Aged in Kindness


I feel no need for any other faith than my

faith in the kindness of human beings.
I am so absorbed in the wonder of
earth and the life upon it that I
cannot think of heaven and angels.

~ Pearl Buck

I’m grateful to say that two of my closest friends in this life are Susan’s parents, Bob & Mary Lou Jacoby. For over twenty years I have been blessed to be an adopted and beloved son in their glorious family. Heartfelt kindness is their life signature: a genuinely expressed, thoughtful appreciation for each member of their family — and all who are privileged to intersect and share in their rich life journey. Now in their early 80’s, “Baba” and Mary Lou continue to serve as remarkable role models for me, and exemplify what my friend David Whyte has bittersweetly referred to as the opportunity we all have of “growing younger towards our death.” (For example, Baba has recently taken up learning the violin and still plays tennis a few mornings a week, and Mary Lou has recently become an enthusiastic fan of pro basketball and loves the Lakers!)

I have long sensed that my later years in this life will be the sweetest. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been steadily on the lookout for those in the later seasons of their life who still have a bright light shining in their eyes. As you know well, encountering these folks is a rare find. With curiosity, I love to talk with them about how they have chosen to live, how they keep their heart energies awake and flowing.

The life I want to live combines a close relationship with

the natural world and natural beauty, simplicity, a close relationship

with my subconscious mind, living slow, kindness and living with

gratitude for the gift of life by offering back the best of what is

deep inside me. Lately, I’ve been summarizing it all in my

conversations with myself as “Quiet Beauty.”

~ Rod MacIver

Baba and Mary Lou — and many other seasoned, awake travelers who have shined graciously and brightly throughout their journey — have passed along many valuable keys to the art of living a well-embraced, fulfilling life, including:

~ A delicious love of learning, of opening to enlivening new experiences and expressions regularly

~ A willingness to move into forgiveness — genuinely and graciously — with themselves and others

~ Curiosity and playfulness, and bringing these magical qualities into their relationships with others

~ Honoring and tending to their physical bodies as a foundation for healthy living into their later years

~ Exercising tender compassion for weaknesses and errors as a powerful healing balm on their journey

~ Steadily sharing their heartfelt generosity and kindness with others


by Mary Oliver

Everyone should be born into this world happy

and loving everything.

But in truth it rarely works that way.

For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.

Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes

almost forgetting how wondrous the world is

and how miraculously kind some people can be?

And have you too decided that probably

nothing important

is ever easy?

Not, say, for the first sixty years.

Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,

and some days I feel I have wings.

I am touched by the extraordinarily beautiful Tibetan woman in the photograph above, and how a lifetime of love is etched and shining from her face. Whatever season of life you are immersed in now, may your heart’s kindness blossom with age.

In Love, Gavin

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Your Comments

  1. Beverly Gast says:

    Dear Gavin,
    I am looking for the name of the book by Mary Lou Jacoby. I have known both Bob and Mary Lou many years, here in the East. Now i come upon your inspirational page and references I cherish – the poem, the photo – all that I sense an affinity to.
    I will soon be 85 and this year published Angel in Black, the story in letters of my sister who became the only woman concert flutist in the world before she died at 47 years. I want to tell Bob and Mary Lou, and learn of her book! Help me connect with them..and I want to buy your book!

  2. Dearest Gavin,

    How wonderfully abundant life is each passing year ! Here is it 2012, and a blog you wrote back in 2009 has produced a re-connection with an old ski buddy from 30 or so years ago ! Bless you !
    And how touching it is to see all the folks (comments) who are blessed by your collections of thoughts, poems, pictures, etc. of trees, and probably other items i’m not aware of. It is such a demonstration to me of the power of the new electronic media—still so complicated to me!–that will knit our world in undreamed ways. Like the first movies the Africans saw my Dad show…and now even Africa flooded with cell phones.
    May all the blessings continue to flow from your pen, computer, and HEART .
    With love always,
    Mary Lou

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