The Loss of Elders: PCC Book Club Reflections
Unlike humans, wolves do not deem the ups and downs of life, energy, power, food, opportunity as startling or punitive. The peaks and valleys just are, and wolves ride them as efficiently, as fluidly, as possible. The instinctual nature has the miraculous ability to live through all positive boon, all negative consequence, and still maintain relationship to self, to another. – Women Who Run With Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Storytelling is something of a lost art, and perhaps that’s why authentic elders seem to be further and further away from our lives too.
Every human being resonates with some aspect of ‘story’.
Words weave their way into our souls and reveal themselves when needed.
There was a time in my early motherhood when I recoiled at the more violent aspects of traditional folk tales. I loved to listen to ‘story’ growing up, and wanted desperately to share the wisdom, the fable of it all with my children...but I struggled to accept how they sounded to me as a young adult with characters occasionally losing life or limb. And I edited them.
But the thing is; life is messy. There’s no escaping it. Elders reflect back at us the physical degeneration of the body, and their faces shine the pain of their lost hopes and loves. The truth is; we often want to look away.
This book was explored in our Postpartum Care Collective Book Club.
Click HERE to learn more about the Postpartum Care Collective.
What we sometimes fail to see though, beyond the form, is the transformation and polishing of heart and soul that takes place through embracing all the wobbles in life.
.,’All those moments, and relationships especially, which naturally involve the tolling experiences of conflict and adversity. These are the hidden gems of ‘story’.
In our age of sterilising everything and watering it down. Within the age of ‘my body, my birth, my baby’ and ‘I’m the expert and the centre of the (highly edited) stage of motherhood’. Maybe, just maybe we have lost some of the timeless beauty, goodness and truth that gruesome stories can weave into our lives.
The interfering old hag, the warts and all, the vulnerable heart of the giant at the top of a mountain.
They come from the collective wisdom of whole communities learning to live with each other, to cope with the loss of life and limb. Stories that generally make sense of our place in the world, right amidst those fading elders and the newborn child. The postpartum window is a time of acute receptivity to all that is wholesome and possible.
Birth connects, or reconnects us to the in-between.
I invite you to seek out the authentic elders in your own backyard.
They may be masked with interfering busy-bodying, shadowed by opinionated meddling and they may tell you to do things the ‘old school way’. But behind all that outward appearance, if they have trodden longer years on this earth than you or I, then let’s welcome and listen to the story behind the form. I guarantee we’ll receive some jewels of wisdom…even from enemies.
Writing compliments of
Mother, Doula, HomeopathOum Ibrahim birthed joyfully into motherhood in 1999 and has been serving women as a doula ever since. A mom of many, homeopath and soft tissue therapist, she is drawn to the rhythm and respect that Ayurveda offers for all seasons of life.
Oum has a particular fascination with the formation of community and relationships and you can read some of her ponderings here on the Sacred Window Blog.
Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.