Monday, October 26, 2020

REFLECTIOS YARO BLOG – NOVEMBER 2020

 

YOU ARE NEVER OLD


                                          
                                                                   Robert Dessaix Author of "The Time of Our Lives: Growing Older Well"




Dear reader,

I am reaching the most important age this October 30. I will be 80 years young and according to my biological age, I am 69 this year.


Definition of biological age: We think of chronological age as the amount of time since you were born—whatever your driver’s license says—whereas biological age is the age your body resembles or functions at. Even though two people may both be thirty years old chronologically, one of them could have a biological profile that is closer to twenty-five, whereas the other might have a biological profile of thirty-five. see yours at https://www.biological-age.com/).


I am noting that the age of very deep reflection is even deeper now. There are many points of view and many research theories about prolonging “old age” or making more time for life and avoid death. But death does come some time and that is not a philosophical exploration but a reality.


However, as a young man, I was very curious bout what is death all about and searched for ideas at temples in India, Zen centers, Buddhist teachings, and so on. All are the most interesting concepts worthy of research and reflection.


Now as I am reaching the age when reflection is a way of taking time to just BE.  I am now exploring a book called “The Time of Our Lives: Growing Older Well” by Robert Dessaix who is 80 and lives in Hobart, Australia. A review of his book was written by Stephen Romei and published in the Weekend Australian. I was so inspired by the review that I bought the book and finished reading it this week.


I am delighted and even entertained by this author who represents, to me, a real OZZIE bloke. His point is: “you are never too old, “there is no fountain of youth” and he starts to give a vivid and joyful description of his own experience. How to grow old happy and well is the theme of his narrative and is full of examples of the encounters he had over his lifetime with his friends.


Since I am completing 80 years, this October, I am joining his club of elders. The book is divided into several topics by the review written by Stephen Romei and thus we can reflect on every topic in the book and then read the book. I highly recommend it. 


1.     Robert Dessaix suffered a heart attack in 2001 walking on Oxford st in Sydney. “I technically died twice,” he said. He was revived first by a paramedic and the second time in hospital. He describes his experience as “nothing happened because there is nothing that can happen”. There is no bright light nor any meetings with the deceased, but it is like a mobile phone that goes ‘dead’ – just dead!


2.     Aged Care - it is a time when Robert visits Rita at the aged care home in Hobart. He describes her life there right up to the final days. His observation of Rita as a characteristically old Rita. She cannot think clearly, and states that somehow Robert is someone called Olive and she constantly asks him if she can come home. Her expressions are not heard by anyone nor anyone cares about her feelings. This is surely a different place from home, and according to statistics, it will be needed as the populations grow older over the years and more of us will need such care.


3.     Sexuality – the author states that “ we need to learn and acknowledge that people’s sexual needs will be met in different ways – raging erections, however, are out of the question as we grow older and appreciating our freedom to either be loving or lonely but certainly LOVE IS FOREVER”.


4.    Friendships – This is certainly an inner feeling of Love that can never be bought.” Our friendships, affections, attachments, understandings and intimacies, some long-lasting and some temporary are the most difficult and most rewarding kinds.”


5.     Heaven and Hell – Labelling or not labeling the beliefs of heaven and hell, is something personal and depends on cultural reinforcement. The hell drama of a devil holding you on pitchfork or being rewarded by angels on a cloud sitting around you is like a TV drama. We know it is a play, but we all want to believe in what the actors say.


6.     The Arts – Although we have great art, music, and stories, many are over one hundred years old and still inspire us, but the modern culture of today is teetering on the edge of an abyss. ‘It is a culture that is losing its soul and is nearing death”. I am thinking now of the youth culture following YouTube or Tik Tok. There is some attempt at entertainment, but it mostly gives vent to nothingness.


7.     Clutter – As we grow old, we must get rid of things as much as we can. Declutter all the things that accumulate in your life and free yourself for new space to create new projects. He said that the only book worth keeping is CRIME & PUNISHMENT by Dostoyevsky. I would personally keep my Gestalt therapy books to remember to BE HERE AND NOW.


8.     Travel – I agree fully with Dessaix that we must travel as much as possible when we are young. In this way, we can remember all the adventures when we are old. I was extremely fortunate in this area of my life as I would travel around the world for six months after 3 years of teaching at the University of Queensland.


9.     Caring less – less care (worrying) for people’s opinions, evaluations, comments about our self, that have little importance. This is true freedom of being yourself and to be able to tell some people to just “piss off”! and enjoy their reaction. This is the secret of nurturing yourself.


10.Contentment and happiness – The difference between these two concepts is central to Dessaix and I agree. As we grow older, we realise that contentment is much broader than happiness. Part of this is that we can share our contentment with others. Naturally, I do feel happy when I am dancing to music or listen to my favorite Mexican 'ranchers', and particularly my happiness is great dancing the Tango. I took Tango lessons for some weeks, years ago, and still can happily dance the Tango. It is the secret of a good life.


