|The Mystery within...|
I attended a retreat on the lives and writings of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung and the Jesuit priest, scientist, and mystic, Teilhard de Chardin. At the closing session we were asked to share if we had hope for the future, and if so, what gave us that hope.
I said I was aware of many crones in our group and that gave me hope. One of the men asked what a crone was and another man responded, “A crone is a wise woman.”
I looked forward to this retreat since Jung and Chardin’s writings were important to my healing and new life that came from the struggles I wrote of in my memoir. I read to the group the following two paragraphs from Estes that I included in ”God Never Hurries.”
"The Jungian psychologist, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, describes the attributes of crones in, “Women Who Run with the Wolves.” She is the '…Wild Woman archetype, the innate instinctual Self, …the mucky root of all women…' going about the '…work of soulful reclamation…a creative fire…a force that women cannot live without.' Wild women know '…instinctively when things must die and when things must live; they know how to walk away, they know how to stay.”
“In ‘being good,’ a woman closes her eyes to everything obdurate, distorted, or damaging around her, and just tries to ‘live with it.’ Her attempts to accept this abnormal state further injured her wild instincts to react, point out, change, make impact on what is not right, what is not just.”
I told the group Estes' book put me on a new, although very difficult path, where I learned to make major life-giving changes. One of those struggles involved leaving the church of my birth. After I confided my angst with a trusted priest, he told me there are two ways change happens. One was to stay and work for change from within; the other was to promote change by leaving. The relief I felt in leaving was so very freeing, and I could still respect those who chose to stay and work for change from within.
I concluded my comments to the group with Teilhard de Chardin’s prayer about learning trust, “Above All Trust in the Slow Work of God,” that closes my memoir. I told them whenever life got really tough somehow that old Xeroxed copy of his prayer would find me and give me strength. Also comforting and endearing for me was Chardin’s deep respect for women and his understanding of the Divine spark in everything and everyone. Even though he was rebuked in his lifetime for his beliefs, he trusted in the slow work of God his loving vinedresser. In his words:
Yet it is the law of all progress that is made
By passing through some stages of instability
And that may take very long time.
Which takes me back to Carl Jung and his belief that we have to face and feel the darkness that comes with life and let it teach us. And so it was with me. Growth only came after leaning into my pain, reflecting on it, and working through it.
What if we all found hope for the future in both the light and darkness of our lives?