October 1     

Today's quotation:

A human heart can never grow old if it takes a lively interest in the pairing of birds, the reproduction of flowers, and the changing tints of autumn leaves.

Lydia Maria Child

Today's Meditation:

While Lydia seems to be talking about our connection with nature, I think that she's also talking about lively interests in general.  Each of us is a unique individual with different interests and talents, and I believe that taking a lively interest in books, in music, in art, in woodworking or quilting can also keep our hearts young.  Having lively interests tends to keep us interested in the world, tends to help us to see the brighter sides of things, helps us to cope with stressful elements of our lives.

If I have something to fall back on, then what life can throw at me isn't always going to be negative.  It's easier to cope with an outside tragedy when we have something inside that helps to keep us going.  Sherwood Anderson wrote a beautiful story about an elderly farm couple whose son dies; they're able to cope with the loss of their son through their connection with the farm and with the earth itself.  They have something to fall back on when tragedy strikes, and though they will grieve tremendously, their hearts will make it through.

One of the simplest interests we can foster to help ourselves through difficult times, of course, is an interest in the natural world that surrounds us every single day of our lives.  If we allow ourselves to focus on the simple things of life, we can assure ourselves that we will have something there for us to fall back on at any moment.  Even when the flowers are gone in the winter, the beauty of the snow and other winter things will be there for us, not to mention the plants and even flowers that we can keep indoors all year long.

Keeping our hearts young is a tremendous goal to have, and a tremendous work to keep at our whole lives long.  When our hearts are young, we see the brighter side of life, and we don't look at the world through jaded eyes that tend to see the negative and the ugly.  Rather, we look for the positive and the beautiful, and one quite steady rule of life is that we tend to find what we look for.

Questions to consider:

How do our hearts grow old?  How might we keep them young?

Why do so many of us grow so jaded as we grow older?

Why is simplicity such an important part of our lives?

For further thought:

Up to one's last breath, one may retain the simple joys of childhood, the poetic ecstasies of the young person, the enthusiasms of maturity.  Right to the end, one may intoxicate one's spirit with flowers, with beauty and with smiles.

Eliphas Levi

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