About Birthdays and Aging

About Birthdays and Aging

“I’m 64 and I am loving my life more than ever. My friends (many of whom are retiring) ask me when I am going to retire. I tell them that I would love to die on a Friday night, knowing that I got to finish another week doing what I love. What a blessing that is. I worked for The Gallup Organization for 13 years and they have a question they have been asking in workplaces for almost 25 years: At work, I get to do what I do best every day. Sadly, only one person in five answers yes to that question. Twenty percent of us. And over time the numbers have never changed, as I understand it. We are the lucky ones, the ones in the 20 percent who get to do what we do best every day, to dream big, to keep going.”

—Dennis Welch, president at Articulate PR Communications, Austin, TX

“I am grateful to be alive, I am grateful to have reached the age of 36, and to have great relationships with my parents who I love very much… Through various practices and studies, I work towards letting go of my material attachments and fears related to death, but at 36 years old, I mostly understand Krishna’s words to Arjuna via the Bhagavad Gita intellectually at this point: ‘While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief, those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead,’ but I am hopeful that I will internalize his words as I age.”

—Ajani Charles, professional photographer, director, and producer, Toronto, ON, Canada

“I follow the teachings of the Buddha who reminded us all that our earth was truly an empty place devoid of all things for which many of us endlessly and relentlessly craved throughout our life under illusion. Psychoanalyst, sociologist, and philosopher Erich Fromm, who was not a Buddhist but who had in his later years been briefly ordained as a Buddhist monk, classified humans into two main groups: Unproductive and Productive. The former consists of those who live to eat while the latter represents those who eat to live, or to be — to be alive and to be productive for oneself and all humans. Dr. Fromm’s view of humanism was aptly summarized by your astute remark: ‘The paradox of the good life is how to be detached from worldly things while being fully engaged in the world.’”

—Dhanarat Yongvanichjit

“My mother used to say: ‘Si la jeunesse savait et la vieillesse pouvait.’ (‘If youth only knew, if age only could!’)Healthy aging is not limiting in terms of what one can or not do; on the contrary, it is freeing!”

—Agnes M. da Costa, head of the regulation advisory office at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Brazil

“70 is an incredible number to have achieved. In all the ancient Jewish texts, the number 70 is associated with strength and is a combination of the number 7 which represents perfection and the number 10 which represents completion. What an auspicious occasion for you to celebrate! Looking forward to watching you soar into your next decade.”

—Sharon Ufberg, co-founder of Borrowed Wisdom, Hermosa Beach, CA

“Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote his own epitaph: ‘He never grew up, but he never stopped growing.’”

—Rebecca Hoffberger, founder and director of the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

“I think this is what Maslow meant when he wrote about self actualization, reaching that point in life that offers a 360-degree perspective with the beauty of hindsight to help us view and experience the present and the future from a new vantage point that is truly beautiful and filled with excitement.”

—Jerry Kitchel, consultant at HEART, Upland, CA

“I’ve always believed that in our 20s, the world is our oyster, though we don’t know it; in our 30s we’re focused on approval; in our 40s we have the confidence but not the wisdom; in our 50s, if we’re lucky, we have the wisdom and the confidence; in our 60’s the world is our oyster, and we know it!”

—Nicki Anderson, director of women’s leadership program at Benedictine University,Naperville, IL

Celebrating the In-Between Times.

Celebrating the In-Between Times.

Real life most often happens during the in-between times, when we are not celebrating a special occasion.
While celebrations are intended to honor life’s more momentous occasions, much of real life tends to happen during the in-between times. While moving from one moment in time to the next is seldom considered a significant occurrence, it is during those in-between times that we are most in tune with life’s most profound, albeit simple joys. Between birth and death, triumph and sorrow, beginnings and endings, we enjoy innumerable experiences that often happen unnoticed. These times are just as worthy of celebration.

The in-between times are seldom about landmark moments. How you choose to celebrate them or which moments you choose to celebrate is up to you. You may want to celebrate the simple facts that you are alive and that every day is a chance to spend time with the people you care about or do the work that you love. Then again, when you look at the good that exists in your life, many reasons for celebrating the in-between times may become clear: a cup of your favorite tea, a beautiful sunrise, a good book, and the smell of fresh air can be reasons for celebration.

Celebrating the in-between times can be as easy as paying special attention to them when they do happen, rather than taking them for granted. It’s your focus of attention that can turn an in-between time into a celebration. You can also pay homage to the in-between times by slowing down and allowing yourself time to look around and allow your heart and mind to take in all of your life’s wonders. Far too often, we can let those simple moments of awe pass us by. The in-between times are when life happens to us between the pauses that we take to honor our milestones occasions. Without the in-between times, there would be no big moments to celebrate.
Aging Gracefully.

