Age Isn’t A Number



—Neal Lemery


“Ask yourself how old would you be


If you didn’t know the day you were born.”

—Toby Keith, Don’t Let the Old Man In (2018)


When Toby Keith wrote this song, he was inspired by a conversation with Clint Eastwood, as they looked at aging, and what they were doing with their lives.  After their talk, Clint Eastwood filmed a movie and Toby Keith wrote this song.  Not bad work for two duffers getting together for a round of golf. They know the secret of life and of living well.


There’s a message in his music for all of us.


We’re all getting older.  As each day goes by, even each minute, we have choices on how we live, what our attitude is, and, ultimately, what our intention is in this world.


Each day is a gift. We shouldn’t rely on someone else’s idea of how to measure who we are, what we have done, or how far we are along in the journey of life.  Age can be a number, but I like to think of life as a state of mind.  It’s not a square on a calendar, or a calculation based on what’s on your driver’s license.


The real question is not quantity, not a question of measurement and numbers, but rather, quality.


For today, and every day, I ask myself, how can I live life to its fullest? What conversation, what experience, will bring forth my own creativity, my own expression of the wonders of this day?



Gratitude and Aspirations: My Intentions for the New Year



By Neal Lemery



“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus


At the beginning of a new year on the calendar, I am reminded of the many things that I am grateful for in my life. I celebrate all of that, and seek to be mindful of those treasures: friends, experiences, opportunities, and being present in a beautiful place on this Earth.


Gratitude is being thankful. And, being patient for what has come into my life and what awaits me in the future. By living in the moment, I can fully appreciate and be grateful for what life has brought to me and who I am becoming. I am a work in progress. Perhaps I need to wear a “construction zone” sign around my neck to remind me of that.


Being present with my intentions, and focusing my intentions on what is to come is my goal for this coming year.


In this coming year, I intend to:


  • Be fully present when I am with others. I need to listen with an open heart and an open mind, and be tolerant of our differences and the wisdom and experiences of others. In doing that, I will learn and grow. Remind myself that I have one mouth and two ears for a reason, and that I am only learning when I am listening, and not speaking.
  • Work out of my comfort zone. Try something new, something challenging, and strive to have new experiences and opportunities. I will only grow when I am challenged. I only learn when I am uneasy with whom and where I am at. Allow others to be my teachers and guides. Be open to new ideas, new viewpoints.
  • Be a lifelong learner. Embrace new experiences, listen to different and challenging ideas, read books I disagree with, and be open to other ideas. Be tolerant and mindful. Wisdom comes from unanticipated sources. Remind myself that I may be wrong, that I can change my mind, that I am not all knowing.
  • Embrace creativity. See the art in everything in my life, and seek out the creative energies of others. Tend to the artist within me, and celebrate the messages of my Muse, pay attention, and allow the Muse to work through me as I create. Tend that fire, and allow the heat of the moment to fill my heart. Grow that creative energy by sharing it with others. In that, I grow community.
  • Build community in everything that I do, everything I say. Do that in big ways and in small, ordinary ways. Have the intention of building community without fanfare or ego, but instead because I am a child of the Earth and it is my moral and ethical duty to improve and grow community.
  • Be fully mindful of others. Heed the saying that one should walk a mile in the shoes of another. Every person has their own wisdom, their own Truth. Be a good example of what I value.
  • Live life according to my morals, my ethics, my beliefs in the goodness of others, and the unity of humankind. Small kindnesses can open hearts.
  • Speak out against intolerance, fear and hatred. While silence has its place in changing the world, let me be aware that there are also times to speak my peace, share my thoughts, and take action for the good of all.
  • Act according to my beliefs and my purpose in life. A good life is not all talk and no action. Be congruent with my thoughts and beliefs and act accordingly.
  • Social change comes from being a example of what I want to see in the world. Life is not “do as I say and not as I do”.
  • Avoid judgment. I strive to avoid assumptions, or jump to conclusions. I cannot assume the roads traveled by others. I seek to be compassionate.
  • Act with humility. Recognize that I don’t know everything. Life still has lessons to teach me. Be open to new ideas and new experiences.



Commitment, Change and Solstice

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth: that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”


It is easy to do nothing. It is easy to not take a step, not to have that intent to move forward. Inertia is on the side of the procrastinator, if one never plans to achieve anything. Doing nothing means I intend nothingness.

My essence, my soul calls for something more. Moving ahead in life is all about intention. Where do I want to go? What do I want to accomplish? What is on my “to do” list?

I have intention, even if I intend to do nothing, to sit idle. If I am intentional and purposeful, then my intentions form around my purpose, and I am propelled forward, onward. I take that first step, which is always the hardest step. My inertia changes and I move. The laws of physics apply and I stay in motion. I move in the direction I am moving, forward.

Implicit in this motion is a goal, a purpose, a direction. I am going towards something. And, that something should be important, because I am engaging my life in moving towards that something. I am being purposeful, intentional. Yes, directional.

Over time, I find myself down the road, along the way. I am somewhere else, and my perspective, my surroundings have changed. I am changed by this moving forward. In moving, change becomes inevitable, the essence of the motion.

Today is the winter solstice, the day of shortest daylight in the Northern Hemisphere—longest night, shortest day. Tomorrow, the celestial movement will have taken us from here to somewhere further, and daylight time will grow— a new season, a new year.

This year, the Moon joins in, with a new moon today. The heavens are calling for us to pay attention.

I am within all of this, change acting upon me, motion and inertia, pushing me ahead. Dare I embrace this change, and reform myself, finding my intention, and ride this wave onward? That is the call of this day, the morning birdsong of this first winter’s day.

Yes, it is time to move, and to change. I intend it to be so.

—Neal Lemery 12/21/2014

Being the Candle and the Mirror

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it.” —Edith Wharton

I am both the candle and the mirror.

Every morning when I awake, when I pause for a cup of coffee, or to watch a bird in the garden, in every moment in life, I have a choice on how I live my life. It is for me to shape my intention, to go forth with my mind set on what it is I want to do, who it is I want to be, where it is I want to go, how I will live, and grow, and how I will spread light and love.

What am I doing now to reflect that Love and Light I find in the world, so that I can share that with others, thereby changing the world?

And, what am I doing to create Love and Light, and, likewise, give that away to the world?

Once you find the words to ask the question, then, and only then, will the answer come.

I have so many of the tools I need inside of me. And, if a tool is lacking, then it is up to me to ask of the Universe for the tool that works.

It is up to me to find my own story. That story has been gathering within me since I was born, and it is ever-changing, ever growing into an even more beautiful story.

It is up to me to draw upon the resources I need in order to live with purpose, and with meaning. I just need to ask, and, then, I need to be willing to receive. I need to be open, and to receive the gifts of the Light, and to be loved.

When I connect with the world around me and when I am in sync with the energies and rhythms of the universe, then I am aware of the light within me, and of the power of intention in my life. And, then, I must be open to receiving those gifts, those tools so that I can be a better lover, a better candle and mirror of the Light. Indeed, it is easier to give than to receive. I need to be humble, and open, and accepting of these eternal gifts.

I am a human being, and not a human doing. I can lose myself in endless tasks and projects, and I need to continually ask myself, what is my intention? Am I creating Light and Love in what I am doing here? Or, is my doing getting in the way of my Be-ing, am I living life with intention, congruent with the true reasons for why we are all here today.

I need to be able to ask the question, and also be open to listen to the answer, hearing it with my heart and soul.

I need to tend to my candle, and I need to polish my mirror.

Neal Lemery, July 22, 2013.