Aging & Death

The rains finally came today.  A solid 20 minutes of genuine downpour…a “get naked and dance in the rain” downpour.

I am so grateful to the Elementals.  They settled their differences today and found balance.  And so, too, may I find balance.

I’m 68.  I have been moving consciously through layers of armor and patterns of conditioned-response to stress for decades.  But at this moment, what seems significant, is the last decade.

I reverse my timeline and look backwards from July 12, 2018.  

I officially opened the Mountain Valley Retreat in 2014.

Sidebar:  “This is 2018, my fifth year in my new business.  I’m sorting out the bugs and it’s working.  My working edge is clarity about what I want.  I am a Renaissance Woman.  Staying focused on one project at a time isn’t as fun  (read challenging) as juggling several projects at once  Some interests are more lefty, artsy-fartsy and some more righty, rational-mathematical.  I seem to go for the balance.”

  In 2010 my marriage of thirty-seven years ended in divorce.

 

Sidebar:  “We hooked up for the first time in 1968.  I was an 18-year-old freshman at DU and Jim was a 20-year-old junior on a 4-year NCAA basketball scholarship majoring in Economics.  When Jim graduated he moved to Chicago to play at being a banker in the big leagues… riding on the lapping tongues of the jock-sniffing Execs at the First National Bank of Chicago in the loop.  His entry-level position was as a Jr. Trust Officer.  Jim did the leg-work for his boss, Manny, from Kenilworth, Sr. Trust Officer. I transferred to NIU and majored in Education and Psychology.  We got married in 1973.”

In 2007 I left Jim and the farm we had lived on since 1975, 32 years.  I maintained my business, Be Well Now, in Godfrey/Alton.  I moved into a tiny log cabin 10 miles from my farm isolated in an oak forest on a little lake owned by a young couple going through a divorce.  My landlady, Kristy, was getting the house with 100 acres and rented the cabin to me and my cat, Lemur,  for two years.

The story of the preceding fifty-seven years is a blog (read book) for another day.

So, this somehow brings me to my topic, Death & Aging…or Aging & Death.

What, you are asking, is the connection between Aging & Death and the past decade of my life?  I’m aging and so is everyone around me and we all die.  The longer I live, the more Aging and Death become a “thing” for me.  As friends and family die, I’m left wondering the great unanswerable question, “What’s it all about?”

Within my ‘wonderings’ I came upon a thought.  As I age, time appears to be collapsing in on itself.  The clock may say it is six hours later than what feels like a moment ago.  It appears that my mind is staying more and more present.  Without thoughts about the past or the future time is losing its relativity.  Without anything to relate to,  there are no relatives for time?   Without relativity, there is no time!  Only now.

What does this have to do with Aging and Death?  Everything!

Aging depends upon the passage of time.  No time…no aging.

Death is the absence of time…it is timeless.  Therefore, if I am in a timeless space, I am already dead, by definition.  If I am dead, what separates me from life? Just the appearance of this body.

Savasana,  The little death, the chance to die before you die.  This is what my yoga is all for.  For 50 years I’ve known of yoga, practiced yoga, studied yoga, taught yoga…and now?  Perhaps, I am yoga.

Aging and Death?  Nothing but concepts of the mind.  Paper Tigers.  Bring it on!

Agelessness and Life Eternal.  Word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Forgot Who I Was…

I forgot who I was!

This morning, in Yoga,  I remembered…

At least, a part of myself.

 

I remembered I am strong.

I remembered I am kind.

I remembered I am human.

I remembered I am Divine.

 

The forgetting…

It happens when I get lethargic and sluggish

It happens when I stop turning inward

It happens when I pay more attention to what others think than what I know.

It happens when I stop my practice.

 

My practice is to stop hiding in my doing.

My practice is to listen to my body.

My practice is to honor what I hear.

My practice is to love myself enough to do my practice.

No Waiting for Inspiration

Waiting for inspiration, I may never write again
I must write for the discipline of writing
Challenged to find words that excite and inspire
If I stop it won’t be the lack of words that defeats me

So I am here
Wrestling with each line
Embarrassed by my ineptitude
Words on the page preserving my commitment

I know why it is so importanthands on keyboard
Discipline a metaphor for strength
Practice creates mastery
I demonstrate obedience to the Muse

The effort is not satisfying
I am not smiling
I see no humor in this
I persist because defeat pains me more

I have been skipping days
Today would be two in a row
The downhill slide from there could be the end
Her silence as persistent as my effort

Motherheart

Original caption from NASA: "S103-E-5037 ...

