By Christine Griggs
I will never forget my first day of Shakti School.
I had signed up for Level 1 of the Ayurveda Training just two months before. It had caught my eye -and my soul- over a year ago, but I kept
finding reasons not to sign up.
~I was 58 years old. I already had my midlife crisis when I gave up my
translator career to become a yoga teacher thirteen years ago. Did I
really need to embark on something new? Wasn’t yoga enough?
~Wasn’t it too late to learn Ayurveda, The Science of Life, when over half
of my life was behind me?
~Wasn’t it too late to change my lifestyle with new Ayurveda practices?
~And, as some of my acquaintances felt the need to share: “I could do it
too, but it’s too much of a commitment.”
As I sat in our virtual classroom, seeing fresh young faces pop up in their Zoom boxes, I realized I was one of the oldest participants, and this question popped into my mind: “Do I belong here?”
I sat with the discomfort for a few minutes, I melted into it and let it carry me into our first class. As the class unfolded and Katie did her magic, I realized that YES I belonged here. And the commitment was a joy. Over the next 2 ½ years, those classmates became sisters, some are now dear friends. Age did not matter at all. I felt closer to those young women than I did to most women my age. It was not too late for me to enter this sisterhood. It was exactly the right time!
At 61, I just graduated from Level 2 as an Ayurveda counselor. Not joining Level 2 was not even an option! I couldn’t imagine a better container of love and support to enter my sixties than my family of sisters and this ancient knowledge that sustains me.
The fear of getting older
Most women fear getting older. Our society does everything to drive that fear, bombarding us with images of what the ideal woman supposedly looks like: eternally smooth-skinned and flat-bellied. Once they’ve instilled that fear in us, we’re a captive audience to buy their stuff that will supposedly make us feel and look younger. It’s a billion-dollar industry.
My friend Debbie is 73 and has been letting her gray roots grow out. Her female acquaintances are pestering her with: “You should cover those grays, it ages you.” She started to doubt herself. Believe me, she looks vibrant and beautiful. And I keep reminding her of that. A woman should never submit to society’s pressure of what she should look like or do. What liberates her is what makes her beautiful.
Let’s encourage our sisters to be themselves instead of gnawing at their self-esteem with words that stunt their growth.
“The making of a woman who has continued to grow is a beautiful thing to behold.” –Naomi Wolf
Dare to be yourself
Like most of us, when I was younger, I thought 60 was super old: time to retire and pursue hobbies. But I find myself in my sixties feeling young and vibrant, with a growing business and more projects and ideas than I can handle. I’m pursuing the dreams I didn’t have time for as a householder working and taking care of my family.
My first love is writing and, growing up in France, I dreamed of being the youngest literary prodigy of the century. Well, it took me several decades to write my first book, not as a young prodigy, but as a 57-year-old woman who believed it’s never too late. Remember that your dreams take different shapes.
My friend Dede just launched her own brand at 62, combining her love of dancing and helping others. She tells me she’s never felt so alive: “It’s my time now.”
Carol has been my private yoga student for 10 years. She dared to start yoga at 69, because “some part of me was not whole. I could feel it in every part of my being. I had no idea what was in store for me…” It changed her life.
On the other hand, I know many women of my generation who are paralyzed by the fear of stepping out of the box society built for them. They’re so worried about doing the “right acceptable things” that they’re not doing the right thing for them. This box is comfortable, but it’s not fulfilling. Filling the box with more stuff does not fill their soul.
Sadly, most of the time, we’re the ones setting limitations for ourselves. For example, whenever people hear I’m French, they almost always tell me: “I always wanted to learn French, I dream to go to Paris and speak French with the locals.” My answer always is: “Why don’t you?” And they invariably answer: “Oh, it’s too late now!” And I reply: “No, it’s not too late! You could either start now and you will be ordering pastries in French in a Parisian patisserie next year or not start and be in the exact same place: wishing you were speaking French in Paris.”
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream.” –C.S. Lewis.
Wear the Crown of the Crone
Our society has been disparaging old age, especially in women, for too long. The meaning of Crone is not the derogatory term used in our society, that of the withered disheveled ragged old hag. The Crone is a majestic title to wear with pride, it means the One who wears the Crown.
Disrespecting the older woman means dishonoring the Sacred Feminine, a principle seriously lacking in our modern world. Our role as women is to put the Crone back on her throne. As we do this, we reclaim our Goddess status for ourselves and future generations.
