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Today I would like to share a poem I wrote about 5 years ago, from my book called Poems from the Passionate Heart. It is a poem about aging. I turned 60 a couple months ago, and recently got my first senior discount at the barber shop, which felt kinda funny, as I feel pretty young. But I took the discount anyway. I guess we get rewarded for lasting a certain amount of time. The barber’s policy is that anyone older than him is considered a senior and qualifies for a discount. He’s only 57, so he’ll be giving quite a few discounts, but increasingly less as he ages.
Our world has lost some interest in our elders. We do not honor thier wisdom, as if we want them to just go away. But as elders we also have something to say about this. As you listen to my poem, ask yourself, how are you aging? No good or bad, or judgment, but how do you choose to live and age and eventually die? My hope is that we learn to age more gracefully, take care of our mind and body and spirit, and perhaps this will make it harder for the world to ignore our elders. Here is my poem called Aging Grace:
Are we elderly,
Does the world look down on us,
or up to us?
Does the way we live our life,
have anything to do with this?
Are we already dead,
spiritless bodies clutching harsh judgments
of what could have been,
or timeless Souls,
laughing at our follies,
celebrating and applauding our humanity?
Are we bitter about barely walking,
or joyfully rocking!
growing old without growth,
aging without grace?
Or watching, listening,
teaching by being?
Does our presence darken and depress a place,
or brighten and create sacred space?
Do we wall off our youth–even as we grow dependent on them–
judging and projecting our embittered failures,
Or welcome and encourage them to show us a new way?
Do we have both feet in the grave,
or one foot in each world,
Earth and Spirit?
Like wise, old growth trees,
touching heaven, rooting deeply,
drawing from Earth experience,
our last breath a blessing.