Thomas-Cole_the-course-of-empire-desolation-1836
The Course of Empire: Desolation, 1836, by Thomas Cole, American Artist and Founder of the Hudson River School. Public domain image courtesy of WikiCommons.

“A culture falls apart when its sense of youthful imagination disappears at the same time that the wisdom of the elders is forgotten.” ~ Michael Meade

Thanks to a few evocative posts and links from my fellow blogger at Elegant Universe, (and other kindred-spirits in the blog-o-sphere!), I found my way to a series of beautiful inspirations that brought with them both affirmations and reminders this morning.

You know how those reminders and affirmations pop up sometimes like shiny breadcrumbs on the (metaphorical) path the middle of the forest, or the less traveled road as it were? And often just when they’re really needed.

A pathway through the green, on one of my riverside walkabouts. Photo by Jamie Walters, New York, 2013.
A pathway through the green, on one of my riverside walkabouts. Photo by Jamie Walters, New York, 2013.

So from this Sun Magazine interview with Michael Meade, comes a reminder of one of the very core purposes of why I do what I do, and share what I share; why I value the restoration of ancestral and timeless wisdom and the reclaiming of those Divine Gifts and virtues, like imagination (which has been wildly co-opted); and why I (like you, maybe) keep going, bumbling along the forest path in these wild times of ours in the face of all that could bring us to our knees in perpetual fatigue, disillusionment, and despair.

Perhaps you’ll find inspiration here, too, and so I share this bit of wisdom from Michael Meade, by way of The Sun Magazine:

“Yes, it is rare that a culture would be so thoroughly troubled at the same time that nature is so deeply disturbed. A culture falls apart when its sense of youthful imagination disappears at the same time that the wisdom of the elders is forgotten.”

“Young people are growing up in a world of tragedy. They may appear to be ignoring it, but they are actually feeling it strongly. You’re not supposed to be worrying about the end of the world as a teenager; you’re supposed to be bringing your dream to it. The world seems old and troubled now, and the young are no longer allowed to be as young as they should be.”

Jadwiga Łuszczewska posing as Deotyma of Mantinea, 1855, by Jozef-Simmler. Public domain photo, WikiCommons.
Jadwiga Łuszczewska posing as Deotyma of Mantinea, 1855, by Jozef-Simmler. Public domain photo, WikiCommons.

“On the other side of the road of life you have the elders, who are often just “olders.” They could become elders in the collective story if they could awaken from the fear that they are over the hill and going downhill.”

“They don’t understand that elders awaken through a descent into the depths, where life renews itself. Going downhill involves a process of going deeper into oneself and realizing, Aha! My life has meaning if I see it from the angle of fate revealing a sense of inner meaning and destiny.”

“When older people become elders, they act not out of fear but out of wisdom and understanding. They’re not sitting at death’s door still trying to check their portfolios online. Elders feel inspired to give back the wisdom they’ve extracted from life and not simply be receiving material benefits.”

“If there were to be a genuine revolution in this culture — which claims to be free but increasingly lacks freedom — it’s more likely to come from older folks who give up the fears associated with aging and dying and become elders instead.”

~ From The Sun Magazine, “Your Own Damn Life: Michael Meade on the Story We’re Born With,” by John Malkin, November 2011 | issue 431. Follow the link to read the full interview.

May we find both the moxie and the courage of our heart-centered convictions to reclaim these lost gifts, embrace gathered wisdom, and step fully into the roles of dreamer-of-a-new-dream and wise elder to point the way, each in the unique way we’re called.

Big Love,

Jamie