Watching the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang was an emotional experience for me, and I suspect many others. Being in my 60’s now, I’ve seen a few, but this one felt different. The overall theme of peace was very prevalent throughout the ceremony, as well as unity and pride in country. It’s always heartwarming to see the parade of nations, some I’ve never heard of before, marching together with a common goal to represent their countries well and bring home a medal in the process. And, how wonderful to see the South Korean and North Korean teams walk out together behind a flag with the unified Korea, the hope of peace and unity hanging in the air.
As I was watching the procession, I couldn’t help wonder, “Why is it so hard for all nations to respect each other and live in peace and unity?” Of course I know the answer. Unless we can collectively accept and respect our religious, cultural & political differences, and let go of greed, it’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime, but it’s a nice dream. My eyes watered when the musicians performed their beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. The lyrics, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one” made my heart swell with the hope for “someday”, especially for my grandchildren.
After the opening ceremony and as the competition ensued, I continue to sense the unity and respect among the athletes at least. The athletes understand the hard work and dedication it took for each of them to be competing on the Olympic stage and share a deep respect for each other and what it means to be there. At midlife, the take away is very clear, we’ve all been through struggle, hard work and dedication to something and/or someone and each of us deserves the same respect.
The respect for diversity is wonderful and palpable, not only among the athletes, but among the commentators as well. I especially enjoy Johnny Weir. His energy and outfits are so fun and colorful, and out of the ordinary, which I find refreshing. Unfortunately, there are still people on this planet who think everyone must stay inside the box, color inside the lines and be ordinary unless they want to be the target of ridicule. I’ve seen Face book feeds adding their own “not so nice” commentary making fun of Johnny’s eccentric hair and clothes, fueling the collective energy of non-acceptance. Before we post or say anything derogatory, we have to ask ourselves, “Is that what we want our children and grandchildren to see and think is ok?”
I admit, there was a time I may have chimed in, wanting to be part of the “crowd” and be accepted, but, not any more. Maybe it’s midlife talking, but I can see the bigger picture now, that it takes one person at a time to change the world, to model oneness. We are all the same underneath it all, with the same emotions, fears and self limitations. We all have hopes and dreams for ourselves and those we love. I personally no longer wish to add to the energy of separateness.
I don’t care where you were born or what your circumstances are, if I ridicule you, I am ridiculing myself. If I make fun of someone, it’s about me not them. If I join in, I add to the collective energy of divisiveness and non-acceptance as a whole. I’m certainly not perfect and slip up occasionally. It takes courage to change, to be vulnerable and let yourself be seen for who you really are. If you are brave enough to be yourself, like Johnny Weir on National television, hooray for you! Be the inspiration for someone else to step into their own authenticity. If we could all just rejoice in each other’s individuality, maybe someday we will be brave enough to join together and the world will be as one.
Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Gahndi. That’s what a Midlife Master does.
Debra Betterly, PhD is an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach and Metaphysician whose passion is to help women expand their health, joy and purpose in midlife and beyond.
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