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“Here Come the Elders!”

Who wants to be an elder? Who understands that our bodies are forever vibrant and precious and have amazing capacities to heal? Who knows the importance of working, working, working, on the early memories that collect in our minds and “play” with our bodies? Who wants to have fun?


In November 2014 Pam Geyer1 led a truly amazing Elders’ Liberation Workshop for the Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia (USA) Regions.2 An outstanding group of shining elders came close together to tackle and understand the struggles surrounding health and healing that threaten to take over our lives as we age. Pam was as gentle as she was firm as she encouraged us to work, over and over, on the connections between our minds and our bodies and not settle for the stereotypes that threaten our well-being. We bonded well as we began to step out of elders’ oppression to embrace the joys of elders’ liberation.

Here, among many, are a few things that stood out for me:

• “It sometimes happens that a body heals” is a great contradiction to our assumptions that our health is static.

• “An injury will soak up emotions, and our bodies will soak up emotional distress.”

• The best way to work on pain is to go back as early as possible and find what has been restimulated. With a fresh injury, we can work on the events leading up to it and on the actual injury, and then go back. Chances are3 we will run smack into4 a chronic.5 “Chronic patterns love our pain.” We need to keep working early6 to see what is possible for the healing and longevity of our bodies.

• Death: What if we never thought of death? What would our life be like? What are our big goals, at the age we are now? It’s also important to work on the deaths of family members and others we have known.

• Handling elders’ oppression: (We need to call it “elders’ oppression,” not “ageism”—ageism affects us at every age.) We need to contradict it with light and playful tones. My personal example:

Person tells me, “Laurie, some of us are going into this gorge. It has eight hundred steps that we think will be difficult for you. So we suggest that you watch some of the movies in the Visitors’ Center while we do this climb.”

My response: “Thanks. I actually am joining a group that is taking a longer route, which means about a thousand steps. I don’t want to miss the challenge and beauty of this adventure, and the steps are actually easy ones. So I will meet you at the other end.”

I have cerebral palsy, which affects my speech and coordination. I also have some balance difficulties. I am sixty-seven, and I get these cautious, well-meaning statements all the time. In the past few months I have gone on some more-challenging-for-me-than-usual hikes, including the eight-hundred-steps gorge. The beauty of nature and the desire to see how far I can push myself physically overcome much of my fear. I want to live life as well and as big as I can. I am also curious to see how much of my coordination and balance (and maybe even speech) may be affected by early distress. My disability will always be present, but some of its manifestations may be benign.

• “Attitude is everything. Everything is a choice.”

Pam is so perfect to be leading us in this work. She projects so much hope and love and certainty in her words and in the way she welcomes everybody. She is leading a revolution and is always on everybody’s side.


Laurie Summers
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

1 Pam Geyer is the International Liberation Reference Person for Elders.
2 A Region is a subdivision of the International RC Community, usually consisting of several Areas (local RC Communities).
3 “Chances are” means it is likely.
4 “Smack into” means directly into.
5 Chronic pattern
6 “Working early” means discharging on early hurts.
7 “Watch out” means get ready, pay attention, be alert.

Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00