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Emotional Pain and Our Work as Elders

Finding Our Soul Work as Elders

One key to finding our passion in life, and particularly as an elder, is not to generate grandiose visions or heroic plans to save the world. The key is found in appreciating wounds that broke us open, the ones exposing our deepest needs for love and connection. No one escapes the hurts that make us most human but they are also the source of the gifts and vision that represents the work of our soul. And we find this vision by telling the truth about how and where we were hurt, how we still feel wounded, and what we need most deeply, for there are countless others who feel the same way but cannot find the path out.

The courageous poet Audre Lorde said so much about this process. Listen to her words:
• "I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense often unmitigated pain."
• "I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood."
• "Silence will not protect you."
• "We fear the visibility without which we can not truly live…and the visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is he source of our greatest strength."
• "And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had." She concludes, "Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge."
• "When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."
• "If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive."

We are not here to save the world, we are here to serve the world and to tell the truth about what's important in life. In telling the truth, our truth, we will be saving our own world and then help others do the same. We won't discover the purpose and magic of aging without saying what true and real for us. We must find our betrayed self to do this final work, the work of our soul. If we tell the truth, we will find our path, for the true self is our truth and leads the way into an authentic life of service.

Your path to truth is the inner work that will one day give rise to your voice. It comes from befriending the abandoned and wounded self within and letting him speak. The truth comes in stages. It comes in admitting that we are not happy with our life. We are not doing what we really want to do. We feel stuck. We don't know what we want. And we start by telling our own version of this truth and keep repeating it until we really connect with our feelings, including our pain.

The truth will take us places that we never expected to go. It will help us find our way into a new life and help others do the same. This is soul work. The ego's purpose is to serve the soul, not itself.
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