11.Remembering and forgetting – writing, painting or just being involved in my own projects is a way of putting my experiences either on a canvass or a book. Then things are ‘set in place’ and people can then recall what you did in your life. I have written my own story in a book called JUST PASSING THROUGH, as a way to give my friends, relatives, and my two sons my version of my life so they can ‘re-call’ me. Recalling stories is one way not to lose memory.


Finally, a quote by Dessaix: “I do not think that many of us find death ‘unbearable’ at all. It’s the process of dying that we are fearful of”.


 


 

 


                                                                                          HAVE A GREAT TIME !!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

OCTOBER BLOG - 2020


 ELDERS IN INDIA



TRANSITION – NOT CHANGE

 

Dear Reader,

In the last blog, we examined the topic of LIFE AFTER LIFE. In this October Blog, I am reflecting on the meaning of change and what we can do to make our life a transition to something rather change into something. We can think of ‘changing our clothing’ as we dress in the morning, but what we call transition is a deeper notion.

At some time in our lives, we begin to feel the physical body older (the symptoms are there). Everything in the Universe is going through what the scientists call ENTROPY. This means deterioration break up, collapse, degeneration, destruction, worsening. Just pick your own word.

At this time, we all have a series of anthropic events that indicate a movement toward the end. The COVID-19 epidemic is only one example. Then there is the climate change crisis, cultural and economic upheavals, all direct most of us to the experience of feelings of despair and chaos. At the same time, there is an opening for more sharing on a global scale.

All is impermanent as Buddha said about 3000 years ago. But today this sense of shifting sands is more intense and is experienced on a global level. As I read and watch the world news every day, I cannot but feel deeply the end of life as we knew for centuries.

As an ‘older man or elder,’ I am developing an ‘elder men’ project that will examine the idea of LIFE AFTER LIFE. I reflected on this idea in my last blog and now I am putting this project into action. I have invited about half a dozen men to come for a half-hour video interview with me. These men are of pre-retirement and post-retirement age. All men are known to each other because we meet every Saturday morning at the Brisbane West End market. We sit around a table, drink good cafĂ©, and just share whatever comes to mind: opinions about politics, own stories, events, and so on. Nothing is sacred or forbidden and we laugh a lot.

So far, the four men that came for the video interview shared amazing stories. Even though we met every Saturday at the Brisbane West End market, the stories impacted me greatly and given me deep insights about the many roads we have traveled in life and the many stories about ourselves we collected. Each man has a unique and original journey offering us an amazing mixture of cultural and educational wisdom. They represent the typical Australian modern people. Finally, I am aware how, despite so many differences, we are all interconnected

My other perspective about the interviews is that we are not old but spiritually ancient. We represent the ancient wisdom of many cultures It is more than living a life, but it is a gathering of each men’s Soul Energy that enables us to grow and develop no matter what the circumstances and a creative way to put forward the creativity and wisdom to others.

My mentor, Michael Meade, the mythologist, speaks of the ancient wisdom referring to the moon phases indicating that as the moon faces change, they represent the movement form new to a three-quarter to full moon and new moon again without any stopping but always changing. Thus, we are being taught by Nature itself how we grow and mature and end to - begin again.





 

Here is a link to Mead’s podcast, please listen.

 

Monday, August 31, 2020

SEPTEMBER - 2020

YARO BLOG SEPTEMBER 2020

 

LIFE   AFTER   LIFE



                                                           El Camino de Santiago Spain - 2006

Y. Starak & A. Moffat as pilgrims


Dear reader,

I am now reflecting on my years of retirement and the challenges that kept me well and occupied with family and art. In my ‘other life’ I was working 9am to 5pm most days of the week lecturing students at the University of Queensland dept. of Social Work and Social Science. Those were indeed wonderful years; teaching, researching, and publishing. At the same time, I was a founder and co-founder of several Gestalt Therapy institutes throughout Australia.

Now, in my New LIfe, I am an artist; busy painting portraits of friends and family and exhibiting my work with my partner and wife Gemma Garcia. Even the terrible situation with the COVID virus cannot stop us. We are now very busy with our creative work. (see www. arttherapygestalt.com).

Someone said to me, the other day: “WHAT NOW, HOW IS LIFE AFTER LIFE?” I was not sure of the meaning but decided to reflect on this challenging question. My own calling to a new life was my first experience walking the CAMINO in Spain and a real calling to a new way to walk life. And that is exactly what Michael is describing below, those were my own feelings as a pilgrim walking the 900+K.

My mentor, Michael Meade, indicates that a sign of certain courage is needed to follow what is calling us. This is also linked with my previous blogs on the SOUL. Here is his article that I am happy to share with you and hope you can also “follow your bliss” in the next stage of your life.

A certain kind of courage is required to follow what truly calls to us; why else would so many choose to live within false certainties and pretensions of security? If genuine treasures were easy to find this world would be a different place. If the path of dreams were easy to walk or predictable to follow many more would go that route. The truth is that most prefer the safer paths in life even if they know that their souls are called another way.

What truly calls to us is beyond what we know or can measure. It uses the language of hidden treasures and distant cities to awaken something sleeping within us. The soul knows that we must be drawn out of ourselves to truly become ourselves. Call it a dream or “the treasure hard to attain”; call it a vocation or the awakening of our innate genius. Call it what you will, upon hearing the call we must follow or else lose the true thread of our lives.

