What if you were as savvy as you could possibly be in matters of aging and, therefore, really soar, breeze through the final chapters of your life with flying colors? The ’senior’ experience, through only the most constructive and creative of lenses! Going for Excelsior” offers practical suggestions for successfully negotiating Seniorhood, a blueprint for active living ~ how to embrace where you’re at in your life, find hidden gems, turn up the voltage. Thriving in Seniorhood is about going beyond what’s expected or being directed at you by the host society and this book provides the reader with the tools and understandings to accomplish that goal. Conundrums solved. The sting removed from such phenomena as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Myths about Seniors debunked. These are only a few of the benefits that can be derived from reading this book which, hopefully, will serve to stretch your consciousness, something that’s rather elastic to begin with ~ in every stage of life.
‘Seniorhood’ ~ Where people often like to perceive us, once we have attained a certain age. Also, where we can choose to thrive, with clarity of purpose ~ and by design!
“Like all those who currently inhabit a body, you, too, are getting ready for Excelsior. Especially allow the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond of your ages to be magical in this regard, for you to be way-showers, preparing yourselves mentally, physically and spiritually for the next phase. There always is a next phase, by the way, and we are always getting ready for it. You are part of a grand design as am I. There is no other option!” ~ Rudolph Valentino
“Balance is probably the most important concept in the Universe. Not the same as equilibrium, however, which is much more temporal and fleeting. Balance is a fuller word, an end in and of itself. (Addressing the author) You, Libra, know a thing or two about this state of being, a desired state, in fact, the most desired state, always being sought. Teeter-Totter; to get there we must stand between the dimensions, one foot in each. This is nirvana when it can be accomplished, bliss when we reside in both planes
That is what our book is about, getting to balance, becoming more alert to our opportunities to live in two worlds simultaneously. Why not? It can be done. I do it a bit myself when we write, also at other times, like when you have seen glimpses of my form. Balance necessitates an agility not unlike what is required in dance ~ always shifting your weight as conditions change, coming down harder on one side versus another ~ as warranted. And it’s not just a matter of having your feet in two dimensions; the figurative face can be inserted in either very easily. I do it, for example, to watch what you are writing, also to witness the joy that comes from our being able to communicate in this manner.”
Sometimes objects are very instructive, especially if one opens up to the possibilities they represent. I own a piece of Victorian flotsam and jetsam, for instance, that is particularly apropos to the genesis of this book. It is a decorative item, a tabletop ornament consisting of a column or stem on a stand entwined with flora, with two opposing arched branches at the top, each holding a sphere or, in my estimation, ‘world.’ Allow me, if you will, to wax a little poetic on the meaning of this worn piece of old silver plate and how it applies to what we are purporting to do here which, among other things, is to assist the reader in achieving greater balance in his or her life.
The stem is our core, grafted, so it seems, onto a platform where our individual realities mesh, interacting with each other along some commonly agreed-upon continuum of expression, the one that most of us like to think of exclusively as pertaining to the Earth Plane. I would like to invite you consider an alternative. Just maybe, the unseen world is as important in our daily lives as the so-called seen. I put it this way because there is some controversy (well-placed) over whether what we see is actually what we are seeing or simply a reflection of what we think we want to see. Anyway, let’s suppose that the Astral Plane is as fully a part of our lives as what we see and experience in the waking state. Indeed, we spend a good portion of each incarnated life-time in the dream world, a vibrationally-induced level of consciousness where we are able to continue living our lives in a more natural state, without the self-created limitations the Earth Plane affords. There, the sky’s the limit. That’s the way “it is” in the Astral ~ no boundaries as to what can be imagined and therefore “shown.”
Ladies and gents, not only do we sleep some in each twenty four hour period, we also have our fair share of “Day Dreams,” the more than apt title of Rudolph Valentino’s 1923 poetry book. In it, he was subtly encouraging us to also focus on the Astral world, to give it as much attention and credence as we do our so-called waking life, because the reality is that both have equal weight and, in giving each its fair due, balance is achieved ~ again, what some have termed nirvana, incredible lightness of being, a sense that you are walking, or dancing, on the dimensional cusp.
