Embracing the Journey – Navigating the Night Sea Journey by Ann Moir-Bussy

In the last column we spoke of the journey to becoming an elder as one of transformation and initiation. It is unfamiliar territory for us. Yet how many of you have travelled to unknown places?

When I was not quite seven, and my father had returned from being a prisoner of war in Changi, my parents made the decision to leave England and come to Australia. I still remember standing with them on the deck of the huge ship and waving to my grandparents, watching them become smaller and smaller until we were surrounded only by water and the darkness that seemed to go on forever. It was journey into the unknown.

As we move past our 50’s, we find we are navigating the unknown seas of aging and its again unfamiliar territory. We now have a choice to embrace this journey and the changes it brings or to resist making a choice and not setting out on the journey, but trying to cling to the way things are.

Recently I was talking to a beautiful woman in her mid-50’s. Her children had left home, and now alone, she wanted to make a difference and do something purposeful at this stage of her life. As we talked, she reflected on how she was feeling an inner loneliness, a yearning for something more, and to fill the ‘empty nest’ she was taking on more and more work. 

How easy it is for us to put up barriers and excuses to hold us back from embracing the journey. Have you found yourself being overly busy so as not to feel or think about the changes that are happening?

In my 50’s I was restless. The life I had been living didn’t have the same meaning and as I made a transition to a different way of living, I threw myself into work and more work, until glandular fever and chronic fatigue pulled me up short and I had to find a different path. We cannot grow until we grow in consciousness and awareness of who we really are and why we are here. If our focus is on the fear of getting older, we are maybe losing sight of new growth, and the beauty of a new blossoming.

In mythology, The Night Sea Journey is one of the many metaphors for the beginning of embracing and navigating unfamiliar seas. Finding a different path entails the embarking on an inward journey to discover the unconscious – a journey that is challenging, and at times frightening, as you are heroine or hero in the journey and there are obstacles to overcome and monsters to be slain!

Navigating the Night Sea Journey

The key to navigating these unfamiliar seas is firstly to let go: let go of the fragments of our old identity – or as Jung called it, our persona, our old way of seeing ourselves, or our identity formed by a role or roles we had taken on.  Letting go allows a new identity of the self to re-form – which can only happen when we embrace those parts of ourselves that we have allowed to be split off, unknown, unwanted, because we didn’t like them.

Many stories abound of this night sea journey. It’s the moment we awaken to find or discover we are lost – or to realise, that our life is not just about success, respectability, conformity. So, it’s a moment of fear – who am I? Where am I going? What am I here for? What is my purpose?  And we step into the unknown and the unfamiliar that beckons and says to us, “you must travel down another path”.

Letting go allows us to be present – to be in the NOW.  Now is the time to cultivate resilience, adapting to the challenges and setbacks that we meet, embracing the physical and emotional challenges of the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.

Remember the caterpillar in its chrysalis. It needs to wait as the growth taking place is hidden within. If you try to force it or rush it, you will destroy the beauty of the emerging butterfly. Neither can the emerging Elder or the emerging Crone be forced.

On the Night Sea Journey we sometimes feel as if nothing is happening. We cannot see where we have come from, and we cannot see where we are going. We must remain in the stillness, and patiently wait, as we are guided from within.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes sums up beautifully for us the emergence of the Crone, and remember as you stay present on the night sea journey and let go of what once was and open to what is becoming within you, this is what you will find:

… one night
there’s a heartbeat at the door.
Outside, a woman in the fog,
with hair of twigs and dress of weed,
dripping green lake water.
She says “I am you,
and I have travelled a long distance.
Come with me, there is something I must show you…”
She turns to go, her cloak falls open,
Suddenly, golden light…everywhere, golden light…

If you’d love to learn more join our group below where you will soon find some master classes and events that guide us on the journey.

Connect with Ann at:



And join her interactive group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fabulous50s

Ann Moir-Bussy

Ann is a highly experienced counselor of over 30 years, a transformative life coach and empowerment leader, enabling professional women in their journey of transformation and initiation to becoming an elder who leads from the soul.


  • Beautiful Ann. I think I started that journey in my 40s, but now have just realised the true value of letting go of the busyness, and the harm it causes by holding in tight


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