In most Eco-Villages, the number of people aged 60+ is growing, and will continue to grow during the coming years. It is important for us all to embrace this part of life and give it its due value and appreciation. Elders in our western society are no longer valued the way they are in traditional cultures around the world. When this happens, the fulfillment and depth of the autumn and winter of a lifetime, the sharing of wisdom, experience, skills, and the slower, peaceful way of living of the Elders is lost for all generations. One task of the Elders is caring for the Indigo children and to protect their development from the many misunderstandings that occur. In order to connect with other elders from ecovillages worldwide, and to raise the voice of experience, Subhasha Bentley Born, and Bernadette Greiner founded GEN Elders, and share their views here.
Many of the Elders have stepped out once already and have started new ways of life and relationship. They have had the courage to follow their heart’s call and chose to live outside the mainstream. In getting older, they have not lost their momentum but have added lots of experience and practical wisdom. And this is a power that today’s situation of our planet needs. Instead of allowing ourselves to be marginalized and rendered invisible, we Elders need to step forward and stand for all life that has no voice. We have nothing to lose any more.
Becoming a wise Elder is not automatic. There are several challenges, gifts and tasks involved:
- To discover and face ones true identity, and stand for it.
- To open to the presence of forgiveness and grace.
- Moving into surrender, acceptance and equanimity.
- To practice non-attachment and letting go.
- Facing new experiences, changing situations and the unknown.
- Facing slowness and the decline of physical abilities.
- Be dependent and, sometimes, left out.
- Accepting grief etc.
It is important to discover, name and talk about these processes so that they do not happen unconsciously. Facing them openly may hurt at times, but it helps us to grow in Wisdom. The Findhorn Community Care Circle has developed a curriculum to assist in approaching a golden Elderhood. (If you are interested please contact Bernadette Greiner, who lives in Findhorn part of the year, for more information.)
We are at the beginning of forming GEN Elders and feel there is a large potential that wants, and needs, to be awakened. It would be great if you would share this article with the members aged 60+ in your community. All those interested in GEN Elders plan to meet somewhere this winter to share, to find vision-mission-aims, to celebrate and to listen to each other.
Subhasha: Elders and the Indigo Children.
By some estimates, more than 80% of children born today are “Indigos”…. highly creative, high energy, and perceptive kids who often don’t fit in or seem uneasy in their skin. Some have trouble getting along and act in personally and socially harmful ways. Many have been incorrectly diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or ODD. But they are incredibly wise and intuitive; they carry within them a vision of joyful perfection and can’t help but feel enormous frustration at the great gap between that perfect knowing and this wildly imperfect world they live in.
I don’t believe that the vision of joyful perfection lies only in the hearts of the Indigo children, but in all of us, especially those who have chosen to live in community. Unfortunately the children often don’t know how to “translate” their feelings, and the older ones often forget in life’s everyday struggle.
This frustration seems to be manifesting everywhere and every-when in both young and old. Yet as an elder we have a part to play, and a vital one at that.
There are many positive aspects within our maturity. The natural accumulation of wisdom encourages us to contemplate a little more, to empathise a little more, to watch, observe and serve. Especially when it comes to our grandchildren, (even if they are not ours). Watching them grow and witnessing an emergence of intelligence, is often a head-turning experience, wondering if you heard correctly! This in turn stimulates ones hope that the human race will eventually emerge into their true magnificence.
Then again, one can often be distressed by the sometimes unreasonable anger displayed. Recent reading regarding Indigo Children has enlightened me to the fact that anger is one of the hallmarks of the Indigo child. A grandson of mine sometimes expresses this deep anger, yet with surprising intelligence. One day my son told my grandchild, during a tantrum, that he had the choice to change the situation, knowing that he had expressed dislike at having these episodes. My grandson, stopped in mid trauma, looked at his Dad and said “I know”, but then continued with his screaming and hitting, so deep is his frustration.
Surely this is where we Elders can step in, for we have also been recognized as “Golden Indigos”. We are the founders of the new, or Fifth, World. Without us, the Indigo Children would not have been born. We are part of the “boomers” generation and the initial rebels. We “dawned” the Age of Aquarius, and now with a lifetime of experience, and the groundedness that comes with it, we can empathize with the frustrations of the young. Empathy, not sympathy, is best expressed with stories of our own frustrations; that which we felt against the “establishment”. Stories of the protests: Vietnam, nuclear power plants etc, and of huge concerts such as Woodstock, the foundation of the Rainbow tribes, the first communities. Followed by futuristic stories where people live in harmony and peace, with our children and grandchildren showing the way.