May 19, 2024

I'm planning to do a multi-part series on elderhood. Right now, I'm looking at elderhood through three lenses. One is the connection to spirit, or a higher power, or the soul. Another is our personal growth. And the third one is our connection to society community. Today I'm focusing on the connection to a higher power, to the soul. 

That connection tends to give us a deeper sense of who we are. It definitely did give me a deeper sense. beyond the usual data point collection: I am a woman, I'm a mother, I'm a wife, I'm a coach, etc.. Yes, it describes what I do. But what does it have to do with who I am? Does what I do give me stability and purpose? From my life experience, I have to say no, it does not. 

During COVID, I had no purpose. I had just moved to Colorado and was not that familiar with the area. Looking back, I could see that it was a more difficult time for me that I thought. In 2022, in a course I found the energetic description of who I am and that changed a lot for me.

 I'm sharing that description with you so you have a sense of what I mean. Talking about an energetic description of who I am is a pretty nebulous term. "I am the water that nourishes the ability to see beyond the current world to a beautifully connected world. And that washes away anything that stands in the way." For me, that description in a way also contained a purpose. And I have to say, having the purpose really lit a fire under my butt. I started to focus on my knowledge about transitions, but then even narrowed that down. I realized we don't have elders in our western culture anymore. Doing a bit of research, I got that we lost the recognition of elders in the industrial revolution. Retirement started to crop up. Before, there wasn't really retirement. If you were on the farm, you would work as long as your body would allow you to work the farm to help your children, until they were taking over the farm. But with retirement, older people were put out to pasture. There was no purpose for them anymore. And how much depression did that cause? Or how much did they try to find ways to manage time, to do something. After having worked on all our lives now we can do what we desire to do. iThat was how my parents saw it. They did some travel, some hiking, vacationing. 

For me, that's not enough of a purpose. So what can we do? As an elder that has a deep connection to spirit, I am able to envision what is possible. I can look at where might we need to go as humanity? What is required? What is calling for a change? Those ideas, those visions come through contemplation, but they come not based on how can I get rich? How can I make money? How can I control the rest of my life? They come from a different space, from a heart space. They come from a relaxed space, that acknowledges eventually I am going to die. 

What do I need to do to die well? I am already looking at it in talking with my kids and asking, Do you want this, that or the other? I don't want to do to them what my parents did to my siblings and me. Leave everything and we had to figure it out. It was painful for me to leave things that I knew I didn't have the space to store them. What if we can have the necessary conversations? What serves what doesn't serve? What would you like to keep? How can we make that happen? And it comes from a heart space. It comes from a space of love.

A love that has absolutely nothing to do with romantic love. It doesn't even have anything to do with unconditional love, which for me is a misnomer. How can love have conditions? If I am coming from the heart, my love has no agenda. It is pure and simple. This is something that I can learn about through my connection to a higher power. Something I really like and have started to practice is to ask: what would you have me do today? Then I shut up and listen, be quiet, be present with what is. 

In a way, a connection to a higher power is even present by being in nature, watch nature, watch animals. I love to observe animals. And I have to say I've learned a lot observing animals. Often, if I'm stumped by something, I wonder how does nature deal with that? I watch and observe. I learn, because nature is not trying to please anybody. Nature is just present with what is. From my perspective, the only agenda nature has is to protect life, to make sure that life continues. There is no other agenda. Nature does, what is necessary to do. 

I wanted to start talking about what is part of being an elder. An elder has that deep connection with a higher power, with his or her soul. And as a result of that deep connection, that fear of dying, at least for me is gone. Death is going to be part of my life. I look at death as moving from one room into another. I'm here in this world, and then I'm in a different world. I don't know what to call the different world. And, in all honesty, it doesn't matter to me. But life continues, energy doesn't get destroyed. The energy of who I am will continue on and on and on, and has always been.

About the author 

Corinna Stoeffl

Corinna Stoeffl is a dynamic workshop facilitator and speaker. With a world in transition, her focus is providing education and giving tools so people can have more ease. She feels that her life experiences have prepared her for this time so she can be in support.

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