Aging as a spiritual journey – part 2

I spent yesterday finishing my art journal on aging as a spiritual journey.  I realized I could have done more blog posts on this but they would just be compilations of other people’s ideas.  Instead I copied ideas that resonated with me into the journal.   If you want to follow up on any let me know and I’ll send you a link to the source material.

Here’s the completed journal page by page.   As you can see some pages have been altered but the journal never did get any neater.   If you missed the post about how I constructed it you can find it here


You can find my other posts in this series  here and here


The Yin and Yang of Self

A challenge on really got me thinking – ” week 1: Story Telling: Self-Portrait (take a picture that tells us who you are, without actually showing your face).”

I let the idea roll around my mind for a while as I got on with household chores.   As I worked I started thinking about duality – yin and yang, light and dark, negative and positive and how this plays out inside my being.   I decided to find a photo that represented this and also the way in which focusing on light and consciously calling it into my being helps me become more balanced.


If you are curious the photo is of rain pouring out of leaking guttering.  I took it from inside so the white dots are actually raindrops on the window.  The white mist is an added extra my camera mysteriously contributed.




Climate Change Summer

January in Oz and the temperature’s rising.  Hordes of tourists gather on the coast.  The beaches are covered with their gear – surf boards, paddle boards, boogie boards, jet skis, sun shelters, deck chairs, bright towels and clothes.   They say it’s fun.

On the roads cars crawl bumper to bumper through dusty roadworks – highway duplications designed to bring yet more tourists to the coast.  Abutting the roads new housing estates are being constructed for those who desire a permanent sea change.    Shopping malls too.  Today in my neighbourhood residents are advised to seek alternate routes for a mass clearing of trees is taking place on the main road.  The clearing is to make way for another vast shopping mall.

In the mall constructed last year babies bawl and toddlers scream with rage as they are denied the toys and sweets they were showered with at Christmas.

They call it fun,
progress on steroids
– it’s getting hotter.



The end of the road


Back from a long road trip and two nights camping I realise that is probably the extent of my travelling in 2019.  Australian roads are so busy now and so many people drive huge four wheel drive vehicles.  No one seems to drive at the speed limit anymore.   Tailgating is common.  Driving a narrow two lane road with a big jeep just a couple of metres behind my little car and a stream of heavy duty vehicles charging towards me with their lights on the daytime is unnerving.

Years back I loved driving along winding country roads.   The traffic was minimal and most drivers seemed to content to amble along rather than rush.    These days even if I find a quiet road chances are the surface is riddled with potholes caused by all the heavy vehicles.

The decision to stop taking road trips has been hovering in the back of mind for a couple of years.   To finally decide ‘that’s it, no more’ is hard.    I’m not a person who likes staying put and I’ve always imagined I will get back to faraway desert places I drove to when I was younger.

Go overseas then you might say – or fly to distant destinations in Australia.   Maybe one day if and when I ever manage save the money – most likely not in 2019.    Besides, flying isn’t something I enjoy.   Those little hops in Australia play havoc on my ear pressure and long distance flying where you’re cooped up in a flying tin can with all those other people for hours and hours and hours doesn’t appeal any more.

So it’s goodbye to travel photos taken in exotic locations.   It’s goodbye to writing travel haibun.   2019 will be about experiencing my immediate locality – anywhere within an hour’s drive of my home.  I won’t be taking any roads, narrow or otherwise, to the deep north.   Unless of course you take a metaphoric view of such journeys and see them as being more about inner travel than outer.   In that case, well I’m paving new tracks constantly.  I’m exploring new territory on a daily basis.

A single crow
cawing outside my tent
– who am I really?

prompt:  Frank Tassone’s haiku challenge – first crow

A gratitude list

I’ve been wondering where this blog was going to next.  This challenge on Tales from the Motherlandgives me a way in.

“Set a timer for 15 minutes. Really; do it (it’s in red, clearly I mean it). This isn’t your usual post. It’s meant to be as spontaneous as you can be. It’s not supposed to be finessed, but from the heart. You’re not explaining every thing you put on your list, you are just listing as many things as you can, in 15 minutes. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write things that make you happy, or things you’re grateful for. Don’t think too hard; just write what comes to mind in the time allotted. If you use the numbered mode and just type what comes to mind, it’s easy. When the timer’s done, finish whatever sentence you’re on and stop writing. If you’d like to add links or photos, do it after the timer; keep your list short and spontaneous. “

start 10:01

1/ I’m grateful for good food.   These  ancient grains and strange seeds you can get now really seem help with stamina.

