Birds in migration, a nation of women with wings!
These are the words to a wonderful Goddess chant. I am one of those women with wings! And I’m not the only one!
In 1997 I made one of those “treasure map” collages. The idea is to tear or cut from magazines anything that calls to your spirit. When I was done and everything was glued to the poster board, I was surprised to notice I had three images of redwoods in my collage. (One was a seedling.) Seven years later, without ever once having had this as a conscious goal, I moved across the country from my lifelong home in southeastern Pennsylvania to California. I was off to get my master’s degree, at the age of 46.
After I got my degree, following a powerful intuitive feeling I had the whole time I was in Oakland, I moved to New Mexico. I had barely enough money to make it there, but it felt important to go, and so I did. I lived there for two years until I returned to Pennsylvania to help take care of my parents.
Mom had had a heart attack and I dove in to help with her care. I spent hours in the hospital with her everyday, and then again when she was in rehab, and then helping her in her recovery when she was at home. I also took on the job of preparing all the meals because she had diabetes that was not being managed well. Meanwhile Dad was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and was constantly losing his hearing aids or his wallet. I immersed myself in their lives while pretty much ignoring my own. I just didn’t have the energy to pay attention to me. Then, two years later I had a wake-up call. I was stunned to find myself with a diagnosis of early breast cancer. I took a full year to reflect on why I contracted the disease and what I needed to learn from it. At the end of the year I came to the profound but rather simple conclusion that it was essential that I stopped doing whatever I didn’t want to do and that I did do whatever filled my heart with joy!
With that insight came the realization that I really missed the Southwest. There is something about the land there that really calls to my spirit. So I did an exploratory journey to Santa Fe and Colorado Springs, trying to decide where I should live. Two weeks later I got a call from a friend I had met on the journey. She told me about a former client of hers who was offering lodging in exchange for work. I was interested, and when I heard it was in the little town of Crestone, I knew it was all divinely orchestrated. You see, in the year 2000 or so, I went to visit my friend Pam at her store, Spirit Song. There was a psychic there that day and, as business was slow, she gave me a free reading. It was a fascinating one, to which I still occasionally refer. One of the first things she told me was, “You don’t belong on the east coast. You belong somewhere like Crestone, Colorado.”
The above were just a few of the events which propelled me out of the life I had created in suburban Pennsylvania and into a rather nomadic and adventurous lifestyle which took me to California, New Mexico, Colorado, back to California near sacred Mt. Shasta; to Alaska, Maui, Wales and Brazil; on a pilgrimage up to Montana; and then, surprisingly, back to Santa Fe and Crestone.
But here’s the really interesting thing. I’m not alone! Everywhere I go it seem I meet other women about 60 years and older who are also traveling alone! Many have vans or RVs, and some, like me, stuff everything in a car and still manage somehow to survive. Some are retired, some of us are traveling writers, artists or musicians, some take little vacations like the “Sisters on the Fly”(https://www.sistersonthefly.com/ ), and some, like me, settle in one place for a while and then move on as they are guided.
I’ve heard some women speak with longing saying they wish they could travel like I do, but either they “don’t have the money” or they don’t want to be too far away from their grandchildren. I understand the latter. The bond between children and their grandparents is a very important one. But really, money doesn’t have to be an issue. People would be shocked if they knew how little I had. (And I have no credit cards either.) For me, it’s a matter of listening to Spirit’s call. When I feel a strong intuition, I assume I am being guided, and because my soul path is important to me, it’s my job to say yes.
One time, early on in the care of my parents, I had a powerful dream. There was no plot that I can recall, but three times I was told, quite directly, that I needed to go to Wales. Finally I said, “I’d be more than happy to go. Just get me the money.” About six or seven months later I had a small car accident. There wasn’t a lot of damage to my car (and none to me), but because the car was rather old, it was considered totalled. I decided right then that I would use the insurance money to get to Wales. I’d figure out what to do about a car when I returned.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
In 2018, I had a good job but I kept getting the intuition I was supposed to travel. It was so persistant that I finally gave notice to my employers. Eventually I realized that this was not to be a vacation, but a pilgrimage. I had hoped to somehow manifest a van, a motorhome, or a truck and a tiny home or camper; it would make the traveling so much easier and more affordable. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to manifest any of those vehicles in that short a time, so instead I bought a tent and some camping gear. A couple months later, with my car once again stuffed to the gills, I began a beautiful journey through native lands, through the redwoods (once and still home to native people), northward along the California and Oregon coast, and then over to beautiful Montana. Traveling not as a tourist, but as a pilgrim, is very powerful. There is time to settle into what Magister Daire calls the sacred “temple of stillness.” There is opportunity to commune with nature. There is time to reflect. In this busy, busy, over-scheduled yang culture we live in, it’s so wonderful to enter into yin-ness.
Now, I know that not everyone is meant to be a nomad. Some of us are beautiful homebodies. We are like Vesta; we are keepers of the hearth. Some of us are immersed in the joys of grandmotherhood. Our purpose is to make a profound difference in the lives of our grandchildren. Others of us have really meaningful work—whether paid or volunteer. And… some of us are called to be a bit of a wanderer, moving not necessarily as the wind blows, but as Spirit calls.
I think one of the blessings of getting older is finally learning the importance of our intuition. I have learned a few unfortunate times the perils of not listening. Now I try to really pay attention to those internal messages—whether they be the “still, quiet voice” or the big strong gut feelings.
When we are older, we have usually accomplished a bit of what society expects of us. We have gotten an education or raised a family or had a career. Now it’s our turn. It’s time to “stop doing what we don’t want to do, and start doing what brings us joy.” It’s time to listen to our soul and follow our heart. I’ve stopped taking jobs I feel are no longer part of my soul purpose. I’m focusing now on writing, speaking, art, and healing. It’s time to step into my power and purpose. No more playing small!!!
The world needs our hearts. It needs our compassion. It needs our wisdom. It needs our joy. It needs our fierceness and our power. It needs our gentleness.
Whether a bird on the wing or a bear in her den or a wolf with her pack, let’s allow our animal self to guide our divine self in doing what feels right for ourselves and the planet we are blessed to live upon.
(Note: This piece was written as part of Tracie Nichols’ wonderful, visionary group, Rebel Crones Rising! For more information, visit https://www.tracienichols.com/rebel-crones-rising )