Monday, June 20, 2016

Full Moon, Summer Solstice: Contemplating the Archetypes

I find myself wondering who you are, reader. Who is it that continues to peruse my now very occasional messages here?

I would love to know.

Here, I find myself in a retiring kind of mood. Which has surprised me a bit, though it seems quite natural. Retiring in the sense of letting go of some projects, the push to accomplish.

Our society encourages us to continue in that continuous accomplishment style, even as we age. Active aging-- and in many cases overactive aging.

It's an overcompensation for the way our society denigrates aging--so elders are pushing to prove we are still viable, capable, worthy of notice.

I have been in this mold myself, but find that as time goes on, this heroic archetype interests me less and less. I have lost interest in some of the work that I was so intensely engaged in.

The musical review I wrote on aging, and the one-woman show on aging I have contemplated producing, they seem like such a lot of work. Too much work. And in fact I have to admit that I am just not interested in doing that particular work. It's not easy to spend years and years on a big piece of work and then drop it, let it go. Though I have have to remind myself that I have done just that many times in my creative life, and it seems I am doing it again.

Hallelujah--choice is a wonderful thing. And dropping things that took a lot of effort is good practice for dropping the body, which we will all be doing at some moment.

Perhaps it is natural, even inevitable, that I withdraw or retire even more. Six planets in the 12th house for one thing--bringing a strong tendency to value immersion in the inner life.  I have been a Buddhist for decades. I am in the final years of this life. What is it that I want to accomplish in these final years? What do I want to leave behind? How can I continue to mature my character and behavior so that I am more of a benefit? These are things I contemplate lately.

I just finished creating a book with a collaborator friend on the history of Tashi Choling, the Tibetan Buddhist center I helped to found in 1978. Now I am working on another book, the life story of my spiritual mentor, Tibetan lama Gyatrul Rinpoche.

The first book will be published by September, hopefully. It is very exciting to me, with over 300 color photos that illustrate everything we have done together there.

The second book is really still in its early stages. Of course it is a wonderful opportunity to write a book about the amazing life of my spiritual teacher and it is also challenging in many ways, as you might imagine. Both of these books are meaningful to me, and they are what I want to focus on in terms of creative work.

I had a turbulent period recently, really examining my impulse to move to Mexico, a place I really love. And I decided to stay put here in Ashland, where I have lived for so long. Oh how mundane.

People will give you a lot of encouragement for doing things they consider risky or adventurous, like fitting out a gypsy wagon and wandering here and there with a one-woman show--stuff like that, things they might never do themselves. I'm sure some elders will carry on that tradition, and here's to them and their vividness.

To me, the real adventure is within. In the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, when people grow older, they retire into a more contemplative way of life. It seems natural. I may not be moving out into the forest or into a cave (though who knows?) but I find the archetype of the prayerful forest-dwelling elder one that calls to me.

I wonder what elder archetypes call to you. I would love to know.

May you be blessed on this beautiful full moon day.


  1. Gaea, Your musings about the archetype of aging is resonating with me. Since I finished writing my book, I am torn by how hard I must work to sell it, radio show, blogs, etc and the desire to sit in my chair and read a book or see a movie. It takes a real act of will to keep on day after day with the multitude of community projects in which I am involved. They are interesting and stimulating but the energy is not readily available. I also find myself going inward more and more. Thank you for sharing your heart. Joy Jinks

    1. Thank you Joy. Simplicity and spaciousness are my passwords lately. Big hug.

  2. Gaea, it's such a joy to follow you on your journey whether it's the gypsy wagon dream or going within. I let go of the relentless ambition that once drove me a couple of years ago and laid low for an extended period of time. Funny thing...after awhile, I began to want to create again, but from a completely new place. Now, at last, there's no effort--only joy (n relation to my 'productivity')--whether I'm creating or not. What I learned: follow your heart within, but prepare to be surprised! (And if any of us do want to do something that resembles anything like ambition--ie with goals, deadlines, etc.--stay ever vigilent in terms of your clarity of motivation and be willing to walk away from anything (which means beware of contracts and 'success') at any time if that old external-driven motivation (ego) starts struggling to take control. This to me is not "retirement"--but Freedom!!! Carol Orsborn

    1. Thanks for your comments, Carol. I find I am exploring and befriending the word retirement to get beyond some of the cultural freight. Yes to freedom....