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Midlife Awakening: Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women
Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women. Stephanie's mission is to uplift women, helping them to find their voice and their vision at midlife and beyond.
Stephanie is a writer, speaker, and the author of Creatrix Rising, Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women.
She is also penned the award-winning book, A Delightful Little Book on Aging. A graduate of Naropa University’s program in Writing and Poetics, Stephanie was a contributor to The Rogue Valley Messenger in Oregon, and has blogged for Nexus Magazine, Omaha Lifestyles, Care 2, as well as Sixty and Me.
She’s a former I-Heart Radio host, and now a popular guest on podcasts, where she inspires women to embrace the strength and passion of their own personal journey and life story.
Stephanie’s mission is to uplift women, helping them to find their voice and their vision at midlife and beyond.
Stephanie's Website: https://www.byline-stephanie.com/
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Welcome to the Heart Soul Wisdom podcast, a journey of self discovery and transformation. Moira Sutton and her amazing guests share real life stories, tools and strategies to inspire and empower you to create and live your best life. Come along on the journey and finally blast through any fears, obstacles and challenges that have held you back in the past so you can live your life with the joy, passion and happiness that you desire. Now, here's your Host Create the Life you Love, Empowerment Life Coach, Moira Sutton.
Welcome to season three episode 53, Midlife Awakening, Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women with our special guest, Stephanie Raffelock. Stephanie is a writer, speaker and the author of Creatrix Rising, Unlocking the Power of Midlife Woman. She also penned the award winning, A Delightful Little Book On Aging, a graduate of Naropa University's program in writing and poetics. Stephanie was a contributor to the Rogue Valley messenger in Oregon, and has blogged for Nexus magazine, Omaha lifestyles care2 as well as Sixty and Me. She is a former iHeart Radio host, and now a popular guest on podcasts, where she inspires women to embrace the strength and passion of their own personal journey and life story. Stephanie's mission is to uplift women, helping them to find their voice and their vision at midlife and beyond. So without further adieu, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Stephanie Raffelock. Welcome Stephanie.
So what inspired you to write Creatives Rising, Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women and please define the term creatrix?
Well, let me answer the first part of that question first. Because Creatrix kind of dovetails into that. There is an old paradigm that was put forth by the late poet and playwright Robert Graves, that was Mother Maiden Crone. He referred to the mother maiden crone as the his muse for writing. But I always felt that the gap between mother and crone was way too wide. And then, because I'm a word nerd, I don't really like the word Crone. I know that there have been some feminist groups that have adopted it and put a more positive spin on it. But the etymology of the word is from the old French carrion, which means the rotting flesh of dead animals. So crone was used as an insult. It entered the lexicon, somewhere in the 1300s. And the literal meaning of crone was disagreeable old woman. So I did not like the idea that in the graves paradigm, women went from their mother years, and then they were just disagreeable old women. I don't know of any woman who really wants that.
And you usually hear too, with men, they get gray, and they look more sophisticated, where women when they go gray, they're like, what you're saying, like the crone are older, or disposable,
and become distinguished, yes. And women become old and haggard, and crone like. So that is not my experience of women at all. I began looking for another word that would describe what this third act of a woman's life is about. And most of the words that I came up with like sage and wizard, magician, those are distinctly male words. And then the editor I was working with, came up with the word Creatrix. And I thought she had made it up. I had never heard the word I thought it was like, you know, part creativity that creates tricks. But what the word actually means is a woman who makes things. And it comes from the three Greek fates. There was a spinner, a weaver and a cutter in the three Greek fates. And the Weaver was called the Creatrix, a woman who makes things. So I decided that's really what the third chapter is about; we become women, especially after the motherhood years, who are creative, and we find kind of a new juiciness in that creativity. And we make art, we make writing, we make gardens. We make food in our kitchen. And we make fabric art and things and that's been my experience of women as they age is that they aren't done. You can't stick a fork in it and say, Okay, you're done now, you're insignificant or irrelevant. I think this is probably one of the most relevant times of a woman's life.
Do you think it's really changing in the world. Do you think with you know, I think growing up with a Canon Barbie doll, you know, that was sort of my, that's who you're supposed to be. And I did not look like Barbie. And frankly, I didn't want to look like Barbie. But you know, and then Botox and is keeping up appearances that you have to keep this youthfulness I think I read the other day, there was a an actress who's quite beautiful, physically, and I think also on other levels. She's now stated, I have been doing Botox, but I'm stopping. This is me now. So the women that step up and really say, you know, this is what we look like; we don't look like those touch ups. And what really is that installing in young girls that, you know, they feel like they have to look like that when they go older versus celebrating our uniqueness? You know, and our femininity, our maleness, like all everything about us what we embody as a human being spiritual being?
