Crones don't whine (Basic points) By Jean Shinoda Bolen | paigemarshall23's Blog

Jean Shinoda Bolen is a Jungian analyst and psychiatrist. She has wonderful insights and I'd like to share some basic points of her book "Crones don't whine". It's a bit of a long read, but believe me it's well worth it. It's refreshing, it's fun, and it helps a lot. It doesn't matter if you're not 40 or 50; the earlier we start developing our inner "crone" the better it is for us and our well being! 

Crones Don’t Whine
Whining is conduct unbecoming of a crone. To be a crone, you need to let go of what should have been, what could have been, might have been. You need to silence the whining in your head that will come out of your mouth next.
Whining makes you unable to live in the present, or be good company for anyone—even yourself. Whiners assume they were and are entitled to a different life from the one they have. Whiners do not see that everyone has had a share of the bad things that happen to people. Ungrateful for what they do have, whiners cannot enjoy the present. A whining child. . . wants something that is not freely given.
What was, was. However, Grief and whimpering are not whining. You can share updates with friends who need or want to know about your losses. But crones don’t bore others with a litany of their symptoms that have an air of performance or bragging. A crone knows other people have problems too.
Crones are Juicy
In nature, being alive means there is a source of water, which is moist. Genuine feelings are moist. . . A crone is a juicy older woman with zest, passions, and soul. . . the secret is to be yourself, while your mind, heart, and body still function well enough, and you appreciate being alive. . . what makes life juicy is to be deeply involved in life.
            You may be a juicy crone who discovered how delicious solitude is. . . or with hearth and heart welcoming of numerous people as the center of activity. . . found a younger lover. . . or married to the right person. You may be reading and learning what you are interested in knowing. . . or an activist. . . or in a creative phase. . . or time with grandchildren.
            Others may think you are inappropriate, whimsical, or eccentric because you are able to be authentic and are not conforming to a stereotype of age.
Crones have Green Thumbs
Crones are in the generative phase of life, a time of fostering growth. Crones weed well. Crones prune. Crones know that different plants and people need different conditions in order to thrive. Crones protect what is vulnerable until survival on its own is possible. Crones have learned patience. Crones can wait as the seasons turn. Crones know that something small can grow big, that something can bloom or bear fruit before it dies.
            A green-thumb teacher, therapist, editor, mentor, director, mother, or vision carrier for the potential in another is like a gardener who loves what she does. . .involvement in such work will change. . . many women now feel a pull toward solitude for reflection, self-expression, inner development. Inner time is especially needed at the beginning of a new season of your life. . . unless you build strong boundaries around your own time, other people will assume that they can intrude with their needs.

 Crones Trust What They Know in Their Bones
Crones trust their instincts about people and principles. This trust grows through growing older and wiser, through learning from life.  “Experience was what you learned just after you needed it,” –Isabelle Allende. 
Looking back on lessons learned, many women realize that they were relatively clueless about potentially dangerous situations, or had been impulsive and heedless. Some realize that they disregarded an uneasy feeling or even a stable of fear, and rather than appear impolite, foolish, snobbish, prejudiced, selfish, or ignorant, became a victim instead.
            Credentials and recommendations are taken into account, after which a crone will make decisions about who to trust to look after her, her health, and her assets based on her sense of  the caregivers’ character, competency and compassion, and on something that “feels right” between them. 

 Crones Meditate in their Fashion
Crones find time to meditate, it may have been called “washing the dishes and staring out the window,” or “folding laundry and thinking,” or “daydreaming,” or “doing nothing.” It may have begun as having a quiet cup of coffee before the household awakes, . . . or what you did while taking a walk, or in commuter traffic.             It was a time when a thought could come to mind, or something beautiful truly seen, or a dream or conversation remembered.
            Women who worry incessantly are not meditating.  . . having worst-case thoughts is not meditating, nor is preoccupation with past pain and resentments, nor is it making up to-do lists. Focus may be inward, but there is no space for thoughts and connections to come to mind, or for feelings and images to rise to the surface and be observed without being attached to worry, guilt or anger.
            Inner life was meant to grow in importance as we grow older. We explore the world with our senses in our earlier years. . .  We can draw from what we have already experienced. Usually we have more time for an inner life. Sleeping less than we used to gives us extra hours.
                Understanding comes when we take time to notice patterns and can see events in a more detached way than when we were in the midst of them. 

Crones are Fierce about What Matters to Them
Gloria Steinem has often noted that women tend to be more conservative when young, and become rebellious and radical as they grow older, while it’s the opposite for men. Crones are not naïve or in denial about reality. Women become radicalized through empathy.  A crone is a woman who has found her voice. She knows that silence is consent. This is a quality that makes older women feared. Among indigenous peoples, “grandmother” is a title of respect for an older woman in a society that had councils of wisewomen elders. . . whose maternal concern was now for all the children of the tribe and for generations to come.
            It is the exceptional power of the mother bear coupled with her maternal concern that demands respect and fear. 

