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I like the language you chose, Clint, about “this falling away.” It creeps up on us, typically in the autumn of our lives, when the loss of loved ones conjures thoughts of mortality and time growing thin. We look in the mirror and some nascent form of antiquity stares back. So we settle into adolescent passions. Art, literature, creativity. There is much peace to be found there. But something deeper beckons, and sooner or later we must wrestle with issues of meaning and faith. Trees are a good analogy. Because even in the winter, when the leaves are bare and the last few birds have flown south, our roots that will sustain us. Deep roots that reflect our past, our wisdom, our living and departed loved ones, and sustenance in the knowledge that we will somehow be okay, in this world and the next.

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Oct 20, 2023Liked by Clintavo

Great read, Clint.

And the rings of the tree records our history and our age.

It is really strange that you mention about us going back to things we did as children like art. While I have been a visual artist most of my adult life (graphic designer, professional illustrator and part time fine artist) it wasn’t until I could afford to quit and just do fine art full time later in life to fulfill my passion and be my true self. When I join classes or organizations it is amazing that they are mostly made up of senior women who are enrolled.

They are finally able to pick up their passion again after taking care of everything else in their lives because the leaves have fallen away. When you think of the art they could have created and put out into the world had they had the opportunity to do so earlier in their lives. We would be so rich in the many messages they could have given us. But focusing on the positive, they can now focus fully on their passion and not have to say, “If only....” Late is better then never.

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I now am experiencing the falling away of the mental clutter which has started to bother me and the external silly busyness that one can suddenly realize takes up far too much of one's time here on earth. It's a bit horrifying to wake up to that fact, but it is also very freeing when one says "No", this is not the way that I want to live, Time with my family and close friends is the gold in my life now. I make time to be with them the priority. I love to cook for them and break bread with them.

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Yes, you can identify preciousness and values as leaving us as we grow older, but I prefer to think about those things that we have absorbed and encountered from whoever, whatever, however as additions which have become part of us. because energy never changes in the whole universe and always remains the same. so when we choose to make a part of us those with which/whom we have been blessed or gifted with, those valuable parts of others become us, stays with us, doesn’t leave us and it enriches our internal life. And isolation or aloneness makes us examine those things more critically and carefully than we might have otherwise All the acquisitions whether they are relationships, material goods, ideas, experiences, ultimately go on their way, but our encounter with them remains….. that doesn’t leave. It will always be an experience that we can examine and evaluate and enjoy and/or regret, but we’re not left wanting. Only if we perceive it that way. Letting go of things is essential for us to become all we are meant to be because everything is already there and while we perceive that people and things leave us we are all one and it all is part of everything else. It’s how we choose to think about it, or talk about it that creates a sense of losing or leaving or loss. Whatever happens to us in our lives is for our own growth and development and we leave this world far richer than we came into it no matter how you've experienced it. I have experienced an enormous amount of leave- taking on the part of important people, skill sets, events, memories, but what they have all left with me is what in the end is sustaining…… is their essence. And the enrichment and fulfillment that remains with me and never goes but lives in my heart, will carry me thru my own leave- taking quite nicely. just my two cents.

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Oct 20, 2023Liked by Clintavo

Exquisite essay....just beautiful. Richard Rohr, the Franciscan priest and contemplative, writes of a bright sadness, a sober happiness. As I have gotten older, I have found such profound peace for the simplest of things. Thanks for such a poetic piece of Wisdom.

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Aw i enjoyed this - well said. Lovely metaphor. Also, i too have noticed that people half our age (think we are around the same age) write with more evisceration and they have more trauma - our latchkey kid, gen x youth was burdened mainly be sheer freedom and hands-off parenting, but this younger generation. . .man they've had some true burdens.

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And yet, Clint, the sadness can be as poignantly beautiful as any of the wonderful experiences that preceded it. It's hard to be wise when one is young; we have not yet had enough experiences to form any wisdom. Those of us who live to an old age are the lucky ones, because many of us do learn what is really important in life, and hopefully, like you and John with your writings will help pass this wisdom along to others.

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