2/ I’m grateful for light, sunlight, warmth of summer even when it gets too hot for comfort it brings a lovely sense of ease to my muscles

3/ I’m grateful for the garden in this rental house I moved to last year.   The enormous ash tree had me a bit in awe at first but yesterday something clicked.   I started to think about that ambiguous agender ash fairy.   What a glorious energy to nurture in 2019.

4/ I am grateful I could borrow my daughter’s garden rake and start to tidy up this wild overgrown yard.     I’ve been missing the Medicine Wheel I made in the backyard of my old rental.   (I dismantled it in a ritualized way  before I left ).    The layout of this yard makes creating another one difficult.   I decided (influenced by the agender ash fairy I think)  to use the existing rocks in this yard to create a ring around the ash tree.   I guess it will be more of a fairy ring – if you can have made of lava stone – but I will still mark the Four Directions.   I don’t think it will easy to walk around inside it.   This time I will have walk the circumference when I call in the Four Directions.

5/ I’m grateful that I learnt this stuff about the Four Directions in 2017/18.   It gives a focus to my day to start of by walking the Medicine Wheel first thing.

6/ I’m grateful for coffee.

7/ I’m grateful for family and friends.   Particularly the little guys in my life.   My autistic grandson – watching him so diligently and wholeheartedly ignoring us all on Christmas Day while he coloured in the pictures in a colouring book someone had given him.   His focus was so intense.   Admirable really.    Something to learn from.   Such wholehearted focus on what he was doing.   With my current 15 second ‘I’ve been on the internet too long’ scattered brained attention  span I think I’ll take out a leaf out of his book.

8/ I’m grateful for what I’m learning from my other little grandsons that have verbal apraxia.   One quite badly, the younger one not so much.   From both I am learning to slow down.   To choose my words with care.   To listen more carefully to what others are saying.   Also these two little guys seems to have something that is missing for most of us – they are really attuned to visual stimuli and notice things that barely register with me.  They bring something new to our family.

9/ I’m grateful for my life.   It’s precious.   I realised that when I started to recover from illness last year.   Although it’s hard to keep the feeling going within life’s hurly burly its something I want to consider more and more in 2019.

10/   I’m grateful for my creative abilities – my camera, the things that inspire me etc.

10:16 stop



Aging as a Spiritual Journey

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are.”   Carl Jung

Coming to terms with physical decline and with the loss of old roles that occurs during the aging process takes conscious effort.  Carol Osborn, author and founder of Fierce with Age says “Mourn your lost youth, illnesses or other losses.  Acknowledge that it’s happening as a passage you have to go through.”

The journey through this passage can be the thing that propels us to shift our awareness into a more spiritualized view of the aging process.

The University of Maryland Medical Center defines spirituality as “a belief in a power operating in the universe that is greater than oneself; a sense of interconnectedness with all living creatures; and an awareness of the purpose and meaning of life and the development of personal, absolute values. Even the non-religious may describe themselves as spiritual.”  aging as a spiritual process

The clinical psychologist, Dr. John Robinson writes:-
“While we can hang onto past identities and achievements, these memories grow stale for they no longer represent who we really are. But this procession of losses, as the mystics tell us, constitutes the quintessential pre-requisite for enlightenment. What’s left when the ego’s filters of identity, time and story dissolve is consciousness itself, which the mystics also tell us is the consciousness of the divine.”


Robinson describes the process of coming to terms with the losses of age as a descent – either a descent into distress or, if we move to the spiritual side of the matrix, a descent into ‘the arms of the divine mother.’


I like the idea that the descent is a mystic journey back to the divine mother for that is where my own meditations take me.

Through some alchemical process I don’t know the words for, this journey into the mystical depths can lead to an intuitive awareness of the interconnection of all life.  The sense of purpose that grows from this awareness is greater than purely personal concerns yet it infuses the personal life with meaning and a sense of joy.  It is here where the path into aging opens up into a greater awareness of the wonder of life.

It is here too where the interior landscape becomes archetypal and the spiritual journey is shown to be a journey that anyone can take at any time.   Age is not a pre-requisite.

I will leave my quest across the landscape of aging here.   My quest to find new stories continues.  I might blog about that in 2019 but I’m not sure.



This is the 3rd post in my series ‘Aging as a spiritual journey’
Part 1 of this journey can be found here
Part 2 of this journey can be found  here