Everyone has an opinion of what being in the later years of our life should be. That’s perfectly okay and normal because we each see and experience things from our own perspective. What goes into our perspective is a whirlwind of emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual experiences, and let’s not forget the learned behavior we’ve brought with us. The bottom-line is that we don’t know any more about this last stage of life then we did the other stages we went through. However, after many past stages of life I’ve learned that by embracing each one along the way I’ve been able to experience life from a different more deeper perspective than the one before. As I attempt to embrace the senior years of my life, I find myself looking back a lot. Not so much in a longing of wanting to go back, but more of how far I’ve come. These are the years that give birth to all the wisdom I now hold within, and as I discover this, there is a sense of satisfaction in how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. As long as I have a clear enough mind I’ll always feel like I can do most things. It is in the trying that I learn my limitations. It is true that growing older is not for wimps. A lot of time and energy is used to get ourselves moving and being a part of life. I’m learning to embrace the limitations as they present themselves, and I work hard at not giving into the gravity that pulls me back into the sitting position where my body would be perfectly happy to park itself.
So, if I talk about being older at times, it’s because I am. If I talk about running out of time, don’t chastise me. Just bring me back to where I am right now. If you think I’m obsessing over it, don’t tell me how to think, but help me to embrace it. And if I can’t hear or understand you, don’t brush me off and say never mind. Give me a chance to hear what you have to say.
In closing I share my opinion of the later years of my life. I am a senior and that’s okay. I am getting older, but I’m not old in the sense of giving up. I’m not afraid to be where I am or say where I’m at in this stage of my life. I’m a senior and that’s okay with me.
At the end of the mini series “Genius,” Einstein is dying, and as his long time secretary looks at him with sadness, he takes a flower from an arrangement and holding it in his hand says, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
I looked at Tom with a childlike excitement, and said, “I learned that all by myself!”
Just a few simple lines, and yet they hold within them a great awakening, opening up a whole new world for us. You don’t even have to be a genius to discover it yoursełf. It reminds me of when my father-in-law had his cataract surgery. He said he could see things with such clarity and crispness, and the colors were so vivid. When our own blinders are stripped away we can also say, ” I can see clearly now.”
Today as I begin my meditation I’m giving a quote by Albert Einstin to ponder, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
A few weeks ago a friend read a quote to me by Napoleon Hill, “In your search for the secret of the method, do not look for a miracle, because you will not find it. You will find only the eternal laws of nature.”
I realized that sometimes I get so caught up in how to make the miracles in my life happen that I actually miss the miricles there are to see. I think to myself often that I know how to do what I need to in order to get from here to there. However, in the process of doing things the way I think I should, I miss out on all there is to see in between where the miricles actually exist.
In dormancy of winter we are like the seed have a time for deep thought and contemplation as we await a new awakening that comes in the spring of our life. We encapsulate all that we’ve learned and gained throughout our lifetime thus far. There is a sense of comfort staying safe within the bounders of our shell, but the spirit within longs to be free to experience more, and grow into the beautiful creation it was created to be.
In the process of new awakening we tend to forget where we’ve been and what we’ve learned thus far. Where we are heading becomes our focus and our senses go into high gear as we begin our journey toward new growth. We drink in the waters and feed off of the earth, and begin to feel an inner warmth that connects material life with the spiritual, pulling us instinctively upward. When we finally burst through the earth and the sun kisses our cheeks we know that which we were seeking was seeking us as well all along. It is in the spring of my new life I feel that warmth of love surround me, I in It, and It in me. Oh, if only I could remain in the warmth of light all the days of my life, but there’s much more life to see, lessons to learn, and growing to do along my journey as the spring of life begins anew…right here where I stand…right now.
“When a knowledgable old person dies, a whole library disappears.” –An old African proverb
I read an article today from my local newspaper titled, “Older people have knowledge to share—if we just listen” by Bob Rudy. It caught my attention for several reasons, one being that I spent time as a hospice volunteer a few years ago listening to the fascinating stories of people’s lives. Not only was it interesting to me, but the way their faces lit up as they told their stories turned out to be a gift for both of us.
I’ve also been working on my families genealogy for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to start it at a time when my parents were still alive, and as I dove into it I found myself wanting to know more about what their life was like growing up. They’ve both been gone a long time now and still I have question I wish I would have asked. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have never taken the time I did though to get to know them. It is true as the quote states as each family member passes away, a whole library disappears.