Crones Choose the Path with Heart
Crones know when they are at a fork in the road and understand that the decision to be made will cost whatever the alternative is. Choosing one path means giving up the other.   Paraphrasing Castaneda:  There are many paths to choose from, and none of them go anywhere. Yet you must carefully choose which path you will take. If you choose a path with heart, it may be difficult, but there is joy along this path, and as you travel, you grow and become one with it. If you choose a path out of fear, anxiety travels with you, and no matter how much power, prestige, and possessions you acquire, you will be diminished by it.
            What did we come to do? Who or what did we come to love? What talents did we come with? What do we find fascinating? What gives us joy? What do we know matters deeply to us? The outer path we take is public, but the path with heart is an inner one. 

Crones Speak the Truth with Compassion
Saying what others want to hear, rather than what is true, can become second nature. The challenge, which leads to becoming a crone, is learning how to be both truthful and compassionate. Observation is the first step: really listen to what is being said. Are you being polite or cowardly? The wisdom of the inner crone is knowing when to speak and what to say.
            Truth is sharp-edged: it is an instrument that can cause pain, wound, disfigure, or maim. Or, it can be a surgeon’s scalpel that removes a malignancy.. . . and restores health or self-esteem.
            Women are most inclined to withhold the truth from those emotionally most important to them, and in so doing nurture and sustain their weaknesses. To not want to embarrass a friend and withhold the truth does not serve her: friends tell each other the truth.
            Consider letting draining relationships go. Whatever you do takes from what you otherwise could have done. The easiest to pare down are the reciprocal, social back-and-forths. All you have to do is fade away. Better to attribute your withdrawal to changes going on within. The decisiveness and clarity of a message that something is over is a kindness if the alternative to reach the same end is a long, drawn-out, painful process. 

 Crones Listen to their Bodies
If we don’t listen to our bodies and pay attention to our physical needs and pleasures, this vehicle that we need to be running well to take us into a long and comfortable life, will instead limit what we can do and who we become.
            Many crones also learn to listen to their bodies . . . and can tell when something is off. Our bodies often express feelings for us, and if we do not allow emotions to surface as our feelings, they can come out as our pain or a physical symptom. A crone pays attention to her body’s perceptions—she listens to what it is saying about people and situations. Who do you draw physically close to? Who do you step back from when they come close?
            Crones who want to look as young as they feel sometimes will do something about their wrinkles and sags, while others love their wrinkles, graying or white hair, and enjoy looking grandmotherly or like a wise elder.
Crones Improvise
Most crones could define their lives as an improvised work in progress. Wherever they are was not the planned destination. Regardless of what came before, changes in circumstances usually happen during the crone years. Flexibility, resourcefulness, good health, friends, the ability to learn and keep on growing, being needed or doing service, having absorbing interests, and the ability to enjoy your own company, are qualities that make improvising a good life possible.
            A crone is herself. She accepts change, appreciates the good in her life, grieves for what dies or loses vitality, and goes on. Truth is, she does not exactly reinvent herself intentionally; rather she is adapting to change, responding to what engages her energy.

 Crones Don’t Grovel
Crones don’t grovel for approval. How sad and pathetic we were in the awful years of feeling awkward, rejectable, and therefore relieved to be acceptable. Wanting to please is normal. But being willing to grovel goes much further. If we are loved, accepted, and treated well, we don’t grovel; we act naturally and spontaneously. Groveling is a state of mind in which you defer to another person because you think of yourself as a need, unworthy inferior. Only a woman who is actually a prisoner or has the legal status of property has to grove. All others need to get help and get out. 

Crones Laugh Together
The belly laughter of women together is usually something that happens in the absence of men. Crones together are most likely to laugh until tears flow because they know when they are with like-hearted women and don’t need to preserve a persona. Its an expression of the triumph of spirit and soul over that which could have broken us or made us bitter; its because whatever happened or didn’t happen didn’t turn us into whiners.
Crones Savor the Good in their Lives
If you are a woman who has enjoyed life and not become soured by your personal share of human suffering, you are likely to become a crone who is a connoisseur of experience—meaning that you are abler to savor the good that comes your way. Crones know how fortunate they are to still be alive, when most of the world does not reach fifty, and many friends and family have not made it this far. Savoring is about giving an experience your full attention and truly taking it in. savoring is about gratitude for the moment. Gratitude comes from being conscious of alternative possibilities and the big picture. Crones have known bad times and bad days. Crowns have also known magic moments. Gratitude is something we have inside us that rises to the surface when something in particular invites it out. Gratitude is a wonderful spiritual practice. Its about being at a particular place in time, but its more; its gratitude that such events could come to be, and that you are there to experience it. And even more than this, its gratitude for something beyond words, for the communion.
            Crones are the connoisseurs of life’s good moments. 

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