Monday, April 18, 2016

Strategies for Conscious Ageing

“In just the same way, the Warrior of the Light knows that everything around him— his victories, his defeats, his enthusiasm, and his despondency— form part of his Good Fight. And he will know which strategy to use when he needs it. A Warrior does not try to be coherent; he has learned to live with his contradictions.”--Coelho, Paulo

Ageing brings loss and there are strategies to use to help us as we travel and live with our contradictions. The culture has its idea of ageing and we have a different one. When we become vulnerable to the anti-ageing stereotypes in our culture, we can lose self-confidence, and fear death. We may give away our warrior power to guilt and body shame. We can lose our curiosity and creativity causing procrastination and isolation. In this session, we are going to explore strategies that will empower and give you coping tools to defy the cultural expectations on ageing. We will learn the warrior skill of embracing life changes as challenges and possibilities. One of the most powerful strategies is the practice of Self-compassion. It reduces stress, depression, perfectionism, body shame and fear of failure. Another power practice is developing a gratitude habit. As you will see the research shows how gratitude changes our brain chemistry and brings more goodness into our lives.

We face death in this session. Death used to take place in a cold and sterile hospital with few choices. Our boomer generation is a generation that wants choices about how and where we wish to die. We will explore issues of death and dying. By facing our own death, we learn how to help somebody we love face death. This is a time in life when we experience loss, learning how to grieve is an important strategy. Knowing how to help others grieve will be something you will want to learn.  Today dying is more than a medical event. It can be a time for unfinished mind-body and spiritual healing. They say the way we die is similar to how we have lived and how we have responded to suffering, our primary relationships, and our relationship to self. As a member of a Hospice team, I have witnessed several very loving, and magical deaths. When we are helping a loved one to die, we face our death. When we listen to their fears, we face our own. When we have learned to let go of life losses, we learn how to let go at the hour of death.  When we can talk about death in a new way, we view our morality with greater consciousness and thus live each day more awake.

There are several exercises in this week’s lesson, be sure to try as many as you can. My intention is to create experiences that help you embody this information.

Discussion question:

1.     Share your daily practice as it stands today. Did you add anything new this week to your practice?

2.     What losses of ageing are you facing right now?

3.     Did you learn anything new about yourself this week?

4.     Discuss what it was like to face death and write your obituary.