Well, I think it certainly instills in us this idea, and advertising is notorious for this, that our value is based on our appearance and appearance as defined by Wall Street. Appearance has everything to do with smooth, unlined skin, and a perky booty and no gray hairs. And you're right, that's not reality. We are not Barbie dolls; we are not meant to be objectified in that way. And yet, advertising continues to objectify us. We're told that if we use just the right cream, you know, we'll get firmer skin; if we do just the right diet we'll be thin enough. And so we miss the opportunity, often in this culture, to be who we truly are and to stand in the light of that truth and say, you know, people age and they change and beauty changes. And I really think it's up to us, as older women to redefine what beauty is for us and model it for other people. You know, I never once looked at my mother when she was in her 80s and thought to myself Jeez, she could really use Botox. No, she could, maybe she should dye her hair. I just never, you know; I saw her eyes and the way they sparkled. I saw the way she smiled when she was with her kids or her grandkids. And that was a beauty that was valuable to me, not the way she looked when I was six years old. But the way she looked as she was an older woman and a dignified, older woman going through this noble and remarkable passage, that is the third act.
Thank you. How can we literally now celebrate this Creatrix this new word, this new way of being? I know that you you step into talking in your book about the artists, the healer, teacher, as an Eliminator, can you expand on that? And that celebration?
And I don't think those are the only four categories. In writing this book, I think the Creatrix takes on many categories. So certainly if you're an artist - and I think that the artist, especially the older artists - really gives themselves to their ar. When your art or your writing or your music or something like that becomes bigger than you are, you really are giving of yourself to the world. So I think that's part of what Creatrix does as she makes things. And I also think that Creatrix is an attitude. It's not just you know, what you do, but it's an attitude with which you walk through life, that the Creatrix walks through life with an open heart, with a sense of gratitude, with a sense of curiosity, about the world; curiosity and gratitude as you age. I mean, that's like the saving balm for all of us, that if you can live your life in gratitude and curiosity and be open to learning new things all the time. I mean, that's great at any age, but what better way to age than with those qualities.
And that whole thing about expanding versus death like if we're just sitting and not moving or exercising or doing something new expanding our brain; it's sort of it's like, you know, life is magical, life is a gift. I've said this on the show before; my husband went through a health scare a couple of years ago and it was very scary and you know, was that the reason we moved? Probably part of it was you know, we want to be by water. We want to be sailing. We want to be out on water in nature and that whole thing about our life like you're saying curiosity and gratitude for life and appreciation for simple things like uh, you know we right now we have on this lawn we're getting it done but we have dandelions that came up here. And the other day there were buttercups out there. So instead of focusing on the dandelions, I said to Cliff, I said, "Look, there's buttercups", and then we started singing that little song, the Buttercup song; just have fun. Shift into that way of being,
Well, that is a great metaphor for life, isn't it? Are you going to focus on the dandelions or you're going to focus on the Buttercups?
Yes, yes. And we all know what we focus on we create more of so it's a choice. It's a choice.
It is a choice? Yeah.
What do you think, you know, aging? A lot of people, you know, they're afraid of growing older, they're afraid of dying. They're afraid of maybe getting a health scare, like I just talked about? Why do you think people are so afraid of growing older?
Well, I think there's a couple of reasons. One is that we don't really talk about mortality much in the West. It's something to fear when you don't know something and you don't know what's going to happen. I think there's a built in fear to it. And instead of seeing death is really an extension of life. It's just the next chapter, if this is the third chapter of life, then what's the chapter after this? Well, you can believe that it's death, and death, not necessarily in a morbid way. And people have lots of beliefs about what happens after death. And I don't think it really matters in a way. I mean, I've thought about it, the idea that energy goes on; I love the idea that somehow your energy goes on that we return to the Stardust from which we came. But at the same time, it could just be lights out. And after living a long, full life, and doing a lot, I'd be happy for the nap. So I think that, you know, mortality is one factor. And I think the other factor is that we're afraid of what can happen to us in older age. Now, this is certainly a time that if you're going to be older, you're living in the right time, because with advancements in medicine, and just what the individual knows today, about healthy living. Getting old doesn't guarantee that you get dementia; getting old doesn't guarantee that you're going to have Alzheimer's or be infirmed. And if you are in firmed I have a woman friend who uses a walker; she's in her late 80s now, and she is still publishing books. So she has found a way to take that she's not as mobile as she used to be, and still participate in life. And you know, what is it that we really want in life is we want engagement. And I think the lack of engagement is frightening to a lot of us. And I also think that you know, once again, advertising, and we're so bombarded with images of okay, you're older. So now you need depends. And now you need this medication and now you need this drug and on and on it goes. And it's not necessarily so. this is actually a pretty good time in history to be an older person.
