Waiting at the DMV

Can you list the places or activities where you seem to wait and wait and wait some more? Motor Vehicle and Driver’s license renewal lines are two of my least favorite. But, due to a clerk error, managers not available to make decisions and something wrong with my astrological sign, there were two visits to DMV last week.

But, this trip was different from the ones in earlier years. I had time to wait. There was no hurry in my life. No scheduled meetings that would require me to hurry across town. No frantic worry that it was taking too long. In those other trips, my life was chaotic and some role that I had needed attention. This waiting was calm. This state was due to being an elder and not as encumbered by work as others, but also curiosity. It had been at least ten years since the DMV had needed my presence. Mail and internet had always handled the renewal process, but his time an errant clerk had caused such a computer screw up that it took two days to put me back in correctly with the appropriate charge, and how they would treat me as a customer had me thinking.

As usual when waiting for a while (50 minutes) there was a book with me that needed to be perused for a new class waiting to be written. Mentioned on one of the book lists on the blog, this is a favorite reference and catalyst for ideas…Life is a Verb by Patti Digh. It is such a super book that it was 30 minutes before my rear end got a little tired of sitting on a hard bench. The first quote that grabbed me for the new class was “There is no truth, only points of view,” Dame Edith Sitwell.

When my number was called, B226, the woman who was to help me had a sign by the desk that said was an employee in training. Now, the younger me might have been upset since this was going to be a complicated fix, but the older me looked her in the face and told her she was in for a one of a kind training session. She was, and we became partners in problem solving. After two supervisors visiting the booth, they determined a manager in the county office needed to rule so Ethel said good-bye and told me to wait for a call to see when my new tags would be ready.

There is a reason this story is the blog for the week: purpose. Extraordinary elders retain a sense of purpose until the end…..when the moon hits the earth you can stop talking about purpose. WAKE UP, BE MINDFUL AND LIVE INTENTIONALLY. Those words are on the cover of life is a verb.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been”. George Eliot

The above quote does not mean I would start medical school at age 73, but it does mean that if my “might have been ” was to be a healer, that is still a road open to me.

We know from past elder studies of smaller groups, that the need and ability to do more reflection and introspection tends to be the purview  of elders, religious orders, the critically ill, or anyone in a crisis situation. Taking time, because we tend to have more, to read and examine your younger self, explore intellectual issues you have always questioned, or mend relationships with the wisdom of a long life that you have now is a healthy way to proceed.

On the first DMV day, the purpose that is still in my soul was very active. Wake up, develop a situational awareness of what is around you, be careful of people’s needs, be comfortable so they will be open while you are learning and teaching what ever the day calls for. Help make order out of chaos. Remember to listen –not only to the words but to the emotions. Work on being your best self.

Now, it is true that elders who have not really paid attention to this aging stuff, may not have a clear view of their purpose. Over the years, my best intentions to change my purpose did not work. The one that is in my mind and heart and soul now is the one I remember from being a child. If the purpose changes to being a rich author of romance novels, you will be the first to know.

Seriously, adjusting your purpose to fit your financial, physical and emotional situation every few years is part of life and being all grown up and old does not stop that. We are a purposeful entity. The days where my mind slips to garbage subjects or too much chocolate upset me only because there has been no intentional living that day. Living intentionally requires attention and mindfulness. Next blog we can explore that subject a bit.

But, in the meantime, hold me in your thoughts—I have to renew my driver’s liscense next week.

Practice kindness.








Pema, Pooh and Rumi

This past few days on a spiritual search has produced insights and reminders that are timely and sobering. They are also uplifting and full of promise…..that is the way of the search. For the wanna be extraordinary elder a review of your core values and how you are relating to the world with your best self is an ongoing journey. To be as authentic as possible in this chaotic world, it is important, I think, to recharge your spiritual energy frequently. I would also remind you, especially the people who have been in my class, that religion and spirituality are not interchangeable words. Spirituality is as HUGE a topic as religion becasue it too is a way of feeling and living and being true to your values.

Below are some quotes and stories that have come to my attention that are best shared.

Pooh: “What day is it?” Piglet: “It’s today .”

Pooh” “My favorite day.”      A.A. Milne

Joan Chittister, in her book The Gift of Years, speaks of the spiritual task of later life–embracing the blessings of this time and overcoming the burdens of it.

“The world is a mirror, and it reflects back to everyone the image of their own face”-from a story about the Krishna teaching perception.

In the pocket Pema Chodron  this page touched my heart. This is my favorite idea from this spiritual search period.

When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.

This was in an email note from friends at The Conflict Center in Denver:

The Season for Nonviolence was established by Arun Gandhi, Mohandas Gandhi’s grandson, as a yearly event celebrating the philosophies and lives of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The season begins with the anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi’s assassination on January 30 and ends with the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination on April 4.

The vision and values advanced throughout the 64 days of the Season for Nonviolence inspire our work everyday to promote peace, justice, inclusively, equality and compassion.

And finally, one of my favorite quotes of all time by that master of quotes. Rumi, the popular Persian poet.

‘As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.’

I am here now, ( Mindfulness)