November is an important month to me. It’s filled with birthdays and milestones and anniversaries of deaths, (my beloved grandparents), plus a Thanksgiving holiday. Birth and death and celebration wrapped up with one big cosmic bow.
Maybe it’s fitting because most of the month falls under the astrological sign of Scorpio, the sign of death and transformation and rebirth. It’s a deeper, more reflective energy…no tap dancing around it here…it can be intense.
The people born under this sign can be intense, too. Mysterious. Yet, these are the people who have marked my life. My son is a Scorpio, my ex-husband is a Scorpio, my sweetheart is a Scorpio. My “work-husband” is a Scorpio. (Even the CEO of the company I work for, is a Scorpio.)
It’s an interesting pattern for me. A mystery in itself. But it goes deeper. Last year, on Nov. 5, I gave birth to another Scorpio, my book, Tao Flashes. I say birthed instead of published because it was like giving birth in all of its glory and messiness, vulnerability and joy.
When I think about it, it is only fitting. The book was inspired by the mysterious teachings of the ancient Chinese classic, the Tao Te Ching. But it was born from the rebirth I experienced after a midlife ass-whooping and a “failed” marriage of 20 years. (I put “failed” in quotation marks here because I am of the belief that the ending of a marriage is not really a failure. It’s a decision to act on an invitation or opportunity to grow, transform and evolve into a different person with an awakened sense of value, purpose and self.)
Much like the death and rebirth and transformation themes of Scorpio, I had to experience a death of my old self, my old life, my old patterns, to transform into a more centered, compassionate, spiritual being.
As I say in my book, I was kind before my midlife unearthing, compassionate, too. But my understanding of other’s frailties, including my own, is now magnified.
My focus now is on holding up the mirror to show women the truth of how beautiful they are, in their own imperfect, authentic skin. In Tao Flashes, I offer reflections, affirmations and my own intuitive guidance loosely based on the ancient wisdom of the Tao, on how to navigate the midlife journey with integrity, harmony and grace.
After I gave birth to Tao Flashes, I thought I was finished with some of my work. I thought my book was proof of my evolution. But I learned quickly that I had more lessons in humility and grace to learn.
Some of those lessons came in the form of family members who didn’t support my work by reading it. Imagine giving birth and presenting your newborn to the world, only to watch as people you love averted their eyes. I didn’t understand. I was hurt.
And then there were the times I didn’t support my work, my own baby, by not aggressively promoting her to the world. I birthed her and didn’t feed her enough. I ignored opportunities to publicize or share her. Not because I didn’t love her, but because I was too vulnerable, too uncertain of myself, to hold her up to the light.
Ugh. More work for me. More transformation. And now it’s November and my baby is turning a year old. For the record, I haven’t completely starved her. I started this blog to support her message. I learned twitter and facebook and joined wonderful blogging groups that support midlife women to introduce her work and philosophy to larger audiences.
And in the process, I began to gain clarity on what was important to me. It took a while for me to work through my insecurities and ego issues and expectations of how people should show up for me. But I’m there.
I am learning to take a page from my own book. To know that I am powerful and purposeful and authentic, and let that be enough.
My book, while not considered a bestseller by any person’s standards, has gotten wonderful reviews. But the real currency, the real gift, has been in knowing this: I honored the muse that came a’ knockin. I invested time, money and talent in myself even when it was not convenient or practical. And I created something I value more than numbers and money: a legacy of truth.
I wouldn’t trade money for the kind email I got from a stranger who said she and her friend read my book on the way to chemo treatments…and it made it better. I wouldn’t trade money for the comments I received about supporting women through difficult transitions.
These are the transformative messages that pay my tab. That keep me feeding my baby. And myself.
It was never about the money. It was never about the accolades. It was about a higher creative calling. It was about actualization. Mine and others. I temporarily forgot this, but I won’t again.
Happy Birthday my Scorpio baby. Born and re-born again…in the month of November. Why am I not surprised?