And I think there are so many baby boomers and all these different people in that age group who, and especially let's go to the Coronavirus. Like, you know, people reassessed their life during that time period and are still doing it. And again, I love how you talked about that in your book. You mentioned you know how you felt Corona taught us this whole new changing paradigm, the old and creating the new earth. I like this where there's no division, bigotry, greed, inequality and despair. Talk about how you shared that. You shared it as a character. I thought that was very, very unique.
Well, I, I hung on to the idea that Corona is a living thing. It's a virus, and therefore has a consciousness and intent. So what I really wrote was a myth about the corona virus, and I personafied the virus as a beautiful woman who comes to the party and infects everyone that she meets. And what is the purpose of that? Well, I think that the purpose is that Corona came to shine a light on our culture. And it's not kind of like the bright light that we're used to talking about in a spiritual sense. It's an interrogating light, that shows the places where we're broken, because you can't fix the broken places unless you see where we're broken. So in in this country, the United States and I know you're in Nova Scotia, but what needed to have the light shined on it was the fact that we really have yet to come to terms with racism in this country. We have yet to come to terms with the disparaging polar opposites of health care in this country that you know, some people get good health care and some people get no health care. So those are the things that I believe the Coronavirus shed a light on for us to look at. And, and even if you don't like dive into the mythology of and the imagination of mythology, I think that what you said earlier is spot on; that Corona gave all of us an opportunity to reflect. Because we were at home, we couldn't fill up our life with busyness, and fill up our life with other people. Because in order to stop the spread of the virus, we needed to social distance; we needed to be at home. We couldn't be out in public doing the kinds of things that we normally do. And so for a lot of people that became reflective. How do you want to live your life? Who do you want to live your life as? And I know that for my husband and I, we got into a place of just really appreciating, sitting on our back porch in the morning, and watching the day come into being. And we have continued that onward; we're still not terribly social, yet. But you know, we're becoming more so as the days and weeks go by, and it seems like it's safer to do so. So I think that big world events like that are just like the big events that happen in our life. The universe is trying to wake us up to something, take a closer look, dig around in your psyche and find out what is the meaning of this for me, what is the true experience of this for me? And how can I help? How can this help me become a better person?
That's wonderful. I think that ties into self discovery. And as you call it, the mining process, I was gonna ask you if you could share an exercise, but those questions are the heart of the exercise. And you have a lot of that reflection in your book where you have exercises at the end of every chapter. And I think they're extremely valuable. One that really stood out for me - there were many - was really how you also looked at the generational with the women in your family to really look at that because it got me thinking about, you know. I knew my father's mother and father. They came to Canada from Scotland. So I grew up with them, but I never really got to meet my mom's mom and dad. I was very young under two, and they took me over to see them. But I didn't really remember that. And really to start questioning my mom to get that history now. What was your mom like? And she does share all that. My mom's gonna be 95 and she lives with us here. And then she made the big trip to Nova Scotia, which was big for us let alone, you know, a 94 year old at the time. But to really look at the, you know, your family, and the road they created for us to be who we are today. Do you want to share a little bit about that with your own story, because I thought it was very neat.
I mean, I think that the stories of our family are wonderful. And I and I have talked to women who say that, you know, they never met their mother or their grandmother. But I still believe that energy is with us. I believe that there's a spiritual DNA that is with us. It is the line of women that came before us that stand behind us, and are always there to support. So in my family, my my mother and I had kind of a rocky relationship.
