I have a wonderful picture of a lion on the front cover of my soon-to-be released book, Aging into Bliss. I've been working really hard on the book, by the way, which is why I haven't written a post for a little while. I'm sorry about that.
The lion in my cover picture is alone and at rest in the South African bush. He gazes out at his world through partly-closed eyes and looks very much at peace with himself and his world. He is a picture of bliss – which of course is the point, given that is the theme and title of my book.
Bliss is our birthright
Bliss is our birthright. Mind you, just because we're blissful doesn't mean we can't also be ready. There’s no doubt in my mind that if a threat emerged in his vicinity, the wonderful lion in my picture would move aggressively and decisively to meet that threat.
He is getting on a bit, the lion on my cover. He has obviously seen a lot in his life, and would have a lot of stories to tell if he was so inclined. For example, a piece is missing from one of his ears where I presume he was bitten in a fight back along the way. But although he is aging, he is gorgeous. The power of his presence is undeniable.
It’s my hope that the picture will symbolize a central premise of my book, which is that our true nature is also blissful and strong. Our presence is also undeniable. And though our bodies age, our unconquerable spirit does not age.
We too are born free
We too are free. We may not feel free some of the time, for various reasons. But this does not deny the fact that we too are “born free,” just like the lion on the front cover of my book -- and like Elsa, the lionness made famous by Joy and George Adamson in their book, Born Free.
Freedom is our destiny. It is our birthright. It is our true nature, just as joy is our true nature and peacefulness of mind and heart is our true nature.
Not only lions are magnificent. We too are magnificent. And aging, despite its challenges -- I argue in my book -- can be a door to an ever deeper experience of the wisdom, happiness and love that is our birthright.
Some trepidation in my heart
As I get ready to launch my book there is some trepidation in my heart, trepidation that is natural, perhaps, when we push our boundaries a bit and tackle something new. But there is also an enormous feeling of thankfulness.
I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to share something of my own experience and passion relative to aging -- to contribute to the conversation that, as Dr. Linda Fried of the International Longevity Project at Columbia University observed recently, we so urgently need on this subject.
"We have such a human aversion to getting old; it's associated with death, and death is scary," said Dr. Fried. "But as a society, we have not had the conversations we need to have. There are huge opportunities there."
Aging does seem to have a bad rap in our culture. But speaking for myself, as I enter my 80's, I find that despite its challenges aging is a door to increasing happiness and fulfillment.
"I've had a beautiful life and I love everyone"
I love some words spoken recently by a centenarian named Lille Magette. Lille, who lives in Centennial, Colorado, quite near to JoAnn and me, was one of dozens of U.S. Army nurses who landed on Utah Beach after the invasion of Normandy to care for the wounded and dying in WWII. At a birthday party in her honor, Lille Magette was quoted in the Denver Post as saying, “I’ve had a beautiful life, and I love everyone.”
What beautiful words. May we echo these sentiments when we look back on our own life journey.
I send you blessings and love. Thank you for your support, it means a lot to me. By the way, I’ve self-published print books before but I’m a babe in arms as far as digital publishing is concerned. If you have any tips or ideas re marketing my book – or any other thoughts re the above article – please do share. I would surely appreciate it.
Picture credit: safari-partners