For a brief moment twice a year at the spring and fall equinox the sun shines equally over the northern and southern hemispheres. In March we in the north embrace the return of spring as the earth thaws and planting begins, yet our supermarket produce bins sport apples, squashes, and other delights of the fall harvest from Chile.
Nature keeps the beginning of life and its end in balance. How do we find that elusive balance in our own lives? That is the question I seek to answer. When the end of a busy day leaves me feeling depleted with no time left for the meditation practice I keep meaning to establish, I wonder where I’ve gone wrong. I think I can manage one more commitment, but when do I reach the tipping point where doing one more thing becomes too much and robs me of the balance I seek?
Retirement can be a gift, but I have yet to discover the secret catch to open the freedom and happiness I imagined retired life to contain while I was still working full time. For each person the process of finding this balance is unique. In Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, John O’Donohue writes, “You should hold the poise, balance, and power of your soul within yourself,” (217). I want to do this, but it is still hard for me to discern what activities nourish me and which I do based on the expectations of others or out of fear of being alone.
In spring Persephone emerges from the underworld and Demeter her mother filled with joy infuses the world with the energy of new growth. There is a third figure in this group from ancient Greek myth, Hekate the crossroad goddess who is Persephone’s companion both in life and death. Hekate carries the memory of the fall into the riot of spring. She sets limits on what is possible.
How do we find peace and fulfillment within the strictures of life’s limitations? How do we release our soul from fear? As crones, we can no longer put off thinking about death. And yet, spring comes. There is no death without life, no grief where there has been no love. So we put one foot in front of the next and walk forward into a new cycle. I need to sell my house and buy a condo. Downsizing, that is a crone’s task. It takes inner strength to endure so much letting go and to persevere and discover what new lightness of being lies on the other side.
I struggle to set my priorities, to imagine what a balanced life would look like for me? How do I balance giving to others with taking time to walk hand in hand with my soul along the shore where time meets eternity? The balance we need to develop as crones is one between the visible and invisible sides of our natures. In our wisdom we strive to do less and be more. We learn to love this life without clinging to it and move with grace toward the great awe of eternity.
Make room for the new growth of spring by cleaning out a portion of your house. It can be a drawer, a closet, a garage, a cellar, an attic, or the general clutter in one room. Give away to charity what you no longer use, need, or love. Once your cleaning is finished, purify the space you have cleaned. Put lavender sachets in your drawers, burn incense, or play energizing music and dance to fill your life and newly cleaned space with the spirit of joy.
Then as a reward for your hard work, give yourself a day apart from your usual round to do something that delights your spirit. Take time to attune to your inner nature.