Kind of hot and cold over the years. Her mother, however, my grandmother, Julia, was someone I was extremely close to. And she was really my introduction to the spiritual life. Although I don't think she ever used the word spiritual. It was a different generation. My grandmother Julia was a Catholic from the old country from Poland. Her parents had migrated here from Poland, and somehow had made it from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains, which is stunning to me. I think about how strong those women must be. Because it's not like they got on an airplane or train. You know, they made that trip in a wagon with horses. And so my grandmother Julia grew up in a little town called Elbert Colorado, which pretty much looks the same as it did 100 years ago. It's kind of amazing that for such a beautiful piece of land, some developer didn't snatch it up and develop the heck out of it. But it's still like this beautiful piece of land that kind of butts up against the hills, the foothills, and then stretches out onto the plane. And so it's also where my mother grew up. So there was three generations of women in Elbert Colorado; my great grandmother, Eva, who I never met in person until the day that my mother died. And my mother had asked to be cremated, which we honored. And then I wanted some kind of ceremony for her. And I wanted to scatter her ashes in her childhood home because she used to tell me about riding her horses out on the plains of Colorado. Well, how much love she had for that, and how much fun it was for her. So my brother and my mother's first grandchild and her first great grandchild, and I made the trek to Elbert, Colorado. And we scattered my mother's ashes in a little ceremony. And as we were driving back toward the highway, we saw sign - all of us at the same time - that said Elbert Cemetery. And I made one of those hard left's where you don't even put on the turn signal. And we went through the gates. And I said, I know that our great grandparents are buried here. And I drove up a little way. And I said, Oh, look, there's a sign up there that will show us the directions maybe to their grave site. Well, as it happened where I stopped the car was literally feet away from where they were Buried.
And I had such a sense that my great grandmother Eva was inviting us in that she was welcoming us. Because of some of the strife that I had with my, my mom, and that she had with her other children. There wasn't going to be a formal funeral, this was going to be it. And I thought, well, if there had been a formal funeral, other relatives would have invited us in and served as cold cuts. Well, we didn't get the cold cuts. But we got my great grandmother. And I just felt her presence. Even though I had never met the woman, I felt her presence that she was there to welcome us. And it was a remarkable experience. And I think that's something that is within all of us, is that power to tune in at a gravestone, or just in memory.
I have an exercise in my book, I'd love to share with your listeners, about that kind of ancestry, about the matriarchal lineage, because primarily I do write for women. But men could do this exercise, too, through the patriarchal lineage. So the exercise is this: I stand and I face a window in my house. And the reason I face a window is I want the light. And I close my eyes. And I just imagine that standing directly behind me, is my mother. And I thank her for all the little steps that she took to help pay a price and pave the way for my life. And then I imagine that standing behind my mother is my grandmother, Julia. And I thank her for how she paved away and paid a price for my life today. And then I go back to my grandmother, Eva. And it's the same thing, thanking her. Now, after Eva, I don't know the names of the women in that lineage. But I know that every single woman that stands in that line behind me, help to make my world a little bit better. That feminism and liberation, and those things don't happen because it's one big political fell swoop or it's one, you know, big, famous woman that makes those things happen. It's those things happen through millions and millions of little steps taken by millions and millions of ordinary women who collectively do the extraordinary. So I think that from time to time, standing in front of the window and closing your eyes and imagining those people and imagining a feeling tone from those women and saying thank you. That's such a powerful process. It's not just you out here alone; none of us are ever as alone as we think we are. And honestly, none of us are ever as broken as we think we are. We have lots of women behind us. We've lived that story too. And I think it's a good thing to tune in. And imagine how they would have done it.
You know, that might sound like a simple exercise. I was doing it as you were doing walking through it and it's an extremely powerful exercise and I'm an intuitive and an empath. So I see spirit and I consent spirit and talk to spirit and all those things. So as I was doing it, the room was filling up with women that I didn't know, but they've also came in to listen to you. So the room filled up here in my my very beautiful sunroom, with women and they're still here chatting away. So I love that you brought them forth. We know stories are very important. You referenced in your book women have long been for some time keepers of stories and the stories of women hold great power, just like you were explaining there. And it's important for us to share these stories and to write these stories. Where would you help somebody step into that and start that; just would it be with that exercise? Or how would you tell somebody to go start writing the stories?
