I had an academic exam today. Now I’m relaxing with a cup of ginger tea, enjoying a restful evening. There is something deeply satisfying about having been tested and knowing you’ve measured up. And I sit here, quite still, savouring my tea and the moment that I’m in, and reflect on exams.
A friend of mine has children, and she says bringing them up is like having an exam every day. There will be crises, drama and accidents, serious decisions to make that have severe repercussions. And there are the little moments, like the tucking in and reading of bedtime stories. They’re just as important. As a parent, your exam is in how you handle your children being different from you. They might find surprising ways of exerting their individualities. A piercing or a tattoo can send a loud and clear message that they’ve grown up and are nothing like you thought they’d be. You can only hope you’ve taught them the important stuff, because now their time of learning from you is complete.
Sometimes friendships and family may also be testing. There are times when you go through ordeals for your friends, or for your family. Waking nights, emergencies and heartache, and time spent laughing around a fire or over a glass of wine. Times when you realise one of you have changed and grown in a different direction, found different values. How do you cope with it, individually and together? Do you come out of it stronger, with more in common? And what about setting boundaries? I can think of a few times we’ve had that sort of exams in my family.
There are also other kinds of weighing and measuring – the ancient Egyptians believed that in order to enter the good afterlife, the heart must be weighed and be lighter than a feather. By that they meant that you had to have been a good person, carrying only good thoughts and feelings into your heart in order to be let through to the hereafter. There were no second chances, once your heart had been weighed that was it. You were in or out. I can only imagine what they did to train themselves to become better people. Self-improvement is no new fad, it seems.
So as I sit thinking about exams, I can feel that I am very proud of my academic achievements, simply because I have applied myself and worked hard at it. I’ve loved every minute of it, and see how the knowledge I have gained stays with me and keeps expanding my mind. To me, this is the real exam – how I live my life and how I put that knowledge into practice. I’ll continue to do my best and to work on improving myself. If my heart is weighed one day I hope it is as light as a feather.
Finding the community of Cycle Harmony has made a huge difference to me. I am delighted to be writing to you from the Red Tent and hope to share thoughts and experiences you recognise, or find useful to ponder upon. I look forward to working with you all in exploring what it is to be women, and hope to hear from you. ~ Vild