Using the Love Principles in Our Later Years
This month, November, is the 45th anniversary of my receiving and originating The Love Principles. I have continued to use them every day since and discover that some days I need them more than others because I have fallen down on the job even after four and a half decades of practicing them! I rejoice in having them for my continuing evolution as a being.
As the seasons change we alter the clothing we wear and adjust to the increase and decrease in the light that is available to us each day. In the same way, as the seasons of our lives change so does the application of the principles; age, or shall we say, ripening, does make a difference.
Provide Others with the Opportunity to Give
In my early years I mainly used this principle when I helped others to get what they needed or to tackle an achievement. If someone needed encouragement or mentoring, I would seek out a person in his/her life who might be in an ongoing position to provide that. If someone was in need of life-sustaining resources, I would initiate a local campaign to make that happen. But, when it came to what I might need, I was not so quick to provide others with the opportunity to give to me. I valued being self-sufficient and handling my own life and my own needs. Only when I needed something more did I reach out to others.
Now, at age 76, I use this principle personally much more often. Whenever I am in the supermarket, I provide others with the opportunity to reach items on a shelf that is too high for me. I often ask other women who seem not much taller than I but might have a longer reach. Many of them are both astounded and delighted to be asked because it happens so rarely for them. They are most happy to help me, even if they have to stand on their tiptoes. They often say that I made their day by asking.
One of the key elements about this principle is that when we provide others with the opportunity to give to us, we are actually giving to them; giving them a gift of being useful and helpful.
I provide the bagger at the market with the opportunity to make my sacks as light as possible. This often sparks creativity and greater consciousness in the one doing the task. Then I ask for help out to my car. This enables the bagger to have a small break and a trip into the fresh air. They are always grateful when I ask.
When I swim at the YMCA, the young lifeguards like to listen to loud, awful-to-me music to keep themselves awake when standing in the sun for hours. They sometimes balk when I provide them with the opportunity to turn it down but they do and it enables us both to engage in the practice of compromise. Now, when they see me coming out of the locker room they immediately turn down the sound. A few of them even extend the curtesy of asking if it is ok now. My asking serves as a bridge between generations and I hope it serves to awaken the youthful guards to the subject of consideration for others. I don’t know if that is true but it might be. I, in turn, am being considerate of their needs by asking that they turn the music down, but not off.
When I am out and about and need a water bottle opened, I am quick to provide both men and women with that opportunity. They enjoy exhibiting their strength and we often have a pleasant exchange to go along with the task.
I don’t have as much strength in my hands as I used to and often need help, sometimes with silly little things such as pulling the plastic covering off straws at the movies. I mentioned this to one of the managers and he showed us a trick for doing that task easily. You hold both ends of the plastic and pull out. Voila! The straw is exposed and you can then easily pull it out. Since he showed me that trick I have been able to be there for other movie-goers who are struggling or trying to use their teeth (a bad idea.) I immediately offer my help and they are thrilled to learn how to surmount the annoying obstacle. In this case, I provided a manager with the opportunity to give and his gift to me has now spread to countless others through my gift to them.
Providing others with opportunities to give turns strangers into a close community in which everyone can be there for everyone else. By asking for what I need, I bring a human connection into the life another.
The older I get, the more I value ease in my life. If another can provide that for me, I gladly receive it.
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Have No Expectations but rather Abundant Expectancy is really important in our later years. I simply never know what is going to happen when, and because it is so easy to settle down into established ways of being, I know it is imperative that I be alert and ready for whatever life might bring. I hold abundant expectancy in relation to continued good health. I also know that none of us is immune to anything.
Friends my age develop unexpected physical conditions and if I am not living in abundant expectancy I can be thrown by their (or my) receiving unpleasant diagnoses.
I have prepared for my retirement and future years but I dare not have expectations that the stock market and mutual funds will remain stable. Nothing remains as it was and I need to be open and ready for any changes and eventualities. I am in the process of working on this. In my head I know all about the ebb and flow, the rise and fall, of everything, but I don’t really like it affecting my funds. My resistance disenables me from seeing the opportunities. Hence the real opportunity here is to give up all forms of resistance, even though they come very naturally to me. Resistance blocks life force and serves no useful purpose.
Mostly, I employ abundant expectancy when I go to sleep each night. Then, when I awaken in the morning, I can thrill to the fact that I did awaken. When I open the blinds I welcome the morning and day and the beauty of the garden and sky. I did not assume I or it would be there, but because I and it are there, it is time for gladness and rejoicing. This daily practice actually started for me in 1968 when I suffered heart disease at age 29. I have kept it going every day since.
I used to get pushed out of shape if plans didn’t go my way or if there were interruptions in my day but I am learning to let go of all that and to have no expectations about the schedule I have devised. With abundant expectancy in play I can welcome whatever comes and open to see what this new is bringing to me.
Many months ago I set up a small painting studio in my office. I have yet to put brush to canvas but my abundant expectancy rides high. Although too many other creative endeavors have taken priority, I have this corner sitting and waiting for me and there is something delightful about that, rather than frustrating.
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I like to think that the principle Be the Change you want to See Happen is never age-related. I, at least, practice it every day and then some! For me, it is one of the most important ways to live. But, as I have grown older, my ways of embodying this principle have changed. While I still feel strongly about causes and injustice, I no longer take to the streets or protest loudly. Rather than “lay my body on the line” so to speak, I lay my wisdom on the line. I speak out articulately and use social media and letters to the editor of my newspaper. My purpose has also shifted. I seek to inform, even to teach, so that others might see another way to be. I still use my life and daily living as an example but I do it in more subtle ways. I am a lot less noisy.
