Have you ever asked yourself if something you heard was actually true? Have you ever wondered if someone was lying to you? Or worse yet, have you ever wondered, “Am I lying to myself?” Do you believe those voices in your head that are always giving you opinions? Do you ever ask yourself, “Is that really true?” To take it a step further, do you ever ask yourself as Byron Katie suggests, “If I didn’t believe that, what would my life look like?”
Midlife Is Your Friend
With spring now underway, it is truly a time of new beginnings, growth, and weeding out beliefs that no longer serve us. When you reach 50, 60, or 70 years of age, it can be easy to lament the years that it took you to get where you are. But the truth is you can’t really build a life until you pull together all the things you have come to really understand about yourself.
When I pause to reflect on my 60+ years of consciously being on my spiritual path, one of the big lesson that I’ve learned and continue to learn is to always remain open to the discovery and adventure of my personal growth.The inner work of reminding myself of what I already know and yet how much more there is to know and grow is a dance. I realize now more than ever, that at 88 years young, this is not the time to stop working on myself. Nor is it the time for you to stop working on yourself no matter what age, stage or phase of life you are in.
Midlife Awareness and Beliefs
In her book THE AGE OF MIRACLES, Marianne Williamson writes, “By midlife, you’re probably aware enough to understand which of your issues most need attention. You’ve learned where you’re strong, but also where you’re weak. You know what parts of yourself to be proud of and what parts of yourself should change. You know what your issues are this lifetime. It might not be a time when you’re learning new things about yourself so much as understanding more deeply what you already know. And new levels of self-awareness bring new opportunities for breakthrough.”
During my midlife years as a young christian, I believed I was a sinner saved by grace. I felt tremendous guilt and shame when I would explode in anger, have fits of complaining, or issuing a barrage of criticisms. In order to soothe my conscience, I would say, “That’s just who I am.” Over time my religious beliefs gradually evolved from that of being a sinner to the realization of my divinity, and that we are in truth all divine children of God.
And so my journey has primarily consisted of releasing— sometimes painfully—beliefs that I came to realize were blocking my growth. Opening the portals of my soul and accepting that which is ready to express through me continues to be a journey of allowing to emerge, more and more of who I truly am and who God intends for me to be.
In the same way, you can see why it’s important not to succumb to the culture’s negative message about aging. According to Ron Pevny, “The reason the Positive Aging Movement has emerged so strongly in the past 10-15 years is that the dominant view of aging has fallen VERY short in providing an accurate picture that truly serves individuals as we age and our society as a whole….”
Aging With Pizzaz
Let me give you a brief synopsis of an amazing woman who portrays a more accurate picture of what aging gracefully and powerfully looks like. Jerri Brillhart, 98 years young is someone I greatly admire for her mental and physical agility. When I met with her this week to take her photograph, I couldn’t help but notice and smile as she constantly reached out to take my hand in an attempt to support me walking up a slight incline into her home.
She recently had her drivers license renewed and it’s not due to expire until she’s 101. For those of us who would exclaim “Is it safe for her to drive at her age?” contrary to the stereotypical idea of older people being unsafe drivers, she has never had a ticket and she has had only one accident to which she proudly states, “It was not my fault.” Let me ask you, would you rather be a passenger in her car or a passenger with someone younger texting and driving…..and who has a history of tickets?
Among her many talents, Jerri shares her poetry in a wide variety of circles, including Unity Center For Inspired living. Additionally, her poetry has been published in over nine anthologies, and she is talking about publishing a book of her life story. From her recently purchased iPad, she is now active on Facebook posting photos, making comments and creating a community of friends of which I am honored to be one. Read her love-hate description below of her relationship with her iPad:
Another Kind Of Love
“Now every day of my life is full of so many surprises, since I recently purchased my iPad. At first this gadget frighten me, amazed me and also just annoyed me. I love it, hate it and ensure its complex and infinite wisdom. It almost immediately killed me. But while I am happy beyond words I am stuck with it, for better or for worse, just like bringing a baby home, I will have to learn forever, knowing I cannot send it back. I must hold it and endure its wisdom and being in its presence in my constant need of its Love.”
While Jerri’s poetry is generally more of a serious and spiritual nature, I think you can also get a sense of her humor that you can find in her poetry. When asked the secret of her longevity, Jerri doesn’t give the typical response of healthy living, her reply is, “It is my mind and what I believe.” She concludes that statement quoting the NewTestament scripture, “Just as you have believed, let it be done to you.”
Yes, most of us do suffer losses and diminishment of certain of our capacities as we age, but I believe Jerri echoes Mary Morrissey sentiments, who adamantly declares, “We belong to God and our soul is ancient in God’s mind; in God’s heart. But this instant can be brand new for us when we choose to bring ourselves fully alive to this instant.”
My belief includes the idea that the Universe/God is good, friendly and FOR It’s creation. Therefore, I choose to believe we can be—no matter what our chronological age, which is just a number—mature with youthful attitudes. Maturity is not synonymous with aging. Maturity is the reward from the willingness to accept life as life unfolds!
Steve Harvey recently featured on his show six women ranging in ages 30 to 91 years young, who served as a panel to share their wisdom and experience with several younger women seeking advice for various aspects of their life. As someone has said, “No one has the right to sit on their butt and wait to die. We all have the responsibility to share our wealth of knowledge and wisdom so that others may benefit from our trials and tribulations. And it’s through this gift of giving and helping others that we are bequeathed the gift of heaven on earth.”
Remember today that you are as old as God and as young as this instant. It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years!
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LOL = Lots Of Love,