In Category JOURNAL

Moving Through Ages

Losing two teeth in as many days is a strange sensation, made more so by a lack of drama – it was more of an awareness of the painless disintegration of a body part. It was a ghostly feeling that something was missing. The only option was acceptance, a letting go. It was the inevitable entropy of the organic nature of human existence – perhaps in a parallel life, an insistent pain may have driven me to the now, for the most part, non-existent dental health service.

Things are different now. I became drawn to the significance of that particular set of bones, and it was clear that somewhere there was a lesson to be gleaned from the experience – centred around a shifting of beliefs – a re-alignment of roots. While not wisdom teeth, they were close enough, it became easier to identify the taste of that shifting of life perspective that had been bubbling for the past year or so.

Adults do things, have particular responsibilities, careers that depend on adopting values and mindsets, requiring external validation through objects, money and status. They want to control the world around them. And with this clarity in mind, I knew that I was no longer an adult – the disorientation that had plagued me these last months signified a move elsewhere – I was now becoming an elder.

No amount of empathy or compassion will enable the experience of occupying another’s shoes, glimpses we receive throughout our lives offer us touchpoints for the moment when we become that person. I was in the process of adopting aspects of a new role that corresponded to the biological fact of being a grandparent. A sense of feeding back some understanding of this world, whilst holding back the desire to make it anything other than what it is.

We now precipitously hold this with less value than those ancient, indigenous peoples who allow wisdom to trickle right down through society. Instead, we lose ourselves with a fixation on youthfulness, sanctity of the eternal life, confusing education with intelligence, economics with value, power with virtue, alongside every other delusion of adult life.

This liberation through loss reminded me of the power to discover teachings in the smallest occurrences. This moment served as a suggestion to offer out something of a unique and toothless grace.

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