In my quiet ways (I never thought in my early years that would use such a phrase to describe my actions) I seek out opportunities to mirror different behavior in troublesome situations. When people are arguing, I use a calm tone to interject another possibility. When someone is in trouble, the help I offer is important but mostly one step removed rather than jumping into the thick of something. This is not for safety reasons but rather because I know the imprint I can make through consciously directing energy. This represents a big change for me in my way of being the change I want to see happen.
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The older we get the more we need to remain aware that Problems are Opportunities. I am very good with this principle when it comes to issues with my physical body. It is almost automatic with me now that I look to see what my body is asking of me when there is pain or some kind of disturbance. I listen to what it tells me and I do what it asks.
I haven’t yet joined the “old folks practice” of taking a nap during the day, but when my body says that it needs time to recoup, I lay it down on my bed and simply rest. I don’t read or look at my phone or even listen to classical music. I rest. My body is good about telling me when it is time to get up and when I do I am usually quite refreshed and ready to proceed.
I don’t especially like taking pills but when there is the problem of irritation in one of my joints, I give myself an ibuprophen (sp?) before the inflamation goes too far. And, I treat these aging joints to an emu oil rub just the way I would get out the oil can for mechanical parts that need a little lubrication.
While I am really good with body issues, problems “out there” are sometimes a bit more of a challenge to me. These I can negotiate, with practice, from problem to opportunity: dying car battery (a chance to learn to wait and have patience), poor sound during a film (the opportunity to provide staff to quickly help), an unexpected shut down of the pool at the YMCA when I was counting on swimming (time freed up to something else, whether I wanted to or not), trouble with my computer (a way to use my ingenuity), etc.
Getting upset about a problem is utterly non-productive. The older I get the more I see that. But opening to the opportunities the problems represent, opens the whole world to me and allows me to function in ways I never dreamed possible.
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The older I get, the easier it is to Receive All People as Beautiful exactly as they are. I still use my open heart center to practice this principle, but by now I thoroughly know that every being and expression of life on this plane of living is a contributing part of the whole and in its perfection just as it is.
The truth is that we live in a constant state of polarities. Once we know that, we can see that good and evil stand side by side comprising the whole. Because we live in active and equal polarities, we waste valuable energy when we stand on one side and try to eliminate the other. Better to maintain balance and make conscious choices about how we want to live our lives.
At this stage of my life, I look around me and see very different versions of human beings with different style preferences, hairdos, musical tastes, behavioral expressions, etc. When I have any question about another’s choices or feel my brow scrunching, I fit myself into the mix and immediately note that others might think me a bit “different” as well. After all, I wear long winter white pants in December, my hair is spiked, I laugh rather loudly, etc.
These days I have an even greater appreciation for variety in the world than I ever had before. If we were all the same or everyone looked and acted like me, I would be bored to tears.
Mariamne and I have shared life together for over 44 years. While we hold most of the same values, we remain very different in some of our preferences and in the ways we choose to spend parts of the day. We also have very different food habits which stem mostly from childhood family ways. (Who ever heard of putting peanut butter on bagels, or syrup on hot cereal?) I still raise my eyebrows over some of the food combinations she creates but it is mostly from a place of marveling at her choices. I see that this is what we need more of in our world, marveling at our differences and how they add richness to the whole.
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As I age, I keep in the forefront of my consciousness the principle Create your own Reality Consciously. It is all too easy to fall into aging and old age if we create the reality that that is what is happening to us. I mentioned earlier, under providing others with opportunities to give, that my hands are not as strong as they used to be. I do try to open jars and bottle tops and ask for help only when I can’t do it. I know that I can do exercises to strengthen my hands and I work at reminding myself that the lack of strength does not necessarily have to do with growing older.
When I forget a name or a word I do not blame it on a “senior” moment. I remind myself that there were times in my twenties when I would forget something and I couldn’t blame it on age back then, so why now?
There are things I choose not to do anymore, such as running long distances, or doing overly rigorous exercises, or overextending my work time, but I do not associate these with aging. I could do all of it if I wanted to but I have become more discriminating in my choice-making. After all, “Choice is the Life Process” is what ties the principles together.
Chronologically I am in the last quarter of my life, but I feel full of energy and light and when I look in the mirror I don’t think of myself as old. Oddly enough when others discover my age they are genuinely surprised and think that I am ten to fifteen years younger. They must be looking at how I feel.
I have met many people my age who talk about themselves as old and getting older. They say they can’t do this or that anymore because of how old they have gotten. No one needs to create this reality. If we do create it, we end up living it.
I prefer to create the reality of being alive and well in each moment and grateful that I am. I fill myself with life force and therefore my expressions are very youthful and energetic. I create the reality of enjoying what I do, thus making what I do very enjoyable.
I think outside the box whenever possible. This keeps me alert, growing, and changing. I practice letting patterned ways of living fall away and am surprised and delighted when I discover they have.
I stay on top of new technology as much as possible and seek out new areas of learning.
I merge with beauty, write poetry, shoot creatively with my camera, glory in the bright sun light, speak metaphorically, laugh heartily, love fully, and practice being present in each moment. This is a way of staying young. It is a way for young people to be young as well.
I create the reality very consciously that I am vital and alive. This keeps old age at bay.
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The Love Principles have been active in my life since the day I received them. They have continued to serve me magnificently for more than half of my years. I always knew them as a way to live in unconditional love. This is still true, and now I see that they are also a way of staying new, alive, and youthful throughout the years of our lives. What a blessing to have them in the forefront of my consciousness every day.