How to rediscover oneself when turning 60

Last night Ed gave me another gift for my coming 6oth birthday. A book on “Things To Do When You Turn 60” edited by Ronnie Sellers published in 2006 USA. I read some of the stories and decided I would write what Gloria Steinem said “Aging is a journey toward self-discovery and perhaps a revolution of sorts.”

Many of my class 66 in high school ( two high schools: Maryknoll and Luzonian in Lucena City)  have turned 60 and what a joy to rediscover them again as friends. My facebook account is full of these friend-classmates and we share a variety of joys – from posting our photos and sharing music  downloaded from the 60s. A few have posted their love stories and status of  their grandchildren. I open my email and social websites daily because it is what makes my life connected electronically to many.  I cherish the face to face interaction with family and loved ones and in this age of virtual spaces, I appreciate being a member of  a global community. I cultivate a concern for everybody, a joyful act to love as many as myself.

Not only have I made  my compassion  and empathy expanding but am experiencing an inner challenge to answer the question so many have wondered : is there a consciousness beyond death?

When I turned 40, my mother  Nene asked me more often to accompany her in her round of visiting the ill and going to the wake of  relatives and friends. I was impressed with what she was doing. Later she told me it was to assist the dying to cross over. She called it “PagpapaHesus.”

Flashback to an earlier stage. When I turned five, my mother was taken ill  and my father brought her to the hospital. I was very worried and couldnt sleep.Then a woman glided into our room and said” We will pray so that your mother will return to you.” I knelt and followed her saying  a prayer my mother taught me – the Hail Mary. After that night, I found out that my mother had an operation and would come home after a week. When she was home, I approached her and pointed to a picture on the wall ” Nanay, who is that woman in the frame?” “She was my mother Beatriz,”replied my mother. My grandmother died in the 1940s and I never saw her until that evening.

During vacation when I was in my primary age 7-12 , I became immersed in the  Catholic rites of praying and followed my other lola ( my grandfather’s sister ) in her tour of the homes of the sick,dying and dead in Liliw,Laguna. I didnt understand what she was doing but I tagged along because she fed me with snacks and meals in those homes. But I was mindful of the deep respect and devotion that my lola had for all the people she prayed for.

It took  all of 50 years to discern that my mother and grandmother had bequeathed me their gift of empathy for the dying. I began to sense a message coming from people who died . At first, being a trained psychologist, I examined my own mind  and noted down if I were having delusions.  I asked Ed if I were still normal when I sense  a phenomena  called “pagpaparamdam.”  

I told Ed and my mother  what I was experiencing but kept it private. Then in 2003, the link  to this dimension became very palpable and I could no longer dismiss the call to serve. From that time on, I would be called to assist the dying to transmit their “bilins“.

In ten years of assisting the dying and the dead, I meditated daily and studied  this dimension I am becoming part of. I am a social psychologist and my studies led me to the following insights :

1. The dying person, even if comatose or in the ICU, can sense our presence. The person can feel pain when doctors conduct  invasive procedures and she/he  needs all the gentle and  loving touches. The dying can also express regrets, fears and dread. One of the things the dying is concerned with is how her/his legacy will be taken cared of.

2. Praying, laying of hands, singing and other acts do help the dying but it has to be performed with permission from her/him. The one who will perform the rites of passage need to ask permission not only from the family but from the person herself/himself.

3. Even when current medical technology indicates a flatline, the person’s consciousness is still active.  The keyword is  psyche or soul.  I quote a line from Karen Armstrong on what Socrates and Plato discovered in their time. ” Unlike the atman (sanskrit term for eternal self), psyche was separate from the body; it had existed before the birth of the individual and would survive his/her death. It enables human beings to reason and inspired them to seek goodness. The cultivation of the soul was the most important human task, far more crucial than the achievement of worldly success.”

I close this blog  for the moment so that people will have time to think and feel what resonates in their psyche.

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3 Comments on “How to rediscover oneself when turning 60”

  1. jerry Says:

    ate girlie,

    probably you knew papang’s present condition. he is old by age and mentally ill. his memory i still could not accept to be gone or i refuse to understand the science of psychology. please illuminate me about this subject matter below.
    you mentioned at your blog that you could communicate with people on their dimming stage, their ‘bilins’, and ‘pagpaparamdam’.
    questions:
    could data at memory be expressed by non-verbal means? what are the signs to watch out? how could one show the legacy of value to a person without the alphabet?

    thanks,

    jerry


    • dear jerry, non verbal means of communication goes through the senses but the skin and its system can access certain parts of the brain. you need to have eye contact with papang and you need to hold him near the forarm when you want to get his attention. its hard to explain the system of accessing attention . when i help a comatose person, i really dont know how the person will receive me but in the bodytalk system, we ask permission from a bigger consciousness of the person. it is hard to explain here in this blog but maybe one of you have to enroll in the international bodytalk system IBA. it has a protocol that helps me access memories from the brain even if the person is asleep, ill or in coma. the learning modules of IBA are byfar helpful to my practice and since you are all there in US, you can inquire where and when you can ask for information how to help Papang. Ito muna since am limited by the alphabet of language. as to the pagpaparamdam, it is more a Pinoy sensibility and i inherited that from the family. I cannot explain why I can receive messages from the dying or the dead. My blogs try to explain it but until now, these are all insights and reflections.


    • dear jerry, non verbal means of communication goes through the senses but the skin and its system can access certain parts of the brain. you need to have eye contact with papang and you need to hold him near the forarm when you want to get his attention. its hard to explain the system of accessing attention . when i help a comatose person, i really dont know how the person will receive me but in the bodytalk system, we ask permission from a bigger consciousness of the person. it is hard to explain here in this blog but maybe one of you have to enroll in the international bodytalk system IBA. it has a protocol that helps me access memories from the brain even if the person is asleep, ill or in coma. the learning modules of IBA are byfar helpful to my practice and since you are all there in US, you can inquire where and when you can ask for information how to help Papang. Ito muna since am limited by the alphabet of language. as to the pagpaparamdam, it is more a Pinoy sensibility and i inherited that from the family. I cannot explain why I can receive messages from the dying or the dead. My blogs try to explain it but until now, these are all insights and reflections.


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