This currently is a work in process and consists of mostly journal entry. Come back in a year's time and it will be complete. In the meantime visit myoldage.ca
Some days my I feel that I am in a time warp that keeps fading in and out. One day I wake up aware that I'm alive within a new way of being in the world. Other days I'm full of aches and pains feeling like an old man.
Somedays I'm within a time frame that does not define itself as young or old, but as one that has its essence in a way of being. On these days that I can respond to a whole new set of imperatives -- to be numinous, to be radiant and to walk with a grace that comes with age.
Although I am not religious in the traditional sense, being brought up in a devout Catholic family I carry with me the wonderful and rich symbols of my belief which gives me the images to express what I am about. The first image that comes to mind is the resurrected Christ. He walked the earth in a way that was different. He met the apostles on the road to Emmaus. He was both with his friends and yet not. It was as if he had left the concerns and worries of this world and although fully present to all whom he met, he was not gripped by the vagaries and concerns of the world. He was there to embrace all whom he met with love and healing. At least this is how I interpret this icon of what is possible beyond a certain time in one's life. For me that time came when I entered my seventies.
Sometimes I feel this way. Perhaps too world weary to care for daily concerns of life, I can be a healing presence for the people whom I come in contact with.
Just a brief disclaimer. What I write here does not lessen or negate the full spectrum of being old, being human, grumpy, silly etc that is part of being human.
Transcending the ordinary and being within the divine. As I look back over my life, I see that it has been about connecting with spirit or the divine. Often, I feel like Moses who because he doubted was not allowed into the promised land. My doubter is in my opinion of a much greater magnitude, even than Thomas's.
So how can I expect to be allowed into this land of spirit, of the divine. And yet,..
It feels like I have entered a time of life that is more than yet the same as the life I have lived. Feel the need to document it and to articulate what is happening. I like to think that the divine essence of my being has awakened. I sense that I am living out a a place that is larger than, not beyond, the normal human experience as I have lived it. Needless to say I am thrilled and excited by this possibility, but at the same time, suspicious and cautious. I know from my life experience how illusionary and ephemeral such conditions can be. At the same time I want to go further into this transcendental state and see what is possible.
Move beyond what I call the Mose's Syndrome!
Dream last night that I was in bed in process of administering to myself a lethal dose of ??? In other words I was committing suicide. I think Margaret Carney was with me. There was an oxygen feed into my nose. I was waiting for the lethal gas to take affect. I thought it would be like being put under for an operation, and I was expecting it to take affect any minute. I also was aware that I was having second thoughts about dying.
It felt like a strange dream considering that I feel good about my life and at times think of this time in my life as being transcendent. What then was I wanting to put down? It was a conscious suicide. Was it my old self? I think my old self will always be with me, and I am okay with that. But before a resurrection, there is a death. So my dream suggests that I am acting on a me that I have chosen to die.
It is hard talking about such a dream because it is hard not to take it literally. The dream seems to be saying that I am choosing to put me, whoever and whatever me is, down.
Sunny morning. Not a new age morning. More of a pleasant same-old-same-old morning. Not complaining. Some days I'm just old guy. The old urges and drives have faded into little more than faint longings, more like wafts or ghosts that have lost their life force and float about the earth, in an in between state of half life/half death. It is as I mentioned a not unpleasant state. Am I awaiting death, near-death or resurrection? Aware that I am suspended awaiting our trip to two great cities, Paris and Barcelona, leaving on Easter Sunday. Feels like this is a journey into the glories and greatness of Western culture as it slowly fades away, its time now passed. And I would like to enter these cities drink in their rich past, glorious art and culture that still lingers in the cathedral and side streets of these ancient cities. A time to honour the past, to let go, to move on.
I know the limits of my abilities. I have played the violin with little or no musicality. I have taken my singing with from a tone deaf voice to a level that I can present a simple melody with some feeling and grace. Story telling I have some small talent for. Writing a bit more. Teaching? I'm told I was an outstanding teacher. But I have discovered after a lifetime of trying that I have limited talent, and in truth not much perseverance. And no discipline. Like the vast majority of humankind, I have no genius.
Yet I have some sense that there is an area that I could achieve some level of accomplishment. I think I can play my life with some grace and attain some level,not just of competence, but of creativity and art.
Moving into Holy Week. Letting myself go into the time/space leading up to Easter and Resurrection. Life seems to be winding me down. Email/mail/telephone all have gone dead. I'm in a peaceful hiatus before we leave to Barcelona/Paris. I had thought that the time leading up the Resurrection was a time of Crucifixion, but mine seems to be a tranquil easing into it. Perhaps my death might be an easy moving into death and what comes next. Does anything? I'm thinking that death is a collapse into the elements from which we are formed. From dust unto dust. But I'm open to a greater mystery. Right now I'm open to the transforming possibility of B&P.
