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STAY ALIVE AT 95… stories of the ageing process and how to avoid it (or enjoy it, or at least learn from it)…

Getting old is not for sissies... you can prepare for death, they say, but nothing can prepare you for old age... Lola Stone disagrees and I had a revelatory experience at some rocks...

DECEMBER 2011

HOW TO STAY YOUNG AT 94… Lola Stone tells all

Harris writes…

The other day I received an email saying that my yoghurt lacked quality and authenticity.  It said...

Dear Sir/Madam, Today I tried your “Greek” yoghurt. It was thick and creamy as you noted on the container. However, having lived in Greece, it was not at all up to their standard in taste.

This  was strange, as I do not manufacture yoghurt. It was all a mistake, but what a happy accident! What a serendipity! As it put me in touch with Lola Stone, that remarkable woman who at 94 has the vim, vigour and enthusiasm of a teenager.

I asked her to please write me an article about how to stay young. Where is the Fountain of Youth to be found? Of course, Lola is not the only one. One of the great things about Subud is that it keeps us going when most people are shutting up the shop, and who knows? We may yet do remarkable things.

Lola lives in Bangkok. Why? “It is because I have an ‘adopted’ Thai daughter, Bunny (Supasiri) who went to High School with my daughter on Long Island and lived with us a couple of years had invited me.  My daughter lives in Boston area which would be too cold winters and my son lives in Texas which gets too hot summers and who travels much for NASA so here I am…

ONGOING THOUGHTS FROM A LONG LIFE

Lola Stone on her 90th birthday.

Recalling all the temples, mosques and churches I have visited over the years, I recall that each kept a light burning on their altars. often candles, oil lamps or some other flame. I’ve come to believe this is a symbol of the Eternal Light and that each one of us is born with a spark of it within.  It burns most brightly in the faces of children, lovers and enlightened ones.

In ancient temples this flame was never let die and was carefully tended by special priestesses.  A reminder to devotees to keep their inner flame of joy aglow.  Today it seems we need vivid and often painful shocks to free ourselves from hypnotic attraction to the material world and to be forced to look within.

This may explain why so many of us experience a period of  “dark night of the soul” at a crucial period of our lives.  For some it is in the early thirties, for others not until around the age of fifty.  With very rare exceptions, these periods seem to be our only chance to get rid of all the negative flotsam and jetsam clinging to us like the chains Marley’s ghost is fated to drag along.

Like Dante expresses it: “In the middle of life I found myself in a dark wood in which the straight past was lost.”  It is easy to blame ones’ mate, or one’s parents or children. Perhaps it is the boss or someone else in the workplace whom we think is responsible for our crisis.  If we are fortunate, our inner will guide us out of our self-constructed maze onto a higher plateau of maturity.  If not, we may remain stuck in old patterns, forgetting the difference between a rut and a grave is only a question of depth.

As to why this happens at all it is, I believe, that most of us go sleep-walking through our lives.  We have forgotten who we really are and what our unique mission might be on this earth.  Our planet has proven itself to be the home of powerful material forces from which we must free ourselves so that we can use these forces and not become used by them.

Our crisis experience, once we get through it, wakes us up.  If we can manage to stay aware, we remember to tend the flame of joy which though dampened, still burns within us. This is our second birth and from then on all goes well.  We can get on with our life work.

That which seemed a curse, turns out to be a  blessing.  All that has happened to us has the purpose of us realising we are living in a training ground.  For many it seems a purgatory, for some a hell, for no one an easy passage.

But it leads on and up and demands courage, compassion, inner strength and an awareness of the Divine Energy in which we are all floating. You may prefer to call it, as the physicists do, the “Non-Local Mind” but by whatever name, it is our source and our ending.

I recall these lines from the I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of wisdom:

“So long as a man remains inwardly richer and stronger than anything offered by external Fortune; So long as he remains inwardly superior to Fate, Fortune will not desert him.”

LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST

Looking back at my long and mostly satisfying life, I ask myself is it luck, fate or chance that at almost 95 I am still feeling well, fairly energetic and am keeping active and interested in life.

Could it be because I always said YES to Life, never got depressed, unless I count the over three years of  “dark night of the soul” experience with its ups and downs or my shock at my mother’s unexpected passing  when I was  twenty-two?

It might be because, from my early twenties on, I became aware of healthy eating plus positive thinking, believing that the body responds to one’s thoughts and feelings. I had always been active physically and began at that time to study dancing and yoga, practising both till very recently.

I also was an active protester, joining the then small groups trying to halt construction of atomic plants, writing  letters of protest which appeared in publications around the world: in Soviet Union, The New York Times, The Miami Herald, a few in Long Island newspapers and in The Bangkok Post.  The only letter rejected was one I sent the St. Petersburg Times regarding Blacks having to sit in the back of buses and having to use separate drinking fountains in public places.

It seems that getting involved with life around you, besides family, helps keep one young and healthy, as does utilising all the talents and abilities that life has given. Learning new skills to keep up with our ever-shrinking world helps us stay healthy in mind and body as does heeding one’s inner guidance.

How fortunate I have been to have travelled to almost 60 countries due to the popularity of my husband, Robert B. Stone, PhDs books and his teaching of the Silva Method which gave me the opportunity of meeting many Subud brothers and sisters as well as other people of every colour and race and feeling I met no strangers.

How blessed I was to find in Subud the connection for which I had searched for twenty years that made this possible. I am most grateful for having close friends of all ages and for remembering often to thank the Universe for its many blessings. And finally, postponing is for the young.  Do what your want/need to do to now!

PS: SUBUD VOICE RECIPES…a new feature…delicious deserts with a spiritual meaning

I wrote to Lola…

I am glad you sent me this “protest” about yoghurt because  it gives me an opportunity to tell you of the best, quickest dessert in the world…The 30-second dessert introduced to me by my Sri Lankan wife.

In Sri Lanka of course it is what they call “curds”, buffalo curds, rather than yoghurt per se, but yoghurt will do just as well.

Into a bowl pour yoghurt. Add Sri Lankan “kibble”…palm sugar syrup (available from your nearest Asian grocery).

Stir the kibble into the yoghurt…makes lovely patterns of swirling brown in the  creamy white.

Eat, enjoy, delicious. Sweet and sour (which as Bapak always reminded us if the nature of life. Enjoy what life brings, sweet and sour, as you enjoy the kibble and yoghurt). God is always sending us messages… as it says in the Qu’ran “the world is full of his signs”

Lola wrote back…

The dessert you speak of it would be divine.  However, to me there is nothing in the world that can compare with buffalo curds in the little earthenware bowl it comes in that one can get in Sri Lanka!  Just to eat it plain is heaven enough for me.

Good idea about a cooking column though I am not much into cooking.  I do however have one dessert that is quick easy and delicious. Bake a banana, then split it, add a touch of rum and top with ice cream or it could be yoghurt.

Yes the world is full of God’s signs.  Getting an answer to my inquiry re yoghurt and finding you is  miracle enough for me.

Lola with a hug.

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Between a Rock and a Hard place...

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