We live in a disembodied culture that does not easily tolerate or honor the challenge of change, and it is often invisible to us. In a recent New York Time’s article about Disney reopening the doors to its theme park in Florida in the midst of the state having record breaking new cases of Covid19, the writer said, “There are signs at the entrance reminding visitors, ‘Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.’ No matter how terrible things seem outside the gates, here is the place where everything is ok.”
According to this writer, Disney is where we can all go to make everything ok, even in the most terrible of times. All of us … unless, of course, you happen to be a Lady Of A Certain Age, and then you are usually the villain or the Wicked Witch like Ursula and Cruella De Vil or, possibly worse, simply non-existent like all the mature mothers and grandmothers and aunts missing from all the fairytales.
Of course, Disney is not to be held solely accountable for purveying the idea that there is something wrong with ladies of a certain age, or for the idea that we must buy our way into being okay. We live in a culture that, in general, focuses on dysfunction, pain, and ways to escape. We tend to overlook that we live in a body that is designed to respond to change from the moment it came into existence until long after it has taken its last breath. We may deny it but we are a part of nature and, like nature, we have the capacity to be truly whole. Susan Aposhyan in her wonderful book Natural Intelligence puts it simply (emphasis is mine):
If we examine the natural world, we see integration and wholeness…Where there are two impulses, both are integrated. We do not find conflicting impulses anywhere in nature, except the human being. Somehow we have developed body-mind dualism, the ability to repress and ignore parts of ourselves which often results in opposing factions within our beings.
What Aposhyan calls “body-mind dualism”, I often call an “anti-body attitude” or “real body oppression.” We live in a disembodied culture.
In my work I’ve come to understand that most of us are not taught any sort of language that honors the diverse, dynamic reality of the experience of living in a body. We are taught to focus on the actions our bodies can perform and the things we produce, especially what thoughts the thinking brain organ might be creating. When we do focus on and try to give language the physicality of our bodies, it is often because we are experiencing stress, pain, and/or judgement. Rare is the template in our culture that helps us understand that the body communicates with us: it constantly shares information of balance and ease as well as the loss of each. Unfortunately, so much of our experiences create overwhelm in our nervous systems to such a degree that we have communally lost our ability to access our body wisdom. Although we have little awareness of it in our culture, there is a language of the body that originates from and supports acceptance and curiosity.
Moving from Disembodiment to Embodiment
The language of embodiment is what I invite you, LOACA, to consider learning, possibly for the first time. I believe it is imperative.
It is my impression that most women whose bodies are experiencing some part of the natural process of the stages of menopause will be, in some way, pathologized, shamed, experimented on by the medical establishment, possibly surgically altered or urged to consume products, diets & exercise programs promised to restore them to some semblance of the fantasy of “youth.”
Ah, fantasy. I love fantasy. It has been a major coping strategy for me for most of my 56 years, especially when things have gotten really tough. So, if fantasy has been your go-to coping tool, feel no shame. Claim it.
And also know this: fantasy can be dangerous, it is dangerous, when it denies the reality of your body, when fantasy shames or negates the body that you are in, YOUR body, right in this moment. It is unsustainable and depleting. This is a fantasy based on the pervasive oppression in our culture against real, living, moving bodies. This kind of fantasy destroys creativity, beauty and authenticity, and does not support a LOACA Life.
To live a quality of life focused on thriving with a sense of purpose and ownership, you must actively practice loving your whole self.
To age without getting old, you must embody the process of aging as a process of change.
Living an Embodied LOACA Life
How do we do this? How do we create the space needed to live a LOACA Life? Here are some suggestions I’ve found work for real women like you and me:
- Explore ways to be and move with more comfort IN THE BODY YOU ARE REALLY IN. Not what someone says you should. Not the ways you moved twenty years ago. Learn to be in your body FULLY … RIGHT NOW.
- Take the time to slow down and consider the sensations of your body.
- Consider the sensations you are experiencing as information calling your attention to what you need to tend, for you.
- Give attention to yourself and your body. Take time to tend to your whole self for the sake of itself. This is your time to learn how to care for you, maybe for the first time or maybe more deeply than you’ve ever done before.
- Of course, to do this you’re likely going to have to replace your destructive thinking with constructive thinking; and
- Overcome the stories our culture’s dominant paradigm tells about LOACA.
Of course, all this takes a bit of energy and intentionality and can feel like too much to do on your own. Don’t give up before you’ve started. Find some already-empowered women who have embraced the Crone within themselves to talk with you and to support you in your journey. You are worth it!
Victoria Day is indeed a loud and proud LOACA! Victoria practices living life fully for herself every day with dance; meditation; gardening; and laughing, loving, and eating good food with her partner of sixteen years. She spends her days supporting others to live life more fully, in whatever way this means for them, through their processes of change into their bodymindspirit. You can find out more about Victoria by visiting Embodiment LLC – Live Life More Fully and Victoria Day LPC LLC on Facebook. See our about-us page for more about Victoria and how to access her!