Being An Older Woman in the World

IMG_8517Photograph by Iris Pohl

There is a tendency in Western society to dismiss women as weaker and especially for our young to see an older woman as ‘just a lonely old grandma’ and to dismiss years of experience, all the lessons they’ve learned throughout their long lives, and any wisdom they may have to offer.

What happens when we become older? Do we just get old and bent and forgetful, like so many women we have seen in our society? Many women feel they are useless and give up, and go about their daily lives walking in a way that leaves them permanently bent.

I knew one very alert old lady in her 90s who still had the mind of a twenty-year old and kept making herself ill because she forgot that her body was not twenty. She would do physical things that were way beyond her actual capability but she lived on her own and didn’t like to ask for help.

In fact many of us women do things that are beyond our physical capability – I have seen many women carrying heavy bags of shopping, wielding heavy garden tools, and generally pushing themselves way beyond what they are physically capable of.

Our bodies are very strong and can deal with a lot, and in my case I considered myself equal to any man, I didn’t lift such heavy weights at the gym, but I played squash, which is a hard, fast, physical game and drove myself pretty hard in whatever work I did and I chaired committees and did voluntary work in my spare time. I would often lift heavy things, and thought nothing of it. In fact, recently, packing up my possessions prior to moving to Australia, I packed all the boxes to a weight of 15 – 20 Kgs because I felt that was a weight I could carry. That’s the weight of a very full suitcase – and there was a cost.

I ended up with a prolapse and had to have a hysterectomy to repair it, after which I was given dire warnings about lifting any weight over 2Kg for the rest of my life. It was a big wake up call as to how I’d been living and just how much I had pushed myself and what weights I had made my body carry. It showed me how I had totally ignored my natural fragility and delicateness.

There was another aspect to my being a woman and that was how we are in relationships as we age. I had been through the menopause when I was 49, and was enjoying the freedom of no more periods, but was aware that I’d developed an anxiousness I don’t remember being there before. I also lost interest in sex. At the time of my prolapse, I was 66, and had been ‘celibate’ for at least fifteen years, and with a new relationship in the offing, was concerned about how the physical side of the relationship would turn out.

There is an assumption that as we get older, that our libido drops, and everything dries up. That certainly appeared to be the case when I was in my early 50s just after the menopause. I was obese, weighing 98Kgs, feeling very ugly, with very low self esteem.

I came across Universal Medicine when I was 54 and learned a lot about how the way I’d been living was hurting my body, and that included the food I ate, the attitudes I held, and the way I moved. Over the next 12 years I refined my diet, and my weight returned to just over 50Kgs with very little effort. I have de-stressed my way of living and working so that a hyperactive thyroid I was suffering from returned to normal.

I attended Sacred Esoteric Healing courses, and the therapies offered by Universal Medicine practitioners helped me a great deal. For example, through the Esoteric Breast Massage, I began to be more aware of the hardness that was in my chest, as a result of the way I’d been living, and I could experience glimpses of the tenderness that lay just underneath. I also started to recognise the power that women have when they bring that tenderness into society along with an innate stillness. For me the Esoteric Yoga has been a beautiful way to connect with my body and to move with stillness.

During the preparation before my hysterectomy operation and during the recovery period after, I was careful what I ate so that my digestive system was not compromised, and I used the Gentle Breath Meditation to keep myself calm and relaxed. A friend visited me in hospital and gave me an Esoteric Arm Massage which felt very nurturing.

I was given some gentle Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy exercises to do that enabled to me stay in touch with my tenderness, gently exercising my muscles and allowing scar tissue to repair itself without risk of further damage. I was very careful to follow the surgeon’s advice and the physiotherapist’s instructions, including not pushing when I went to the toilet, something I often did in the past when I was in a hurry.

When I returned home, I took great care with my body and I am pleased to say that my recovery went well. I have been careful to not lift heavy weights, for example, I had the boxes packed by the shipping company and asked for help with my suitcases when I travelled to Australia. Since then I have been careful to let go of the old push and drive, and I am living in a far more delicate way than before, continuing to develop my tenderness and sensitivity.

Not only am I living as the truly delicate and fragile woman I am, I am delighted to report that, now the relationship is in full progress, everything in my body is working fine, I am rediscovering myself as a truly ‘sexy’ woman, capable of fully living in the world and capable of a full physical relationship, despite my age.

Although my Australian visa does not allow me to work as an employee, I have been invited to join several voluntary projects where my innate steadiness and my years of experience are appreciated, and I will be able to make a valuable contribution in my local community and a worldwide digital community as well.

Mine is only one example, when it comes to Women’s Health – there are many hundreds of women of all ages that I know, who have turned their lives around and are living with a vitality, confidence and innate sexiness; they are powerful yet tender, busy but with an inner stillness, moving everywhere with grace and in relationships that are ever deepening.

It feels great to be an older woman in the world!

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