Spring is the time butterfly transform from the chrysalis, peepers sing in chorus and daffodil sprout from the frozen earth. Nature is awakening and it is a call for you to join in. Spring is the time to plant seeds; your hopes, dreams and joy are the fruits that sustain you. In order to allow the fullest of yourself to enfold, first dust off habits that no longer serve you.
Starting with the body, you may want to implement a ritual of “inner housecleaning” especially if you are feeling diminished “chi” (life force) expressed as fatigue, sleepless nights, headaches, allergies, muscular aches/pains or more serious diseases. Just because you are growing older doesn’t mean you can’t have optimum health. As you age, toxins from the environment and your body’s normal metabolic byproducts are stored in your body fat. If you are holding on to excess winter weight, detoxifying the body is a start. It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme like a water fast for three days. Detoxifying the body by avoiding alcohol, tobacco and drugs and highly processed foods is a good start. Then begin by drinking more water, exercising regularly and eating a healthy, plant-based diet. Lastly, juice more veggies and eat meat and animal products less so that the digestive tract isn’t working as hard and energy can be diverted to other areas of the body that need healing.
Next, pay attention to your thoughts and emotions. Why are you still fretting over something a friend said to you twenty years ago? Let it go. Thinking is very powerful but the role your prevailing emotions play in your health is paramount. Don’t deny your feelings or push them down. Go get help in the form of a therapist or a listening ear to help you process what it is upsetting you. Feelings such as shame, guilt and fear move into every cell and fiber of your being and affect your health.
If you don’t meditate, make a daily ritual of it. In our book, Pack Lightly: Making Sense of the Second Half of Your Life, one interviewee, Ed, states that “Meditation is 200% essential for both balancing our lives and promoting longevity.” There are so many ways to meditate but if you want to get started there is an excellent Netflix series, “Headspace Guide to Meditation” narrated by Andy Puddicombe, whose calming voice guides you through specific practices for “How to Deal with Pain,” and “How to Achieve Your Limitless Potential.” Meditation can help you by creating equanimity and inner peace; who doesn’t want that?
You may also want to create a ritual of prayer and spiritual readings as soon as you get up in the morning and at the end of the day by reflecting on what you are grateful for that day. Depending on your religious or spiritual path, find a way to connect to that place deep within yourself. Learn to slow down, breathe deep and go within. Thoreau, who authored, Walden, said “Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?” As we grow older, each day is so precious and being in the moment without future tripping is truly attainable.
You are a social creature and after three years driven by Zoom, FaceTime and lack of face to face, you may be starving for ways to reconnect with others. The Okinawans got it right by creating a support network, known as “moais,” who commit to being friends for life.
Finally, after nurturing your physical, mental and spiritual self you may feel a nudge to renew your sense of purpose. You might not be able to take on racial inequity or climate change single handedly but how you touch others in your immediate sphere is of utmost importance, especially by being a positive role model for younger people. A Greek proverb states that a society grows great when older people plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit. What better time than spring to plant your tree!
About the Authors:
Dr. Lisa Cowley, a holistic chiropractor and nutritional counselor of 25 years, along with her husband, Victor Westgate, a high school educator of 34 years, are authors of Pack Lightly: Making Sense of the Second Half of Your Life. You can learn more at: www.joyinaging.com