Wednesday, 2 April 2008


From time to time, in a desperate attempt to de-clutter, I give away books before I have read them. I am SO glad I didn't do that with this book. I bought it so many years ago, I can't remember which book fair it's from, Ashish's I think. It has been such a wonderful inspiring experience! (And very reassuring, as I now know that evidently I'm not the only middle-aged person who thinks the way I do).

I will be bookcrossing this book, so am jotting down some of my favourite bits here so that I can continue to enjoy them long after the book's flown from my hands.

".. if we journey along the self-absorbed road, we fail to climb out of the pits or to recover from the detours and instead sink into an escalating concern with our own life, which becomes more narrow and irrelevant. We focus on what we eat and wear, how we feel, how we pass the time and entertain ourselves, how offended we are by perceived slights from others, how much we blame others for our problems, who much we demand attention from others, how sorry we feel about our lot in life, and so on. When we choose the path of self-absorption we find out world constricting until, as one physician observed from his practice, our lives are focused on what goes into our bodies and what comes out of them."

"The task of the midlife developmental transition is to make peace with the past and prepare for the future."

"Short-term pleasures are just that - short and quick. They are easy and do not build the strength needed to handle life's stresses and challenges. Short-term pleasures can sabotage our self-worth; they do not lead to involvement in life, but in the opposite direction, toward escaping life's demands. They do not build character, but tend to dull one's vitality."

"The costs of change are high, but the costs of not changing may be higher. When change is called for and we refuse to engage in it, we sacrifice the Self, the most desirable inner core, and sentence ourselves and others to suffer needlessly."

"Have we bought the hype that we have to be slim, rich, and powerful to have a life worth living?"

"Releasing our attitudes of criticism and intolerance toward others brings a light-hearted free feeling of vitality - and is so worth the effort. When we judge others and cast them out of our hearts, we sentence ourselves to feel like the outcast."

"People who avoid choosing and float along on possibilities - trying to avoid the pain of making mistakes - are committing a big error in judgment. In their fear of the future and of the tasks of adult life they are refusing to live fully. .. It is not the future they condemn with their fears, them themselves. The only way out of the future, Hugo said, is to die."

"To age well, to live well, is to see life as an adventure, to stand against the cultural prejudice about growing old and affirm that 'being' is as valuable as 'doing'. It means to creatively accept the infirmities which come as the body wears out and maintain a spirit that grows healthier, wiser. We calmly set about to do what we can, knowing that all is essentially well, even if at the moment there might be some difficulties."

"When you do what is REALLY right for your true Self, it is REALLY right for everyone else."

"In the second half of life we need much patience with those who are younger and perhaps do not see as yet what we have learned to see. We need to respect that they have their own agendas."

"Often when we break through to new understandings, we want other family members to do the same - the truth seems so obvious now. For lasting and fruitful change to occur, however, it is important to allow the process to happen slowly."

"Essential to life from beginning to end are our connections to others. Yet what is called love can sometimes bind, distort and sabotage human promise. We may swing between possessing and being possessed. Sometimes, thinking we know best, we try to live another's life. Perhaps we let another tell us what to do too many times and then find ourselves angry and impotent because we've diminished who we are."

"In regaining our child, we do not sacrifice reason and mature judgment, but we do add spontaneity, playfulness, and wise innocence .. Charles Whitfield, a physician who has studied the inner child in adults, defined the child within as our Real Self. It is that part of us that is totally alive, vital, creative, spontaneous, and fulfilled."

" .. recognise that dying is an important event. Death sets a limit on our time in this life and urges us to do what we need to do in the time we are given. As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross observed, death is the final stage of growth in this life. She encourages us to begin to see death as a friendly but invisible companion, reminding us to LIVE our lives and not just exist."
"In prayer we usually begin with expressing our needs and desires; we pray for others, for our world. Eventually we may turn to a comtemplative, quiet, listening prayer."
"We are freer now to seek a new world, to speak out against social injustice, to stand for fairness and mercy. We have more leverage and know-how than when we were young, and less to lose than our younger contemporaries when we take unpopular positions. We can take less compromised stands than they, speaking honestly both in small ways and big. We can contribute to building a better world, giving gifts that last beyond our lifetime .. every wall that confronts us along the way has its golden door .. it always becomes visible when we are ready to see."

- Paula Payne Hardin's book: What Are You Doing with The Rest of Your Life?

1 comment:

Art Earth Ink Soul said...

Wow. No comments. Clearly everybody who reads my blog is stunned into horrified middle-aged silence over these excerpts. Or else they're all under 40 and wondering what all the fuss is about.