Elderhood in Troubled Times — Stephen Jenkinson

It was my friend Roq that first introduced me to the work of Stephen Jenkinson and his Orphan Wisdom body of work. Jenkinson is a teacher, author, storyteller, spiritual activist, and farmer. He is founder of the Orphan Wisdom School, a teaching house and learning house for the skills of deep living and making human culture.

In a recent interview, Jenkinson speaks about Elderhood in Troubling Times:

  • the etymology of the word “catastrophe”;
  • the journey of descent into the mysteries of life;
  • the fundamental function of elderhood;
  • being awake as deep engagement;
  • assuming the responsibilities of the sixties generation;
  • the transient nature of leadership;
  • the challenge of elders;
  • the dilemma of mutual respect and responsibility;
  • the love that life has for us;
  • unconditional gratitude.

Yes, there is a lot in this interview (45 minutes).

What I love in it is that he invites a different story that requires waking from a standardized numbing that so many of us live in. Jenkinson insists on the truth telling that is beyond what mass media conveys and feeds us. It’s so easy to just give in to what is common misperception, because, well, it is so common. It’s so much easier to not go against the grain of common societal narrative. There are many days when I just want to roll over in bed and let go of the awakeness path.

And yet I don’t. Many of us don’t. Can’t, really. Can’t seem to numb away the impulse to wake. Instead, we wake for another day. We try to offer some good. We dare to change not just the todo’s of the day, but the stories that are behind those todo’s that redefine relevance and purpose.

I’m grateful for this Orphan Wisdom sharing, to encourage another day of courage and kindness in the remembering together.

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