Can cancer open a door to a new life? And can life keep getting better as we age?
There will be dips in our journey, of course.
But while aging has its perils and challenges just like any other phase of our lives, it also has a remarkable promise to offer - a promise that has been with us since our birth - the opportunity to experience more of our real self, our genuine nature.
It was a shock, without a doubt, being diagnosed with colon cancer recently at the age of 81. It was the last thing I expected.
But I begin to see more clearly that our challenges truly can be a door to a new life, and that there is a source of peace within ourselves that is untouched by the calamities that come upon us.
It is not only untouched and unharmed by any of our suffering, it wants to express itself in new ways and put forth new shoots.
I find myself becoming more engaged with life and conscious of new, interesting possibilities I was unaware of before. For example, I’ve never been good with figures. I’ve never been good with money, perhaps because I'm a poet at heart and was concerned with much more important things than mere money, ha-ha.
But a day or so ago, when my wife and I needed to look over our monthly bills, I actually had a practical, sensible idea how best to proceed and it impressed the heck out of her.
It was a foible I have carried with me for a long time – this disdain for money – and I finally faced my foible. Now I actually enjoy thinking about money and how I can deal with it wisely.
Is this a secret of happy aging? When we face our foibles – not judging them, or condemning them, but simply becoming more aware of them and changing our ways where needed – we can engage with life more fully and the light that is in us can shine more brightly.
It’s not only my attitude to money that seems to be changing. I see other new shoots emerging. Simple moments take on new wonder.
I went outside just now and sat in the porch to relax with a glass of wine before lunch. The neighbor’s four young children were playing nearby. It was a war game, as it often is, with the oldest child in command, as usual. As I listened and watched, I too was a child playing at defeating an enemy army. I was reminded again of the timelessness of being and of our true nature.
The beautiful truth is that whatever adversity may come our way as we age, something utterly magnificent that we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams -- something that is not limited by time or compromised by disease -- will put forth new shoots in us as we trust our unconquerable spirit and listen to the nudges of our heart.
I send greetings and best wishes. Please check out my new book, “The Secret Promise of Aging,” at Amazon, and of course I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above.