A true vocation requires shedding anything that would impede or obscure the call. A true pilgrimage requires letting go of the very things most people try to hold onto. In seeking after what the soul desires we become pilgrims with no home but the path the soul would have us follow. As the old proverb says: “Before you begin the journey, you own the journey. Once you have begun, the journey owns you.”

 After all, what good is a dream that does not test the mettle of the dreamer? What good is a path that does not carry us to the edge of our capacity and then beyond that place? A true calling involves a great exposure before it can become a genuine refuge.

In the soul’s adventure, we become a self-unknown, a self-unexpected, and in that way, we find the greater soul and genius self within us. Answering the call gives primacy to unknown places and foreign lands; it requires that we seek farther in the world than we would choose on our own. We enter our essential “creatureliness” and learn to sniff at the world again. We learn to read the wind and find our way by sensing and intuiting, by imagining and by dreaming on. Eventually, the dream of the soul becomes the only hope; it becomes a prayer and a map as well. In allowing the journey to “have us” we become lost; we lose our usual selves to find our original self again. Lost souls are the only ones who ever get found.

- Michael Meade, "Fate and Destiny, The Two Agreements of the Soul" 



Father and son finding treasures of the unbelievable by Damien Hirst



Sunday, July 26, 2020

THE DARK VEIL OF IGNORANCE - AUGUST 2020






 

THE DARK VEIL OF IGNORANCE

Dear reader,

 

We are rapidly approaching the second half of 2020. This year has already created a sense of a new reality or new normal. Earlier this year, I reflected on the Chinese astrological name for 2020 – THE YEAR OF THE RAT. The rat symbolises “the midnight” and an earthy quality. It also means A RENEWAL. This symbol is also the first in the rotation of the 12 Zodiac signs in China. It is the beginning!

My own intuitive thinking is that the rat is also a scavenger and a carrier of viruses. It symbolises the shadow aspects of life.

As we are now experiencing a global pandemic, where an unknown virus is running out of control, killing thousands all over the globe and thus altering completely the way we are accustomed to live our daily life. But it is also a time of great opportunity to speed up the climate change plans, to clean up the coal energy plants, to use less plastic( see the news below) and produce electric transportation.

Now is the time to activate the cleaning up of our waste, to clear the oceans of garbage, and insure a sustainable future of all humankind. We have lived too long in a dark veil that we cannot see and now the virus (Covid-19) is giving all of us a clear message: “All humans, you must make serious changes the way you live. How you use resources, how you only care about making money – if not, the consequences will be catastrophic and apocalyptic for the next generations”, No politician can ‘fix it’ and if hope is an eternal belief we must begin NOW to take personal response-ability and start lifting the veil and enter the light of the SOUL. This is what my mentor Michael Meade says:

“A primary meaning of apocalypse is “lifting the veil,” both uncovering what was covered up and discovering things previously unknown. An example of the kind of surprising discovery that can happen in troubled times appeared recently. Astronomers identified a cosmic curtain of thousands of galaxies just beyond our Milky Way. Although enormous and relatively close, this expansive system of galaxies had been obscured by the dust of an area called the Zone of Avoidance.

This cosmic event can also be symbolic of the human psyche, where we can have inner zones of denial and avoidance that obscure insights and illuminating meanings that can expand, enrich, and enliven our lives. During all the current crises on Earth, it's important to know that there can also be the emergence of hidden truths appearing like stars that were formerly obscured. (my addition: Note the star-like Covid-19).

One way to imagine this potential inner lifting of the veil is through the psychological dynamic of fate and destiny. Fate involves all that limits us in life, while destiny calls us to find and follow our star. In avoiding fateful issues in our lives, we build the inner zones of avoidance. When we face our fate, we can find the inner “twist of fate” that reveals and aligns us with our destiny in life.

At this time, we are being called to find the courage, both collectively and individually, to face aspects of fate that constrict our lives and darken our world. The cosmos wants us to know that just beyond the zones of denial and avoidance there are unseen stars, bright ideas, and brilliant flashes of imagination that can light a multitude of pathways through this troubled world. Michael Meade

 

Note: His essays have appeared in To Be A Man, Tending the Fire, Wingspan, Walking Swiftly, and The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart. The latter is an anthology of poetry, which he edited with Robert Bly and James Hillman. His book Men and the Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of Men was published in 1993 by Harper San Francisco. He is the author of the books The Water of Life, The World Behind the World, Fate and Destiny, the Two Agreements in Life, and Why the World Doesn't End, Tales of Renewal in Times of Change. He frequently contributes essays to Huffington Post,[2] and Sun Magazine. Meade uses story, song, and mythology, as a means of discovery for others to find their inner wisdom and inherent gifts.

 

a cosmic event 



LATEST NEWS:

 https://www.sbs.com.au/news/ocean-plastic-pollution-flows-to-triple-by-2040-study-finds


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

JUNE 2020 BLOG POST



RESILIENCE AND HUMAN NATURE