Many thanks, Dee for your posting. As things turn out, it's the first on the new website! In an email letting me know that you were posting, you confessed that thus far you've only read the Introduction to the book. Yet what you provide here summarizes many of the key reflections that gradually emerge by the end of the book! Clearly we're kindred spirits!
Indeed, I'm almost going to recommend that people deeply ponder what you say as an alternative to reading my book! Not quite, for they would miss reading the story of the experiences that gave rise to the reflections.
Near the end you say that your approach is "naturally softening". It took me about 50 years longer to get to where you are now. Congratulations! You also say, "As I consciously surround myself with people and experiences that sustain me, I am more compassionate to myself and others when the times are such that the experience is less than blissful or harmonious". My very limited mobility prevents me from literally surrounding myself with such people, but online technology provides an alternative. And I do find that I'm becoming more compassionate to myself and others as I wrestle with the ails of aging.