Introducing Stephanie Blom, our first Guest Editor, who joins us from Spain. She has been exploring the relationship between our own inner elder and what we can learn from our own wisdom. Please join me in welcoming Steph to the Transition Network blog, by watching, sharing and commenting below.
This project started in Argentina, where women living in Buenos Aires shared with me their stories about connections with other women. I was curious about this mainly from a personal perspective; partly I can explain why, but partly it was also just what happened. My connections with other women ground me and have helped me many times in understanding and listening to myself, to trust and be strong and vulnerable at the same time. I was wondering what was special about these connections, and why they felt so important. This is how the project started, and then transformed, as I am sure it will keep on transforming.
The meetings and conversations I had in Buenos Aires made me realize these connections we experience with others; are in a way a reflection of the connection we have with ourselves. The one type of connection seems to feed the other, and vice versa. Inspired in part from “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, I added an element of her process to the project. I asked the women that participated to imagine themselves and their lives vividly as if they were 80 years old. Each woman wrote a letter to their ‘current self’ from the perspective of their 80-year-old self. This is a very powerful exercise, and the beautiful thing is that while this voice that seems to be from someone else, someone wiser, older; it is your own. The letters that you see here, are the ones that were shared with me. Both in Buenos Aires and in other places.
If we can connect and travel within ourselves, and the different generations we potentially have access to in ourselves, I hope we can also see the value of connecting across generations. When considering the older generation, the ‘natural role’ of the elder has been one of sharing their wisdom, time, guidance and experience with younger generations. This role seems to be lost in many of today’s societies, and I believe it is vital we do not lose the voices of our elder women. Connecting with the older generation, literally, but also indirectly via the exercise used in this project, in a way is also connecting with and accepting the fact that there is an end-phase of life. There is no death without life and no life without death: both birth and death mark a human life. I think it is valuable to make this visible, not to ignore it or to fear it. As can be read and heard from the letters written, being conscious of this can bring out a very wise and important part of us.