Aging Gracefully.

As we cultivate our life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are creating and doing as it is about our appearance.

We tend to associate youth with beauty, but the truth is that beauty transcends every age. Just as a deciduous tree is stunning in all its stages–from its full leafy green in the summer to its naked skeleton during winter and everything in between–human beings are beautiful throughout their life spans.

The early years of our lives tend to be about learning and experiencing as much as we possibly can. We move through the world like sponges, absorbing the ideas of other people and the world. Like a tree in spring, we are waking up to the world. In this youthful phase of life, our physical strength, youth, and beauty help open doors and attract attention.

Gradually, we begin to use the information we have gathered to form ideas and opinions of our own. As we cultivate our philosophy about life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are saying, doing, and creating as it is about our appearance. Like a tree in summer, we become full, expressive, beautiful, and productive.

When the time comes for us to let go of the creations of our middle lives, we are like a tree in autumn dropping leaves, as we release our past attachments and preparing for a new phase of growth. The children move on, and careers shift or end. The lines on our faces, the stretch marks, and the grey hairs are beautiful testaments to the fullness of our experience.

In the winter of our lives, we become stripped down to our essence like a tree. We may become more radiant than ever at this stage, because our inner light shines brighter through our eyes as time passes.

Beauty at this age comes from the very core of our being–our essence.

This essence is a reminder that there is nothing to fear in growing older and that there is a kind of beauty that comes only after one has spent many years on earth.

by Madysin Taylor

Living like Water

Living like Water

Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility.

The journey of water as it flows upon the earth can be a mirror of our own paths through life.

Water begins its residence on earth as it falls from the sky or melts from ice and streams down a mountain into a tributary or stream. In the same way, we come into the world and begin our lives on earth.

Like a river that flows within the confines of its banks, we are born with certain defining characteristics that govern our identity. We are born in a specific time and place, within a specific family, and with certain gifts and challenges. Within these parameters, we move through life, encountering many twists, turns, and obstacles along the way just as a river flows.

Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility. When a river breaks at a waterfall, it gains energy and moves on, as we encounter our own waterfalls, we may fall hard but we always keep moving on. Water can inspire us to not become rigid with fear or cling to what’s familiar.

Water is brave and does not waste time clinging to its past, but flows onward without looking back. At the same time, when there is a hole to be filled, water does not run away from it in fear of the dark; instead, water humbly and bravely fills the empty space. In the same way, we can face the dark moments of our life rather than run away from them.

Eventually, a river will empty into the sea. Water does not hold back from joining with a larger body, nor does it fear a loss of identity or control. It gracefully and humbly tumbles into the vastness by contributing its energy and merging without resistance. Each time we move beyond our individual egos to become part of something bigger, we can try our best to follow the lead of the river.

The Flow of the Universe

The Flow of the Universe

The flow of the universe moves through everything.

It is in the rocks that form, get pounded into dust, and are blown away. It is in the blossoming of a flower born from a seed planted in the spring. The growth cycle that every human being goes through is part of this natural flow, which is also the current that takes us down life’s paths.

When we move with it rather than resisting it, we are riding on the universal wave that allows us to flow with life.

Many people live struggling against this current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening in the way they think it should. Others move with it like a sailor using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times.

This flow is accessible to everyone because it travels through and around us. We are always riding it–it is just a matter of whether we are willing to go with it or we resist it.
Choosing to go with the flow is often a matter of relinquishing the notion that we need to be in control at all times.

The flow is always transporting you where you need to go. It is merely a question of deciding whether you plan on accepting the ride or having it take you there with your feet dragging. Learning to step into it can help you feel a connection to a force that is greater than you and is always there to support you.

The decision to go with the flow takes courage because you are surrendering the belief that you need to do everything by yourself.

Riding the flow of the universe can be effortless, exhilarating, and unlike anything you ever expected.
When you are receptive to being in it, you open yourself to possibilities that exist beyond the grasp of your control.

As a child, you were naturally swept by the flow. Tears of sadness falling down your face could just as quickly turn to tears of laughter. The mere tiniest wave carrying you forward off the shores of the ocean could transport you into peals of delight.

Our souls feel good when we go with the flow of the universe. All we have to do is make the choice to ride its currents.

Letting Life Unfold.

Letting Life Unfold.

Present time can be hard, but life unfolds as it will and the universe will wait as we make our way into the unknown.

Our lives are guided by natural rhythms that are particular to each of us and cannot be altered by force of will alone. Life itself is a journey made up of processes and events that manifest before us only to be swept away when time marches on.

