At the young age of fifty-five, I find myself joyously standing in the center of that which has been and that which is preparing to blossom. An eloquent juxtaposition that feels like a merry-go-round spinning with exquisite suspended scenes.
In addition to my age gracing me with the realization that a lot of life has been lived, my children now soar off into their own adventures, pushing me out of the nest. As the truth becomes absorbed cellularly I find a gleefulness that encapsulates the carefree wild child I was and the passionate wise woman I am. Uniting and marrying the two for prophetic adventuring. A smile spreads, curiosity ignites, rhapsodic imagination takes flight.
In My Second Half…
I know I am worthy and divinely perfect as I am…
I unabashedly live, love, and explore…
I witness the beauty in the mirror, celebrating the gifts of time…
I gleefully embrace my enough-ness, freeing myself of unsolicited opinions…
I canter at full speed into the arena of my passionate dreams…
I leap with complete faith, burying with fervor the crib of regret…
I acknowledge with great gaiety that I am a success and always have been…
I sever the twine issued by judges, critics and fearful fanatics…
I am free to BE me, gyrating with grace into the infinite expansion of self…
I pledge to live engorged at the table of life…
In my second half, I welcome the rhapsody Carpe Diem…
Yes, everyday is a fresh stretched canvas. A posed pirouette. A barren page. A ballad awaiting melody. Oh what delighted mirth awaits in My Second Half…
Her eyes sparkle with joyful trust, her feet skip with abandoned freedom, her voice rises with no apology and her hands reach for the dust that dances with her in the glittering sunlight. She is free and wild an ecstatic expression of the bliss which always is…
Her face was lined from years of living. Her eyes danced, bursting with memories etched like fireworks on a dark night. Her smile beckoned one to sit and listen. Her legs no longer danced, they lay bent and disfigured on the bed with raw open bed sores seeping at her hip joints. Her vibrant spirit encircled you the moment you stepped into her space, there was no victim in this room, no woe is me, instead one was greeted with dynamic passion, simple happiness, and a peacefulness that gently kissed you on the cheek.
Who are the “her’s” I speak of? The first is me, dancing in my childhood living room, chasing the sun dust I stirred up with my exuberant joy. The second “her” is a divine woman I was blessed to care for in a nursing home years ago. Her aliveness, grace, peace, and love still dance in my memory. She and others I cared for knew a truth, as did the child in me.
What did they know?
They knew that happiness, love, peace and contentment always exist.
They knew that it did not exist in things outside themselves.
They knew that it was accessible in all moments.
They knew that no one could give it to them, yet they lovingly shared it.
They knew it was a choice.
The years and space between innocent curious childhood and the wisdom of one’s latter years is full of “shoulds”, “comparisons”, “judgments”, and the measuring of the self against a society often ruled through fear and distrust. I do not have to sit very long in a cafe before I can hear someone criticizing themselves or attacking someone else. Stories swirl around like the sound of the espresso machine, surging with blame, shame, hurt, victimhood and discontent. It breeds like the flies on the patio tables, snatching up every scrappy morsel to add fuel to why their life is so miserable.
Why do humans choose this?
A question I have pondered since I was five years old.
Why do we let go of our passionate desires to instead choose to fly someone else’s kite?
Why do we slam the door on the pure potential of joy?
Why do we kick happiness to the curb, to welcome and invite stressful frustration?
Why do we say “have to” instead of “get to”?
Why do we choose going through our days and moments on auto-pilot, waiting for someone or something else to make us better?
Do we prefer to wait, to lie on our deathbed watching the autobiographical movie of regret?
Why do we look in the mirror with such self contempt, as young children we loved our reflection?
I ask all of this with curiosity and a desire to understand.
In my sophomore year of college I was blessed to work at an international daycare. Here I witnessed children from all over the world. They danced, played, laughed and cried, living their moments very presently. They saw the world as a frontier to be explored. I sensed that the older children were on the fringe of losing this curious wonderment for life. In their play I observed them mimicking adults, their eyes would change, their jaw would set tightly, their voices would take on a serious tone. The joy, spontaneity, compassion and kindness evaporated, leaving behind a robotic body, controlled by the “taught” mind.
Three years after working in a daycare, I found myself working in a nursing home. Here I discovered the grace and vengeance of aging. I was gifted to share time with souls who lived a full passionate life and others who were embittered with regret. The extreme chasm between the two slapped me stingingly as I would leave one room to enter another. My heart and soul ached for those fighting their own shadow. They carried their anger and sadness like a suitcase loaded with boulders, burdening their final days. These souls expressed through pinches, punches, and verbal abuse while you assisted them to the toilet, shower or dining hall. Off the clock, I cherished the moments I got to sit and listen to the stories from those celebrating life. Stories of falling in love, having children, riding in a car for the first time and rising above struggle. Reflections of the gentle flow of seasons, years, experiences and the pure grace of a life lived fully.
In my forties I found myself teaching language arts to junior high students. Here I witnessed the cross over in technicolor poignancy. A few young people desperately clung to their innocent pure belief that anything is possible, that one could reach for their dreams with unbridled passion. The majority of the students had given up, they did not dream, instead they chased visions of their future painted on the wall by parents and society. They swallowed hard the doses of expectations fed to them with the famous mantra, “When I have lots of money I will be happy, when I get my degree I will be happy, when I buy a house I will be happy, when I marry I will be happy, WHEN I… I will then be HAPPY”.
