“Oh no, I can’t be a visionary with so many wrinkles!” implores a disbelieving 48-year old elegant mother of two and top executive. She expresses her angst over dreaming about getting old. She pleads, “Not me. I’m just getting started!”
This is a common lament of the just awakened Slumbering Ingénue. Most of us are only now opening our eyes and taking a good look at our lives and times. Many of us have resisted with all our might or numbed ourselves silly for so long. We do not want to bring forward the unrelenting reality that the inner Ingénue’s time is up!
Our mother of two’s life-long pattern has been to “achieve, achieve, achieve!” She continues, “What’s really hard is realizing that I can’t masquerade like a thirty-something year old woman anymore. I used to employ whatever it took to get what I wanted!” I know the struggle she was going through only too well. I can remember when I startled myself during an important meeting with a “Big Duomo”. I found myself peering up at this guy like an adolescent girl trying to fan his ego to get what I wanted! How ridiculous! He didn’t even notice! In a flash of recognition, only possible from a conscious witness perspective, I could shift my awareness back into the role of respected colleague…and, get what I wanted!
My client continues, “I find myself on automatic pilot. I don’t know who I am! Or more importantly, how to be.” Hearing this pivotal admission, the real work began. We delved into her dream, examining the dualities that pull at her, deep below her composed and unassailable veneer. Underneath the surface, a storm is brewing. Sub-personalities are fighting for position. They are raging and snorting, positioning for a showdown!
It was clear that the devouring dragon of midlife was alive and well! Rather than slay the beast to protect her internalized young woman, I moved her through a process that allowed me to engage both her Inner Ingénue and her more mature Inner Visionary. The latter is representational of the archetypal Wise Crone. I call her Ancient Future.
After setting the stage for our dialogue, I asked her, in her role as mother of two to move into the role of the primary sub-personality which rules her inner world with an iron fist! “You won’t be taken seriously!” he bellows. Parroting the outer patriarchal programming, her fiercest Inner Tyrant threatens her with shame and rejection. He had a great deal to say, warning her not to embarrass the family and admonishing her with, “Don’t make waves!”
To gain his cooperation, I asked him several questions, “What has she done in the past that concerns you? What are you protecting her from? What do you want for her?”
Because of my probing, we could separate out her sabotaging concern that she would no longer hold the interest of the male power structure. During my entire dialogue with the now Shrinking Violet, her inner abuser continued to berate her. Verbal missiles noticeably pierced my client’s unflappable cover. At first, she appeared stunned that this was happening in front of me. Then, she turned pale and slumped down in her chair as he placed a direct hit, “You’re not credible unless you are young and beguiling! Haven’t you got that yet?!”
My client had been living a half-life, attempting to ignore, perhaps kill off an unrealized aspect of her Self that threatens to erupt. Kept under wraps because my client was so afraid of its immense possibilities as this force was ready to break out! When this dark forceful feminine energy comes roaring up, most of us cower in its shadow shouting, “Close that door! I don’t want to go in there!!!” Although chomping at the bit, we don’t Feel big enough to experience that tremendous power surge. Typical of a New Millennium woman she is so well-defended that she barely senses the rattling of her inner cage.
When asked to move into the counterpoint of The Visionary, my client’s entire demeanor changed dramatically-Her voice roared, “Take your attention off other people. Keep focused on your goal. Everyone’s vision is worth the same! You KNOW what you are doing. Go for it!” As this inner dynamic continued to expound, the chair seemed like it would not contain her. It felt like she was filling up the room, suddenly released from captivity. From her new found Visionary stance, she proclaimed, “All visions are vacuous…until they are realized!”
Moving back and forth between these inner voices my client saw the value of pausing to find her true center. Becoming familiar with this experience of these warring inner polarities, she now recognizes when she is being occupied by her whiny Holding – Onto – Your – Youth Voice. Needs provocative closing questions. Now she has the know-how to pull out before she kibosh’s her wildest dreams and longed-for visions. From her own keenly aware center, she reports, “Having insight into this dichotomy is so freeing. I now know how it feels to be in my fullest power. And, I can choose to go there!”
So, we can’t go around batting our eyelashes to get what we want anymore. It will take a while for OLD is Beautiful to catch on. What do we do in the meantime? We must transform the energy of the internalized Ingénue. Instead of center stage, this energy must become part of our supporting cast of inner characters. No matter what our chronological age-25 or 80- the wonder and hopefulness of the Ingénue can inspire us to continued greatness.
And remember, “You can’t be a visionary without the wrinkles!”