florida pier was born (1813) in orange park, florida, and educated at home until the age of ten. she grew up in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, then moved to new york city at age 15 to become an actress. in 1910 she married john scott maxwell and moved to her husband's native scotland, where she worked for women's suffrage and as a playwright. the couple divorced in 1929 and she moved to london. in 1933 she studied jungian psychology under carl jung and practised as an analytical psychologist in both england and scotland. she died in exeter, england in 1979. (thank you, wikipedia.) florida scott maxwell

portrait by amanda brewster sewell (c.1910)

in 1968 she published her most famous book, her reflections on ageing. the book is entitled the measure of my days. she was 85. her passion for ageing is inspiring and infectious. i'll be considering a few samples of her musings in future posts over the next little while. here's one i found particularly thought-provoking.

“you need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. when you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality. when at last age has assembled you together, will it not be easy to let it all go, lived, balanced, over?”

..claim the events of my life...all of them...

to hold with deep regard the times i have hurt others and myself is required in the process of being conscious in my eldering. to hold equally the times of loving and sharing is also required. i cannot claim only part of my life, the bits that bring smiles in memory. nor can i become immersed in the pain so that there is little else.

to bring compassion to the hard times and to open to the evolution that has happened because of them is a joy. to discover that i am who i am, right now, because i have experienced them. and, in balance, to recall the times of passion and happiness is a marvel.

all of these experiences are like the rings in a tree, marking the passing years. this is the "fierce reality". this is the excitement of our ageing. this is the "assembling together" of our ageing.

my heart opens not only to my past self, but to all who have had similar experiences. that means every single human on the planet! and this opening, florida tells us, will make us ours, not someone else’s, but our own.

then we can let go and then we can step fully, truly into ourSelf.