Ironically the joke is on us, for much of life is lived between the wild child and the wise elder. Thus I am forever grateful for the life altering gift of witnessing snapshots of age through my diverse professional life. They have graced me with an awareness and microscopic view that life is really just a brief sojourn. A brief interlude to experience as I choose.
Today I watch the sun dust with the pure delight of my four year old wonderment, I dance with unlimited joy, for I am not young, nor old, I am in between, kissing each with gratitude for their wisdom.
Today I invite you to join me, breathe deeply into the child you once were before life manipulated you.
Today I encourage you to take back the string to your own kite, feel it dance freely upon the wind.
I wrote this piece originally over a year ago, today it whispered at me, beckoning me to share in this time of change upon our planet. We all sit unexpectedly in a space of suspended uncertainty. As we float between what was and what is becoming, we are being graced with a crystal ball that plays scenes from childhood, while positioning the paint brush towards a canvas of our elder years. Posed on a precipice, can you hear the whispers of grace and freedom? Or do you cling to the chaos of fear?
The wise gentle elders I was blessed to care for no longer inhabit this plane, yet the way they embraced their journey is written in permanent marker on my heart, soul, and mind. I shall not lie on the bed sores of life embittered and shriveled, I shall dance vibrantly in the sparkling company of dust particles…
There are two things I love to watch that bring me pure delight – dogs and children. They exhibit such innocence, internal joy, creativity, curiosity, and genuine presence. From the comfort of my home I get to watch a vast diversity of dogs with their humans enjoying the many wonders of the nature path.
Nothing makes me smile quicker than a dog merrily smelling along the trail, wagging their tail in full glee. Sometimes, it actually makes me giggle, especially when they are proudly carrying a stick as though it was the olympic torch.
Watching a small toddler stumble on wobbly legs along the path is also a treat. They are so close to the ground that they notice the small sticks, little rocks, pinecones and leaves. Put them by a pond or river and they are delighted for hours. Mesmerized by a floating leave, a skipping water bug, and the glorious objects below the waters surface.
You and I have this state of being within us. It’s still there, waiting to play. I remember when I was around five years old, I could ride my cedar tree horse for hours. Pretending to travel the world on my amazing four-legged friend. During the frigid north wood winters of Michigan I would bundle up and head outside to my “real home”, a space carved out of piles of snow. I was always a Native American woman, for they represented the life I dreamed to live. A life on the land, co-existing in harmony, with a community that worked and played together. No cars or planes, just the magnificent horse.
Hours would fly by as I pretended to feed my family on the cut out ice snow plates. Going off to sit at the campfire with friends and family. Sometimes we would dance or tell stories. Maybe it was a day I worked on hides, for our clothing, or gathered roots and herbs for our healing and cooking. I loved this imaginary world.
During the fall I lived in my pine needle house. The towering white pine behind the house would share its abundant bounty. To build my home, I would gather the brown-orange needles to create walls with space for door and windows. Later when my siblings were old enough to play, they had to follow the rules – NO stepping over or on the four inch pine needle walls. You could only walk through the doorway to enter our magnificent fragrant home. Time flew by in this make believe world.
Lying on the ground I loved to watch the clouds float past. My mind would wonder to imagining what the passing birds were saying, how did a tree feel in the wind, rain, snow, sun? What were people doing in other parts of the world? What was it like to live in a place with different animals? My mind loved to inquire, imagine and ask.
Watching a network of ants, I marveled at how organized they seemed. I imagined that our busy world must look like an ant mound from the sky. The cars zooming on highways, traveling like the ants to and fro. I actually found this comparison quite funny, for humans thought themselves so wise and ingenious, yet, ants already had it figured out. When I witnessed my first Australian termite mound I was in complete awe of this little engineer, talk about high rise!!
We were born curious. We were born believing that anything is possible. We were born full of imagination. We were born trusting and loving. We were born BEing in the moment, aware only of the NOW.
Can you remember? Oh, I sure can! When I see a dog bouncing along, I giggle with pure understanding. Watching children play with sticks in a pond always reminds me of the amazing “witch’s brew” I stirred up in mud puddles.
During this time I invite you to remember.
If you have children at home get down on the floor and play with them.
Go outside, close your eyes, take in a long slow breath and when you exhale, open your eyes with a new sense of wonder and curiosity.
Look at a nearby tree, truly see it, notice if the buds are new, or is it time for quiet hibernation.
Observe the ground, can you witness a bug on its way with important business to complete?
Did a bird fly over, or serenade you?
If you have a dog or cat, notice the world through their curious exploration.
Sit down and write about your childhood, what do you remember, what are your fondest memories, why???
You are of course free to ignore my invitation, especially if the news brings you more joy. Or maybe worrying feels good. Or stressing about “what might happen”.
I know one thing for sure – you and I each have 24 hours in our daily cycle.
How do you want to spend that time?
What will bring you joy in the midst of uncertainty?
How can you spread good vibrations?
You are at choice 😊! Personally, I love remembering and doing more of what fills my heart and soul. Who knows, maybe it will spread…