A collection of soul-searching reflections by a woman coming to terms with the three major challenges of midlife: change, loss and death.
After sending her troubled youngest son to boarding school to pull himself together again, writer and editor Kenison suddenly realized that her life "as a mother of children at home" was over. All she had so painstakingly built in the first half of her life was starting to come apart. But rather than succumb to despair, the author decided to turn her focus inward and use the opportunity to begin what mythologist Joseph Campbell called "the hero's journey.” Campbell's archetype was based in male experience, but it was still a useful starting point for Kenison, who speaks directly about the transformational midlife experiences that are unique to women—e.g., menopause. As she dealt with the physical "depletion[s]" of aging, the unaccustomed silence of an empty home and the sometimes-uncomfortable shifts in her marriage, she also had to cope with a close friend's terminal-cancer diagnosis. It was yet another rite of initiation along a new, unmarked path. While mourning for her friend, Kenison began to understand the power of gratitude and take even more profound pleasure in everything she had ever taken for granted, from "a night of peaceful sleep" to "[her] husband's embrace." She also realized that in loss was a freedom that would allow her to explore meaningful ways to experience life. No longer bound to the hearth, she immersed herself in the practice of yoga at a training center away from her home, and she learned the healing art of reiki, which allowed her to connect more deeply with others around her.
Warm and wise.