ARE YOU AN AUTONOMOUS WOMAN?
What does it mean to be an autonomous woman? Sometimes we think of autonomy as complete independence – – the idea that we don’t need or depend on anyone else in our lives. This take on autonomy has always seemed a bit cold to me – not to mention unattainable. The truth is (and maybe this truth is even more resonant for us as women) we are deeply intertwined with the other people in our lives, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We thrive on healthy interdependence. Yet within this interdependence, we need a strong self. We need to feel that we belong to ourselves, that we are capable of providing for our own emotional needs, that we are free to be who we are, and that our unique inner desires are aligned with our expression in the world.
As we approach menopause, it seems we crave this kind of autonomy even more. We are no longer quite so willing to allow others to define us, nor are we so attached to other’s opinions of us or their desires for us. In our Menopause Retreats, we conclude with a beautiful ceremony of self-naming and self-crowning – symbolically, we embrace our sovereignty and our autonomy. Autonomy literally means “self-naming,” and claiming a name for yourself can be a powerful act with which to enter the wisdom years. How would you like to claim your autonomy? How would you like to “make a name for yourself?”
These gorgeous photos of autonomous wise women are from the self-naming and self-crowning ceremony at our April 2015 Santa Barbara Menopause Retreat! In the morning we wove beautiful crowns for ourselves from the boughs of wild pink pepper trees (we read later that the pink pepper is traditional medicine for menopause symptoms!) We came together later in the afternoon in a beautiful sacred garden, with streams, lotus ponds, and floating pavilions. One by one we came before the group, crowned ourselves, and named ourselves. Some of us chose to reclaim our old name, or reaffirm our current name, while others created a new name for ourselves. Some of us chose to stand and shout out our name, others wrote it quietly on beautiful paper and tucked it into our heart for ourselves alone. How you claim your autonomy is yours to decide. How will you claim yours?
Please share your feelings, responses, ideas and experiences here in the comments ~ your story belongs.