I have made it my mission to demystify aging. I want my younger sisters to see passing years as a joy and privilege and something they can actually look forward to.
I also want to encourage my older sisters to see their mature years as an empowering opportunity to learn, grow and dream, and be a role model for younger generations. Not with their material possessions, but with their wealth of experience, wisdom and especially with their example. Young women look up to us to see what “getting older” looks like. They notice how we act and react. They notice if we still have a passion for life and if we care about the world. They notice if we are willing to take risks and go on adventures, learn and grow alongside them. Just as they are our hope, we are their hope for what’s awaiting them. Let’s show them that owning their aging journey is their superpower!
“This time belongs to the Crone. She’s arriving into the greatest time of her life. Creativity is blossoming, even exploding within her. She’s never felt more free and she’s never felt more empowered than now to be all of herself.” –Sukhvinder Sircar
The Wise Older Woman’s Empowerment Journey through her Chakras energy centers
As we become older, we become what the Vedic teachings call The Forest- Dweller. While still playing our part in the world, we’re able to detach ourselves from mundane attachments and spend more time attuning to the deepest parts of our being. We become our own best friend. I have noticed a deeper relationship and dialogue with my energy centers and I’d like to share the lessons they have taught me about becoming a wise older woman.
1. I am Grounded in the Roots of my ancestors and my culture. I honor my heritage, but I do not let my history limit me. I am not stuck in the drama of the past. My roots are my strength, not my burden.
2. The power of my womb is not limited to its physical ability to create human life. It is an unlimited fountain of spiritual and sensual creativity. It is a fertile ground for the awakening and flow of the Goddess energy all around me. I Feel and I Flow.
3. I am Worthy. I am exactly who I want to be and I am becoming who I want to become. I truly don’t care what people say or whisper about me. I do not judge myself or others. I have no time for gossip and limitations. I keep company with souls who uplift and support me. I am Strong and I Can do anything.
4. I give myself the greatest gift of all: Forgiveness. I stop keeping tabs on who didn’t love me enough and who hurt me. I forgive, but I am careful about whom I allow into the sacred space of my heart. I focus on gratitude for the love that I have. I know that I Love and that I Am Loved unconditionally.
5. I speak my spiritual Truth and what I believe in. I surround myself with the voices of teachers and soul companions who inspire me. I use my Voice for good. The world needs to hear my Voice.
6. I Trust my Inner Guidance. I know how to find it in stillness and meditation. The merging of my Intuition with my life experience is a magical formula that guides my decisions and every step I take.
7. I know that I am Connected to Source and never alone. I let go of anything that causes separation and honor my community of Souls who share my journey. Together we are stronger.
Women helping women
One of my greatest teachers was Frau Ursula Redeppening. I was her au pair while studying in Munich. I was 21, she was in her early forties. She
was a formidable woman, divorced mother of two teenagers, the youngest woman ever elected to the Bavarian parliament. She was a prodigy! One evening, as we sat together sipping wine, she gave me one of the greatest lessons one can give to a young woman. She told me that her perfect life was not one she had chosen for herself, she had followed others’ vision of her: her deepest desire was not to be a famous politician, but to help the world and reduce hunger and poverty. And then she said the words that guided my life: “When my children are raised, I will follow my own vision. It’s never too late.”
It is now my turn to pass along the wisdom I was given. Whatever age you are, know that it’s never too late. Write that book, take that course, learn a new language, a new dance, train for a marathon, travel, move to your dream city or country, make brand new friends, have a love affair, start your business, and most importantly, let your Spirit shine. The world needs your Light!
“You playing small doesn’t serve the world… As you let your own light shine, you indirectly give others permission to do the same.” –Marianne
Growing up in France, Christine always felt a deep longing for the spiritual and the powerful resonance of words and stories, accompanied with a passionate desire to explore the world. After years of globetrotting, this multilingual translator Mama of 3 and her family settled down in Coastal Virginia, where she discovered yoga. She instantly knew she had found the universal language that would help her empower others to find their own voice and share it with the world. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Trainer, and an Ayurveda Health Counselor. Yoga helped her reconnect with her love of writing and write her first book: “Yoga with a French Twist: A Journey through the Chakras” as well as create her business: Yin Traveler. Her love of learning, Nature, and Spiritual Activism led her to Shakti School and the integration of Ayurveda into her teachings. Her new projects include a new book and planning spiritual retreats. You can find more info at her website at Yintraveler.com