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Mid-life Re-Awakening

Updated: Apr 17

As the erotic imagination has been re-awakened in me after a decade of slumber, I've been tantalised by the story of the Sleeping Beauty, only in this version, the spindle doesn’t draw any blood, or perhaps if the encounter with the wicked fairy occurs during perimenopause, the tiniest pinprick leads to a torrent of blood, days of haemorrhaging. Admittedly, it doesn’t sound anywhere near as sexy as the nubile beauty on the threshold of womanhood drawing the blood of menarche and falling into a deep slumber until her man comes to rouse her, or arouse her.

The older woman usually plays the role of the witch in traditional stories – the spurned, jealous, dried up old crone – but I think it's the turn of the woman in her fifties to take to the royal bed and recline in protracted rest for a hundred years. I have to confess, I have spent an inordinate amount of time supine in the last few years – in a state of depression rather than tranquil reverie. My bed has been my sanctuary, my company an array of cats with frequent visits from children seeking counsel and cuddles. My bed is one of the only pieces of furniture in the house that hasn't come from the dump or a house clearance. It has the most comfortable wool mattress in the whole world, and has drapes and silk pillows and fairy lights. It's been my haven as I have gently recovered my equilibrium after five decades of tramping through this unfriendly world brought me to my knees.

Having committed myself to a life of catdome – cats being so much more reliable than the men I’ve shared the last couple of decades with – an ancient Rishi spoke to me through the Tamil scratchings on an equally ancient palm leaf. There is a man for you if you are open to having a partner. Well, no I’m not! At my age, love can only bring more pain. Another destructive relationship born of my inability to choose wisely will bring havoc to my hard earned solitary peace, and a loving partnership has the spectre of widowhood, my being so much closer to the exit door now, and I can't bear the thought of that much pain on top of what's already passed. But it's curious how a question opens the door just enough to allow a stream of loving light to pour through the chink. This light has entered my bewitched sleep in the form of an introduction to a Taoist teacher and the beautiful meditations of integration between the masculine and feminine within. This is the beginning of healing wounds that I didn't know I carried.

When I discovered feminism in my twenties it was a revelation. It described what I had experienced in the family, church and workplace. It gave name to my suffering. Patriarchy and toxic masculinity are what I have encountered over and over again – in the courts, in relationships, in the institutional churches. I had come to believe that it named the truth. What Taoism is bringing me now is the opportunity to reconsider this. It's a story that had it's revelatory place on my journey, but I don't need to keep telling it. In fact, the repeated recitation of the story of toxic masculinity has the effect of producing toxic masculinity and it's counterpart, victimhood femininity. Now is the time for integration for me, and this begins in the heart. The simple act of looking within and smiling to the heart as it beats out my life's rhythm is one of the most beautiful gifts I have given myself in the last few months. It's a Taoist meditation that ignites love within.

As love is stirred in my heart, I find I am inexplicably drawn to new experiences of love. Love for the body in the form of intermittent fasting has brought healing and vitality. Loving friendships have opened up in every area of my life. In my work, the loving group hug with my Grief Recovery Method specialist colleagues at the end of the conference day, becomes a crucible of healing for each of us, and all those we will go on to serve. I can't count how many times strangers have told me I am beautiful in the last few months. This is such a new experience after years with a man who found my appearance repellent. I am encountering men who embody a beautiful, radiant masculinity – a far cry from the toxicity to which I had habituated myself. Men who tend gardens, offer healing, raise families and listen to grievers. The gentle touch of a male friend who has committed himself to a life of forgiveness, opened in me a portal onto divine love. Catapulted into transendence has, admittedly been disorientating, as anyone who has undergone a spiritually transformative experience will know, but it's also been exhilirating and liberating.

The magical sleep of the midlife beauty can be a rejuvinating dance through the stars when she allows herself love. True love. Self love. I invite you, mature women, to take your rest.

And, who is the prince who dares to cut through the thorns to the older woman's bedchamber? Well, that's another chapter. I'm in no hurry to wake up!

If you have experienced the grief of broken relationships or are navigating the rocky waters of menopause, please reach out for a free consultation with me to find out how the Grief Recovery Method can help you find healing after loss in just 7 weeks.

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