Go Where You Will, Say What You Want, Mend Whatever Is Within Your Reach
“The Soul, goes everywhere, like an old woman in her right mind, going anywhere she wishes, saying whatever she wants, bending to mend whatever is within her reach. ” ~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from The Dangerous Old Woman
We all have known a “dangerous old woman” or two in our lifetimes; an eccentric old aunt, or an elderly neighbor with an uncanny ability to attract attention. Perhaps she donned a wide-brimmed straw hat, a tattered old cotton skirt and rubber boots when she worked in her garden, like a woman I knew years ago when I was much younger.
Miss Millie was a woman who gave me pause even then. Focused on and completely engaged in whatever she was doing at any given moment, she seemed completely at peace in her own world, indifferent to what the neighbors thought of her attire or her Chartreuse front door. She followed her own rules, did her own thing, but was not in any way an isolationist. If she needed something, she didn’t hesitate to ask, and expected and invariably received, compliance from the asked.
Occasionally, as I passed by her house on my way home from visiting a friend, Miss Millie would call to me from across the street. Using gestures and hand signals she made it clear she needed a hand with something or other, a wheel barrow full of dirt or a heavy potted plant. I crossed the street, compelled by her straight forwardness and no-nonsense manner, whether it was convenient or not.
When the chore was done, Miss Millie insisted that I stay for a cold drink and a cookie, or some other freshly homemade goodies As we sat side by side in the two old rockers on her front porch, sipping lemonade or ice tea and munching on oatmeal cookies or scones, Miss Millie prattled with self-satisfaction about the job we had just completed.
Inevitably the conversation would turn to something going on in my world. She had an uncanny ability to know exactly what I was thinking and was adept at getting me to talk. Her penetrating eyes looked deep into my soul, and without effort, she invariably reached into a corner of my heart and pulled out some hidden hurt or joy that I had heretofore been reluctant to share with the world. The process of taking the thing out and looking at it in her presence managed, without fail, to make me feel stronger, and more within myself than when I had arrived. Miss Millie was a dangerous old woman.
Dangerous old women move about the world in a different way. They go where they want, do what they want, say what they want, healing the world as they go. They are not bound by the strictures of society or the rules that may once have led their actions in younger years. Instead, they live from the inside out. They embrace their creative spirit, let their soul be their guide and live and work with body, mind and spirit in perfect synchronicity.
A dangerous old woman lives within each of us. Though we may not wear a big hat and rubber boots to work in our garden, the power of self-expression and a soul guided life carries similar characteristics. It is the gift and opportunity of aging, the destination for all who dare to embrace the transformative journey and to all those who are willing and able to open their hearts and souls to receive it.