“As We Get Older”

As a person rapidly approaching 60 I believe the biggest obstacles we face as we grow older are the negative perceptions surrounding age and aging.  I live in an area that is a popular place to retire.  Popular topics of conversation include ailments, procedures and how bad it is to get old.  The most popular area of Walmart is the pharmacy with what sometimes seems like a never ending line.  Depression, alcoholism and feelings of worthlessness over no longer being able or allowed to work are much more prevalent among the “elder” population than I had ever imagined.

I recently and reluctantly visited my doctor for a sudden and mysterious problem with my knee.  He ended up giving me the “as we get older” speech.  This was the first time a doctor had ever said that to me indicating they were not going to look for the cause of a problem.  I normally would have reacted with anger, but I sat there in disbelief feeling a smile come over my face.  While I was checking out I looked at Bob and said, “He didn’t have to say those four hateful words — as we get older.”  The receptionist laughed and said, “it happens to all of us.”

But I know, and I suspect you do too, that a steady decline to the grave is not all we have to look forward to as we grow older.  I do not believe it is inevitable.  In fact, the belief that there is nothing we can do but watch it happen is foreign to me.  Members of my family have lived happy, healthy, active and independent lives well into their 80’s and 90’s.

Believing that it is not what happens to us, but our attitudes, beliefs and perceptions about what happens that matters, let’s try flipping the as we get older speech into something positive.  Instead of talking about what we lose as we get older, let’s talk about what we gain.

  1. The time to do what we want, rather than what society demands of us.  Now we can take that trip we always dreamed of, learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, change your life.  Now that “working” to earn money is not as important, we can focus on the spiritual.  We can take back the time and energy we gave to the world and give it to the Divine.
  2. We are able to look back on times we thought we couldn’t survive and see that we did.  This can give us a sense of hope and reassurance that we are resilient and we are survivors.
  3. We gain an awareness of what is really important in life and what endures over time.  People and experiences become more important to us than things as we get older.
  4. And finally, we do achieve wisdom gained through life experience.  At 20 we think we know everything, at 60 if we are truthful, we realize we don’t.

We sometimes need help realizing that these are positive things.  They are also not things we have to go searching after trying to acquire.  We already have them.

A Close Encounter of the Wildlife Kind

This morning as I was out on my first walk of the day I saw large white wings disappear into the leaves of the upper branches of a tree.  Knowing it was most likely a Great Egret I continued on the path slowly and quietly, stopping every few steps.  It didn’t take long to see the majestic white bird in the tree.  I stopped and admired for awhile then continued carefully, trying to see if I could get closer.  I did not have my camera.  If I’d had the camera I would have a photo or two, but because I didn’t I had an experience that will become part of who I am.

Before I left I thanked the bird for the gift of it’s presence as I always do with wildlife encounters and walked away, still slowly and quietly.  Thank you God!

Tools for Defeating Fear: Grounding

Grounding is an important tool for spiritual protection and defeating fear.  Grounding reconnects us to the energy system of the earh.  Some people do this by living as close to the earth as possible, sitting on the ground or walking barefoot.  My daily walks by the lake are part of grounding for me.  I do leave my shoes on though, it’s rocky down by the lake. 🙂

I also do a grounding exercise as needed.  Take a few deep breaths, relaxing deeper with each exhale.  Imagine roots coming out of your feet and growing deep into the earth all the way to the earth’s core.  Feel the support of the earth as you do this.

Some people leave it there, but I prefer to connect to both heaven and earth, sending a ribbon of light out from my crown chakra (the top of the head).  This will allow you to be rooted in the earth and connected to the heavens.

Grounding is essential for living on this earth.  How you do it is up to you.  It can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it.  What is important is that we do it.