Thursday, June 20, 2013

The fountain of youth—and of age

Psychoanalyst, poet and storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estes says in The Dangerous Old Woman: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype, "If you are not free to be who you are, you are not free." Further, she says that we're born with two forces that give us every lens we need to see who we are: the wild and ever-young force of imagination, which contains intuition and instinct, and the wise elder force of knowledge, which holds boundaries and carries the heart of the visionary.

The young force and the elder one. Yes, you and I need both those perspectives (and everything in between), don't we? If we are to be our authentic selves—who we were created to be—we need the imagination, instinct and energy of our young self and the vision and wisdom of the older self.

It's been said that inside, we are every age we've ever been. That being the case, we should be able to access the lessons we have learned at each of our life stages. Perhaps this all suggests that we ought not look upon our aging process as a negative but learn to appreciate how it includes even more stages that help us become who we were meant to be. Perhaps there really is some truth in the saying that we're getting better and older! It's about authenticity. Being all we're able to be.

Let's focus on the richness of whatever stage we're in right now. Let's not only celebrate the fountain of youth—but the rich fountain of age as well. It takes us where we need to be. Isn't that something to celebrate?

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