Activism/Advocacy

Join the Rising!

It all started whenI was trying to write a clear, sensible description of this project for you. And then this bit of blazing (and, a bit salty) honesty fell out…

“This culture is epically fucked up and I'm done with living under and watching other womxn live under these conditions. I've bled fiftyfuckingseven years of my life into the sucking pit of patriarchal need that passes for society in this country, and I'm not giving one more drop of my blood, sweat, creative and emotional energy. Not. One. Drop. More. And, I'm going to do my damnedest to see that no other womxn does either.”

So now you’ve caught a glimpse of the fire in my belly that has me creating a project exploring the power of older womxn when they break free from the expectations and limitations enforced by society.

And, calling myself - calling women like us - rebel crones starts to make a whole lot of sense. 

This community project is about sharing powerful stories from crone or soon-to-be crone womxn who are living and working outside the boxes ageists and the patriarchy want to put us in. It’s meant to inspire, encourage, and offer a feeling of solidarity to womxn approaching and in their crone years. To help us refuse the aching, confusing, enraging, socially imposed isolation and invisibility we experience as silvering, softening women of deepening years. 

 

A bit about Ageism and Rebel Crones...

One of the first bits of information I uncovered while down an ageist-keyworded rabbit hole last year was this: we internalize the age stereotypes of our culture at a very young age - often as young as 4 years old.

So, before we’re even able to fully understand who we are as people, we’ve absorbed and internalized that when we reach a certain age we will become whatever the cultural myths tell us we must become. In this culture? That’s not something life-affirming.

Ageism is both insidious and pervasive. Disentangling from it takes walking each day - hell, each moment - with presence, self-kindness, and good people to lift us when we inevitably falter.

The more I think and write about this, the more womxn I talk with about it, the more I realize that circles of womxn moving in solidarity are key to instigating change for us all. Key to taking back our culture, making it a more life-affirming, nourishing, respect-filled place to live. 

Being a rebel crone is as much a feeling as an action or an attitude. 

It’s the bone-deep memory of council fires where wild and woman voices wove to create wellbeing for a community. 

It’s the echo in our cells of 13.8 billion years of growth and change and resilience. 

Being a rebel crone isn’t just about redefining how aging or eldering is viewed in this culture, it’s writing an entirely new story about what these years mean and how they can be lived. 

It’s about each womxn defining her cronedom for herself. The rhythm of it. The ease and joy of it. The service and responsibility of it. The sacred space of it.

It’s not accepting ANY of the current myths or stereotypes for 50-ish women like...

--- we must somehow stay eternally youthful

--- we must quietly fade to invisibility as spent, useless husks

--- we must be sweet, cooking-baking, there for everyone, no sense of self grannys

--- the changes in our bodies make us less innovative, creative, courageous…

Coming together. Witnessing each other. Sharing our stories. Defying the invisibility imperative. That’s the antidote. 

You and your story are the antidote

 

What we’ll be doing...

Sharing stories and conversations throughout September 2019 meant to: 

  • nurture a truly thriving ecosystem of womxn, who are learning together, supporting each other, trying new things, creating and innovating, bringing unique dreams and perspectives into a world that might have otherwise lost these contributions.

  • expand community for all of us involved. This can look like

    • pooling our audiences and getting more eyes on our work and people on our mailing lists for the business owners among us.

    • making connections and founding a local or virtual crones circle.

    • feeling supported enough to start a project or take the first steps toward actualizing a long-held dream.

    • finding the solidarity necessary to share your own rising crone story.

Basically, starting on Sunday, September 1st those who sign up will begin to receive emails from me featuring rebel crones sharing their stories or some aspect of their stories. The stories could be written, told in images, a short video or audio…

Something luscious and inspiring to go with a morning cuppa. Something we can let settle into our bones and lift us throughout our day.

At the end of the project, I’ll weave together all of those stories into a shareable, downloadable ebook for us all.

Ways to join in...

The best thing for you to do is click the button below and pop your email address in the form - that way you'll get each crone-womxn’s offering delivered to your inbox in September. You can join in at any time and at the end of the project you'll receive a beautiful shareable, downloadable ebook.

—> You can join us in the Facebook group where we’ll be having conversations about the day’s rebel crone story. You’ll be able to meet sister crones or crones-in-waiting. Maybe find some solidarity and good folks to walk with…

—> Hop onto one of our Zoom calls to dive in - live - to some of the themes and questions emerging from our conversations in the Facebook group and on Instagram. So much can happen in a good conversation! (Call details will be announced in the Facebook group.)

—> Use #rebelcronesrising when posting about what’s making you feel like rebel crones these days.  

Take up space ... please!

I'm slowly reading - or maybe experiencing is a better word -  Margaret J. Wheatley's book "Who Do We Choose To Be?"  It's one of those books that offers unglazed reality so wisely, with such compassion, that I cannot rush through, nor can I stop. I keep going back to read bits over and let them sink deeper into my body. 

The words are jiggling loose unconscious assumptions - the kind that have been keeping my choices small and meek. Cracking my little bubble world more and more open. Holding up uncomfortable truth with such clarity I find myself drawing closer, rather than turning away. 

Her subtitle really gets to the heart of what she explores in this work, "Facing Reality. Claiming Leadership. Restoring Sanity."

The world has been feeling like a pretty intense and insane place lately.

