Imagine a place where giving is the norm and where people are respected and encouraged to express themselves.
Last night I attended a gathering here on Mayne Island. It honoured a wonderful woman and was attended by many of her friends and family. Generosity and respect were the two qualities I saw demonstrated again and again.
Conversation was authentic communication. Someone asked me about my writing. Someone asked me what I do as a retired person. Spirituality and creativity were topics of conversation. We encouraged each other to tell more.
When I asked others about their interests and work, I felt respected by their answers. They gave me pictures of their lives, the struggles and successes. I may never remember their names, but I know something about who they are.
I didn’t expect the level of intimacy I’ve found here on Mayne Island. Is this because the people I’ve met here are different from those I’ve met elsewhere?
Possibly. Or maybe I just risk more here. I came to Mayne with an open mind and open heart. I dared to try things here, like writing and publishing, starting the island-based early childhood society, starting Tam-a-Lot, my little crocheting business, and so on. In Victoria I never wrote and read a poem honouring a wonderful friend, but last night I made my debut in that capacity. By “exposing myself” in this way I have opened up the door to greater intimacy.
Before moving to Mayne I did many of the things I do now, but more quietly, more secretively. I was afraid to do things openly for fear I’d be laughed at. I’m an introvert. I have always checked things out with myself, and if they weren’t perfect or nearly so, I’d keep them to myself. Here on Mayne I’ve taken on the crone’s mantle. My attitude is, now or never. I take more risks. As a crone, I allow my unfinished efforts to be seen by the world. I accept them as the best I can do at this time, but might improve upon at a later time.
Actually, as I recall, I was already beginning that process before leaving Victoria. The children’s CD I made and gave away, of my class singing, included two of my own songs. That was risky. And they sang them at school concerts, as well. Very risky.
So, while Mayne Island is an amazingly accepting, nourishing place for me, I think I was ready to make the move and become the crone.
It reminds me of the last time I saw Jone Mitchell in concert. I was annoyed when she told us some of her pieces were works in progress. I felt cheated beause I wanted to hear only her fully finished works. Now I understand a little better. When you face your immanent mortality and take on the role of crone, you see the wisdom in nudging your baby birds with their rough feathers and weak wings out of the nest, rather than leaving the fledgling creations in their downy places without ever trying to fly. “Now or never,” is the cry of the crone.