That is the big picture. Now, let’s go into a little more detail. What happens when we day dream? Well, our eyes are usually open (though not always) and, it seems, our thoughts start to wander, often entertaining scenarios that the rational mind would define as improbable or unlikely, hence the label dream. Know that when you day-dream, just like when you dream at night, you are exploring options without necessarily having to live them out with all their attendant cause and effect and, at the same time, you are contributing to the on-going development of your current reality ~ in other words, having input. Therefore, some amount of day-dreaming is invaluable, indeed necessary to the on-going development of what we perceive as our personal reality and the continued evolution we all seek. Day dreams, too, have an effect on what we create, just as all our thoughts do, wedded, as they are to will, perspective, belief and the full array of reigning emotion.
Countless gurus tell us to stay grounded in the NOW to be happy. Of course, as we pointed out in “Valentino Speaks” the French got it right in the sense that the core word in their language for happy (heureux) is “heure” (time/hour and, by extrapolation, NOW) but I propose that you can be grounded in the NOW and still day dream from time to time. In fact, it’s necessary. Have you ever noticed that you cannot completely stop doing so, no matter how hard you try? And if that isn’t a confirmation of its validity, I don’t know what is!
What happens when we day dream? We enter a time warp, transported to other times, places and, dare I say, worlds, those of our own making. Yes, as disparate as they may seem, we are the authors of all our dreams, the “dream-makers,” whose ability to craft works of art never ceases to amaze. Weavers, too, are we, capturing threads of our known reality in order to constantly spin new webs. Yes, think of each dream or snippet thereof as a ‘web’ site, a station in the Cosmos where we can really tune in ~ full of information, also pregnant with possibilities! Any dream is really about you experiencing yourself. As Valentino explains it, “reveries, what pleasantries, how best to let you know, what it is that is needed in order to grow.”
Generally speaking, any kind of dreaming is some of the best fun you’ll ever have. However, we do, every so often, touch a nerve, that piece of a dream sequence that is most likely to stick with us when we wake up, the bitter pill, so to speak, sometimes also known as a grain of truth. It’s what we debate with ourselves about later, discuss with our therapists, describe in our journals and tend to examine from all angles. These touchy points are also where our greatest potential growth lies. Unlock their meaning and everything shall be yours. At least, that is what we think and, we’re not so wrong. Any jolt to the consciousness has a beneficial effect, a wake up call, if you’d prefer. It’s what we Californians call a “Eureka” moment, our state motto meaning ‘I have found it’ ~ I have discovered another key which will unlock a mythical door that is sure to lead somewhere.
Apart from dreams, the Astral is represented in the Earth Plane in any number of ways, perhaps most notably in films and the whimsy of advertising, in a sense as bleed-through from other levels of existence. Movies are, once again, life ~ life extrapolated, where anything is possible, even probable.
Movies, whatever their subject matter, tend to focus our consciousness. That is why the countless hours spent in a darkened theater or watching films in the comfort of your home have not been in vain. To the contrary, in many ways they have elevated the level of discourse in your brains. How so? By presenting us with possibilities, many of which we might not have been able to think of on our own.
“Speaking of elevation of thought, as Valentino I started a crusade for better scripts, deciding, at the time, that those being routinely offered me were of inferior quality. Now as I review, each had their good points too. “The Young Rajah,” for example, a picture that I once considered to be among my least successful, examined intuition and the concept of thought-power, especially as it pertains to creating personal reality. Amos Judd, my character, could see the future for others but, alas, not for himself. Nevertheless, he was always busy creating it anyway. And so it is for all of us. Where would we be without our dreams?
The great thing about movies is that they translate thoughts into a series of picturizations, the net result of which is to make them more accessible and easier to understand. This is also what happens when we dream. Most of the picturizations we view in dream sequences do not have language attached. Yet, when they do, the meaning is often doubly exaggerated. I once believed that silent films were the perfect vehicle to convey thought because of their universality but now I know that sound is not a detriment. In fact, it only adds to the vibrational wallop of any photoplay.”
Why is it that movies are such a boon to mankind? Because, again, they make us think and they present us with options, ways of being that we might never have considered before. Some of these are negative ~ examples, if you will, of what not to do. Others are exemplary, inspirational or simply plausible solutions to complicated problems. Movies, like every kind of experience, present us with opportunities for growth. As the curtain rises on a film, you enter another world, suspend disbelief, and let yourself go, often becoming ‘at one’ with the characters before you. Watching a movie is never a waste of time. As a matter of fact, we reap untold benefits, in each instance, for having done so. Ostensibly merely entertainment, they provide our minds with input, helping us to shape our own realities. Think of how many people tend to conflate their lives with the movies they’ve seen or use them as markers in the sands of time. Indeed, we often link some of the events in our lives with the viewing of certain films. And, when examined, they are often intertwined. Sometimes a particular movie really strikes our fancy and we suddenly become much more aware of any number of issues for the simple fact of having seen it.
