If My Eighty-five Year Old Self Could Speak (What might she say?)

Dear Jody at 69,

We are moving a bit slow now, you and I, and you think you have memory problems now? Just wait. We still have very little fear of death yet are squeamish regarding the inevitable pain. I guess it will be like passing through the birth canal again. I won’t go on about the plant and animal species that have become extinct in the past 16 years or the heartaches of militarism and greed. Eyesight is worse and we now practice selective hearing. We are allowed a few vices in old age.  Our inner vision is getting stronger however, so I know you’ll be happy to hear that. 

Since early childhood we’ve been drawn on a quest to realize an intimate experience with the divine. Maybe it started that day when we spotted the ocean for the very first time and we felt such an expanded sense of pure presence, losing the awareness of the boundaries of our own body. Now we understand that a switch that controls the amygdala (brain’s sense of boundaries) shut down as we apparently entered a portal to peak awareness. I still feel energized just thinking about the gift we received from the Universe that day.  No wonder we never shared that encounter with anyone. For so many years we wondered why we kept that experience inside, but we really didn’t have an adequate vocabulary to explain the unexplainable. We never will.

 

And then there was the family picnic at New Germany. That memory is also embedded. I close my eyes and can still see the colors and light and feel that love for our family so strongly. Why would we not share what had happened? I wasn’t a bit shy about sharing the crayfish I found in the stream or showing my mom the unusual texture of the bark on that one tree Bill and I had climbed. I should have shouted at the top of my lungs that I felt the love my parents shared, that I loved them so much and didn’t want the day to ever end. We kept that inside. Why? We kept too much inside.

You know how we always had the sense of not belonging, of not quite fitting in? I remember how our introspection caused us to descend into profound stages of loneliness and emptiness. I think it was the burden of trying to live in two opposing dimensions. We were searching for a detached emotional state, internally longing to be who we truly were, (vulnerable) while trying to maintain the appearance of normalcy on the outside. The sledgehammer depression that broke us open had probably arisen from our feelings of disempowerment. We were definitely in the grip of a spiritual crisis that went on for many years. When did the balance of power begin to shift? Now I know that as long as we’re in human form, we will perhaps always feel like something is missing, but now we know that it’s ok and perhaps perfectly normal to feel like the odd-one-out.

We were frustrated because we were unable to reach God through reason. We fought surrender with all the power we had. We lost. I guess we’re supposed to lose, because that’s when we begin to awaken to the Great-All-That-Is. 

One of our strongest archetypes has been that of the “wounded child” but the spiritual path of the wounded child cracks open the learning path of forgiveness. We have been awakened to a deep sense of compassion toward people who make mistakes and toward the vulnerable, because of our own wounds and maybe that’s why we’ve always wanted to help other wounded children.

I urge you to see the possibilities for positive change against impossible odds. Follow your intuitive knowing more. To sense energy information but then to repress that information for lack of rational support is to court madness. Never negotiate ethics. Remember that our thoughts, feelings and emotions have universal consequences and that all people are basically good. Don’t allow your spiritual legacy to go dormant. I know this much is true. When we use its creative force we are in concert with the entire universe. 

There is no reason to pity the old. Instead, the young should envy us. We are valuable in our sense of dignity rather than in any sense of usefulness. We have experienced so much and I do believe we’re each a manifestation of the divine seeking to experience what it’s like to be human. I know that we are more than we can ever know, more than an individual with a name and a heart beat. Besides, behind this pale mask worn in the “aging” ritual is a beautiful princess or prince waiting to be born or maybe even a dolphin!

My card club friends have asked me to give you a bit of advice so here goes. “Live as if you were living for the second time and have acted just as wrongly the first time as you’re about to act now.”

I love it! I love you.

Sincerely,

Us at 85. 

PS

I don’t think the divine plays by our rules. 

Jody Walker

 

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another. If you wish to know that you are safe, cause another to know that they are safe. If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another to better understand. If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.” — Dalai Lama