My Midlife Healing Sabbatical
And The Birth Of Midlife Fairy Godmother Enterprises (sm)
Fairy Godmother – “noun: A generous benefactor.” AND “a female character in some fairy stories who has magical powers and can bring unexpected good fortune to the hero or heroine.”
“For a long time I felt like a Cinderella
with my reality among the cinders
while I fantasized about the glass slipper.
Nothing was accomplished
until I learned I could be
my own fairy godmother
and all things became possible.”
The doctor said it was rheumatoid arthritis combined with seizures. He said that the way things were progressing I would find myself in a wheelchair in less than two years. I was in my late thirties, a single supermom of two daughters, solopreneur, and actively involved with designing alternative healing/empowerment ceremonies and practices for women. Little did I know that I would be using every ounce of knowledge I was imparting to others on myself.
His words shot terror into my veins. Until that day I treated myself like I was immortal. I drove myself like many women do. I literally chopped wood to heat my solar efficient home which I designed and helped build on 40 breathtaking acres on a private lake in rural Michigan. I was so proud of all that I had accomplished and it all felt like it was going to be taken away from me. The thought of never being able to dance again brought enormous heartache.
I realized that in a healthy society we would have places for people to go and be totally nourished and cared for when they hit bottom like I did. But our society is big on patching people up quickly through taking care of symptoms and sending them back out into their lives again….until the next problem surfaces. So I decided to give myself what my society didn’t have to offer in the form of a midlife sabbatical. It was my gift to myself.
After my daughters went to live with their father I stopped my current contemporary life. I owned my home so I took out a home equity loan and simplified my life tremendously. I literally unplugged from society: no newspapers and no television for five years. This became what is known by many other cultures as an extended “vision quest”.
I left unhealthy relationships and reexamined my entire life. I read hundreds of books and wrote nearly as many journals. Nature has always been my church and my home was cradled by her. I meditated on the words of my beloved mystics with walking meditations. I learned how to be in the silence and not resist the pain which was horrendous, but to accept it and go into it as I did in natural childbirth.
I had experienced two homebirths with midwives in my late twenties. During my second labor, I was merging with the contractions as I danced on the beach and dove into waves. It was a peak experience and I gave birth as soon as I got home. I knew I could trust my mind/body/spirit/nature connection now as well.
As the years went by during the sabbatical, I began to experience a peace that I never knew before. When I didn’t resist the pain it felt like someone was taking it and replacing it with warmth, love, compassion. The more I was able to stop any resistance and let it go into what felt like the hands of the divine mother, the less pain there was. The seizures had stopped early on and I was slowly becoming pain free. I continued to use the mind/body/spirit/nature connection through combining healing music which stimulated certain areas of the brain like Steve Halpern and Tom Kenyon with visual art like that of Gilbert Williams and Ken Wilbur. My body’s response was amazing. At times it felt like waves of ecstasy were moving through my veins.
The pain we experience in life is not always physical. We hurt in many ways and for many reasons. From early on we are encouraged to take something or do something to make the pain go away. This only gives us temporary relief and does not “root out” the cause of the pain. We continue seeking relief for the rest of our lives and in doing so, we ignore the growing malignancy which initially caused the pain.
This experience actually taught me that mental, physical, emotional pain is a marvelous teaching tool! It is telling us that something we are doing, or have done is not good for us. Our initial reaction is to push it away, however life is telling us to reach within. If we hurt enough, we just might be prompted to stop participating in those activities which are creating the pain. These can be habits, behaviors, persistent thought patterns, and automatic reactions to something we are observing in the circumstances around us or within us.
“Going into” vs. trying to escape pain is a skill that is well worth learning. It is a spiritual ‘life skill’. Why? Because when we push against anything…anything at all, we are only hurting ourselves. It is our resistance that is causing us the pain. We are in fact resisting life force energy. We are unknowingly pinching off our own life force! Even when it’s justified; like when we hate and judge others for doing bad things to others or the earth. The same goes for when we want relief from our own aches and pains whether they be physical or emotional. It’s not easy and life force energy does not seem to care about who is right or wrong. When we are in a resistant stance against something or someone, we are actually making it bigger, hurting ourselves and not the other guy, and pinching off the stream of life force energy that wants to flow through us.
