I believe it’s a sin to try and make things last forever

Everything that exists in time runs out of time some day

Got to let go of the things that keep you tethered

Take your place with grace and then be on your way

Bruce Cockburn

Over the years, I have taken part in writing groups, mostly with women. The pattern shifts a bit with each group, but there is usually a time of talking, (a lot of talking) and then a time of writing. We talk because it seems like the most natural thing in the world to do. We are women, and we like each other, and we are very, very happy to be out of the house, and not working. Because we are in a circle, and because we have come with an intention, (to write) the conversation usually takes an intimate and eclectic turn. We take turns “checking in”. How are you? Becomes a real question, for which we expect and listen for an answer. No polite smiles here. We wait for the answers, which spill like fresh picked fruit on the tablecloth of our conversation. The answers contain stories of our husbands and our children, our struggles with identity and work concerns. Over the years, we have decades of ages and stages, plumbing the depths with tears, laughter and mutual commiseration.

When we are done with the talk, we write, gathering the ripest bits and letting our unconscious selves sort the flavours and colours. We are always, without fail, reluctant to write. We’ve learned to make a joke of our reticence, watching the stalling techniques, and shucking off our fear anyway, knowing resistance is a fine gauge of commitment, a necessary precursor to the dive.

We write because all of us like to write, and writing has helped us make sense of our own lives, unraveled some of our messes, and made clear a connection that on many occasions has seemed like a lifeline. For all our unique and particular content and style, we are so much the same.

Once we talked about mothering, and dancing, and what it means to step into a place of growth. When the time for aw shucks is gone. When the time is right to step forward and take our place, to own the ground taken. Here is an excerpt from that evening’s writing:

Kim is coming in to a second stage with her dancing. Not a beginner anymore. Beginner mind, maybe, but not beginner. Realizing it’s time to embody the trade she has spent time gaining skill experience and expertise in. She admits that this time it is different. Now she is dancing from the afterward of motherhood.

What an empowered, confident place to dance from. Knowing from the tips of her wings to the depth of her root chakra – it’ll never be about just about her again.  Our children teach us that magnificent lesson. Maybe that’s where the word mother comes from. “Me” joined with “other” forms a new being, a woman who can never think of herself in quite the same way as she did when she was a maid. A woman connected to the future, and linked to the past by ancestral generations of men and women birthed before her.

The dancing doesn’t end, but the way we dance changes. I watch my own mother, now in an assisted living home, learning, in many ways for the first time, to breathe in each day as it comes; a gift wrapped in the colours of sadness and sunshine. Even as she points her toes with a new step, and twirls with an attitude of ‘I am not gone yet’, one hand arcs back to me, and she says, “I’m proud of what you are doing.” Leaving me to lead the next round.

We are a link in the chain, and our work, our big and holy work, will not be completed in our lifetime. We will work hard in our time, but when the time comes, we must learn to pass the torch to others; to those who will dance forward. And may they learn as well to take their time and place, with grace.