The Descent

You are falling, falling into a bottomless well. You see hands reaching out to catch you from above but you cannot reach them. You are not sure that you want to. You hear the murmur of voices but you don’t know what they are saying. Down, down you descend until the voices fade away. It is all darkness now. You give in to the free fall that feels like it will never end. You are directionless, adrift. You don’t know where you are going and somehow that is a tremendous relief. Suddenly, you hit the bottom with a splash and find yourself floating in a deep pool. As your eyes adjust, you see the pool is filled with luminescent creatures swimming slowly, silently around you. Each is a different shape and color, beautiful in its uniqueness. For some reason, these creatures feel familiar to you. You are not afraid but rather comforted by their presence. Time passes until you have no sense of space or time. Slowly you begin to recognize the distinct shape of each creature, the way she feels when she brushes up against your skin. She is a missing piece of yourself, a part of your soul you threw away or covered up to live the life that now seems so far away at the top of the well. You understand that you will need to make peace with each of these creatures, welcome them back into your life, before you will be able to return to the above-world and begin anew.

How on earth did you find yourself here at the bottom of the well?

It may help to know that it is an integral part of your shero’s journey, your quest to fulfill your life’s mission and destiny as a woman living in 21st Century America.

Women today are pulled in so many directions. The media is full of talented, smart, sexy women who manage to have brilliant careers while preparing cooking healthy, organic, home-cooked meals for their families and making time to do a Ted-X talk and appear on Oprah. We want it all, so we struggle to keep up. We over-schedule every minute of every day.

The path is different for women of different generations and priorities. Women in my generation were called to separate from the lives our mothers led, to put aside our feminine, nurturing qualities and be more like our fathers so we could succeed in the external world. If we had families at all, they were an afterthought, once we were established in our career or profession.

The millennials and younger generations are more likely to be victims of the Super Mother syndrome. They pack their kids’ lunches, attend every game and school play, and spend quality time together on the week-ends. They schedule their pregnancies to fit in with their career goals. To make it all work, they get up at 5 a.m., schedule phone conferences and meetings between family obligations, and use any spare minute they can find to fit in a morning run or yoga class.

No wonder many women wake up one morning feeling empty, depleted, and exhausted – unable to go on for one moment longer. Like any relationship, this dance between the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves requires time and energy. Sometimes the balance may feel just right, but all too often, we veer too far in one direction or the other. When we are out of balance, nothing feels right. Things may look fine on the outside, but our spirit knows that something is amiss. When this lack of balance goes on for too long, we are veering close to the edge of a descent.

What triggers the descent varies. For some women, it is a milestone birthday – turning 40, 50 or 60. For others, it may be divorce, death of a loved one, a brush with illness, retirement, or the kids leaving the nest. For many, it is simply recognition of the illusory nature of success. Life looks beautiful on the outside, but inside it feels hollow and meaningless.

We may not realize it, but we have been on a shero’s journey.

It began when we felt called to the life path we have chosen. That path required us to make sacrifices, to give up pieces of ourselves that did not fit into the plan. Off we went on our quest, vanquishing anyone or anything that stood in the way. Now we have arrived, and it is not exactly what we had envisioned. That is the beginning of the descent.

In every shero’s life, the descent is a time of darkness, feeling unmoored, unhappy with the past but unable to move forward. It may last a few weeks, a few months, or even longer. There is no way beyond it but through it.

The purpose of this book is to provide a roadmap to reclaim and reintegrate the lost parts of your life so you can move forward with a new vision. It will invite you to look back at the steps in your journey, choices and sacrifices you made along the way. Only then can you look ahead to envision a new way of being that encompasses the missing pieces of your soul.

Most of all, this book will help you reclaim your place as the shero of your own journey, rather than a hapless victim of life circumstances. Claiming your power puts your life story in a different perspective. As you rewrite each chapter on your quest, you will see how your choices made sense at the time, and how they led you exactly where you need to be at this moment.

Join me on the journey

I would love to have your company as I blog this book — one chapter at a time. What’s in it for you? I will send you a free template for each chapter, complete with guided questions and visualizations, so you can recreate your life story in words, images, and song. You are the author, editor, and main character of your life story. Why not make yourself a shero?