Sometimes I find linkages in the strangest of places.
I was reading a news article today about how ‘Harry and Meghan’ are stepping back as senior-royals and will no longer be HRH’s.
The story had many overlaps with a big change my own family is experiencing at the moment; my mother is ‘stepping-back’ as a wife, particularly a farm-wife, and also as a hands-on mother and grand-mother. She will no longer be the ‘Irish Mammy’ but the anti-thesis to it.
In order to continue the growth and the work she needs to do, she has to move away from the restrictions of the home, the home-maker, the wife and of being the ‘other’ on the farm. A bit like Harry and Meghan, to live her full-life she has to step away from the trappings of the expectations of these socially constructed roles – and create her own.
With these thoughts I found myself disappearing into a deep reflection of, what seems to me, the vast institutional and structural change currently happening in society. How, even monoliths of steadfastness (like the British Royal family), which once seemed so static, are now having to change, alter and be open to doing the unexpected (all part of the course in the Age of Aquarius we have now entered).
In my own life, my parents and their rock-solid marriage have been my monolith of steadfastness that I have always counted on – it has been the surest of ground on which to walk out on in life.
So, perhaps, just like the British Royal family is having to shift in ways it would have once been utterly unmovable, so I too am having to learn to navigate change and become less restrictive in my responses. If my mother has re-framed the meaning of marriage for her – what does this mean to me and for my own life going forward? How does this alter my own perspective on the steadfast monoliths in my own life, such as marriage, finishing the things you have started and ultimately, personal integrity?
I have never feared change. I’ve always embraced it, felt its coming and welcomed its arrival. However, this has been a change I did not expect and is one I am finding requires a daily shifting of reality and perspective to make sense of. My underlying core values have been left wondering where they stand.
However, if there is one positive thing I can take from this is the bravery my mother has shown in initiating this change for her. As I returned to my mulling of institutional and structural change across society, I reflected that this personal experience ties in well with the wider social narrative these days; women are increasingly emblazoned as change-makers, trail-setters and way-showers, rather than framed in the traditional female cornerstones of ‘family’ ‘self-sacrifice’ and ‘meekness’.
Although I don’t see my mother’s actions as a causal outcome of these changing narratives, I do see her new path as a parallel reflection of a wider, perhaps much deeper and primal, consolidation and reclamation of female strength in society. If such ethereal forces have guided women like my mother —who have made most of their decisions in life based on fear, judgement from others, and adherence to social and institutional norms (i.e. the church) — to empower themselves and set forth on a path that truly honours what makes them happy (not other people) then I can only see that as a positive thing. There is a beauty in it – and it feels right.
As my mother said to me as she made this decision “Never let anyone damage your spirit and your soul like I have. Let me be a lesson to you”. Who knows, perhaps this is how Harry and Meghan feel, they must leave the institution to reinvigorate their soul and mend their spirit!