The path of least resistance is about “going into” vs. trying to push away what we are resistant to. When we are wanting to harmonize with the universal principle of attraction, which many people are realizing is as important to us as gravity, this becomes our main challenge as well as our path to and abundant life.
As I kept going into my pain, I was drawn inward to what I call the inner beloved literally the love of my life, breath of my breath, bone of my bone… the essence of who I am as a soul. It was there that I met my inner goddess/divine mother. She revealed herself to me one day in a vision. I saw myself playing on the beach as a little girl. I heard some loud clapping and looked up to see where it was coming from. There was a fairy godmother perched up on a cliff. She looked like a grandmother with wings.
The minute I laid my eyes on her, I could feel a love so huge, so unconditional that it filled every cell of my body. She was delighting in my every move, my every breath, my presence. There was nothing I needed to do to have her love, just be myself playing and dancing on the beach. I realized that I was having the experience that each and every human being longs for…to be accepted and delighted in just for being who we are…without needing to make any changes!
This inner archetype and ally of the fairy godmother is the ultimate ally - healer, uplifter, enchanteress, nurturer. She will take our pain if we don’t resist it. She will shower us with unconditional love like a grandmother naturally radiates onto her grandchildren. She lives inside of us and if we quiet ourselves enough to feel her, she will show herself to us as well as the way to our vitality and wholeness for the rest of our lives. I decided to call her the Midlife Fairy Godmother.
When I decided to “reenter” the world, I had discovered that I wanted to continue working with women, but women who have been around the block a couple of times….maybe even to hell and back! These were women in midlife. The potential to turn our experiences into wisdom and use them to blossom in midlife is enormous! Especially because there is a midlife renaissance that is being birthed at this time in history. Baby boomers are used to being pioneers within every aspect of society. We are spunky, courageous, and full of heart.
Upon “reentry” I knew that life coaching was my passion as well as public speaking and creating seminars and workshops from all of the self discovery tools that I used during my sabbatical. The first coaching school I attended was the Ford Institute Of Integrative Coaching with Debbie Ford (author of “Dark Side Of The Light Chasers” and many books about reclaiming the shadow. After that I joined Coachville’s when Thomas Leonard first introduced it. It was obviously divine guidance which brought me to The School Of Personal Development and The Ford Institute Of Integrative Coaching! They are totally in sync with the concept of the path of least resistance through teaching us how to “allow” and “integrate” vs. push against our pain, discomfort, shadow, and anything we are resisting!
I believe that one of our goals in life as a human race is to become as little children using the trials and challenges we experience in finding our way back home. I kept experiencing in my visions and she has guided me in my second career helping women access and work with these types of inner archetypes to heal, to receive inner wisdom, and to learn how to play again in midlife. I turned 50 this year (2003) and I designed Midlife Fairy Godmother Enterprises . I am ready to launch into the second half of my life dancing and playing every step of the way! There is a song that goes, I’m gonna dance upon this earth and find joy in all this madness…living now….and feeling free! That is the vision that I have for myself and for all the midlife women who are choosing to become their own Midlife Fairy Godmothers.
I asked for strength and God gave me
difficulties to make me strong.,
I asked for wisdom and God gave me
problems to learn to solve,
I asked for prosperity and God gave me a brain and brawn to work,
I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome,
I asked for love and God gave me people to help,
I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities,
I received nothing I wanted,
I received everything I needed.
We have our high priestess or fairy godmother within us. Where we honor her is in the deepest part of our psyche. In ancient Egypt, she was known as Isis and was connected strongly with the rhythms and cycles of the moon. She offers us gifts of the spirit: the gift of inner guidance and universal love. Isha & Mark Lerner
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