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Signs of Elderhood

Here are seven signs that you have reached Elderhood:

  1. Signs of ElderhoodYou recognize a profound and possibly prolonged shift out of adulthood. There is a change in consciousness internally where you recognize that you are not an adult any more in the way you were before. You are transcending and including adulthood. You are entering Elderhood.
  2. You care more about the “youngers” of this world than you do about yourself. This is not masochism or self hatred. It is an expansion of your ability to love others as well as yourself, especially the younger people coming up who are the future you will not live to see. As an Elder, you are future-oriented more than past or even present-oriented. Most older people tend to be more oriented to the past. As adults we tend to be more oriented to the present. Elders are more oriented to the future.
  3. You are deeply grateful for all you have been given and giving back is your work now.
  4. With great humility, you realize that you are now a Caretaker of this world and of all that are in this world. You are a lover of the generations coming up and a lover of the future. You appreciate your work and the love of others in the past that has helped you arrive at where you are now.
  5. You realize that there is now a path to Elderhood that you and others can follow. It is not a clear path yet, and there are lots of sand traps along the way, but it not reserved for the very few or for saints who are beyond us. It wasn’t as visible for our parents and grandparents for whom basic survival was usually more of the order of the day. The path is clearer now if you choose to walk it.
  6. You realize that part of your work now is to make the way clearer. You have embarked on the journeys of Growing Up, Cleaning Up and Waking Up in adulthood and have entered Elderhood able to Show Up clearer than ever before. You live as best you can for the good of this world.
  7. You are very aware of the challenges of aging even as you embrace the growth into this emerging stage of development.You are willing to live the miracle of your own ongoing evolution in the face of your individual undeniable entropy!

Welcome to Elderhood!

An Evolutionary Correction

With Trump’s inauguration, we are witnessing what Ken Wilber has called “an evolutionary correction.” In the months ahead, we will be exploring what this correction means in its hopeful as well as its frightening aspects. We will primarily be looking at what we can feel positive about and be FOR as we go forward.

2016 was rough. But check out the shockingly hopeful truth about the world in 2017. #AvaazHope

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We invite you to Like us on Facebook so you can check for new postings between ezines.

We want keep all our spirits up in these uncertain times.

One way to feel empowered about what’s happening is to remember that the very long (13.8 billion year!) arc of evolution is bending toward ever greater Truth, Beauty and Goodness. So, any time you:

  • Speak your Truth with love and strength
  • Appreciate or create Beauty or
  • Share Goodness in any way – even just a smile or a kind thought

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You are moving Evolution forward!

Keep on Evolving!

Happy Holidays

We are sharing this with a holiday wish that our divided country can find a way through our culture wars.

Duty to Die: Concern for Others vs Prolonging Your Days

When Richard Lamm floated his “duty to die” remarks many years ago when he was Governor of Colorado, they went over like a lead balloon. At the time, I didn’t think much of them either. While I’m still not sure we have a duty to die, I think Colorado should enact Right to Die legislation similar to what currently exists in Oregon and Vermont.

I am an elder who recently celebrated his 74th birthday, and I am deeply grateful to have gotten this far in life reasonably healthy. That could change tomorrow. I have no desire to eat up my family’s resources lingering in a nursing home with a fatal illness.

right to die legislationMy right to die, and yours, is very different from what is traditionally considered suicide. Suicide is taking one’s life in despair or desperation in isolation.

The right to die is a right most often of elders who have a fatal illness, and who choose to die relationally and consciously, hopefully in the company of others, with their blessing and consent.

Maybe, just maybe, Lamm was right. Maybe we do have a duty to die at some point, rather than continue to devour the resources of a family and the planet, when our concern for others becomes more important than extending the days of our lives with the latest prolongations that medicine has to offer.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Some Things You Only Need To Think About

Sometimes I think I ought to be more concerned about talking people out of stuff, but since I have never seen that work, and I have never had to talk someone out of jumping off a roof or a bridge, I think that ship has probably sailed.

As far as I  can tell, trying to talk people out of their feelings or behaviors usually just makes them dig their heels in harder.

thinking and understandingA number of years ago, when my son was still a teen and  had recently engaged in some risky behavior, I did give him a piece of unsolicited advice. I said, ‘”I know at your age you think you need to try everything, but there are some things you only need to think about.”

I remember he looked like he was taken aback about what I just said, and he kind of nodded and smiled.

Maybe he was thinking his old man did know some thing after all, or maybe he was thinking a little harder about his next adventure. Whatever. I was more than a little pleased with myself.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

How We Inadvertently Project Our Feelings On Our Significant Other

Not too long ago, a friend called us and kindly offered us cuttings and plants from her garden. She said just come, pick them up and take all you want; they are sitting on my front porch.

