Older Women*


We don’t think of ourselves as older women before we reach our late 50’s. At least I didn’t. Some part of me thought 40 would last forever & that was just fine.

I wasn’t haunted by the idea of aging. I was enchanted with the idea of embodied experience- still am, at least on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.

Of course, I had a few very good role models. One in particular has made this transition easier than it might have been by just being her wise, wild & wonderful self.

Some people said she spoke her mind too often & was unnervingly eccentric. They didn’t know the half of it.

Here’s my favorite story about her:

I’d just turned 20, she’d just turned 91 and it was her birthday.

She gave me vodka in teacup that day and taught me how to hold it so her more “sensible” visitors wouldn’t notice.

I adored her. She adored libraries, Mozart and licorice.

I read out loud for her, took her to the park, and helped decipher her notes. They were everywhere. She said she was writing a novel in the Russian style and its characters needed space.

This one she read out loud and gave me to keep. I still have it. It says:

“Can the essence of who you are-

The sum of all your possibilities

And the total of none be enough?

Can you be content

To kindle what is tender in your soul

And temper what isn’t?

Can you keep your eyes open

And your longing safe

From the today’s you’re always loosing

And the tomorrows that might never come?”

“I’m not that wise” I said, “I don’t know.”

“You will be.” she nodded, “more tea?”

At that moment, I wondered what she was like as a girl, and I still think about her every April.

© Willow-Marie Power 2013

*first posted on WP last April, but I thought of her today.


Soundless Things


I need to listen to soundless things -

Small shelters of everyday wonder and comfort

Playing hide and seek

Around the corners of my days 

Waiting to be found

Before they disappear “home free”.

Today I found -

The smell of sun in stacks of folded sheets,

How slow a sand castle tower can fall,

The pale green of still curled leaves,

The way rain fills a nook of young wood.

Tonite I wrote them on a list

Then folded it,

And tucked back in my pocket just over my heart.

I need to listen to soundless things from there.



Missing Pieces


“I just want to find all the missing pieces of me and fit them back together again”.

And there wasn’t a woman in the room that didn’t know what she meant.

We disown so many parts of ourselves in the course of our lives – the vulnerability, the creativity, the curiosity, the ambition, the anger. We create a sense of self that’s less than who we are to fit in, to be accepted by others, sometimes to survive. We  censor ourselves, lose them and forget they were ever part of us.

So when we become aware of that having happened what can we do to put those pieces back and live fully, authentically?

- name the pieces as you find them – “I feel excited right now.”

- remember a time when they served you really well – “ the last time I got angry, I cleared the air and got closer to___________ .”

- realize time has changed the edges and it’ll take time to feel as though the pieces really are yours – “I can’t believe I did that!”

- adjust, allow and accept the fragility of those ideas, feelings and behavior. It’s like any other ability; you’ll need to practice. There’ll be mistakes along the way. Forgive yourself  - “ I’ll get better at this, I did the best I could.”

And we do. Try by try we name, experience and integrate the pieces back into our sense of self.

So the next time you think “I never do that!”, or “That’s so not like me!” think again, maybe it’s a missing piece of who you really are and once you find its place, it’ll fit.

(image: Fine Art America)