john lewis

no, i don't mean the department store. i mean a man who has served in the u.s. congress, been arrested 40 times, been beaten and seriously injured, marched for civil rights with rev martin luther king, jr. helping to shape the protest culture we know today, and has been the recipient of countless awards for his courage.

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in 2012 he published a book of essays on various subjects, expressing his reflections. here is one that touched and inspired me deeply.

The most important lesson I have learned in the fifty years I have spent working toward the building of a better world is that the true work of social transformation starts within. It begins inside your own heart and mind, because the battleground of human transformation is really, more than any other thing, the struggle within the human consciousness to believe and accept what is true. . . . to revolutionize society, we must first revolutionize ourselves.

to become spiritual elders is truly revolutionary. to step into the position of wisdom and authority demands a revolution within each of us...to change what we believe about ourselves, about our ageing, about the world we are creating.

medicine has revolutionised our lives. with added years, and for many of us reasonably good health, we have an opportunity rarely granted anyone in years past. many of us might not have known about representative john lewis, though we may have supported his work. we certainly are the beneficiaries of it. now it's our turn to carry the torch for those who marched, if only in spirit, with him.

we elders can learn a great deal from the wisdom of many social justice movements... equality for women, disability rights campaigners, minority rights movements, peace activists.

we elders too are often disadvantaged and marginalised.

we too have the power to be heard, honoured and respected.