by guest blogger Elizabeth Murray, author Living Life in Full Bloom: 120 Daily Practices to Deepen Your Passion, Creativity & Relationships
This is the season of harvest when all of the hard work, intention, and magic of the spring and summer have come to fruition. There is such abundance that we are overflowing and can be generous with our bounty. We can share with friends and put away the sun-filled fruits for winter. When light is low and the weather cold, we can take out a jar of sun-sweetened ripeness to savor like a good memory to enliven our day.
I prefer my peaches and figs so ripe they almost bruise at a touch. Their texture and sweet flavor are so drenched with life that each bite is a sensual experience enlightening my mouth to what real flavor and life experience is all about. In a hotel, a gift basket awaits me, but each perfect fruit has no flavor. There is no juice, no marks to tell me the story of their time on the tree or relationship with the farmer or land. Nice to look at, but empty and disappointing, I have no desire to taste them.
I attend a party and am astonished to see women like the hotel room fruit. They have removed the lines in their faces and filled in their lips, now too tender to accept a kiss. They look down at their phones rather then looking into one another's eyes or at the stunning view outside. They will not eat; they cannot be in the light of the garden. Their heels prevent dancing, but they can gaze into mirrors and see a preserved middle age, anonymous faces that tell no life story. I feel uncomfortable in their harsh gaze. I go down and dance in the garden with music that brings me joyously home to my own body in late middle age in Full Bloom.
I have often thought about being a garden peach rather then a greenhouse strawberry. Our culture tends to equate beauty with youth, especially for women. Many women go to great pains to avoid aging, often eschewing mentorship to youth to instead attempt to compete with them for beauty. In centuries past--and in the goddess tradition--white was the color of virgins, and we still use it for weddings; red was for childbearing years and was seen as a color of passion, life force; and black signified the crone and traditionally was used for grieving. Back then, women past their childbearing years were often seen as dry and haggard, living to their mid-40s. Today, we are blessed with extra decades of health and vitality, and a new transition stage I call "becoming a Peach." We can mature into the role of wise women and retain our strong, sexy, and powerful spirits, blending passion with the golden light of wisdom.
It takes years to grow a peach tree to full fruition. The success of growing sweet, juicy peaches depends on the loving care, placement, and attention the trees are given throughout their lifetime. Peaches follow the seasonal rhythms: rest during dormancy, the great push to flower, and fruit when the petals have dropped.
A Peach usually matures in her 50s and is often bearing juicy creative fruits into her 70s, 80s, and even 90s. In your Peach years, you shift from childbearing and/or career development to birthing your own embodied soulfulness, from creative vision to juicy manifestation. You are acutely aware of the cycles of life and the rhythms of the Earth. You act as your own soulful gardener who knows the right timing to tend, cultivate, and prune for best harvest. "Be fruitful and multiply" is a new calling to fully blossom and bear fruit that nurtures and serves others. You trust that painful experiences have something important to contribute as well. You embrace the ephemeral as more beautiful then the permanent, the patina of age more lovely than shiny-new. You revere the stories told with lines on the face. As a Peach, you remain openhearted because you know how to use the light of renewal. Your face holds the seasons of the garden and a life that has shared generously from many harvests at the peak of ripeness.
PracticeAs a Peach ask yourself these questions:
- How can I best serve others with my abundance of wisdom and fruit?
- What comes naturally to me?
- What do I do well?
- What makes me feel juicy and alive?
- How do I replenish myself?
- What dead wood needs to be pruned to help me flourish?
- How can I be deeply fed and nourished?
- Which season am I in at this time in my life?
Elizabeth Murray is an author, artist, and keynote speaker known for her award-winning book Monet's Passion: Ideas, Inspiration & Insights from the Painter's Gardens, written when Murray quit her job as a professional gardener to work for free restoring Monet's gardens. In her spare time, she photographed and wrote about the gardens that inspired the artist's most loved impressionist work, and her photographs have accompanied the artist's paintings in 10 museum exhibitions, hundreds of calendars, and her books. Murray's newest book explores four inspirational archetypes--the Gardener, Artist, Lover, and Spirit-Weaver--to help you fulfill your heartfelt dreams, connect to what has meaning for you, and realize your full potential to reinvent your life and community. Find out more at www.elizabethmurray.com
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com