Living life isn’t as seamless as it once was. It takes more energy spent on less fuel. It’s typically used up so much quicker when working around the little aches and pains of worn joints.
Every morning kicking an aching butt for the nonchalant attention I paid to it , I look back to a youth that took movement for granted. It’s solace that the people I share my prime time with now are in the same boat.
I remember a time not so long ago that I would run over to the park everyday (winter included) before work to jog a quick 5 K. Even then my knees were telling me, “this does not bode well for your future”, but I ran through the pain. I wouldn’t allow myself to dwell on a future I couldn’t predict, hoping against hope my knees were wrong. Put the ol’ blinders on! One day at a time, right? I’ve got lots of time before I pay. No pain no gain! Wrong. A long time ago I bid fair thee well to both my knees and traded them for two 6 inch scars that make airport alarms go off.
But it was worth the take away of running through the mist with dog at 5 am everyday.
First light was eerily quiet no matter what the weather. Our footsteps coordinated, dogs double time to the cadence my quick 4/4 strides as they drummed out the rhythm of our hearts. My pulse grew louder. The sound of my breath gave rhythm to his panting while a little cloud of mingled steam rose into the first light of dawn. We ran past the beaver dam and heron nests. I gave thanks as we invited the day in. We were one in the zen of the run.
Ahhh! The addiction of the runners high! I needed that like an addict needs a fix. I knew it, even my dog knew it. Was it worth battering my body? Short answer? Yes!
At the time it was a trade off. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I knew inviting my senses to the day in this way was asking for a physically uncertain future. I’m grateful I kept going but I distinctly remember telling myself I would quit at 70.
Well, 70 has come and gone and I found it’s true, the pain is always in the resistance. Fighting the winding down is difficult for the body, it feels like failure as it begins to slow its pace . At first I pushed harder as I did for a lifetime, but it wouldn’t respond properly. It seemed life was passing by without me. I started to thrash around like a swimmer in a rip tide. Your body is failing you!
It finally dawned on me that nobody gets out of this alive. All my physical and spiritual prep for this time flew out the window with the reality of my shrinking world. What I did with this information after that shock of realization could have gone either way.
After I flushed the pity pot I began to remember the lessons I learned, and even taught others
“You are not alone unless you choose to be. “
I had to allow time for the grief that follows any life change. From that moment on I made sure I honoured the process without climbing back into the pity pot. I spent some time in review to remind myself that change has always been good on the other side of resistance. I remembered to trust the process, relax and float for awhile on the new journey because that’s what it’s really about.
Grieve it, but don’t get stuck in it. Use the abilities that got you this far. Let it go, let it happen gently into the new unfamiliar beginning. Be curious about this place you’ve never been before.
I learned a long time ago that thoughts really do become things. We have made it all up, creating our experiences that match our beliefs about them.
I was always fascinated with the concept of the progression from maiden, to mother to crone, I had to take a long look at the reality of it. It was time to Go Surrogate myself! Reassess and Revisit my idea of what success actually is, and can be in this brand new life in an older wiser me.
When assessing something, there are many questions to answer. Just like when I was starting out in this carrying case some of us call a body.
Remember when adults would bend down eye to eye with you and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That got my juices flowing even then. All the possibilities, the dreams! Astronaut? Cowgirl? Pilot? Motorcycle enthusiast?
Now it’s that time again, only it’s me doing the asking. Who do I want to be in this great apex of this particular life? What direction do I want to take to get there? What assets do I bring with me once I decide? Do I need any new ones? What can be dropped and shed for traveling forward? What do I have to do to get there? Will it reinforce my “Be, Do, Have” system? Do I pack lean and light or do I take all the accumulated treasures I thought so important in my previous phase?
Answer these questions in writing without point form or one liners.
Explore with ardor! It’s time to be definitive, your present incarnation is finite and by now you have most likely discovered how the days have sped up.
Once off the Pity Pot, liberation came with the realization my time was freed up for courses, entrepreneurship, private practices, family, travel, sugar plums dancing in my head. It began to clear and all that tiredness and what seemed like dementia began to magically vanish. Fresh and relaxed after years of hard use, not to mention 8 hours of sound sleep, the brain started working again as my soul gave it permission too.
Cronehood! What it is and why is it important?
Years ago I found a picture of a so called crone and hung it up on my office cork board. This long white haired woman was obviously an elder. She was wearing a long flowing cape of sorts, her face half hidden behind a large hood. She walked with a carved staff in one hand and a basket containing herbs in the other. Her companion was a wolf moving in and out of the shadows of the forest behind her. They slowly walked a narrow deer path. This became my story board. This was my first unconscious step into a future as an elder.
There’s a number of “do nots” at this point as well.
Interdependence is an asset now. Asking for help is necessary, however get it by giving it.
Do not expect the world to wait for you. Part of your freedom comes through the world looking through you. It’s hard for the ego to take at first. It has always been front and centre, wanting to be noticed, to belong, making its mark in the world. Work on this, it’s a bit tricky.
Be useful and generous with your wisdom but give it only when asked for. Use it freely on your garden, your meditations and your loved ones.
Do not keep trying to keep up in any area if you can’t . Staying healthy does not mean staying youthful.
Embrace the art of Acceptance , go micro instead of macro now. It takes awhile to slow down, self patience is a book that only you can write. Marvel at how the little aches and pains change location everyday. I ask myself what do I need from this bodily discomfort. So many useful exercises come from it. Embrace it…you created it for a reason.
Get your spiritual act together
Body Mind Optimization,
Use it or Lose it
(Get a Dog)
Spending almost a Lifetime learning to be wise has its advantages.
I have a dog that looks wolflike in a forest setting, a carved staff, and my Hair is growing longer preparing for the white. I’ve been playing my Native American flute once in awhile. I’m a Crone now, but my flowing cape wouldn’t work on my motorcycle. That’s yet to come. I am becoming familiar with this “new” body. I like it! Folks have few expectations of me now and neither do I.
Crone means Crown, it is the apex and the reason for the rest of it. It’s a blessing if your lucky enough to survive the trip!
In conclusion I find there isn’t one , so instead I offer Blessings to All who traverse this life. I happen to know with confidence that we will meet one day if not here, in a life somewhere down the Red Road.