Ray: Marianne, as people already wrestling with midlife issues also face their parents dying, they encounter yet another transition: becoming the elders in their families and communities. Would you talk about taking on the role of elder?
Marianne: We have all often heard the conversation about our society needing to treat its elders with greater honor. I’ve come to believe that society will treat its elders with greater honor when the elders begin to act more honorably.
I think younger people want to know older people who have wisdom and a different kind of strength to offer. But sometimes it’s the older person who herself or himself makes it difficult for the younger person to perceive the consciousness and the strength.
We have to be willing to show respect and honor to younger people. We should not impose upon them our own beliefs and judgments that will make them less open to hearing what we might have to say.
I know in my own life, including in my family, there is a role for me to play. But it’s not just something that other people should show me. It’s something I need to actively embody. The respect given to the elder has to be earned. You have to be willing to play the role responsibly. And then, I think, people give you the responses that make it feel good to be where you are.
My mother once said to me, “No matter how old you are, you’ve been those earlier ages before.” Sometimes I look at young people and feel in myself a little bit of envying them their innocence, envying them their joie de vivre. But then it occurs to me that I had that. I was at that party. I can’t complain that I’m somewhere else now.
You forge the realization that you don’t have to be young to be fabulous. It’s just a different kind of fabulous. It’s part of the grief that you won’t dance like that again. It won’t be quite like that ever again. But it will be something else.
I was walking through a mall recently and saw an outfit, and I thought, “I’ll never be able to look young and fabulous in clothes like that again.” I got very quickly, though, that, no, I can’t be young and fabulous again, but I can be mature and fabulous. It’s a different kind of fabulous.
Winter is beautiful in nature and in us, but it’s a process to own that as more than just a concept.
I’ve posted a variety of number of interview excerpts with Marianne Williamson (along with many other teachers) on this blog, and I invite you to explore some of my favorites:
- Marianne on midlife, body blows, spiritual understanding, maturity, and revitalization
- Marianne on taking a moral inventory
- Marianne on the miracle of midlife
- Marianne on deepening recognition
- Marianne on death and happiness
Please leave comments with your thoughts, and if you like the posts please share them with your community by posting links on your own social media channels. You can visit Marianne Williamson’s website at www.marianne.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/williamsonmarianne.
Thank you very much for visiting and for your interest. I truly appreciate it.