I wrote recently about the British woman with the squinty eyes and a flower tucked behind her ear who told me her mantra at turning 50: “No more bullshit, darling.”
Time is short. Too short for Donald Trump, too short for Great Britain leaving the EU. Too short for Monsanto and much too short for a self-interested Congress. Too short for bad, greasy food and definitely too short for rude drivers. Too short for technology masquerading as progress.
None of that is going away, I know. But I am not letting it in here. My best deflection and protection is in here – deep down, an ember that needs nurturing, an ember that can only help others if it is tended and allowed to fully bloom. And the outside layers of me — the parts of me that said “yes” and “sure” and even “maybe” to way too many unnecessary or quasi-questionable propositions and obligations — need to start shedding.
My friend Malu told me about a seal she’d once seen on a beach in California. The park service had surrounded it with a fence because it was molting, a highly painful experience that one needs to do in private before emerging anew. Malu and I agreed that we are both molting, and as I’ve shared this metaphor with other women my age they’ve taken to it immediately – to the point where I think we need molting spaces. Retreats where women can go and be together but apart from the rest of society as they release the baggage of parenting and marriage, of being a daughter and a caretaker, of being the person who makes both cupcakes and a salary. Molting until the essence of that ember can shine through – not only beautifully but fiercely.
I am considering what I can shed. What is absolutely necessary. And what is either harmful or sapping me (and ain’t that the same thing?). Look around at each and every thing in your life – from physical objects to relationships and from habits of the mind to the food you ingest — is it serving you? Is it feeding your ember? If not, consider shedding it. Travel lighter in order to become light itself, a light you can share with others.