Well, to write is to observe and to imagine. And so to engage the imagination to gain to engage the powers of observation, I think are the first things that we do. And I think that quiet is extremely important. So quiet is its own kind of prayer. And for me, I do a couple different kinds of writing. But I'm really big on journaling, just keeping a journal, it's not for anybody else, it's just for you. It's just so that you can get the stories out of you and down on to the page. Writing reveals a lot about who we are. It reveals an artistic side or a practical side. But that's where I would start is I would start with journaling. And then there are several books out there that can be used for priming the pump. I really like Julia Cameron's book, The Artists Way. It's been around for 25 years. And I know people that work that book every single year, and you find something new in it each time. I also like Natalie Goldberg> Her book is also I think over 25 years old now. And that's called Writing Down the Bones. And she gives you a lot of writing prompts. Because sometimes you know, you sit down to write and you go, wow, this is just a blank page. How do I scale it? So if you have someone that gives you a writing prompt, and encourages a certain direction, that gives you a way to start. And then from there, you begin to make up your own stuff like do I want to write about my family do I want to write about my own story? And you can write about your own story in one of several ways. You can write the truth as you remember it. But you can also fictionalize your story, because fiction contains pieces of your own life. Sometimes people need that buffer between them to write about their life. But no matter what we write, whether it's fiction, or nonfiction, it's all pieces of us. Many years ago, I taught a class at the Jefferson County Detention Center, outside of Golden Colorado, and I taught creative writing to incarcerated women. And sometimes it was hard to pull story out of them. I mean, these women were, they were getting ready to be sentenced, getting ready to move to a larger prison. There was a lot going on to deal with that was not pleasant. So sometimes getting writing out of them was tough. And what I learned was that if I took a couple of decks of tarot cards, and I'll tell you why tarot cards; if you've ever looked at a deck of tarot cards carefully, they are the most interesting images. Even if you don't read tarot, it doesn't matter. If you see someone standing over five swords, and you know, a body lying in the ground. And then off in the distance is a sunset. There is meaning and experience in that that is different for everyone. And I think sometimes those cards, those divination cards, have been around for a long, long time. But they can stimulate writing in one, and what I used to do is pass the cards around, and the women would find a card that they related to. And then I would just simply ask them to describe what they saw. Or I would ask them to make up a story about the card, what they saw in the card. And it was the most amazing writing. So that's another way to get the writing going. It doesn't always have to be well, I'm just going to sit down with my notebook. Now. You can sit down with something like one of those cards, or you can go through a magazine and find a picture that moves you and write about that. So there are lots of ways to get there.
I think that's wonderful. I've never heard anybody use that as a way of writing. I know for myself that I'm going to be writing some children's books and I just started here and there with them. But it's when I listen to music, there's music that takes me into the woods. It takes me into nature and deeper, deeper. And so music is one way that that I use to get into writing.
Yeah, and that's a really great way. it enlivens the senses it enlivens the ears; it creates a feeling tone.
And I love what you said about it takes you deeper and deeper and like, you know that the correlation between that and the woods because I think that nature speaks to us.
Yes, it does.
If there is a goddess religion, it is the temple of the forest. I believe that the forest holds our stories. And that when we go to a tree, we can we can ask for, you know, can you help me release the story that's in me? Because I think the trees hold our stories in safekeeping. I know that may sound a little woo woo to some people. But I really do that that it's not just nature and us. We are a part of nature, and nature is a part of us. So I think we do have the ability to commune with nature, and going into the forest and taking a long walk, or, you know, a hike, and coming back home and writing about the experience, writing about the observations. That's another way to go too because the forest in my experience is the sacred temple.
And that there's wisdom in the trees in the forest. And again, here in Nova Scotia, there's new birds that we hear here every day. And we have this morning again, the loon was out on the lake can call the Loon And I've studied, Ted Andrews' Animal Speaks for over 30 years, I've had that book. It's pretty warn, but I still kept the original one that I have doesn't have a cover now, but still his book. And just when you study the animals, when they come to you through dreams or nature, through dreams to, you know, I go and I teach that, or I have taught it in the past with healing work, just how alive nature is. One of my passions is the fairy realm. And that's part of the book series that I speak to the fairy realm and off in the forest off our land here to one side, it's just forests, very rugged forests. But I'm starting to create fairy paths. Yeah, and and my intention in the future is to have retreats, bring people to Nova Scotia, see the whales. I love this country. I felt like I've not just felt like I've come home by moving here. I've never felt that in Ontario ever in my life. But here in Nova Scotia, I feel like I've come home and and to bring people here and play on the kayaks and swim in the lake and go into the fairy realm and go meditate or just sit on a stool or that whole thing. So it's not woo woo for me, because I would think my brothers used to say I was, they didn't use that term woo woo. But it's all of who I am. And you know, that's just who I am. So yeah, that's wonderful. Well, let's, let's talk about dive into the passage of menopause for women. I know that you talk about when you embarked on that path of awakening, and that roller coaster of emotional and physical symptoms that we experienced during menopause. I was pretty happy with menopause, I went to the other side of menopause. So I don't know if I celebrated it. I think I more celebrated when I was on the other side. But let's talk about that as a spiritual bridge. And just how do you see menopause?
