Not only possible but tried and tested. Who would have thought that the words ‘joy’ and ‘ageing’ could come together and provide a book title that is neither wishful thinking nor an idealised and thus unrealistic picture, like those taken from the advertising material for yet another retirement village, depicting an elderly couple walking off into the sunset with a glass of something alcoholic in their hands.
To live from the riches within, from our divine essence; to live from the inside out and bring that to the world and be fully engaged until our last breath.
The men and women who wrote for this book are not invisible – far from it! They have not entered any twilight zone but shine their light ever more brightly. Some of them might officially be retired but there is certainly nothing retiring about them. Their accounts are a no holds barred imparting of what has and what hasn’t worked and what it means to grow older and into the authority of one’s elder years, without excuses, without the slightest hint of victimhood or any sign of dementia. Being fully engaged in life, whether that be as professionals or volunteers in their community, these men and women just don’t have time for anything that could remind us of giving up, shrinking and becoming invisible; there is no trace of making do, putting up with things or trying ‘to kill time’ in distractions or seeking thrills and entertainment. Who needs to be entertained or distracted when life is glorious?
Now, that does not mean that the physical body is exempt from the ageing process, duly presenting the account for what it had been put under and subjected to in younger years, and without the responsibility these elders have accepted and now joyfully live. And thus, illness and disease have their rightful place – the body clearing what does no longer belong and is not of love.
Likewise, there are in this book also no tales of false bravado, steely determination, heroism, clenched fists, Botox or cosmetic surgery. You see, there are wrinkles and then there are wrinkles. There are those that denote loss of elasticity, decreased collagen production and cell walls that don’t adequately retain water. And then there are those that biologically, physiologically are there for all the same reasons but also, and foremost, reflect an inner and very delicate deep beauty; these wrinkles, together with the unfathomable depth of the eyes, hold no fear, no loss, no regret, no ‘could have been’ or ‘should have been’.
The photos of these vital and fully engaged elders speak for themselves: the depth and sparkle of their eyes, the gentleness of their wrinkles, the potency of their writing, the validity and assuredness of their presence, their fully claimed and embodied confidence.
These elders are fully engaged, living and enriching life and they plan to do so until their last breath. They don’t need to get to a certain age, they are not waiting for a letter from the Queen – their presence is based on their beingness, on their innermost and thus it is not the ‘doing’ or getting somewhere that defines them. And thus, they also do not bury themselves into hobbies as an escape, nor travel for travel’s sake nor do they spend their days in front of a TV screen or in a club, hooked up to the pokies.
And there are no sad and sordid tales here; yes, Iife happens and what happens isn’t always so great, but these elders know that every moment in life is the end result and consequence of the many moments they have lived before and the steps they have walked thus far. They have taken responsibility for their choices, past and present and know that they are not ever the victims of life, circumstances, or of bad or good luck.
And thus, not a whiff of victimhood in sight, no vying for sympathy, pity, commiseration or any other hooking emotion. As the reader, you are left to just be and enjoy these 40 life stories, and to ponder and contemplate and come to your own conclusions.
“To be good, have high ideals and to live by
given or adopted beliefs, are all part of the journey
in seeking to connect to one’s heart.
To be still, to know harmony and to be in joy
are the natural impulses of the inner-heart.
Which of the two you choose will unfold
the quality of life that you will have."
(Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, Vol. 1, p. 9)
Gabriele C., Australia