Learning to see our inner elder with courage, compassion, and openness
We have been taught to look back and look within so as to speak to and have compassion for the child that we once were. The inner child. This is a good thing to do, in my opinion. To understand why we learned how to cope as we did, how we learned to survive. How we got to where we are. To see who we have been in order to be able to better understand who we are now.
It occurs to me that it is also important to look forward and learn to embrace our inner elder. Our inner, much older version of ourselves that, if we are lucky enough to live that long, we will become.
Perhaps we can begin to visualize that older version of ourselves now. To picture them sitting in front of us, talking with us. To help us see what may lie ahead. To help us to begin to listen to what that future version of ourselves may have to tell us, to teach us. Teach us right here. Right now.
What would that inner elder have to say to us? What would they point to as important? What would they gently (or perhaps more forcefully, depending on your particular version of what your older self is like) tell us to disregard?
What will they tell us that we will we want to remember as we look back in our lives? What will we wish we had paid more attention to? Less attention?
Who will we wish were still part of our lives, if possible?
What will we wish we had said, done?
Where will we wish that we had traveled to?
What conversations will we wish that we had? And others that we may wish we had not?
What will we wish we had been able to forgive? Especially to forgive in ourselves?
What laughter will we have delighted in? What pleasures will we remember and perhaps wish we had allowed ourselves a bit more of?
What silliness will we wish we had participated in more so that we can have that laughter and delightful memory later? Memories to help bring smiles during some of the darker days to come?
What other memories will we wish that we created?
What dances will we wish that we allowed ourselves to participate in? Risking awkwardness to embrace the utter delightful joy of dance.
What adventures will we wish that we had taken, while we still had the strength and ability to do so?
What regrets will we wish that we had dealt with?
What will we want written in the book of our life? Will each chapter be as full as it can be? Will there be room for both light and dark, each lived fully in the moment?
Will we have loved as completely as we could? Will we have allowed ourselves to be loved?
Will we have risked looking foolish and making mistakes so as to live passionately?
Will we have inhabited our precious lives as fully as possible?
Looking in the mirror at our elder selves, will we wish that we had embraced the way that we look right now, in this ever changing reflection?
Will we regret the harsh judgments of these bodies that we have been loaned? Not having appreciated their flawed, but wonderful, imperfections? Their delightful sensuality, touch, feel?
Perhaps we can be brave and venture looking into the mirror and visualizing our older selves.
And rather than lamenting each new line, wrinkle or sign of aging, maybe we can try and see that older face and learn from it. Talk to it. Talk to who we want to become more and more as we age. Have the courage to face what is coming so that we can have some voice in who that will be.
I have worked on getting to know my inner child. And I am grateful for that.
I have learned to embrace my inner bitch, the parts of me that have been angry and never allowed myself to fully express righteous rage and own my power that way.
And now, I will take the step to befriend my inner elder. I think she, like these other parts of me have taught me, has a lot to say.
I am beginning to listen.
5 thoughts on “Embracing Our Inner Elder”
Beautifully written – and very wise advice!
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Thank you so much!
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You put a lot of thought into this post! Wow! I am blown away with your insights of aging and remembering and learning from our past! This is a treasure of a post for us who are aging! May I share this with your name on it for tomorrow?
Yes, of course! Thank you so much!
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I’m not sure I am an age at all, not young or old or in between, but that I just am this moment living it out in this now, then the next now and so on… Ooooh look at the time, it’s tomorrow already (00:16 and I intended to go to bed earlier).