Friday, March 27, 2009

Converting our imaginations....

Portrait of an Elderly Lady (1883) by Mary CassattImage via Wikipedia

Revisiting one of my favorite study books from last year, Winter Grace by Kathleen Fischer, I found this excerpt on page 15....

"The present situation of many older people, old and young alike, has been described as a disease of the imagination. The older persons have accepted the negative images of old age, made them their own, and begun to live out of these images of incompetence and insignificance. The task of spirituality of aging is to convert the imaginations of both old and young to a new vision of the human. And this can only happen if the old themselves refuse to let society define them, and instead internalize new images of the later years."

Now not all of MindSieve's readers are old by any stretch of the mind but notice above that both old and young need a new vision of the human. I'd wager that sometime in your youth your own imagination was questioned by someone or doubted - e.g., you drew outside the lines of the coloring book pages, or your picture of your dog didn't really look like your dog (even if you thought it did) or your wouldn't want to be a painter or a writer, you can't make money being a painter or a writer, etc........

So for those of us who can chart our own courses now, grab onto that new vision and be and become who you are meant to be. If you've small children, or hard-headed teenagers still under your influence, help shape their vision in any way you can by pointing out to them those who are becoming what they are and want to be - like their grandmothers - like their aunties - like their, heaven forbid, their mothers! Oh the visions we can imagine and see for ourselves once we are freed from behind our own bars!

*Doesn't the Cassatt portrait say right out loud - "Don't mess with me, my dear - just make me look terrific - because I am!"

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  1. I've been lurking and reeading for such a long time now. I so appreciate your blog...and have run off to order the Winter Grace book. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

  2. Jennifer -

    I'm so glad to know that you're a reader. I'd love some discussion online or via email re "your take" on Winter Grace. My study group spent a long detailed study, an enjoyable study, of that book. Again, I'd love to have your feedback!

  3. all through this post, i kept saying...she's talking to me, personally & directly. because of course it is all about ME! isn't that a grand notion to have especially if we can share that it is a healthy view to have about yourself (for our daughters, friends, sisters, mothers, aunties)
    some would call this self-centered or narcissistic, however, i find that the more comfortable i am with ME, the more i want the same for everyone else (and i don't resent it/them/aging/ much :-)

    i love this post!!! makes me want to run out and get a self-portrait (almost). xoxoxo

  4. Hey Lucy,
    Thanks for your enthusiastic response to this post. I don't think "becoming what we are meant to be" is narcissistic rather it is a joyful gift that we are daring to claim. I'm so filled with happiness for you, for myself, and for those women in my life who have dared to reach and stretch into their own skin!


  5. I love hearing talented, courageous women talk about these sorts of things. How difficult it is living in amongst Christianity to tease out the different strands between being you because who else the hell are you going to be, and being narcissistic. I love this post and the comments here. Thank you guys :)

  6. Hey Sue - thanks for commenting. I agree it is difficult living in amongst the Christianity to tease out, etc. but how much stronger it makes the case for Christianity when women have the boldness to be who God meant them to be! Home you'll come back soon:)