Well, that is how I hold menopause. I hold it as the spiritual bridge; I hold it as the entryway into the third chapter of life. And I think that it can be for a lot of women, there can be a lot of hot flashes, cold flashes. There can be you know, emotional surges. It's a wonderful time to take a look at the emotions that come up and what feels incomplete. What needs - to ask oneself the question - what needs to be healed? What needs to be looked at? What needs to be soothed that I'm still feeling this rage or these tears? Or, you know, what is it? I don't believe that it's just random. I believe once again that, you know, the universe is inviting us to look at certain things. I read a lot of literature from people like Teresa of Avila. And gosh, how do each of Norwood different women who in the 11th 12th 13th centuries 14th centuries, talked about burning with a love for the divine. And I came to this conclusion within myself, you know, based on no scientific evidence, but just a gut feeling that in talking about that burning for the divine, that they were talking about what hot flashes were for them. And so that's how I held hot flashes was that it was a burning for the divine.
I love that.
Something greater for something better. And that's what those surges were. And so it's once again, so much of life. The Good Life, I believe is, what your attitude is, and what you're willing to assign meaning to, and what your attitude is about. Whether that meaning is positive or negative. So I held menopause in a very positive light. And I definitely had some years of symptoms, and hot flashes and emotional times. But it was also a time when my creativity really started to blossom. So that's how I hold menopause. And not to take away if you want to have a good day of, you know, whining about all of it, I think that's perfectly acceptable, too. But the overall picture of menopause, if you can see it, as a bridge as a pathway to that next part of your life. You cease to create children at menopause, you're not going to be able to have children anymore. But you can birth, creativity. Next, the universe, I think abhors a vacuum. So it's like if one thing goes away, it either morphs or transforms or is reborn in another way. And I think that's what happens to our mother energy at menopause is it's reborn in a way of creativity. You know, once the kids are grown and out of the house, it's like, Well, what did you give up? To be a mom and a wife? Or, just a mom? What what did you give up that you want to reclaim now? It's a great time for reclamation. And I have seen lots of women do that.
I'm just taking in what you're saying I would love to have had that reframe on it at the time. I also went into menopause quite early in my 30s. I was very busy still as a mom, and just very busy in life and business. That's a great reflection to share with other people. So we are in a time of new consciousness for women and men. We're in this expansion of this new way of being, you know, and so to start, you talked about celebrating ourselves, claiming our voices, embracing our years and growing into our wisdom. How do people who do not feel like they have a voice? What would you say to them to claim their voice, step into their power, being empowered and inspired and to really celebrate themselves? Who they are at a core level? What would you say to people who have challenges with that? They don't know where to start to claim their voice? Or do any of those things I just mentioned - I'm a little chunker. Stephanie. So that's why you got the big question.
Well, and I'm trying to think where to begin with that. I think that were for me, where it began, is that it really did begin with the writing process. I think anything that creates that you can do that's creative, or find something that you want to do that's creative. It might be knitting. It might be, here's my favorite during COVID. I started painting rocks. I'm not a good artist at all. But there was something joyful about playing in the colors and painting rocks.
I've done that, yes.
And then you go around, and you leave them in your neighbor's garden anonymously. So I think that anything that you can do that's creative, opens the door to the greater self. Then I think that we have to practice and what do we practice? We practice gratitude, and we practice curiosity. What do you want to learn? Is it maybe time for you to take that Spanish class? Is it time for you to take that watercolor class? I mean, one of the great things that came out of COVID is like, you can take almost any class you want online. It's amazing what's out there. And there's a lot of free stuff that's out there. I got involved in something called Zentangle. And there is a website called Zen, z e n then tangle as in the word tangle. To tangle up or make knots; zentangle.com. Zentangle is doodling at its height.
