Be the light, and seek the light. An exercise in giving and receiving wisdom.

This is a topic about elders. About the need for people to light the way. About how each generation is both the light for the ones coming after them, whilst simultaneously in the dark as they try to navigate their next stage.

As a species, humans have always relied on our elders. We rely on their wisdom and we need the certainty that comes from them overcoming hardship and wearing the battle scars proudly.

We need people older than us to say ‘me too’, ‘yes you’re right’ or even better ‘do you think there’s another way’. We need them to do this in a way where we feel supported and seen. A whole person who is learning but not less than. The collective wisdom of generations who have gone before us provides the foundation from which healthy adults spring.

However, many of us don’t have easy access to people who fulfill these needs for us – often we have physical distance separating us, or gaps in the support, competencies or advice that we need. This is where we need to get creative. We need these people, and interestingly enough older people need us, to need them. It’s part of their giving back.

The other component part is that we need to be these people too. Actively noticing and supporting others who come after us. Being kind and open and empathic. Asking coaching questions and always seeking to understand and connect. This fills our buckets – after all, everyone likes to feel useful and needed. It is energising and empowering for both parties.

So my message to you today is about seeking and giving. Ensuring you have access to elders to seek wisdom and role models whilst simultaneously providing that same experience for those who seek it from you. If you can’t think of how you might find someone who goes ahead of you, cast your net wider. Think leaders at work, community leaders, therapists, extended family members. If you are still coming up short, my friend Liz found another idea – in her community there is a Women’s circle comprised of women of all ages. They meets monthly where women, with the sole purpose anchored in the inherent need each of us to both give and receivewisdom. An equivalent might be the Men’s Shed concept, but it might not be right for you either. The trick is to keep seeking, and eventually, you shall find.

Be the light and seek the light.

How do you give and receive wisdom?

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