April 5th, 2009
A bright promising day. Nothing to report.
April 6th, 2009
Sense of something building. It is holy week in the Christian calendar, and I am part of that mythos. It is still alive and viable within my psyche. Although I am beyond the literalness of the events of this week, I am open to the power of the transcendent nature of these stories. For me this time is potent with the possibility of death and rebirth. I have come to the end of a life and feel the pending birthing of a part of me that has lay latent within me until this moment. I have become fully the human of which I am capable. Now I ready myself for that other dimension of my being that has been told so well within the mystery of Easter.
Which brings us more significant questions. I find myself open to the Divine dimension of my being. I find myself "Christed" or the incarnate form of a spiritual entity. What is the meaning or purpose of such a possibility? Personally I find that any greater degree of consciousness within me is apparently little more than a subjective advance, having little of no value or purpose within the larger human community of which I am a member.
In other words, what is the value or use of such transformation? Is is personal development or of value to the whole? I see myself as self absorbed. Doing little or nothing as the world I live in destroys itself, and humanity ignominiously collapses into intolerance, ignorance and chaos, I question all that I personally have convinced myself I am experiencing.
Put another way, how can I be of service to this energy coming into me? How can I be a part of the solution and the transformation that I sense humanity is going through. It is truly a near death experience?
It will end us or transform us. And yet I do not believe it is a passive experience, but one in which each of us must participate. For myself I see little that I do that is, as they say part of the solution. I do see elements of myself that says to hell with it. Let the end times come.
I feel that I am blathering. Let me try again. A new/profound energy if awakening in me. How can I use it in the service of a larger purpose? There I've said it.
Barcelona and Paris has come and gone. A wonderful gift of love and wonderment. Marilyn and I lived within a heightened state of affection and love for each other that was like being children in a candy shop.
And now home for less than a week, I have collapsed into the weary sameoldsameold. The feeling that I'm an old man (Yes, I know I am) my life is over. I've lost interest in life. My muscles ache. I live with the possibility of having my doctor give me a diagnosis of some terminal disease, or worse still some form of dementia. or find myself in diapers. In other words all the imagined horrors that fill one's mind in the middle of the night. Yet last night I had a dream that I was hired for a new job. Spent my years as a teacher, retired and have done nothing for over a decade that related to teaching. In the dream I apply to and am hired to teach in what might be called a "cram school." A place where people often older, who have failed, or who need extra help come I meet with the students and establish an instant rapport with them. It feels like the old times when I was a gifted teacher in front of the class. I woke up feeling good about myself, and wondering how the promise of this dream might unfold.
May 21st, 2009
I sense that this Divine dimension that I am stretching to reach, that part of my being that I would claim to be beyond the human dimension is the essence of being that struggles to accept, celebrate and love creation or to be more specific, accept and love me. I look back over my life and feels disappointment. Not so much for having not tried, but simply for being so limited in my makeup as to be unable to achieve anything of much worth. I find it extremely dishearting to perceive my failings and my frailities,
I wonder if this feeling is one I might share with the Divinity who looks upon his or hers creation and is aghast at what he/she sees. And more so I wonder if such an deity accepts the fact that this reflects his or hers own limitations and inabilities. Does "god" look back over the millennium of human existence and bemoan what he had thought would be the crowning glory of his creative genius.
Picking himself up, he might do what is expected of all who give birth -- find a way to love what he has created. If this be the task asked of god, then surely I too can accept such a task, and even see it as a reflection of my divinity.
And so I get about my task - looking first with open eyes at the full life lived of Austin Repath. Seeing all the flaws and weakness, mostly the smallness of his life, definitely the absolute lack of genius, or even abilities of any kind that would make him stand out among his fellow men.
And ultimately tempering the arrogance of his nature who aspires to be better than others, who expected so much more from life itself. This is but the first step.
The real work asks of the divine within to accept, embrace, love, bless this finite and flawed being. If I can do this, then I can stand next to god, (Divinity) and claim my divine rights and status.
Not sure what I want to say or what if anything is on/in my mind. It is a beautiful, late spring day, sunny, warm, a touch of cool in the breeze. Sigh!
Today is two weeks since we returned from B&P. Marilyn and I are still trying to get back into normal. We are both experiencing bouts of fatigue each day, perhaps because of overdoing things like putting in the garden. Not sure, but for sure, we are not in the groove or the flow or the zone. We seem to stagger around exhausting ourselves from what seem like ordinary routine chores.
Can't do much more than a bit of belly-aching and journaling.
Feel like my life is like a flat mud flat that has occasional burst of ???? that are wonderful and breathtaking such as a specially juicy, joyful fun filled evening of love making two nights ago, such as a marvelous once in a lifetime trip to Paris and Barcelona that I haven't bothered to record and barely acknowledge. It is as if these special times hardly count for anything and all I'm aware of it the mud flat day to day of my life.
