Friday, November 14, 2014

First Word: Mary Judith Ress: Emerge


We don’t age, we emerge.  That’s the new spin on getting old, as we now live well into our nineties. Spiritual writers have long insisted that with age comes grace, that as the body withers, the soul becomes more visible. 
            And yet. So many folks tell me they’re depressed. They struggle to get up and face the new day. They shrink before once ordinary tasks like renewing a drivers’ license or buying new drapes.
            As their testosterone dries up, men become more brittle, rigid—even mean.  “Crusty old goat” rests on fact.
            When our hormones dry up, we women become less svelte, if not quiet lumpy. We now become sexy in a maternal way and mother our husbands, sons and the neighborhood.
            The Buddhist monk, Thich Nath Hanh insists that the goal of life is to achieve happiness, which is not related to either “empty sex or consumerism”, but to compassion.  Feeling with—the dog, the tree, the wind. People too, but they are the hardest to get inside.
            Maybe that’s what emergence is all about—merging into otherness so that all that’s left is your smile. Like the Cheshire cat. 

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