Yes. In a blink. It happened.
I got old (or I became what our culture views as old).
On the outside, you can see spreading wrinkles, assorted sizes for age spots, unattractive non-cancerous moles, one annoying and prominent neck flap, a few chins, and sagging skin. But, as they say, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
If you need to judge me, see me on the inside, too.
I embody childlike playfulness, lightness and optimism, wear mismatched socks, long earrings, cute hats, and caps with inspiring sayings on them, wear chakra necklaces and colorful clothes, can still skip through a field of wildflowers, and love the simple humor of the “knock, knock, who’s there” jokes my grandchildren share with me.
I am also passionate about walking for miles on the ocean shore, love to sing and make up songs, have an open, listening heart, abundant intuitive wisdom, and people tell me that there is a twinkle in my eye that expresses curiosity, wonder, love, and most of all, dreams.
Yes, I am still a dreamer of dreams. I will be a dreamer until my last breath.
What do I dream of?
I am not kidding when I give you my “Miss America” answer: world peace. Since I was five, I couldn’t understand why there was prejudice. I still don’t understand. Why don’t we realize that everyone smiles, breathes, bleeds, shares similar feelings, and all hearts beat in the same way? What’s so hard about that?
When I was five, I was a victim of bullying for belonging to a minority religion. The silver lining? My life’s work has been about raising consciousness and advocating for unity, peace, love, hope, and empathy. If I wasn’t wounded emotionally when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had the capacity to understand human suffering, bullying, prejudice, authored motivational books, composed “peace through music” songs, and performed “peace begins with me” concerts.
What I experienced in my childhood made me angry enough to do something positive to change the world for the better. Anger can be a good motivator if we allow its energy to move through us in a positive way.
In my personal peace work, I practice “The Metta Meditation Prayer of Loving-Kindness.” I say this prayer a minimum of three times, first wishing myself happiness, wellness, safety, peace, and ease, then sending others the same qualities, and then vibrating this prayer to all the people of our one precious world. While I say these words, I ring my crystal chakra bowls.
May I/you/we be happy.
May I/you/we be well.
May I/you/we be safe.
May I/you/we be peaceful and at ease.
Deep down, I am a loner, reclusive, introverted, but at the same time, I am a leader, and I know the power of belonging to a community of like-minded people.
Because I believe in the goodness of people and the possibility of peace in our world, I wrote Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good and joined three international groups—all during the pandemic. The Visioneers International Network, Peace Alliance and Sustainocracy. The people who belong to these groups range in age from 15 to 101.
There is no age to envisioning new paths for creating a better story for our one humanity.
I also started a Facebook community to reflect the kind of world I have always imagined. We now have 1,000 people and growing in “Shift of Heart.” As its founder, moderator, and intuitive life coach, I focus on the mantra, “Peace begins with me.”
The more we heal ourselves, the more we heal the world.
What else do I dream? I dream of a day when my books become best-sellers and my music is well-known, and I also dream of a day when I still feel “successful” even if my books don’t become best-sellers and my music doesn’t reach millions of people. If my words change and inspire one person’s life, I am happy. I can die happy. I’ve made a difference.
That’s all I want to do. Make a difference.
Intuitively, I also know that if I am meant to express myself in more expansive ways, I will listen to the wisdom whisper of the universe and follow it. No matter how old. How wrinkled. How many age spots. I am open to whatever I am intuitively guided to do. I am still wondering what I want to be when I grow up, but I really don’t need to worry about it. It will take care of itself.
Even now, it keeps changing. I keep changing. In some ways, I feel like I am in the space between the two trapeze rings, and it’s okay. I am breathing, looked up at the sky today, and there was lots of humor, hugs, and kindness in my life. Even when I don’t receive hugs and kindness, I am still okay.
I give myself what I need from others. Love. Peace. Hope. Compassion. Possibility.
I have one rant before I close. Ageism is rampant. I don’t like it. People think all older people are the same or want the same things. There is a label, stigma, and stereotype that people in this culture spread, and it isn’t fair or true. It’s another form of prejudice.
I can only speak for myself and what is good for me. Despite peer pressure, I don’t want to make a definite plan, downsize, move to senior housing, or have someone else tell me what the schedule is for the day. I want to keep my independence and uniqueness, and that’s what I’m going to do.
I am also imploring those who have the honor of communicating with elderly people to realize just that. It’s an honor.
Many of us have wisdom. We have stories that have life lessons in them. We have an inner twinkle and a whole long life to share.
Please, give us a chance and don’t ignore us. We are amazing on the inside and interesting on the outside. We can even tell you about age spots, wisdom, dreams, anger, Miss America, ageism, prejudice, and world peace, and what they all have in common.