That's why I'm asking ... encouraging ... imploring you, body-wise, highly sensitive, multipotentialed folks to take up space. 

Let me explain...

The more intense the world feels, the more likely we are to retreat - anemone-like - into ourselves. Staying present feels hard. Taking up more space than usual - harder. It seems to be the opposite of what feels safe and looks sensible. 

Yet, our ability to sense underlying emotions, to observe and absorb information others are not seeing, to deeply process and integrate all that input and see long-range possible outcomes not obvious to 80% of the world -- that's the role we play for our species. That's what we're wired to do. 

So especially now, when western cultures are locked into extremes of behavior and beliefs, retreating into lizard-brained survival mode, now is when our trait is deeply needed. When our leadership is deeply needed. 

Taking up space becomes both revolutionary and evolutionary. Literally evolutionary, in the biologic sense.

Janine Benyus said, "Life creates circumstances conducive to life." Ecosystems - and human communities are absolutely ecosystems - respond to threats to life by evolving new resiliency strategies...by foregrounding the members who enhance life-affirming acts. When we take up space, we're creating circumstances conducive to life.

We love, we empathize, we feel what’s happening to our communities in our marrow. AND…we are uniquely qualified to midwife small, local changes that will make a difference.

We do it every day when we use the gift of our differentness in our practices, easing people who are suffering. 

"So much is possible if we consciously and wisely choose how best to step forward as leaders for this time." M. Wheatley

(If you find taking up space daunting, let’s have a (free, no pressure) tea….)

Terrified and hopeful

Recently, driven by a restless yearning for thinking of substance and concern for the future of this country I call home, I've been drinking in great gulps of Terry Tempest Williams' "The Open Space of Democracy."

It started because I’ve been trying to stay present and engaged in the events of this world and that’s tumbled me like a river stone and deposited me into a space both terrified and hopeful. I’m qware of systems - natural, social, and political - collapsing. I can smell the salty tang of evolution in the wind.

My wild she-who-remembers-her-interconnectedness self understands what’s happening. My indoctrinated-in-separateness human self wants to panic.

When I take several steps back and look from the outside, this divisive and chaotic mess looks like the decay it is. In our collective ecosystem, diseased old trees are beginning to fall. Space in the canopy is being cleared for sunlight to reach through. Soil is being made. Fertile places are being prepared for new systems to set their roots. It’s death so rebirth can happen.

Seen through the eyes of one fragile human who depends - or thinks she depends - on the collapsing systems for survival, it's hard to remember this. Hopelessness and apathy stalk me, snarling softly.

So I turn to the words of one who has walked this trail before me, finding both solace and warning.

"Expect anything.
Patience is more powerful than anger. Humor is more attractive than fear.
Pay attention. Listen. We are most alive when discovering.
Humility is the capacity to see.
Suffering comes, we do not have to create it,
We are meant to live simply.
We are meant to be joyful.
Life continues with and without us.
Beauty is another word for God."
- Terry Tempest Williams "The Open Space of Democracy"

Image credit: Unsplash


Poet's Rebellion

Despite having blogged fairly prolifically over the past decade, lately I haven't wanted to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) in that way. I mean, the aversion has been almost visceral. I haven't even wanted to journal. And though I've never been wildly consistent about journaling, it's always felt like home.

Trusting my voice, my internal guidance system, has been an unfolding and daily practice throughout my life. So, it took a bit for me to realize that I wasn't just being lazy or crazy, or avoiding writing. My body wisdom was adjusting how I move through my days to meet my emerging, changing creative rhythms as a crone. I didn't want to write the way I had been writing because my writing needs to take on a different cultural role.

An oh-so-wise pre-crone friend reminded me that, as crones, we've moved outside the confines of patriarchal attention and expectation. We've been dismissed, therefore we're off the radar. Which is bullshit, yes. Their loss, definitely. And...it also offers us maneuvering room those still being tracked don't have. We're in a position to be uniquely subversive.

When I finally wrote again this morning, what flowed from my heart to my fingers was a poem I've called Poet's Rebellion. Because confining my words to well-regulated structures? Yeah. Not happening.

constraining my
wet-from-the-muse-womb
words to structures
breaks me a little
each time

to confine them in boxes created
by a culture gone mad
with categorizing and naming and
keywording and tagging

I
simply
cannot

each word
each breath-infused
syllable
is a tiny fragment
of livingness

and yes life,
she has rhythms and
patterns and
life-giving structures
that teach unfolding
generations how to
create life anew

but - oh my aching heart -
they are life-giving structures
not the stranglehold of
stagnating expectations found
in so many corners
down so many virtual alleys
in this conform or
be shunned culture
in this conform
and die slowly
society

to type letters
and coalesce them into
wordscapes meant to free
is both smile-inducing gift
and shoulder-bowing responsibility
to give them life
then shackle them to
the weight of “musts” and
tangle them in the bindweed
of “isms”

I
simply
cannot.

Poet’s Rebellion © 2019 Tracie Nichols

Applying nature’s wisdom to social change work

Applying nature’s wisdom to social change work

I have these groovy cards (kinda like flashcards) from Toby Lynn Herzlich of Biomimicry for Social Innovation.

They talk about applying nature’s wisdom to our social change work.

To restructuring leadership and organizations as living systems so they are more effective.

To making organizations function as living systems based on the principles of life so they are creating conditions conducive to life for all life. Human, more-than-human. All of us.