Have you heard of the concept of our inner “wise woman”? It may sound very woo-woo, but the wise woman is a powerful inner resource that we all have available to us.
According to Know Your Archetypes, “In modern society, the Wise Woman archetype has come to be representative of an older, mature woman, usually in the latter part of her life. Her life is spiritually centered, with her in full mastery of her body, heart, and spirit.”
In this post, I’ll share my story of how seeking that wise woman within can bring peace, wisdom, and thoughtful insights if you are open to them.
What Led Me to this Process
I was introduced to this idea by a life coach I worked with around three years ago. At that time, I was going through a lot of transitions. My 16-year-old daughter had recently moved to Canada to live with her dad. I struggled to adjust to this new arrangement, as I had been a single parent up to that point. Having recently left my practice to move across the country, I was seeking guidance in getting my feet on the ground in this new chapter I was beginning.
Becoming Acquainted With Your Wise Woman
A few weeks into working with the life coach, she suggested that we do an exercise to access my inner wise woman. My first thought was, “Okay, I’m not really sure how this is going to work …” But I agreed to be open to trying. Through a visualization process, she encouraged me to envision and familiarize myself with this woman. To my surprise, I was actually able to access my “wise woman” fairly quickly.
In my visualization, I entered a sun-filled house with beautiful art hanging on the walls. In a sitting room tucked in the back, I spotted her – an older version of me. She sat in a comfortable chair with a book resting on the table next to her. Probably around 75 years old, she appeared elegant, peaceful, and content.
Dressed in comfortable and beautiful clothing, she looked her age. Yet, there was something timeless about her. One of the first things I noticed was her peaceful energy. I could see photos with family and friends, taken from different travels over the years, behind her. Also scattered across a shelf were photos of celebrations and gatherings, all little signs of a life fully lived.
I felt a lot of clarity just being in her presence. Immediately I knew there was nothing I could hide from her. All at once, I felt giddy about seeing a happy version of myself to look forward to at this older age and ashamed over my inability to easily manage my life circumstances at that moment.
The First Thing She Reminded Me of Was that Everything Passes With Time
Despite all of the changes happening in my life, the drama I was going through seemed overblown once I could envision how everything fell into place very nicely over time.
All our transitions are just moments in time. The challenge of our children’s teenage years – it doesn’t last. In a flash, it will be over, and your teenager will be moving off to college. The long days and nights trying to soothe your colicky baby – that doesn’t last either. It’s one petal of a flower, all part of a bigger picture.
I recognized that the more I hyper-focused and obsessed over the changes, the more I was getting lost in the drama. Even worse, none of that would ever change the outcome one bit.
She helped me realize there was a balance somewhere in which I could fully experience what was happening, while still reaching for the happiness that could coexist at the same time.
She also reminded me that I was reacting to parenting situations because of my own “stuff” – not my child’s. I had a moment of accountability sitting next to her.
Next, my inner wise woman lovingly asked me how I could support myself more as I went through these changes. She encouraged me to discover what I could do – and then do it! For me, that looked like time alone, time with friends, exercise, writing in a journal, meditation, exploring new passions, and other means of self-care that I still employ.
There was a lightness to her, and I felt silly for being so hard on myself. I think she even suggested that I “lighten up” occasionally when I felt stuck trying to process what I was going through. I began to see that all of it would pass, and eventually, I might even look at these events as gifts that helped me grow and move forward. And she was right.
Next, She Reminded Me that I’m Exactly the Parent My Daughter Needs
Probably sensing my overwhelm, she made this very clear. I was (and am) precisely the parent my child needed (and needs). This was not a random event – I was handpicked for her, and she was for me. I already had all of the tools and resources within me. I might need to continue to cultivate and discover them, but they were all there.
My fearful thoughts and overwhelm seemed real at the moment, but they were distractions. I could work through any obstacle. I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually up for the task.
Lastly, the Wise Woman Encouraged Me to Step Back and Take a Look at the Bigger Picture
Seeing her seated there in her comfortable chair, I could see that she was now in a new phase. She had experienced so much life, including those busy and challenging days of parenting; a fulfilling marriage; various careers; the many iterations of becoming who she is today, which required some deep work; and a lot of enjoyment, too. She radiated fulfillment, peace, and happiness.
She reminded me that I had a whole big life, and parenting, although very significant, was just one part of it. I lived 30 years before having a child. What was my life like then? And I would have many more years on the other side after my child headed out and truly began her own life.
Motherhood has a way of demanding all of your attention. But those demands change over time. The only person who is always there for you – the entire time – is you.
Remember to taking loving care of yourself. Be deeply kind to yourself. Be sure to forgive yourself often, even every day, when you make a misstep.
One Final Thought:
Have you recently looked at a photograph of yourself as a little girl? Do you remember how innocent you were? Deep inside, that innocence remains. You have grown, made decisions, and taken on many responsibilities. You’re living life fully! And that’s going to come with challenges and require necessary growth.
Once again, be kind to yourself, and everything can then fall into balance. Remember that.
As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”
My life coach was trained in spiritual psychology at the University of Santa Monica. To find a coach trained in this technique, consider looking here.