Oh, Sweet Inspiration
A mere thought?
A fleeting feeling?
A deep knowing.

With knowledge of You
Breath comes deep and full,
Body softens,
Mind relaxes into trust.

Connecting
Deep into the Earth
Body gifted with motivation
Mind ripe with invention.

Brilliance
Light beams of awareness
Clarity of vision
Gems of insight.

Found in Stillness
Presence arises
Drumbeat of Motherheart
Love is here.

Now and Then

Big Sur and fog on a typical day in June. Phot...

Big Sur

I am here this morning. I had another skip day yesterday…let me see…what was my excuse? Oh, yes, yoga class at 8:00. My determination to get up at 6:00 so I can write before the day takes on a life of its own has slid down the slippery slope of resistance. I awoke this morning and put my feet on the floor before 6:30. I am here dressed and on tack by seven. Wahoo. Perhaps the true resistance is a feeling that my words have run out. The meter says 70,492 at the bottom of this blog page. If I was an auto, wouldn’t I be due for some sort of revival tune up?

What sort of revival would put inspiration into my heart so I could put words on the page that feel significant to me? Oh, yes. They need not have any significance. I can write anything. It does not matter who reads it or what they think. The practice is simply to write EVERY DAY no matter what! The practice is to allow words to go freely from my fingers to the page without an agenda, editing, judgment or expectation.  The practice is “transparency.”

Expectation snuck in the door and is looking over my shoulder. She expects me to write something meaningful. She wants to be inspired…entertained. She really wants me to be funny! She is tired of the same old depressed, spiritually oriented bullshit. With the book of Judgment under her arm, she is ready to denounce every sentence.

Note to self: This writing business worked better when you woke up at 6 and sat up and meditated for at least 30 minutes and then sat to write…duly noted.

Without the early rising and the mind in that altered state of meditation, Business Mind walks right in and starts making the “to-do” lists for the day. If you think this writing is pathetic, you should see the “to-do” lists! There used to be one list…of late there are FIVE! In addition there are four clipboards, a vertical file, the in and out box on my desk and two drawers of current hanging folders. Am I bragging or complaining? I do not know…I am trying to keep a handle on the hive of activity I created as the retreat construction kicks into high gear for the next six weeks.

In six weeks, my life will take a dramatic change. I will leave my retreat construction project and go up the coast of California to Big Sur. For five weeks, I will be living and working at Esalen Institute, a most amazing retreat center, with my friends and colleagues. My days will be filled with people and I will be involved in the business of teaching and treating the souls who come to Esalen. Like me, they are searching for some hidden part of themselves. What is the Force that sends us to a place like Esalen? The same Force puts me at this screen to write.

Jennifer Welwood speaks of this Force in Transformative Fire. I cannot say it better…

There is a great fire that longs to burn you—
Don’t let fear imagine a separation.
It is only yourself, burning for the truth,
The truth burning for itself.
Knowing this, give yourself, without reservation:
In ecstasy the fire burns.

She continues:
“Having deeply opened to the annihilating aspect of the path, and having allowed it to act on us, we may find that now and then it acts through us, cutting through ignorance and sentimentality with a voice of ruthless clarity…”

If I Were Brave…

sun and treeIf I were brave like you, my friend,
What would I do this day?
With your courage and conviction,
From my path, I would not stray.

If I were brave I wouldn’t listen
To the ones who say “You’ll fail!”
I would sail my ship across the sea.
I would walk the longest trail.

If I were brave my heart would rule
With guidance from my mind.
I would not hear the voice of fear
That keeps my hopes confined.

I would climb the rocks that block my path
I would ford the raging stream
No hindrance would dissuade me
From fulfilling my great dream.

Courage is the choice I’d make
To keep me strong and straight.
If I were brave, I‘d make my move.
I would not hesitate.

If I were brave I could not fail
The challenges I’d face.
No matter the endeavor
I’d always win the race.moon on water

You show me what real courage is.
To ride the lifelong wave.
From you I learn that love is bold
For you I may be brave.