Certainly the most crucial step toward sovereignty is to know our Selves. After all our years as mothers and others, we need to reestablish who we are as individuals, separate and distinct from our relationships with those around us. Who am I if I am not a mother, a daughter, a lover, a wife, a friend, a partner, a teacher, a student, a boss or an employee?
Who am I if I am not associated with some undertaking, enterprise, creation, project, product or service? Who am I, in fact, if I just am? As I live and breathe? And how do I feel about it?
For these answers and the answers to all of life’s questions, we must look into our own heart and allow ourselves to feel our feelings, to own and embrace them for the wisdom they convey. We can only discover our own truth by paying close attention to the promptings of our inner Selves and to our honest reactions to the external energies that surround us. Marion Woodman, the Jungian analyst, writer and specialist in feminine development research, calls this process, “coming home to ourselves.”
An excellent way to start to know your Self is by taking a good long look at yourself in the mirror. This seemingly simple device is not so easy, as most of us are mirror-shy, accustomed as we are to using mirrors as weapons of Self-destruction.
- Sit comfortably and look into a mirror. Resist the urge to check your hair for neatness or your teeth for spinach. Under no circumstance allow your mind to travel toward judgment or critique. And be nice. Spare yourself those nasty little mind-jabs of disappointment and disapproval.
- Look at yourself as you would a stranger, with an open mind and an open heart. Do not avert your eyes, but employ them in a straightforward, fearless manner. Introduce yourself to the woman you see there. Let your eyes reassure her that you are friendly.
- Gaze into her eyes to try to grasp the sense of who she might be. Relax into that gaze and stay engaged for as long as you can. Peer into the depths of your being. What do you see there? What memories? What motives? What myths? What messages?
If the eyes are, indeed, the mirrors of our soul, we have much to learn by looking deeply into them. Like sending a bucket into a deep well and drawing up the clear, revitalizing waters of wisdom from the source.
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.