We are in a continual healing cycle. We are such perfect machines, that our body and mind are healing as we breath and as our hearts beat. While we sleep, our bodies are free to do their job. Most of the time, though, the healing process needs our conscious help. In order to keep our bodies and minds operating in their top form, we need to do a lot of work ourselves.(1)
From Self Esteem, The simple Truth
“One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little in the evening; and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”(2)
(Carl Jung in The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche) from http://www.2ndhalfoflife.org/
As the years go by and we can count how long we have been doing Yoga, meditation or other self care practice in decades rather than months and years we witness first hand the changes our bodies and ourselves go through firsthand. To remain unwavering in our belief in in these practices as pwserful tools to sustain and expand upon our health and well-being they must evolve to meet our changing needs.
Contrary to some who wish to minimize the reality of the changes life brings, age is more than a number. More importantly, especially for those who involved in a growth discipline it is not a sentence. The second half of of life is an amazingly fertile opportunity for personal and growth and expansion. Of course there are changes that occur as we grow older, yet none of them are intrinsically good or bad. They often do require us to step back and make adjustments to our lifestyle. In terms of aging and physical and mental abilities when we embrace and align ourselves with what is happening we can adjust our role in our personal, professional lives to maximize our abilities and value. We may not runs a 3 hour marathon at age 60 but we certainly can continue to run or engage in most of the physically challenging activities we have always enjoyed. Continuing to engage with life and sustaining robust social and/or professional life serves our well being at any age.
One of the most important jobs I have in my role as a Yoga and movement therapist is helping my older clients not dismiss their present challenges or difficulties as being a normal part of getting old, genetics or other external circumstance under which they have no control. They are only variables, often overvalued, that may or may not impact the length time or how completely they may get back to what they love to do.
In the circumstance of the limitation created by pain or movement problems I encounter daily in my work, age is relevant only to the effect it may be a measure of the cumulative effects of the movement problems that have created the symptoms that are being presented. Once true medical disease is ruled out and we can let go of that particular concern, we can also break down the notion that the challenges are the effect of “normal” aging or something else that is not related to movement habits. Only then can we begin to seek and fearlessly commit to solutions that empower us to reclaim greater well being.
An astounding and often obscured truth of life is that our bodies and ourselves are always in search of and in the process of wholeness(aka healing). What is often missing as we begin our work is an ongoing commitment to a path of healing to help us frame and respond to the challenges of this healing process. Once commitment and understanding grows we can provide the “conscious help” that the healing journey needs in removing the blocks in the way of living our best lives. We can meaningfully impact the dialogue with and the quality of the collaboration with medical professionals or other health and wellness partners. All this pertains to whether or when invasive surgical or medical interventions may be warranted as well as how to most responsibly and effectively integrate our own efforts to become well with what may be needed in the moment from modern medicine.
When we cultivate a wiser, broader and less reactive way of knowing ourselves through our Yoga meditation and self care practices we can apply this expanded awareness to the challenges of life at any age. No matter the time of our lives we can find the out how to live the truth of that time.
(1) Fom Self Esteem, The simple Truth, http://www.self-esteem-the-simple-truth.com/healing.html
(2) (Carl Jung in The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche), http://www.2ndhalfoflife.org/