Isn’t it interesting that little old ladies are stirring up my life lately. I spent most of Saturday with a large group of women as part of MetroHealth’s EveryWoman event. I challenged the audience to find a great older lady as a mentor and to develop a relationship with her to help your own aging process. I explained that my favorite feisty mentors are not related to me, but have a few things in common – they are widows, they stick to their values and they have put their fears aside. Widowhood is my worst-case scenario, and also a likely possibility when statistically women outlive their husbands by several years. Finding active and joyful widows like my mentors Judy and Margaret give me faith that my later years will be awesome no matter what. On Saturday it was heartwarming to be approached by so many happy widows who personally stopped at my book table for a hug and a kind word. More mentors for my team!
Many of my friends also know that I have been immersing myself in study of the life of the 12th Century German nun, Saint Hildegard of Bingen lately. I suppose this is another part of my obsession with older women. The more I read about Hildegard and the translation of her actual words, I feel as though she is a time traveler who visits me in spirit. We are so deeply connected it puzzles me how this could be so strong when we live in such radically different times. She has so much wisdom to share as I realize my journey with her has just begun. It is no accident that the Pope finally named Hildegard a Saint and Doctor of the Church on Oct. 8, 2012.
Yesterday I took a 4 mile run while listening to Hildegard’s music on my headphones. It was haunting, calming and so beautiful. As I returned to my desk, I found the following quote that gave me chills:
“But although I heard and saw these things, because of doubt and a low opinion (of myself) and because of the diverse sayings of men, I refused for a long time the call to write, not out of stubbornness but out of humility, until weighed down by the scourge of God, I fell onto a bed of sickness.”
(Scivias, Preface) – Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard lived to be 81, although she is described in many historical accounts as having been a sickly person. She was considered sickly when she entered the Benedictine abbey at the age of 8 and had several near-death episodes throughout her long life. She admitted that her greatest times of illness came when she had mystical visions and messages from God, but failed to share that truth with others. When I read that quote, I thought to myself, “Me too!”
Do you realize how much energy it requires to hide your authentic self and your truth when you fear that the rest of the world might not agree? All that hiding can make you sick. It has happened to me and through Hildegard’s time travel and mentorship, I too have learned that it has to stop.
I have been hiding a few things out of fear. There are things I know that you also need to know, but I haven’t shared them because I didn’t think you were ready to hear them. Hildegard tells me it is time to speak up anyway.
The power of health, healing, success and joy comes from the energy of love in the form of connection. This connection is possible with humans, ALL living things and also with what you might consider non-living matter. You have the capacity to build your energy by simply taking a micro-moment to stop, notice and appreciate what’s around you. You need not use your eyes, although eye contact sure makes it pop! Take time today to appreciate the world around you and especially those wonderful old ladies in your life. We all need the wisdom of a feisty woman to help us live in joyful authenticity.