Whether we envision ourselves creating a career, building a family, or developing the self, we instinctively know when the time has come for us to realize our dreams because all that is involved comes together harmoniously. When the time is right, the passage of destiny cannot be blocked. Yet as desperate as we are to touch these beautiful futures we have imagined, we cannot grow if we are not fully present in the evolutionary experience.

The present can be challenging, uncomfortable, and tedious, but life unfolds as it will, and the universe will wait patiently as we make our way into the unknown.

The fate that awaits us is not dependent on our pace, which was preordained before we ever appeared in human guise. Therefore there is no reason to rush through life to reach those pinnacles of development associated with the paths we have chosen.

Enjoying and fully experiencing the journey of life is as important as achieving goals and reaching milestones. There are lessons we can learn during those moments that seem immaterial or insignificant that we cannot learn at any other time.

Appreciating these takes patience, however, because human beings tend to focus on the fulfillment of expectations rather than the simple joys of being.

Like many people, you have no doubt longed for a device that would give you the power to fast forward through certain periods of your existence. Yet haste is by its very nature vastly more stressful than serene fortitude. When you feel yourself growing impatient because the pace of your development is deceptively slow, remember that everything that will occur in your life will occur in its own time. Quelling your urge to rush will enable you to witness yourself learning, changing, and becoming stronger.

There is so much to see and do in between the events and processes that we deem definitive. If you are patient enough to take pleasure in your existence’s unfolding, the journey from one pinnacle to the next will seem to take no time at all.

By Madisyn Taylor

Completeness.

Completeness.

When we affirm that we are fulfilled rather than deficient, we are asserting that contentment is a natural way of being.

The creative power of the universe is infinite.

A single molecule’s destiny is as important as the consequences of the largest supernova. Human potential is subject to this power, but because we are sentient beings, each of us is permitted to choose whether we will struggle against it or work in tandem with it. When we give voice to our desires through focused meditation or solicit the help of spirit guides, we draw upon the universe’s creative power to achieve certain ends. However, because our words are not all the universe hears, the response we receive may surprise us. The discourse we establish through our appeals is a blend of speech, thought, intention, and subconscious reflection. When we ask the universe for something, the unspoken message is that what we want does not exist, and the universe accepts this as truth. Conversely, we manifest completeness through affirmations in which we declare our desires as if we have already obtained them.

When we affirm that we are fulfilled instead of articulating deficiencies, we are asserting that contentment is a natural and necessary element of human existence. Our essence is an expression of fulfillment–the universe wants to satisfy our needs and desires. When we describe our realities in positive terms, we are not denying the challenges inherent in existence. We choose not to focus on lack or dissatisfaction because we understand that the energy of our thoughts will determine the response we receive to our entreaties. Ask yourself how you would feel if your wishes were granted, and then allow yourself to internalize that emotional state. Try to create a picture of satisfaction so vivid that its reality is unquestionable and tell the universe that your vision is fact. At the close of your appeal, express your gratitude, as it is your acknowledgment of the truth of your fulfillment that will set the creative power of the universe into motion.

Working in perfect unison with the creative power of the universe will empower you to manifest spiritual realities in your material existence. As you affirm the beauty, peace, and goodness that already exist within your life, your capacity to sense and understand their influence will become increasingly sophisticated. To meet your needs and achieve your desires, you need then only banish all thoughts of emptiness so that the energy of completeness can attract fullness into your being.

By Madisyn Taylor.
Experiences we don't understand.

Experiences we don't understand.

All of the events in our lives lead to other events, they are all connected.

Sometimes we have an experience that we don’t understand, but if we look deeply, or wait long enough, a reason for that experience will usually reveal itself. All the events in our lives lead to other events, and all that we have manifested in this present moment is the result of past events and experiences. We cannot easily tease apart the many threads that have been woven together to create our current reality. Experiences that don’t make sense, as well as any that we regret, are just as responsible for the good things in our lives as the experiences we do understand or label as “good.”

This is especially important to remember at times when we feel directionless or unsure of what to do. It is often at times like these that we take a job or move to a place without really knowing if it’s the right thing to do. We may ultimately end up leaving the job or the place, but often during that time we will have met someone who becomes an important friend, or we may have an experience that changes us in a profound way. When all the pieces of our life don’t quite make sense, we can remember that there may be some hidden gem of a reason that we are where we are having the experiences we are having.

It’s fun to look back on past experiences with an eye to uncovering those gems–the dreadful temporary job in a bland office building that introduced you to the love of your life; the roommate you couldn’t tolerate who gave you a book that changed your life; the time spent living in a city you didn’t like that led you into a deeper relationship with yourself. Remembering these past experiences can restore our faith in the present.

Life is full of buried treasures.
Chances are, you’re sitting on some right now.

by Madisyn Taylor.