"Are we the generation that will redefine aging?

Can aging be not just growing older but growing wiser?

Isn't there a little Zen in all of us?

Although 'growing old is not for sissies' this writer hopes that aging well is a real option."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Give Back Your Heart to Itself

Give Back Your Heart To Itself

“The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”

 Derek Walcott

When I think of conscious aging as a spiritual path I think of this getting to know oneself better…getting to know “this stranger whom you ignored.” Conscious aging comes from paying attention to our emotions and reconnecting to ourselves through reflection, writing, and creative works, as well as through relating to nature as subject rather than object…

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung speaks of the years in his eighties as a time of freedom from individuality and a “growing kinship with all things.” He says, “there is so much that fills me: plants, animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man. The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of a great kinship with all things.”

Conscious aging as a spiritual path is what this blog is really all about…and I love what Jung has to say about that:

“The decisive question for man is this: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance.

 The more a man lays stress on false possessions and the less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his life…if we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, then desires and attitudes change. In the final analysis, we count for something because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” Carl Jung

Perhaps it sounds a little harsh to say wasted—aren’t we all on a journey to find what really matters--to embody the link with the infinite? This staying connected with the infinite may be the work we have to do, but there are so many ways to do it. Whether through nature, prayer, random acts of love or sweet conversations…there are numerous ways to be conscious in our living. And ultimately to be conscious in our dying… 

I love to think that glimpses of the infinite can be as simple as looking into the loving eyes of a dog or looking through a microscope and watching the atoms dance…or simply standing in awe of the night sky.

For me, living in relationship to the infinite means being mindful of both the God within--the “loving the stranger who was yourself.” and the God out there who shows up in the sunrises, sunsets, and the loving eyes of a baby.

And to end, some profound words from Elbert Hubbard: “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”

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