So I went over and gratefully took a big bunch. I took them home, happy as a clam. I proudly showed them to my wife who proceeded to tell me: “You were a little piggy, weren’t you?” Crestfallen, I went out to the garden with my plants, now beating myself up with “You were a little piggy, a little piggy.”

Suddenly, I stopped myself.

two people facing each otherWait a minute! I remembered that I’M ENOUGH AND I MATTER, even if I was a little piggy (which I wasn’t). I felt much better.

I went back to the house and reminded Suzanne that our friend said we could take all the plants we wanted, and I didn’t like being called a little piggy. She apologized and said,”Maybe just a little, little piggy,” and I chased her around the house, both of us laughing.

Later she admitted that if she had taken the plants, she would have maybe felt like a piggy, and maybe, just maybe, she was projecting on me.

Hallelujah!

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Desperate or Needy: OK for Many Men to be Needy?

Sadly, too many men define themselves as desperate rather than needy when the going gets tough.

man - desperate or needyIn this culture, it is not OK for many men to be needy. Too often they see themselves as desperate and sometimes justifying desperate behavior, often with terrible consequences for themselves and others. I was recently talking to a young man who laughed and said that he wasn’t sure that he wanted to see himself as having needs that weren’t being met. He was more comfortable seeing himself as desperate!

Here’s the deal:
I said to him, “It’s human to have needs and be needy at times in our lives. To have needs is part of what it means to be human, to be part of the human race. To define oneself as desperate in effect is to see oneself as apart from humanity, and to set up the justification of inhuman and entitled behavior towards oneself or others.”

He said he had never believed that it might be OK for him to be needy, but he was willing to think about it and to think about what he might be needing.

It might beat feeling desperate after all.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The Integral Living Room: Sharing an Integral and Evolutionary Vision

I recently attended “The Integral Living Room,” an event held in Boulder and sponsored by The Integral Life Institute, itself a spin off of the life work of Ken Wilber. I have studied Ken’s work for many years, and I believe that he is truly a national treasure, much like Joseph Campbell. Ken’s “Magnum Opus,” Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, changed my life, and I am deeply grateful.

The event in Boulder was attended by a hundred people from many countries around the world. I felt like it was an incredible luxury to be there – in many ways, at a leading edge of consciousness development about the evolving WE spaces that we are all a part of.

I was able to reflect on our work at RRC and appreciate how we are evolving integral psychotherapy in our daily lives. I have shared what I know of Ken’s integral model or, more accurately, his integral “map” over the last fifteen years, and I believe it has been useful in many ways in our development both individually and in evolving our group practice together.

living roomThe Integral Living Room will convene again in Boulder over Memorial weekend in 2014. It is an elite group to which everyone is welcome. You can check it out at http://www.integrallivingroom.com/ and see if it calls to you.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Self-Esteem: A Frequently Misunderstood Concept

I am deeply grateful to Pia Melody and Terry Real for their work on self-esteem, and their clarification of an extremely important and frequently misunderstood concept.

In contemporary society, it is all too common to base our self-esteem on WHAT WE HAVE (e.g., how much money do we have or not have), WHAT WE DO (a doctor is more important than a janitor), or THE OPINION OF OTHERS (if others have a good opinion of me, I’m OK, and if they don’t, then I’m not OK). While these are indeed powerful influences in our lives, we cannot let them be the basis of our self-esteem or self-worth, in part because they are all three subject to change, often in very short order!

The solid basis of self-esteem is what is intrinsic to myself and all human beings.

believe in yourselfI’M ENOUGH AND I MATTER IN SPITE OF MY IMPERFECTIONS AND LIMITATIONS (AND SO ARE YOU)!

This is essentially what it means to be human. As simple and true as these words are, they are often disturbing and challenging to us. We often don’t believe that we are enough, we matter and others are enough and they matter, too. But if we are willing to let this good news begin to sink in, it might just change our lives.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Detachment Without Indifference: Two Realizations About This Important Concept

As a young man, I never had much use for or understanding of the notion of detachment.

To be detached seemed callous and uncaring to me, and disconnected from others and the world around me.

ideaTwo realizations have helped me come to a better understanding of this important concept.

The first is realizing that in embarking on any endeavor, It helps greatly if we can detach from the outcome. Like it or not, we are usually not in control of how things turn out. We are only in charge of doing the best job that we can and using the most skillful means available to us to accomplish our goals. It’s not that we don’t care about the outcome. We just need to learn to let go of attachment to the outcomes because mostly we don’t have control over them.

The second is that being detached doesn’t mean that I’m indifferent to what’s happening to others. The “serenity prayer” from AA is helpful here: Give me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference. There is a paradox here. The more securely I am attached to others, the more I can detach from outcomes. It seems that my strong loving connection with others is what allows me, helps me, to let go of fear and control.

Love is letting go of fear, and love is what lets me let go of fear.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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