By Guest Blogger JamillahNeeairah Nasir
Moving into eldership is a very subtle and, at times, off-putting experience. Seemingly overnight, the very respectful title of ‘ma’am’ is bestowed upon you; and that’s when you start to realize you don’t get carded as frequently when you go to buy your weekly supply of wine. Around that same time, you discover it takes a bit longer to unfurl yourself from a seated position and it has nothing to do with the wine you drank. Then you notice your hair and nails are growing faster than ever—which would be groovy if they weren’t the ones on your face and toes!
These subtle changes in our bodies along with our new social status can leave us somewhat crestfallen and confused. But if we embrace it, this season of shift becomes an opportunity to create more depth and meaning in our lives so we can express more of our authentic selves and celebrate becoming untethered to whatever doesn’t serve us. And that eventually leads to us becoming more fully actualized women; women who are free to explore the dreams, fantasies, wishes and desires we put aside while caring for our families, building careers and serving the world. When we give ourselves permission to grow with grace, we can roam about the globe being our most awesome badass selves, and by our example, we encourage other women to do the same!
Since I‘ve spent many months and countless hours pondering this subject while counseling and consoling myself and other women, I’ve been able to distill my list of functional tools and tips into five surefire ideas for discovering and creating a more joyous seasonal shift. This is a list of things I do that keep me from crumbling into a heap on the floor of my darkened office with a bottle of wine, a jail sized bag of chips and a pound of bonbons. (Because while that might get you through a particularly dark time, I can tell you it does not help you feel any better about life in the long run, so only allow yourself three days of this foolishness, tops!)
But here’s what does help in the long term:
- Establish Your “Committee” – This is the crew of women with whom you can be your most undignified, unapologetic and impulsive self, and whether you need to be celebrated or corrected, these are the folks you should call! These women lovingly show you your flaws, bring you another bottle of wine and gift you with a pillow you can punch! The healing presence of women who know the truth of who you are will infuse you with more of yourself so you can live to fight another day.
- Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable – Vulnerability is the conscious practice of dropping your identity and ideas about who you think you are so you can experience and observe what’s really happening in every part of your life. You must be willing to trust the women on your Committee and let them see your pain so they can help you walk through it. That becomes easier when you trust yourself and your intuition and believe that the Universe is always conspiring to give you a win!
- Be Gentle With Yourself – What you’re experiencing has value and meaning beyond what you can observe or express, but you can’t incorporate your findings into your next experiences if you don’t extend grace, mercy and forgiveness to yourself.
- Create Sacred Solitude Days – Plan solo daytrips that include nature. Take yourself to lunch. Take a hike. Listen to music that soothes you. Write about it. Take time to focus on what you want to see happen next and put your renewed energy behind that instead of what you perceive has been lost.
- Laugh Until You Cry And Cry Until You Laugh – Allow yourself to express all the emotions that encompass the Womanness journey and don’t allow anyone to tell you you’re too emotional! Black Women, especially, are discouraged from feeling all of our emotions and we’re rushed past these deep heart places, but there’s an immeasurable amount of power waiting for you there. Awareness of all your feelings makes you a more compassionate, grounded and healed woman for the next leg of your journey.
When we develop an understanding of and an appreciation for what it means to become an elder and take our place among the circle of wise counselors in the community, we’ll arrive at the circle of eldership as more whole, loving and complete beings who now have enough of ourselves to share with those who need our wisdom and guidance. So, don’t cheat the world–and please, whatever you do, don’t cheat yourself, Honey Darlin’!
Best Blessings for the Journey,
JamillahNeeairah Nasir (Mama J) is a mother to four grown children, a writer, and a retired birth worker. She’s the owner of Woman’s Work Consulting Group and Sweet Mama Jai’s Kitchen—A local specialty catering outfit. She also sells handmade gifts and personal care products to raise funds so she can pursue her dream of hoboing across country while her ankles are still strong. She is also a founding member of the Greensboro Kwanzaa Collective. You can follow her latest and future shenanigans on Facebook @RealWomansWork.
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