by Dr. Vicki Handfield~
I’m actually enjoying aging!
Do I have bad days, bad moods, frustrations and fears? Yes I do.
I also have great days, great moods, dreams and pleasures.
I’d like to share with you a book that is amazingly helpful when it comes to aging: “The Sage’s Tao Ching, A New Interpretation – Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life” by William Martin. Martin has reinterpreted the works of Lao Tzu for our benefit, he has done an awesome job!
William Martin, like Lao Tzu, provides poetic messages, beautifully written. Here’s one example:
Putting It All Together
Many in our culture
regard youth as good
and old age as bad.
But is this true?
In the sage, youth and age are married.
Wisdom and folly have each been lived fully.
Innocence and experience now support one
Action and rest follow each other easily.
Life and death have become inseparable.
The sage has experienced all opposites
and lets them come and go
without clinging or fretting.
Therefore the sage can talk without lecturing,
act without worrying about results,
and live in contentment with all events.
This is so beautifully said; it’s certainly not easy to acquire this perspective. This wisdom and calmness is not discussed or promoted very much in our common culture. Western ways have a lot that is beneficial, and a lot that is not.
Eastern ways are valuable, and we are becoming more familiar with them, thankfully. Recently, Time Magazine published a long article on “Mindfulness” – I saw this as a milestone for our awareness of being “other” than what we are accustomed to experiencing.
One aspect of Eastern ways is that aging is not only respected, it is revered. This is not limited to Japan or China. If you have watched the Olympics much, you have seen how deeply connected the younger athletes are to older mentors and family members. It’s very touching to watch – we need a lot more of this in our culture, in our life experiences!
I’m not saying that respect and reverence for older people is completely missing in the West, no, not at all! But, it is not at the level that needs to be here, now. When older people respect themselves, honor themselves more (in humble ways), they naturally attract and draw out the same in their younger connections.
I believe that many people in our culture are evolving in very positive ways. I don’t watch TV news much, because of the emphasis on the negative. There are tons of negative things happening in our world, I don’t deny it. But my own experience is a lot more positive and I don’t have a need for much negative input. I do pay adequate attention, and do find that people let me know about many of the essential events that occur. That’s plenty for me!
I do attend to positive occurrences and evolving patterns in the world and in myself. I do meditate, exercise, and give myself time to do what needs to be done in a graceful manner. Living more simply and letting go of unnecessary things and activities really opens up time and energy for me.
I do struggle with these decisions, don’t get me wrong. The older patterns of: “I gotta, I should”, don’t just melt away. These patterns are deeply embedded, and they have a way of insisting on running the show. One thing I have learned is to be grateful for these elements, for they have served me well. I have learned that I can let go of the negative, high-pressure aspects of these patterns and keep the positive, automatic, responsible yet joyful ways. There are times now, when I enjoy doing the laundry, folding it and putting it away. I enjoy sitting in traffic and looking at the sky peacefully, listening to some of my favorite music. I allow myself to be late sometimes, and it’s not the end of the world – it’s the beginning of something new.