The other reason this subject is close to my heart is because I am a story teller myself, and as the younger generations calls us, I’m an older person myself. I like the phrase that getting older is not for wimps, because it is a time in a humans life when we have to work really hard to hang onto what we have. Sometimes it even feels like your slowly disappearing, fading into space as we lose our hearing, sight, coordination and many other facilities that make you feel like a child again. But ask us to tell you one of our stories and we become energized. Our eyes will light up, and just maybe we’ll feel like our lives matters once again, and you’ll hear a real live story like the ones you read in a book you borrow from the library.
Today my inspiration comes in the form of a frog. I mean this literally. I have always had a fascination with frogs since I was a kid. I remember watching them for weeks as the only existence they knew was being a tadpole living in the water. Then legs and arms begin to pop out of their body, they lose their tail and the transformation is complete. I just realized they’re the real deal when it comes to transformers like the ones my grandkids play with. Anyway the frog is born and emerges into an entirely new reality. It was the transformation that kept me captivated. How could one thing turn into something so different yet be the same thing? I never knew that frogs were known as the symbol for transformation until I read about it today. Every one of Gods creations has a significance in this world as well as something powerful to teach us. Some would call this transformation of rebirth the change that takes place when we accepting God into our lives. Some would say it takes place when we realize who we really are. Others would say it takes place when we realize our purpose. I would say they are all the same just as the tadpole and the frog are the same. What they are made of on the inside remains the same. While they may seem like a simple insignificant creature to us, they teach us about our own transformation and how we allow ourselves to adapt to whatever limitations we place upon ourselves. As a child looking in wonder at how a tadpole could turn into a frog. I realize now that they were never separate in the first place working as one unified creation fulfilling its purpose on earth controlling the bug population, and teaching us an important lesson about our own transformation simple by being what they were created to be.
Sleeping under the stars
“We’ve never experienced this very moment before, and the next moment will not be the same as the one we are in now.” -Pena Chodron
I’ve been sleeping propped up on the couch for the past few nights since my surgery. Our couch sits up against the big bay window in our living room. As I can only lay on my back to sleep right now it gets a little uncomfortable through the night. At some point I opened my eyes to get resituated, but I couldn’t move because of what I saw. It was as if I was sleeping outside under the stars. The sky was clear, the moon was almost full, and the stars were shining extra bright, at least they looked that way to me. I would have never been able to see this view from inside my house if I hadn’t been laying at the angle I was. It’s funny how one little open door of awareness can open us up to all the things around us we have blocked out. Suddenly I was aware of the cool fresh air coming in the corner windows, and the sounds of the summer night as if in full concert mode. Between the sight, sound and fresh clean air I felt like I’d been given a glimpse of heaven. It was a captured moment in time in which all else was forgotten. There was no pain or discomfort and after a while I fell back to sleep forgetting why I woke up in the first place. Every mindful moment like this seems to build on top of the other for me. Through this whole ordeal I’ve been able to find a way to see something better than my condition, and it’s had an amazing effect on my healing so far. I don’t question anymore where it come from. I know it comes from the grace of God, and all it takes is a moment of awareness to tap into.
To find the joy in our journey can be like looking at a picture puzzle where you try to find the objects that are hidden within. We have to look beyond the past. Beyond that which clouds our view and sense of direction. Beyond what we think our future holds. Our journey begins right where we are standing, and the light allows us to see all the hidden joy within.
I learned a simple beautiful prayer today by Jean Houston that goes like this:
“God let me be a blessing to someone today.”
As I went about this beautiful day, I thought about all the different ways we can do this. It can be as big or as little as the opportunity presents itself to us. I don’t think we have to go out of our way to find things to do. We simply need to be mindful of the opportunities. There’s many ways to be a blessing. Like one friend shared early this morning a beautiful picture of a flower on Facebook with two simple words to contemplate on, “peace and quiet.” It was a seine start to my morning. Someone else got a call very early to help jump a friends car. Without hesitation, fussing or irritation he went, and not only blessed the person, but himself as well for the good feeling it gave him. Another event I witnessed was at the grocery store where someone found several five dollar bills left behind. Instead of pocketing it the person turned the money in to the cashier. Within a matter of seconds the person who lost the money came back to retrieve it. She couldn’t say thank you enough to the person who found it.
As I write this with the inspiration God places in my heart. I realize how others have blessed me today. In return my prayer is answered as it gives me the opportunity to reach out and bless others with my words. It is beautiful when you think about it. God touches one, then that one touches another, and in our blessings we become extensions of God without even realizing the effect it creates.
Socrates said, “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”
He also went on to say that, “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”
If I’m a pessimist, I’d probable look at these two quotes and say, “What’s the use in trying!”
However, through the optimistic outlook we are able to see the endless possibilities between the words. I don’t know all there is to know, and I never will know everything, but when I think of all I’ve come to know in the years I’ve lived…the wonder of what I’ll come to know next…is something I can’t wait to discover.