365 Days of Prayer – Day 43 Making the best use of my elder years

Creator, as I age, I ask to remember the best experiences of my life with joy, to know that many experiences are yet ahead of me, and that now I have the maximum powers of mind and heart to forge ahead on my unique life path. My family is grown and my responsibilities to life now are mostly for my own self care and my husband. I ask for health of mind and body to sustain me through the coming years, and to remain of good heart. Amen – Aho

Walking the dog this morning, I noticed she is moving much more slowly than just a few years ago when she was a pup. Neither of us is getting younger, and pondering that I am now in my Crone years, the thought popped into my head that culturally, America does not know the first thing about making proper use of its elder years.

Biblically, there are stories of elders reaching ages of two or three hundred years and up. Methuselah was reputed to have lived almost nine hundred years. During his time at the Sarmoung Brotherhood, Gurdjieff related in Meetings With Remarkable Men that he had met men of that advanced age. He could not contain the knowledge they offered. Some of them were of the Essenes.

Living in a culture of youth, wherein standards of youth are applied to standards of physical beauty, old age and our elders are relegated to a wasteland of nursing homes and retirement homes. Aging people do not always respect themselves and the experiences gleaned of a long life. We forget the beauty of character reflected in the lines and wrinkles of our facial expressiveness. Some aging people go so far as to have these beautiful character lines erased by plastic surgery, stretched out, plumped up, removed. As they age further, their faces take on the features of a mask. We forget that we can be beautiful from the inside out, and that we can still be useful.

In Elder days, it was common for the aged to share stories with the children around the fires of the village and pass on the wisdom teachings to the younger adults. I cherish this vision of living. Life experiences contribute to my character. Failure taught me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and learn from my experiences. Grief and loss taught me to be content with where I am and what I have. Achievements and successes are fleeting accomplishments that do not last, but there is the striving toward the next effort. Children grow up, spread their wings, leave nest-home, and they do not always look back. It is at this point that many of us are challenged to look at the new phases of our life, maybe most especially mothers suffering empty nest syndrome.

So what is left for us past the ages of sixty, seventy, eighty? Do we succumb to the belief that our life is over and we must just await the inevitable decline and final ending? Or do we find our adventures and contribute to our pleasure in doing the things we did not used to have time for?

At twenty-nine, I met the Gurdjieff work through Ann Kelly in Honesdale, PA. My time there was brief as she passed from this world two years later, but I carried forward a practice that has stood me in good stead over and over. Self-remembering begins with self awareness, and expands into self observation and self study. The act itself is a simple collecting of one’s self and one’s forces into present moment awareness, but the action of it, to carry it forward from one moment to the next takes a tremendous effort of recall, as our awareness tends to lose attention and diffuse from one moment into the next. But what the practice builds is the feeling of I AM in any given moment.

Gurdjieff taught his method as a blending of the physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects of a human being. This blending is the result of the practice of self-remembering.

The poignancy of his teaching reaches me more and more as I age. Better care of my body through diet and exercise results in more energy and stamina. Although I cannot attain what I did when I was younger, I still enjoy an active life of hiking, gardening, and working with the beings of Nature. To the best of my ability, I mindfully engage my talents in service to others. What I ask for as I age is a better relationship with the gods, the land, and the clients of my psychic practice. I am content.