It's been a while since I posted; there was that thing with having to pay, and although I knew it would be easy to figure out I just didn't have the energy/feel it was time for me to do much here. Lately, tho, I've been feeling and itch to get back involved in the community. And, as I figured, it was a piece of cake to pay a bit of money and get back into things.
I've been posting on my own blog regularly. I kept thinking to myself "I really should post this on the Alliance's website" with this post or that. This is something that recently came to me - I thought it was a good way to get back into the swing of things. Although there was also a fun post I did on Freud vs. Jung. Maybe next time.
Re-reading this post has made me realize that it could be hurtful for some people so I'm adding a caveat. At the same time, when I started this blog I decided I had to be brutally honest... about my own ugliness and pettiness. Otherwise it doesn't really have much meaning. This is supposed to be one person's journey into their Underworld; it's bound to be personally embarrassing at times. That being said, I'd like to be clear that I strongly believe that any prejudice, whether based on age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, whatever, is wrong. Period, point blank.
... Which is why this recent development makes me so happy!
I'm noticing that my perception of older people is changing. Whereas before I was very resistant to growing old - and, quite honestly, found older people unattractive - that feeling has evaporated somewhere along the line.
Over the weekend I was watching a documentary (Between the Folds, an amazing and beautiful documentary on the art and science of origami.) And I suddenly noticed that I found the older people interesting rather than faintly unattractive. This seems to be part of the whole first half/second half of life issue: in the first half, you're concerned (rightly) with success, and that includes sexual success. But in the second half, we start to see the reality of life. We stop caring about this world and "success" and more about depth of life, and the beauty of life.
One thing that stood out was that invariably, as these origami artists grew in themselves and their art, they found themselves simplifying things. When they were younger, they wanted to make the biggest, most complex, most realistic origami. As they grew older, they wanted to simplify, to say more with less. When you're younger, you want to be better, to do better. As you grow older, you care more about the beauty of a thing.
If recently I've come to realize that the purpose of life is to die well, then this experience is showing me that aging well is about seeing the beauty of life. I feel like I'm finally beginning to understand that.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
~ Leonardo da Vinci
Edit: 6/25/12 pm
It's tonight and it's still happening; this feeling of seeing older people, really seeing them. There's a feeling of almost being two different species, with two different goals. It reminds me of a book by Sheri Tepper, Grass, set on an alien planet in which the species has two completely different phases. The older is gentle and wise, the younger predatory, preying on and killing the older. They're so different they look like completely different species. It's as if caterpillars killed and ate butterflies.
Knowing Tepper this is exactly what she was writing about, I just never got it before. I look at younger people and I realize that all they're interested in, all they judge others on, is sexual attractiveness. Other things are there but at the base of it sex is the most important. Fundamentally I don't see a real problem with this, but our problem is that everyone seems to hold the younger view; that is, that people have no value unless they're sexually attractive to others. We have a society of people in which we only grow older on the outside, not the inside. And we end up hating ourselves. Inside of us is Tepper's planet, with the young animals feeding on and killing the older, wise, gentle and beautiful creatures.
One of the symbols of the Self is the beautiful young woman or man. This is the image that we as a society have become trapped in, even when it no longer serves us but actually harms us. We've forgotten the Wise Old Woman or Man. We've lost the wisdom and grace that growing older brings, deepening in the second half of life until we return to the beginning, but with a lifetime of experience and wisdom. The Child is also a symbol of the Self, but to stay in it and refuse to grow up is a disease. It's no different with trying to stay in the young woman or man.
The physical decline we suffer from, sometimes severe, isn't a natural part of aging but the consequences of an unnatural and harmful diet and lifestyle. Natural and proper aging, although with some decline in pure power and physicality, isn't about becoming weak and frail, it's about turning inward. Each stage of life has it's own grace. Each stage has it's own image of the Self, if we live our lives deeply. It's a rather amazing experience, shedding another layer of the false paradigm we've been hypnotized by. To be able to see the real person, neither as a power player nor as a sexual object, but to see the real, unique, individual person that they are. It really does feel like grace.
I think I may have it! Aging definitely is an "owl" to youth; they only undersand it with fear and loathing. But aging has many gifts that, unless youth die to it's youth, we will die without ever having understood.
That's what my dreams were telling me; that my sexuality (the cat) and youth (the child) were harming what was spiritual and wise in me (the praying mantis and owl.) And how that I'm caring for them, I've started receiving their gifts.