Looking back on my life I can see the path I’ve traveled. January is the time that we do this; just as when we age and when a new year begins, there is always the act of looking back and looking forward at the same time.
Beginning from birth to now, my life has many hallmarks just like yours, yet, on the path of my palm, one day in my youthful thirties a Gypsy palm reader saw that I would have a choice. The bold line from between my thumb and index finger, carves deeply in and down like a large meander in the river, to the palm of my thumb. It is close but not yet to the wrist. As all lines do, they head to the wrist, but this line abruptly stopped and split at the top of hill of my thumb, both lines trailing wistfully down to the wrist, but with little definition.
In looking back, I did make a definitive decision about my life, at about age 40. Now, I look at the line I’ve traveled thus far and it is etched more pronounced than before, and closer to my wrist. The other line is thin and gangly, not much definition but it’s still there.
Now, twenty-two years after I made a choice, I still feel the remnants of the life path unlived, that could have been, even though it’s dwindled considerably. I wonder if that line will ever disappear or will it remain as a memory and musing of what could have been.
I do know that in my work with women, this is a poignant time, our sixties when we are deemed to either make another choice: look back at the corn you grew, pick off the finest kernels, put them in a fine gourd bowl, and let them winter until spring. January is the time to consider all of this.
Imagine the corn cob is your life; there are areas where the silk still sticks to some of those kernels, those are your past lovers you haven’t let go of yet. Take those silks off and put the strands in a jar along with the silk pony-tail at the end of the cob. You’ll need that silk. Now, look at this cob and remember the most daring, more exhilarating, most wonderful things of your life. Pick off those kernels and put them in the bowl. Now, what did you learn? Pick off those kernels, too. Who did you love and how did you love—find those kernels.
Now you have a bowl of the best of you. When you take hold of these gems you begin to see the wisdom of your life. The bowl is no longer empty but filled with the best of you. The worst of you could be what you learned, be sure you put those kernels in the bowl, too, for it is said that we are wisest when we learn from our mistakes.
We can never see the path in front of us, but now we have a bowl of the best kernels of our life, waiting to be planted. Hold that bowl tenderly in your hands. It is no longer empty and you are no longer lost. I have found working with women, we reach a certain time in our lives, call it retirement for lack of a better word, when we have great ideas for our future: Now I can finally, blah blah blah…Basically, do what I’ve always wanted to do. However, we find that there’s grief, loss of what we had, and a feeling of not able to see the future in front. It is the time of the empty bowl.
The cob and its kernels of regrets, missed opportunities, loss of loved ones, heart aches, times we’ve fallen asleep or squandered our life, all go into the compost. This is your final letting go of that which didn’t work for you. The silk in the jar will be used for tea; it is a tea that restores your chi, all the lost energy from past-unresolved lovers. Corn silk tea nourishes your life force energy, your vital reproductive organs, bringing in chi for the elder years. Have a cup once in a while. And, the keeper kernels go into the earth when the earth is fecund, warm and ready for planting, take each of those kernels and plant them this spring.
What grows from these kernels is wisdom. You become an elder. You have worth because you’ve cultivated the gems of your life. Now, you are facing forward again, not pining for the past, but eager to watch the trail of life be made as you walk that path. The squiggly, fading line on my palm begins to disappear as I claim my role as an elder moving into the wisdom years.