Rudy, what say you about the question I asked myself at age six, upon having seen my first film? (i.e. why can’t our lives be more like movies?)
“A very perceptive question, especially for one so young. Well, you were dragged into the picture, willingly I might add, and with open arms. You embraced that reality for yes, “Nancy Goes to Rio” was just another series of possibilities strung together like a popcorn necklace. Movies, like so many things, are meant to give us ideas, to be inspiring more than anything else. They are least successful, however, when they end up stupefying the audience. Now, what else? Let’s see. Life is a movie, by the way. In the strictest sense we move. Therefore, we are in a movie, our own, rather than a product of the screenwriter’s guild.”
Though on the surface a stock MGM musical of the time, “Nancy Goes to Rio” really opened my eyes. Up to then, I had not even been aware of foreign countries or cultures, let alone the possibility of visiting them. I was also fascinated with how the family depicted, so different from mine, interacted with each other. I guess you could say that my love of Latin cultures was born out of seeing that film, also an understanding of the joy associated with the idea of bursting out in song.
According to where we are in our personal evolution, we will focus on different aspects of any given movie or event, especially the things that give us grist or fodder for growth. Therefore, any film can be catalytic in some way, no matter what sort of potboiler it might be on the surface. The above-mentioned “Nancy Goes to Rio” was certainly no masterpiece, yet it provided a young boy with a chance to view the world around him through a different lens.
“That fate brought me from Castellaneta to Hollywood was certainly no accident. To the contrary, it was a meant-to-be. All my films had teachable moments even if I didn’t necessarily think so at the time. And that even includes the cinematographic obvious such as “Beyond the Rocks” and “Stolen Moments.” Each had elements the audience could identify with and was, in some sense, part of a morality play.
As an actor, it was my express purpose to make people think and silent pictures, devoid of language except for inter-titles and that which was primarily imagined, were wonderful vehicles for achieving that goal. Moreover, I was meant to be inspirational, to move audiences to a higher level of thinking. What you may perceive of as entertainment, therefore, may instead be considered a form of advanced education.
We tend to think of ourselves as alive, completely ensconced in the Earth Plane, or dead, completely not. The truth is we walk in both worlds, eternally among the living. ‘Dead’ is a misnomer. The only thing it really denotes is a sudden lack of animation in a human body but does not, under any circumstances, imply the cessation of life.”
Recently, much has been made of the life and times of Michael Jackson, a somewhat reclusive soul who was not always very comfortable being in a body. He is an extreme example, yet he instructs us well. More than perhaps any other entertainer, he set about creating his own world, expanding on what each of us does anyway, everyday. That he was more successful than most was possibly because of the almost unlimited funds at his disposal. But, Friends, the real point is this: Michael was able to walk in two worlds, literally, as illustrated by his famous moonwalk! Not only that, at his behest thousands of playful scenarios were created for the benefit of his children, friends and family, also his many fans. In the doing, he taught them to become more aware of life’s possibilities. Neverland, his primary residence, was a dream factory, to a much greater degree than many other entertainers’ homes but certainly on the order of Graceland and even to some extent Falcon Lair. All three are examples of the wonderful things that can be accomplished when certain thoughts are thunk. What seemed to be mere fluff in the case of Jackson’s home: rides, amusements, animals, were all instructive to those who partook. They had meaning and purpose, even if that did not necessarily appear to be the case.
And this, my Friends, is a point that I would like to reiterate, over and over again: everything we do has purpose and meaning, every-thing. There’s no such thing as wasting our time, which is a ridiculous statement, even to the uninitiated. Do I say only do seemingly frivolous things? No, I propose a balance, based on a mix that’s appropriate for you and the result of a compact that’s been signed off on by both the personality and soul. But never think that any activity is useless, no matter what it is, because that’s just not true. Hopefully changing the way you think about certain activities and the judgments that you yourself have placed on them will have the effect of expanding your consciousness. Indeed, this is one of our most cherished desires as well as one of the principal reasons why this book has come into existence.
