feminine energy of shakti, unblocking stagnant samskaras that hinder health and happiness thus reconnecting us to the source of vitality.
There are communities on our planet that have a larger than normal percentage of centurions who are healthy, happy and sparkly, these are known as Blue Zones. Geographical areas where the natives value clean food, active lifestyles, a strong sense of community and neighbourly connection. Western scientists curiously studying their lifestyles note the vitality and happiness of the residents. Longevity and contentment has not been achieved through fear of being perceived as past it or crone like, but by living simply, fully and connectedly, because ‘good health starts upstream with emotions and thoughts - not supplements and medical tests’ (Dr. Christiane Northrup)
So we dance, we love and we swim with life, moving our body joyously, tapping into the source through pleasure. Yogis do this on their mats, dancers do this to music, cyclists do this across a landscape, because vitality is unstoppable, like numberless blades of grass emerging from the dust after the rain storm passes. Our call to be mindful of our language towards ourself, mindful of the conditional programming we’ve adopted towards our age and mindful of our thoughts is ongoing work, but so very valuable and the kindest most natural serum of agelessness - the anti-venom for ageism.
Open you heart, fling you hopes
high and set your dreams aloft.
I am here to hold you hand.
Radiance is a 6 month course for navigating peri-menopause , menopause & post-menopause, booking opens September 2020.