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.

The Way of Life

Fran, Gary and Laura have left…bittersweet ending to a wonderful visit. Stubby is going to stay with us while they are off on the adventures of their individual and connected lives. Finding their own way into the unknown future.
It is the exciting and courageous path of the uncertain future that lies ahead for all of us. I believe in the sacred path and I notice that the Way changes. I am now mostly in the slow rooted, Earth Way and but I have had times when my path was in the mysterious flight and deep connection of the Air Way, other times in the sometimes flowing, sometimes crashing and sometimes stillness of the Water Way and yet other times when I was in the fast ignition path of the Fire Way.
No matter the Way. It is all the Tao. To remain centered in the Way is to be in harmony with life. Then the world becomes a paradise. I feel at peace. I then realize that my name and form is provisional. I know that when the institutions lose their function it is time for them to end. I know when to go and when to stop and thereby I avoid danger.
All things end in the Way as all rivers flow to the sea.
Knowing others is knowledge. Knowing myself is wisdom.
Mastering others is strength. Mastering myself is true power.
Because I realize I have enough, I am truly rich.
As I stay in my center, embracing all that is with my whole heart, I will endure forever.
Lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Chery Owens

Air Way Earth Way Fire Way Water Way

Words

woman at ocean“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.”
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

As I sit to write my daily pages this morning, I am feeling a strong sense of “why bother.” Why am I compelled to come to my desk each morning and put words on a page? I look back to page one, written on January first, and read that I am writing for the practice and discipline of writing. That is well and good. I add to that, writing is not easier after 152 pages, nor do I feel that my ability to express my thoughts is any less foolish or distorted than when I began. I agree with Hesse as quoted above, what seems right and of value and wisdom to me, is no doubt nonsense to others.
I read that I am dedicating myself to transparency. I define transparency as a willingness to be seen in the raw…a willingness to expose the truth of oneself in all humanness… the brilliant and the mediocre, the sage and the fool, the caring and the cruel, the light and the dark.
So today I sit with this darker side of myself and discover that transparency sounds great on paper, but meeting myself here and having the willingness to move into it and explore it without judgment is a great challenge.
This ironic question arises: How do I differentiate my judgment from my authentic dark nature? Is my dark nature the “Judge?” The judgment towards myself (or am I delving into my true dark nature?) centers around my lack of gratitude for my life. Although I think the thought, “I am grateful,” on a daily basis, I fail to express my gratitude moment to moment. I slip into fear, anger, frustration, and the belief that I am not enough. I lose my passion for living and become despondent. It feels as if my joy gets sucked out leaving me feeling hollow and unable to appreciate the gifts that surround me. I then “frost the cake” with my shame and disgust for myself that I am not appreciating all that I am and all that I have. It is a malicious spiral into melancholy.
Yesterday I spent the morning with my dear, sweet friend who is labeled with a stage-4 cancer diagnosis. She spoke to me of her feelings of confusion about who she is now. She is unable to do the simplest of things that used to define her…walking in nature, gardening, dancing, preparing and enjoying delicious food, caring for her family, her friends and her clients, playing and having fun, moving without pain… who she was, defined by the things she loved to do, is no longer.
Could it be that being faced with her suffering, my lack of moment to moment joyousness for every moment of life I am given, is haunting me now?
What do I know? Nothing.
What do I do about it?  Write to myself.
Perhaps one day an answer will appear on the page.

Things My Friends Taught Me

TrustThing my friends taught me
have not made life’s path more certain
yet bolstered my assurance
that I might navigate with some measure of success.

I learned that giving
without expectation of returns
has its own rewards.

I learned that tolerance
brings far greater recompense
than small-mindedness.

I learned that genuine caring
is never a burden.

I learned that will is more powerful
than great attempt.

I learned that innocence
triumphs over experience.

I learned that laughter and tears
are equally blissful expressions.

I learned that tender touch
and loving presence heals.

I learned that courage
in the face of loss
looks like joy.

I learned that loving
with a full-open heart
is not to be feared.

I learned that Spirit
triumphs over death.