Two world consciousness was very prevalent in ancient Egypt, in fact, it was pivotal to the workings of that society. Egypt is often referred to as the cradle of civilization. So true! But in those days, working with energies that were sited around specific vibrations evoked by the names, Thoth, Ptah, Isis, Bast and so many more, Egyptians walked the line. That is to say, they were always aware of the imminence of the Veil. The realization of its presence colored every aspect of Egyptian daily life. In fact, probably no civilization either before or after has ever been so finely attuned to both planes of existence. Not only that but somehow they knew that ours was really a flat plane. That is why they made no attempt to include depth in their paintings or some of their other perceptions of reality. A part of each Egyptian’s day involved contemplating the Other Side, what we term the ‘Beyond.’ Indeed, their society was steeped in reminders of the afterlife. Monuments to past and present Pharaohs and other dignitaries were everywhere as were pyramids, in a sense living tombs. Death was seen as Life, just having a slightly different flavor. How accurate the Egyptians were, how keen their perceptions! Would that we, in the 21st century, had some of the same aplomb! Instead, we often fear death rather than being ready to embrace it when the time comes. By the way, please do not construe what I am saying as a license to kill ~ either yourself or others. Such behavior is against the natural order for human beings. We must wait until it is our time to cross over but then do it with gladness in our hearts and walk into the Light, arms open wide, embracing the new reality that lies before us.”
Rudy, do movies exist in the Astral? And if so, are they originals or replicas?
“Well, the whole Astral may be likened to a movie. That is why the analogy is so apt. What we do, what you do in snippets of dreams, is to create scenes, part of the continuity of all life. Yes, dreams are what we in the Astral do too, but ours are more actively created, let’s say the difference between Aries and Libra, to put it into a context that you are familiar with. Aries: active; Libra: active too, though sometimes with a more passive demeanor. There is no zodiac sign, by the way, even Pisces that is not active. Anyway, the dreams that occur while we are in the body are rather different from the dreams we dream while discarnate. Here, we play with them all the more consciously, constantly jiggering, tinkering with the sidebars, rearranging the deck chairs ~ the facets, if you will, to see how the bauble we are working with is going to shine if we turn it this way or that. It’s like playing with a prism. Each glance produces a different refraction, each concentration of energy a different result.
For those of you in the Earth Plane, however, it’s a different story. Current issues, replays of what went on during the day or last year, tidbits from other life-times, all combine to form the substance of a dream. My point is this: the substance of any dream varies greatly depending upon the context in which said dream is being dreamt.
Returning to your question, each dream is like a self-contained movie. Do we have the same movies as you, on the screen and off? No, but we can if we want to. We can reproduce what has already been done but why should we, for the most part, except to create nostalgia? There is so much more to explore, so much to discover. A movie is infinity. There is no limit as to what can be conceptualized and therefore depicted. Originals, my friend, count for so much more than replicas.
Though we’ve already made reference to it, let’s talk more about the unique opportunities that silent films present and also hope, at the same time, for a resurgence in their popularity. Could happen, you know. What’s old is often new, especially when we decide to look at it from a different angle!
Well, silence offers us an opportunity to focus. It narrows the aperture on our attention spans, making us all the more laser-like in our affectation. Lost we become in our eyes with the ‘word’ removed from the equation. Word, while powerful when combined with sight, is usually replaced in silent film with the phenomenon of music, to many a clearer and more definitive representation of vibration. The spoken word, powerful though it may be, can sometimes divert, add complication or ambiguity, if you will, while the combination of a visual with music takes the viewer to a special place, dare I say to an arena where the experience is heightened and, as a result, ingested, digested and excreted into something new, all within the speed of the eye of a gnat.
There’s a purity of purpose evident in silent film that is second to none. The elaborate ruses, the exceptional muses, the shortest of fuses, all these can be depicted with fierce intensity ~ to an even greater degree than in talkies. Fact is, the eye sometimes catches more than the ear. This is a premise that I can ascribe to, especially given my experience in the movie industry. The eyes tell it all, on screen and off. Again, a narrowing of the aperture, that is what watching a silent film affords, in a way very much like meditation. Indeed, most of our dreams are like silent movies. Nothing need be said in order for them to be salient.
I had the good fortune to be blessed with an expressive body and face. In fact, they were gifts and I used them well during my brief time in motion pictures to communicate my thoughts without the benefit of voice. What did I want to impart? The overall message was one of love ~ specifically that Love overrides all other considerations and is the most powerful force in the Universe. This we all know, of course, on the cellular level, but our personalities need to be reminded of it time and time again. Not only that, it was my goal to present those who watched my films with alternatives, ways of being that they could then either accept or reject as they saw fit. Like all films, mine were instructive. That was their real reason for being.”
– Excerpted from Going for Excelsior by Wayne Hatford