Becoming aware of the elephant in the room - my mortality, my approaching death. At a certain age, my age, it is definitely in the room, making its presence known in not too subtle a way.
I find myself doing all that I can to keep this presence at bay. It's here, but I don't know how to deal with it. Although I am in life, the muscle ache, mental weakness, loss of confidence etc. remind me constantly that it is in the room. And despite my best efforts it will out. Because it isn't really a presence but is more an absence, it is hard to meet it. Death is that which is not. For me, my death is the reality that I am not.
How to live with this great I am not moment that saps the life force out of my like grains in an hour glass, slowly but inexorably sifting down until the globe is empty. I don't have an answer. However, is seems important to not deny the presence of this non-life force. It somehow seems like a gazelle being run down by a lion. When does it stop struggling and give itself over to its death? For me I struggle to claim one last act of life that will affirm my time on earth, one what I like to call noble deed, that will be the culmination of my life. Is seems possible, something like a graduation event that completes a term. Yet the slow diminishing of my life energy, my enthusiasm for being about the deed lessens with each passing day. Do I let go of the longing and enter into the simple enjoyment and satisfaction with what I have achieved, and what I have in my life, love, friends, health, time and more?
This seems like a very viable choice. Indeed a wise choice. This is the task of this time of my life. To step beyond my longing, my desire, my hope for some final resolve, some life's end fulfillment and justification for my life. It does seem to be what is being asked of me. Such a simple easy choice, and yet not so. It is a hard difficult choice for me. Perhaps because I had expected more from my life that I have not achieved. And this I expect is my problem, my inability to not accept, to not even see what I have achieved, what I have done. Although this takes me into idle speculation. Others claiming that I see what I have done, accomplished etc. Okay I accept what they say, but there is still that standard that I have for myself. And in truth, I can't help but believe all of us have some inner expectation or standard that they have not achieved or lived up to. Such I believe to be human nature.
For me, I cannot give up the longing or the striving, It feels perverse and unnatural, but there it is.
June 1st, 2009
Finally, I’m happy with my life and ready to celebrate it. For longer than I care to remember, I’ve seen my life as a failure. I was disappointed with what I’d accomplished, and longed for an event that would justify my existence. Recently I’ve found myself “praying” for the grace to accept and be happy with the life I have lived. And today, upon awakening from a long sleep, I realized that boon had been granted.
I’ve always liked Buckminster Fuller’s motto Small Is Beautiful. I can see my life that way. Marilyn and I live in a small house we sometimes refer to as a Hobbit house. Yet it is charming, warm, and we both find great pleasure and contentment in what we have done with it. We took a run-down little place and make it into a delightful cottage in the city, complete with a magical garden, in truth more a shady grove that songbirds and squirrels play in.
Marilyn’s artistry encompasses living things. She uses the earth as her canvas and plants as her palette. She also tends a small allotment garden in High Park that has become her sacred place to touch into the earth and keep alive her farming heritage.
I have a small log cabin on the Big East River in Muskoka. It is my own sacred place, fulfilling my childhood dream to live in the woods. Mine is the quintessential cabin, with a large stone fireplace at one end. Logs honey-gold from age. Wood stove, sleeping loft, wind in the trees, rush of water, sunlight pouring in through rustic framed windows. Even the occasional late-night call from a wolf pack baying at the moon.
I have a small circle of good friends, lifelong friends. Do I need to mention that the one thing not small in my life is my love, returned in abundance by my wife?
Yet there is more. How often I’ve bemoaned my lack of special gifts! No musical talent, no artistic vision, limited athletic ability… But I do have one faculty I’ve been blessed with: a knack for relating to others. I find myself easily and quickly feeling a simple, direct affection for people. More often than not I seem to send out warmth to everyone I come in contact with, be it a stranger on the street or a guest in our home, that makes them feel good about themselves and glad to be alive.
Most of my life people have felt easy in my company. It’s a quality I was born with, the same way I was born with a birthmark on my face. And so on this day, I celebrate myself.
Today is the perfect spring day - almost summer warm, not a cloud in the sky, a cool breeze like a squeeze of lemon in coke.
And I have declared today a day off. A do-nothing day. Just want to be.
July 3rd, 2009
It has been almost a month since I wrote on this page. Can't seem to get focused enough to put have anything to say. Mostly just living with ups and down, few insights. Maybe this is the territory of where I'm at. Sensing the weariness of my world, its limits, etc. New frontiers, new possibilities all lie somewhere within the old.
July 5th, 2009
Near-death experience. Awakening. Rebirth. Resurrection. Wonderful hopeful expectations. Death, Disease, Old age. Uncomfortable realities. I live in a comfortable world of love, friends pleasant routines. Yet with the creative mind that I have, I want to create a life that takes me into a place that is rich and challenging and fulfilling.
