I have often written about vulnerability in the past. Every year at this time it comes to the surface again. I see how older people battle with the expectations we have of how we think this time of year should be celebrated. Surrounded by children of all ages, braais, late nights and heavy, rich meals. And of course wine and beer and lots of cakes and biscuits with teatime.
I am now 55. Over the past few years I have been acutely aware of how my body has changed. I can no longer eat red meat and drink red wine at night – one of my biggest pleasures in life! As for coffee, since I turned 45 I cannot drink coffee after 18h00 in the evening. Lately, if I drink tea at night, I have to get up and go for a pee up to three times during the night. I have aches and pains where I did not think it was possible to have aches and pains. I gain weight walking past the fridge, and battle for weeks to lose a few kilos.
Thing is, we change as we grow older. Our bodies change, our digestive systems change, our sleeping patterns change. But most of all, our minds change. If – and this is a BIG IF – we really pay attention to our Selves, we will notice the changes on many different levels. As we grow older, we become more aware of our attunement (or not) with the outside world. Our bodies slow down, start rejecting certain foods and practices and habits, for a good reason. We are not supposed to run as fast as a 20 year old, eat as much or look like them. Our entire system starts to change, and unless we accept these changes we will go into a constant battle with our bodies and our Minds.
Very few people seem to be able to gracefully accept the ageing process. Thanks to our brainwashing by the media, we believe that we have to fight ageing with all our power. Botox and tummy tucks, boob jobs and dyeing our hair will keep us “young”, while everything in our bodies are kicking and screaming. I am not saying that we should “let go”, trust me. We need to work harder on staying fit, but we also need to listen to our bodies. We are Divinely guided to another place, another state of being-in-the-world, one of introspection and contemplation. This is the phase in our lives where we grow more than ever, as things are not always easy…
As we grow older, we become slower. We start to worry, we become insecure. After 60 the world thinks we are all stupid and redundant. We take this on board and start beating ourselves up, feeling like we are a nuisance to our loved ones, that we no longer matter. As much as we try to assert ourselves, we simply feel that there is not much point. Yet, I believe that this is the most magical stage of our lives. This is the time to slow down, to look inward, to grow towards a higher state of consciousness. There is a reason for us to slow down, to change our ways, to become more in tune with ourselves and the world around us. We are an intricate part of a mystical ecosystem, we are the expression of Consciousness itself. We can now step out of the rat race and create our own world of creativity and contemplation.
The more we kick against this, the more it will feel as if we are not supposed to be here. Again, the changes that we are experiencing are not easy. It will take hard work to sit back and accept the slowing down. If we are honest with ourselves and really look at ourselves in the mirror every day, it will start happening. Spending time in nature, surrounding yourself with good friends and people who truly love you will bring that acceptance. And then the magic will happen. New neurological pathways will bring new insights, a sense of grateful acceptance, and contentment. Stop fighting. Stop trying to defy Nature. Open your heart and your Mind to the flow of Life. It is perfect just the way it is. If your wonky knees allow you, go and sit in a meadow and look at every little flower and blade of grass. Contemplate the magnificence of it all. Take a pencil and a piece of paper and try to draw these delicate gifts of nature. Photograph them. Be still. This is the best time of our lives.
Rayne Stroebel MSc (Dementia Studies)
+27 82 455 5300 firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> www.mindsmatter.co.za <www.mindsmatter.co.za/>