And for people like me that aren't really artists, to be able to take a little square, you work in these small little squares, and doodle in a way that it makes different designs. And you can do it on you know, with a book, you can buy the Zen tangle set and do it in a book or there's tons of free videos on YouTube where you can look up Zen tangle and practice and see if it's something we'll do I want to invest in the in the book or the pins or whatnot. And I did it for a long while for free just to see if I would really like it. And it's Just a really cool fun thing. Art like that, like doodling or painting rocks, takes focus. And any time you deliberately place your attention, your focus, everything gets quieter, and everything settles. And I think I said earlier, quiet is its own kind of prayer. So if you're in a point in your life, where it's like you're looking for what's next, and you don't know what direction to go, start with creativity. And when you're able to get to that quiet focus place, simply ask. Ask the universe, ask God, ask Holy Spirit, whatever floats your boat, but ask what is my next direction, and then listen, and it's an interior kind of listening. And little by little, as you develop that muscle, you will get direction. what's your purpose at this point of life? Maybe it's to hang out and be the best grandmother you can be. Maybe it's to be the best neighbor you can be. Maybe it's to be the best artist you can be. But everyone has a path. And when you have a sense of purpose, you just shave 10 years off your life. There's a vitality to having a purpose in your life, and a passion and loving that, and just loving life.
I love the part with the focus there too. One thing I picked up down here, in Nova Scotia is rug hooking, I had no idea what I was getting into or what that would take, or I didn't know you had to buy a stand. And you'd have to do all this stuff. It just, it just looked very interesting. And it's literally ladies here. People hang up their clothes out here on lines; I love it. Like when I was a little girl you did that. Our last homes we lived in, it was more or less against the law, you could not do it. But here it's all over Nova Scotia. And it's just so laid back. And so but when I'm doing that, I'm very focused, because I have to be as I'm putting it in it's and there's a there's a relaxing about it. You can't be somewhere else you can't be thinking about, you know, over there's there's dishes to do or that you're literally just rug hooking in the moment,
right. And anything like that, that pulls your attention in is so good. And by the way, I just have to say, sheets and clothes that dry on the line smells so good.
Yes, yes. The best? Yes, yes. And I just again, there's something about down east here, I love everything about it. And it's it's, you know, they give here free swimming lessons for everyone. And the reason they do it, we found out was because there's so many lakes and so much water with the ocean and the lakes, the rivers, and they want to make sure that you know how to swim. So I thought that was wonderful. Stay safe, stay safe. So tell us why you believe it's important to know your personal feminist history. How do you define that? And and why is it so important in your terms?
It takes me back to that exercise with the women who came before us that paved the way and paid a price. We think of feminism or feminist history as something that happened outside of us, you know, that was about Betty Friedan, Candi Staton and Gloria Steinem, but it's really about us. And feminist history is something that happens in every single family, if you really think about it. There was that first woman in your family that wore a pair of pants to go to work. There was that first woman in your family who went to college; there was that first woman who followed her dream and, and worked with, as you know, with iron, not ironing but with wrought with wrought iron. And so these are once again, those million little steps that women take. And I think that when we realized that the women who came before us did their absolute best to live life on their own terms. By their doing that it helped us. I think that we tap into something that's great and wonderful. So that's the power of knowing your personal feminist history. And it's not necessarily that you know, because of your mother, this law was passed, but maybe something that your mother did contributed to a law being passed. I think about my mom when I was 11 or 12 years old. She quit a job because it was the only recourse that she could take. She quit her job because she found out that her male assistant who had just been hired and she was with had been with the company already like seven or eight years. He was making more money than she was. And she went to her boss. Now she was a single mom. And she said, why is my assistant making more money than I am? And her boss looked at her kind of perplexed and he said, Well, please, oh, he has a family to support. And she looked him in the eye. And she said, So do I. And she quit. It was the only recourse she had; there was no equal pay for equal work. There was no Lilly Ledbetter Law in those days, but I think about the courage that that took, and how afraid she must have been. Because she was supporting not only herself but me. And you know, the good news is, of course, she went out and she got another job and was afforded more responsibility and continued to, to grow in her career. But just knowing that story; the law did not change because of her. But because of her willingness to leave a job where the situation was not fair. I think all of that contributes to the collective. And when we begin to see that the women who stand behind us have contributed to that collective, I think it makes us more grateful women, and it makes us want to lift up other women, so that we to make a difference in a woman's life.
Well, I again, Stephanie, the people are still here in my room, the spirits. And they're now sitting down, totally immersed in what you're saying. So I do want you to experience this experience. I want you to share your experience when you went to the women's march. You know, this was just a stand up for women's rights. And this was just after the president's election. What was that? Like? The whole thing about cat ears? We and I wanted to ask you this, on top of that, this is my little chunker going on. We didn't really hear about bit up here. So it didn't get the kind of press up here. Tell us how much Press Did it get in the States.
