Wednesday of this week was my Seventy Second birthday. In celebration, I wrote the beginning of a poem:
I am a little old lady
Through the years
Here's six things I've learned ...
1. Do what you want to do - and if you don't know what that is deep inside, take the time to get to know yourself first. This may require emptying one's mind of the stuff we think we're supposed to do and be, and forgetting about needing lots of money. If you look into your heart and begin to recognize your place in the universe, wealth of the most important kind will follow. Guaranteed!
2. You cannot hate half the human race - unfortunately it seems that a whole bunch of us have bad feelings toward the opposite sex ... for similar reasons. Many of us have grown up with a difficult or abusing parent that caused us to think less of ourselves. Others of us have entered into toxic relationships that have led us toward self-destructive behavior. But, despite all this, we have to stop accepting and perpetuating the pain and anger. We have to come to terms with the fact that the killer of the soul is not the person that has abused and is hated, but the person that has been abused and continues to hate the abuser. Hatred is more toxic that almost anything. So go deep within, realize what you're doing to yourself, forgive your abuser, and start a new path focused on growing beyond the anger, the hate, the darkness and despair ... lighten up and smile again!
3. In general, science fiction is a waste of time or worse. Fill your time with things that inspire you, that brings you joy, that reminds you of your potential, that helps you feel capable and compassionate, that provides answers to questions about who you are, what's possible, and how you can play your part in making the world a better place. Surrounding our minds with thoughts of a world controlled by technology and the quest for dark power limits our ability to rise up with hope and promise.
4. It's a good idea to question the value of "sacred cows." Many of us grow up believing certain things and ideas are "necessary" when they really aren't. Most often, we come to this conclusion because some part of our community reinforces this: those we may know and love believe that without these "cows" life might in some way fall apart or become less satisfying. Before you go down this path of acceptance - or as soon as you feel the soil under your feet start to give way - question whether the "cows" are living up to their reputation. Are they lifting you up, reaffirming you, helping you get down the road you have chosen for yourself? Or are they impediments? Are they so focused on the status quo that your passions feel stepped on and dishonored? If the latter is the case, don't feel you need to be angry at these things; don't take them personally and don't burn bridges. They may work for others and at some point they may work for you. But when they start not to make sense, notice this and loosen their hold. And as you start to feel less constrained, be thankful that you have the opportunity to move on. At some point you might have the conviction to take them on head first.
5. Steely determination doesn't let you down. It builds you up so you can live a life that's whole and authentic. It pushes you forward when the pathway has almost disappeared. It helps you grow through the ups and downs and downs and ups and then, when you least expect it, it lets you look back at the story of your years with enormous joy.
6. Don't get married just because it seems like a good idea to others. (See #1 and #4 above.)