Watch the #NomoCrones Solstice Fireside Wisdom Session. Recorded 21 December 2021.
Since we first came together for World Childless Week in 2020, the #NomoCrones (nomo = not-mother & crone is not an insult!) have been meeting each solstice and equinox for a series of informal online zoom gatherings called 'Fireside Wisdom with Childless Elderwomen'. To find out more about our 'Gateway Elderwomen' project and to watch previous sessions, click here. To sign up to our mailing list to make sure you don't miss the session planned for March 2022, click here.
For December 2021's Solstice Session, we're planning to discuss the topic of what I've termed 'Spiritual Malnutrition', which I define as a deep hunger many of us feel for something that is hard to name but which we know when we experience. For me, and as I wrote about in Chapter 8 of my book Living the Life Unexpected, it's a connection to 'source', to that spring of wellbeing and nourishment from which everything arises.
For some people, this need may be met by observing a faith-based practice; for many others, myself included, it is something we seek elsewhere. So if the need for spiritual nourishment is fundamental to being human, why are so many of us going hungry?
And why is it that when we do seek a profound, sustainable and nourishing connection to the world around us, to other humans, to the more-than-human world and to ourselves, what so many of us find instead is a diet of empty spiritual calories that fill us up but leave us hungry? I am brought to mind of the Buddhist concept of the 'hungry ghost', those desperate spirits who are surrounded by delicious food and drink but remain perpetually hungry because their necks and throats are too narrow to eat or drink; because of this they are left in perpetual yearning. The trauma expert Dr Gabor Mate writes of this as an analogy to addiction too.
So many of us, myself included, are craving something more and absolutely exhausted by continually coming up empty. Added to the bone-deep exhaustion so many of us feel as we come to the end of the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, could this profound sense of ennui and disconnection also point to a deeper malaise in our ailing civilization?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice is the most sacred time in the calendar of many indigenous and world religions; it is the moment when the world for a moment seems to stand still before turning back towards the light; the moment when the magical sun/son is reborn. It is a moment of balance and stillness in the turning wheel of the year; a chance to reflect and celebrate as we commence yet another circuit around the solar wheel with renewed hope that this year, this time, we may find what we are looking for. So many of thought that we'd find that elusive thing through the experience of motherhood yet, as we let go of that dream and look around us, we can perhaps begin to see that this is not always true and that motherhood is partly sold to us as a biological solution for a much deeper existential and spiritual question.
Join me, and our merry band of wise nomocrones as we reverently and irreverently explore what it is so many of us childless women are looking for, and how we might find it in the messy imperfections of our daily lives. How do we fill our cup in a world that demands so much of us, yet seemingly offers so little? And how do we find joy and connection at a time of profound global gloom and disconnection?
YOUR HOST: JODY DAY (UK/IRL) is 57 and is the Founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship, support & advocacy network for childless women. She is a psychotherapist and the author of ‘Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning and a Fulfilling Future Without Children’. A global thought leader on female involuntary childlessness, she's a World Childless Week Ambassador, a TEDx speaker, a former fellow in social innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School and a former founding & board member at Ageing Well Without Children. Jody is childless due to a combination of ambivalence, unexplained infertility and circumstance. She lives in Ireland with her partner, his mother and their dog and is working on a novel (with a childless heroine of course!) as well as developing the new ‘Gateway Elderwomen’ project. You can find Jody on Instagram @GatewayWomen and @ApprenticeCrone as well as in the Gateway Elderwomen subgroup in the Gateway Women Membership Community.
MEET THE #NOMOCRONES!
MARIA HILL (US) is in her mid-70s and is the founder of Sensitive Evolution and a leader/coach in the field of HSP experience and growth as well as an inspiring entrepreneur, fine artist and writer. For many years, Maria has been following the teachings of Ayurveda as a way to support her health and is also a reiki master and a veteran practitioner of TM (transcendental meditation). She is a long-time member and volunteer moderator of Gateway Women’s private membership community. Maria is childless by marriage. sensitiveevolution.com
Elizabeth Grambsch (USA) is in her late 50's. A musician, performance coach and licensed Gateway Women workshop facilitator, she lives with her husband near Minneapolis, USA and they are childless due to health-related issues and after multiple miscarriages. Elizabeth has shared Germanic and Obijwe heritage which deeply informs her approach to ancestral healing and reintegration after trauma. She is the founder of Crescendo Learning Center LLC where she teaches, coaches, consults, presents and performs with clients of all ages and with a variety of organizations on using applied neuroscience to improve communication, enhance creative self-expression and optimize human performance. elizabethgrambsch.com
SUSAN DOWRIE (AUS) is 60 and a long-time member of the Gateway Women Membership Community, as well as having hosted the Brisbane ‘Gateway Gathering’ meetup for several years. A student and practitioner of NVC (Non-Violent Communication), Susan is single and childless due to not meeting the right man. See the Australian Gateway Gatherings page within the online community here: www.gw-community.com/groups/3162351
DONNA WARD (AUS) is in her mid-60s and is a writer, editor, publisher and former psychotherapist from Western Australia who now lives in Melbourne. Her fiction and personal essays have been awarded and published internationally and her 2020 memoir She I Dare Not Name: A Spinster’s Meditations on Life was published by Allen & Unwin Australia in March 2020 and is now also available in the UK and US. donna-ward.com.au You can see an video/written interview Jody did with Donna about her book here.
SUZY MUIR (AUS) is in her late 50s and, with her husband Jon, creates and hosts rites of passage and transformational wilderness adventures on the land they steward near the Grampians National Park in Victoria, Australia. She is passionate about working with women at all stages of their lives to deepen their connection to their authentic and powerful inner selves and to the natural world. Suzy is childless due to breast cancer and the grief of living her life without children has been her greatest teacher. grampiansnatureprograms.org