The one thing that I continually come back to is love. Each night I enter that world and explore it. Laying awake in the middle of the night, I image myself streaming with love. Something like a source of love that pours love down and into my whole being, until I glow with love. I am radiating this energy like a light bulb. It feels so good.
However what I would like. What the scientist in me would like is some understanding of what love is. What affect does it have on me. Does love such as cosmic love exists. I guess all of this questioning falls into that realm of perhaps unanswerable questions such as is there a god. I just don't know. I don't really have any sense of this love energy or ??? being anything more than a pleasant sensation. I'm not sure is isn't just an illusion or as I suggested one of those speculative propositions that fall into an unprovable realm such as religion and spirituality.
Yet this phenomenon profoundly interests me, and I do seem capable of manifesting something akin to cosmic love. I am aware of people responding to me differently than they did a year ago.
July 18th 2009
A dullish Sunday morning. Mostly my days are about creature comforts and personal maintenance. Any sense of purpose or reality beyond the mundane seems to have evaporated. Life is good, even enjoyable. And yet as always I'm plagued with a desire for something more. I accept this as part of who I am, and think it is simple part of the human condition. As always I come back to the curious state that I experience when I enter into a middle of the night ritual in which I imagine my heart generating love and sending it out to everyone I know. It is the only thing that has a possibility of being divine or beyond the normal. Even though I sense we all have this capacity.
Still I have no idea how to build on this experience. I can repeat it and I do most nights; however, like everything else it becomes more a routine, and then a habit, without the feeling of transcendence that it once had. I am aware that it does seem to have an impact on me and I'm aware that people seem more open to me.
Love is still that illusive force that I suspect can permeate reality without directly impacting on it. I'm aware that fear and anger might in some way operate on the same level. Fear creates an environment that restricts live, and anger lets loose destructive forces that work against us. Love it seems builds a context that allows for constructive interaction that creates harmony.
My life has considerable harmony and well being. Sometimes I think it is simply because I have honed some of my interpersonal skills In fact, I have a special gift for being with people that is far beyond the ordinary. But as always I long for more, a moment of transformation. Maybe it is this longing that keeps me alive and alert. I find myself almost desperate to achieve such a transformation before I die.
Had a dream last night. I am looking in a mirror, and I see mirrored back to me, a beautiful almost otherworldly image. I look again and this image remains. It is numinous, radiant and full of grace, It is a thrilling dream. I awake and sense that I have seen my spirit, a beautiful and noble being looking back at me.
Saw a Japanese movie, Departures which tells the story of a man who makes up corpses so that they appear true to the way people saw them in life. The work that he does make the dead bodies seem to come back to life the way they were in life. The family and friends watching this ritual experience the grief and feelings that they had not been able to reach before. I was deeply moved by the movie. It felt like this man could transform these people as well as the dead person. It was in some sense delivering all in the room including the dead back to their true selves. I would like to be able to do this.
August 1st, 2009
Realize that I have been very busy learning how to love. In fact all my life I have been putting out, and have never learned how to take in. For the last year or more, I have been loving the people around me, working at loving the world and the people in it. At present my main interest is learning not how to love, which I can do with some depth, but in learning how to be loved.
This seems to me to be the greater challenge. Loving others gives me a sense of superiority, bringing with it a certain arrogance and selfrighteousness. Now after sending love out to others and offering it to them as force for healing and transformation, I find myself in the position of being called on to accept their love and being open to being healed and transformed by love myself.
I'm beginning to realize that this means being open to the world of the other. Yesterday, Marilyn, my wife of 30 years, declared in a way like never before how she loved me. Loved me in a deeper more profound way than she had every before felt capable of. None of this really translated into words, but I need to try and ask you to work with me, and what I'm trying to express. To let another person in and to let their love come into my life seems to me to ask of me that I let go of my reality. This I find scarey if not terrifying.
To be transformed by love seems to ask that of me. For example, Marilyn cleans up the rough cabin that I consider my sacred, masculine domain. When she is finished it sparkles. She adds some flower, a small rug. I find myself terrified that she is moving into my domain -- that her feminine energy that cleans and beautifies threatens my rugged masculinity. And it does.
But it brings beauty, and a new energy into the cabin. It does transform the cabin. As I look about it everything sparkles and seems radiant in a way that it never has. This is the gift of the feminine.
As I lay awake in the middle of the night, I am thrilled and a little in awe at what this woman has just offered me. I seem to be tranforming from the lover to the beloved, being asked to accept love and beauty rather than bestow it. Letting go of the assertion of my reality for the transforming of my world by the love of another. This requires a deep sense of myself and a
profound faith and trust in the other beyond what I might consider normal prudence.
I am just beginning to understanding the transformative power of love and the accompanying surrender to it and the fear that accompanies it.…