A few weeks ago the doctor told me I am completely healthy, good news that stemmed from all those tests I took last month having come back normal. He also let me know that I am post-menopausal i.e. my ovaries have shut down and I am no longer capable of conceiving. I wasn’t totally surprised, as my periods– or as I have been calling them for years–my moons have been irregular for several years. This past year I had a 132 day cycle followed by a 23 day cycle and then a 54 day cycle. I haven’t “mooned” at all since last fall.
So what does it mean to a 44 year old woman to hear someone tell her that the choices she has made about not being a biological parent up until now are final and done?
A pang of grief for what could have been but never will be. A sigh of relief for the life I have created that suits me wonderfully, and offers me much joy, pleasure, peace and limitless creativity. A debt of gratitude to my dear friend who has gifted me the chance to be Goddess-mother to her one year old boy.
How many times have I watched women and men with young children and wondered what that might be like? Now I get to spend time with a baby, and I love it, at least the parts that I get to taste as a Goddess-parent.
Over the past two months I have begun to offer creative mentoring to women and men who want support to achieve their artistic dreams. I use the practice of Loving Inquiry, which I developed through my PhD in Education and Arts-Based Learning. I meet with my clients face-to-face, as well as send them written guidance in the form of inspirational poetry, questions to answer, and practices to engage in. I call these pages of exercises “Gates” after the chapters in my thesis.
Although the gates I use to teach are not the same ones I wrote there. Instead I have been rewriting them with new narratives that share my creative process and exercises to help them navigate their own.
Each gate I write is personal and unique to the client. I tailor it to their needs. I do this by listening from the heart, paying attention to their stories, feelings, journeys when we meet in person or on the phone. Then I carefully craft a 3-4 page “gate” with words, images, and practices that gently open them into creative exploration and reflection. I also name each gate, according to its chronological number (whether its the first, second etc…) as well as by the creative skill or spiritual quality which I feel would be helpful to them.
My friend Ariana who lives in California, and with whom I meet on skype once a week to write, says “Ahava uses the gates to move through a dialogue between her heart and the universe”. Certainly that is what I did in the thesis. However now I am not only dialoguing with my own heart, but with many other hearts as well. Perhaps it is the one universal heart that we are each a part of.
So what does being a Goddess-parent have to do with my new role as a creative mentor? Well, this process is always organic, unfolding and unique to each person I work with. It is also very intimate and playful as well as meaningful to myself and my clients.
At various times I have described my own healing journey as a form of reparenting. My first book of poetry is called Weaving of My Being, the acronym is WOMB. This work I am now offering is a deepening of my own journey, as I support others to believe in themselves, and learn to give themselves permission to fulfill their creative desires. I also teach them how to be gentle and compassionate with themselves when they encounter fears, strong emotions and other challenges along the way.
Now I see how my role as creative mentor is like a midwife, supporting clients to nurture their passions and give birth to their joy, aliveness and play. What a marvelous way to enter my crone years, doing what I love and helping others do the same.
Are you ready to embrace your creativity? Would you like some support to follow your heart?