Many years ago, I was sitting in a circle of women in a basement in downtown Toronto. We had just completed a shamanic ceremony in which we were instructed to seek a Spirit Guide and ask for a medicine name. The phrase “afternoon storm” came to me clearly and immediately, which was unusual for me. I have never really used the name since then. That circle of women stopped meeting shoftly after that day, I moved out of the City, and my life got full with children and work.
I never found another circle of women with whom to share ceremony and prayer. But I have thought frequently about the name; wondered what it meant for me. I love afternoon storms; how they command our attention with their power and their beauty. I love the calm that follows a storm; the stillness in the air; the sweet smell of the soil.
That ceremony was more than 16 years ago. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time. I am well into my mid-life years now; the late afternoon of my life. For 20 years, I have been scrambling through my life; juggling children, jobs, housework, soccer games, swimming lessons, and hockey games. So much has been happening on the material plane that there has not been much time or energy for the spiritual plane. And now, suddenly it seems, I have time…lots and lots of time…alone. My son has gone to College, my husband now travels for work for weeks at a time, my daughter is at school or “hanging” with her friends, and I now work from home alone.
There is stillness in my life. Quiet. Peacefulness. Time alone. Time to think. Time to reflect. Time for regrets to surface; about opportunities missed, friendships lost, mistakes made. Time to feel grief: about the stage of my life that is ending; about the mother who abandonned me; about the boss who betrayed me. The external quiet has given birth to a raging storm within. I am riding the storm with hands clenched to the gunnels; feeling excited by it some days; overwhelmed by it other days; and praying for the calm that will follow.