It got a lot of press, okay. Women's March was in reaction to the Trump election. And if you'll remember, there was a certain point in the Trump campaign, where he made a very lewd comment about "When your famous women will let you do anything. You can grab them by the pussy." I mean, it was just it was so gross. So inappropriate. And there are a lot of women who just didn't forget that. So in the Women's March, what happened - at the time I was living in Ashland, Oregon, which is a town of about 20,000 people. And there was a little article in the newspaper that my husband pointed out to me, saying that there would be about 600 people, and they were marching to, to really, you know, take back their dignity, to say we are not going away, and you don't get to treat us like this. And part of that March was and all of this kind of happened because of Facebook. It was one of the great things about social media. I sometimes have a love hate relationship with social media. But this was a great thing, because that's how people found out about the march. So women knitted these pink hats with cat ears. And of course, you get the correlation. And so I went downtown, the day of the Women's March, and expecting to find, you know, a few 100 Women in front of the library, because that's where we were all meeting. Well, first of all, we couldn't find a parking place. Second of all, there were 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of people at this March. I think the final number that was that there was something like 11,000 people from a town of 20,000 people, but people came from, you know, surrounding areas too marched. And I happened to be close to the front of the line, and we marched into Lithia Park. And I stood on a hill and I watched wave after wave after wave. But unlike the women's marches of my youth, these women's marches were filled also with husbands and fathers and brothers and children and they were multigenerational grandmothers, mothers and children. It was totally powerful. And I remember feeling so proud. And I remember feeling like this is a good time for women. This marks a shift and certainly the Women's March did mark a shift for us because on the heels of that came the #me to movement. And what was unique about #metoo was that millions and millions of women in this country who had put up with nonsense from men in the work environment and and please I'm not accusing all men because that I'm married to someone that doesn't behave that way. And I know a lot of men who have never behaved in an inappropriate way. And these, I'm sorry, my phone just went off and things.
I think it was kind of cool when it went off!
Okay, a little thing. So I think that what I was saying is that these people, these women, just, they made a mark and #me2 was like a little symbol to say, You are not alone in this, you are not the only one who has been through this. And so, #metoo happened on the heels of the Women's March. And then you saw that some real action was taken. Two very powerful men were called to task. Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby. And it was really the first time that it's like, no matter how famous you are, it's like there are consequences for this kind of bad behavior. And I do think it started with the Women's March. And I do think it has continued to this day that women are demanding their just due, their respect. Now, we have another battle in front of us now, because I think Roe v. Wade will be overturned. And I believe that there are certain well, not even certain, I think that all medical decisions that a woman makes about reproductive care, healthcare in general, should be private. So that will be the next wave. But dang, if there isn't a shift going on, and we are we are all part of it. And it's time. Yes, it is time.
Stephanie, could you leave our listeners with a passage from your beautiful book. And I'm, and I just think that would be a nice way to end our our heartfelt conversation today,
I'm going to read a little bit from what it is to tell the story. Our lives are made up of stories. Quests, that change, challenge and empower us. Reminders that this is the sacred journey that we call life. You can tell your story to yourself, just for its own sake. Or you can share your story in a circle of friends, where they have the opportunity to share their story too. You can write down your story; you can make a small legacy book for your family or friends. Art or photographs can be included. Or you can record the telling of your story. Or write a song about a slice of your life. You might become a podcaster, which is a new way of telling story. Telling your story will teach you things about yourself. And when you can see yourself as the heroine of your own journey, that story becomes your liberating force.
Just beautiful, thank you so much. Stephanie I now want to just segue into and thank you for that. It's so beautiful to hear the author read from your book. That just is more powerful. Can you share your special gift which you've - it's an exclusive live that you've are gifting our listeners today. The link to the gift and also how you can connect up with Stephanie will be below in the show notes.
Do you know I believe that I've sent you the link. And so oh like to say is that you will have that link to publish. If I don't have that I can send that off to you this afternoon. If you don't have that. Okay. And this is just a link of quotes that you can - from my deck of cards called Pocket inspirations - that you can keep close by to inspire you to live your best life in the third act.
That's beautiful. And I do have the link and I think people would really like to enjoy that and maybe even create their own inspirational notes everyday.
Stephanie thank you so much for sharing from your heart and soul, Your wisdom on midlife awakening, unlocking the power of midlife women, Namaste.
Thank you for listening to the Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast with Moira Sutton. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Please join our community at moirasutton.com and continue the discussion on our Facebook page Create the Life you Love1. You will be part of a global movement connecting with other heart centered people who are consciously creating the life they love on their own terms. Together we can raise our consciousness for the greater good of humanity and for our planet.