Cissy Brady-Rogers
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Archive for February, 2014

I wrote the following poem two years ago in response to Joyce Rupp’s Dear Heart Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality. She says that midlife beckons us inward, to our depths where we come home to our “truest Self.” Much of my midlife journey revolves around letting go of the “Self” I thought I was and learning to just be present in each moment as life unfolds.

be faithful to the present moment

Midlife “crises” of all sorts invite us to let go: shed layers of identity along with jobs, relationships and possessions that no longer fit who we are discovering ourselves to be. Divorce, job loss, the proverbial “empty nest”, illness in ourselves or loved ones each become thresholds into the inner life where we discover a more authentic version of who we thought we were.  What appears as a crisis on the front end can become an opportunity if we choose to listen to our lives.

My friend Betsy is doing the hard work of listening to her life and sharing her discoveries through her blog. Her writings inspired me to pull my midlife poem out and share it here. I offer it with the prayer that regardless of your current stage of life, you will allow the obstacles and challenges of your life to become opportunities to deepen your connection to your innermost being–that place where you know you were born from love, made for love and that nothing you do can make your more lovable or less lovable.

Love is our truest Self.

My Midlife Soul – A Response to Joyce Rupp’s Dear Heart Come Home

She told me to toss away the old map.

She said it’s of no use where I’m going.

She says I must learn to travel by the stars that shine in the shadowy places within.

Maps charted by other’s travels no longer suffice.

Broad open roads that lead to a good life, a happy, successful life–now dead ends offering comfort and ease but going nowhere meaningful.

Those routes partially taken–directives for a productive, busy life that belonged to another season–also dead ends now.

The old maps fade as the fires of midlife burn away the dross of the self I thought I was, of the self I grasp backwards to remember, of the self I keep trying to resurrect along with remnants of borrowed dreams.

How will I ever find my way?

A light pierces the thick fog, beckoning me to come and see.

A song whispers of joy amidst suffering, of blessings born of ashes.

I join hands with the One who told me to toss the old maps away.

I will walk deeper into the dark of my night. I will wait for the stars, trust their guidance, and let their light be enough for me.”**

By Cissy Brady-Rogers, January 2012, with thanks to Joyce Rupp

**From Dear Heart Come Home, by Joyce Rupp

Please join me for a South Pasadena Community Special Event Screening and Community Discussion of the award winning documentary Miss Representation Monday, February 24, 2014 , at the South Pasadena Library.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Free Screening - South Pasadena Library, Monday February 24 5:30 p.m.

Hailed by the Hollywood Reporter as “A relevant and important doc[umentary] that deconstructs the insidious role of visual media in the widespread, unbalanced depiction of women and girls,” Miss Representation exposes how mainstream media contributes to the under- and mis- representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which makes it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

“How we think about ourselves helps to determine our sense of self-worth. Well-being is not just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Well-being is linked to how you feel about yourself and your life. We need to be increasingly mindful about the demeaning and sexualized images of women and girls that popular media promotes. This event will bring awareness to the source of these negative messages and jumpstart a much needed conversation in our community about self-esteem and political empowerment.” Marina Khubesrian, MD, FAAFP

The 90-minute film will be screened from 5:30pm-7pm followed by a dynamic discussion from 7pm-8pm facilitated by Cissy Brady-Rogers, LMFT, featuring expert guests Katherine Wong (Common Sense Media), Mayor of South Pasadena Dr. Marina Khubesrian;, SPHS Feminists Unite Club members Charlotte Foley, Mia Forman, Paige Valentine, Paige Forman, and Suki Sekula; Katherine Wong (Common Sense Media); Pasadena City College Board Trustee Linda Wah; Oliver Middelstaedt (USC student and featured in the film);, Pasadena City College Board Trustee Linda Wah and Shaunelle Curry (Media Done Responsibly).

The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Space is limited. Refreshments and snacks will be provided. While attendance of the screening is encouraged, it is not necessary for participation in the community discussion.

Press Release supplied by Healthy South Pasadena and Day One.