Monday, July 11, 2005

As We Get Older Does Our Purpose Become Clearer?

Recently, I have had the honor of assisting a couple of dear friends in their preparation for elderhood rituals and celebrations. An interesting phenomena occurs as these women acknowledge their passage into what I consider to be the real prime of their life.

As they look at what they want to accomplish between now and the day they exit this world, they become dedicated to identifying and committing to fulfilling their soul purpose. There is a power in acknowledging their death. Recognizing the limit of time here on earth catapults them into the full memory of what they came here to do, as well as a burning desire to bring their purpose to completion.

Simultaneously, I observe these women acknowedging all of their gifts and talents, as well as their broad range of interests. They review their years of life with a fondness for all of the experiences they enjoyed and perhaps a little regret for the ones they never had time or enough impetus to do. The adage and frustration of "so much to do, so little time" probably never has as much meaning as it does when you realize your time on earth is growing shorter.

As they approach elderhood, I notice them growing calmer with this frustration because they seem to surrender to the fact they arent' going to get to do it all - and instead find peace and joy in what they have been able to experience. Instead of spinning in regret, they ask themselves, "What is most important for me to do now? I've tried out all kinds of careers, raised my family, provided for myself and others, given to my community......and before I go, what legacy do I want to leave?"

Unless we are born with the memory of our purpose and retain that awareness through out our childhood, most of us spend our lives discovering what it is. We spend decades slowly pulling out our awareness of purpose from under a cloud of confusion and fogginess. Elderhood seems to push the awareness to the surface where it can be embraced and acted upon with determination.

Both my friends tell me retirement sounds like a foreign concept to them. How could they possibly think about retiring when their whole life is ahead of them? The most they truly have to give and experience is happening right now. They are living more of their true purpose now than they ever have before

Some of us are fortunate. We know and accept our purpose when we are younger. Some of us have always known it and acted upon it. But for those of us who have had to dig down through layers of forgetfullness to remember, it can be reassuring to know our own natural progression to elderhood will help bring it to our awareness.