Can you bypass ill health and grow old gracefully? A walk in the park causes Katy to ponder the ageing process, and how a lot of it is determined by our attitude towards getting older, and the thoughts we think
Yesterday as I was wandering through Abby fields in Colchester - part of an epic walk from one end of the town to the other, just to take a lamp to be fixed - I passed a lady whom I'd guess was probably in her late 60s; she had sleek, grey hair cut into a bob, smart sunglasses, and a confident air. Something about her made me stand up straighter, take deep breathes and hold my shoulders back. I had a thought, albeit fleeting, that I'd like to grow old and look like her. Now, I don't know what her life is actually like as we never got talking, but looked healthy and happy.
At the same time I spied her, I was pulling my iPhone out of my pocket, which at that very moment began playing a track from a talk by Louise Hay about growing older - I must have pressed a button accidentally, though I thought it was locked. (on that note, I've noticed a number of times how it seems to pick out songs that seem relevant to the moment; not so long ago I was sure the device was warning me off seeing a certain man, as it kept selecting tracks at poignant moments to do with being broken hearted; turns out it was probably right, but that's another story...)
choose how you age...
Anyway, Louise Hay's talk, given some 6-7 years ago, was about how she wants to create a community called 'Elders of Excellence'. She says that though we all get older, we have a large part to play in the process and must all take responsibility for our health. She also points out that whatever age you deem to be 'middle age', is when you will begin to deteriorate physically, which is an idea also espoused by Deepak Chopra, author of Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, who says we can change our very DNA through our thoughts, and that we, not doctors, are the ones who heal ourselves.
Anyway, I found it somewhat synchronous that within seconds I'd seen a healthy elderly lady, who just by virtue of passing by had caused me to consider my own health and longevity, and at the same time my iPod chose to play Louise Hay's words echoing my own thoughts.
As it happened, I had just been for a jog - making the most of the glorious sunny autumn day - and had included some high intensity interval training, which is basically short, intense bursts of activity, such as jumps, sprints, press ups etc, followed by a short rest period.
Having just switched from editing Soul&Spirit to Bodyfit, my thougths are naturally turning more towards my physical and not just emotional and spiritual self, and I've made the commitment to not only strengthen my muscles and increase my cardiovascular health, but to increase my flexibility so I'm able to do the splits - I've given myself 12 months to achieve the latter. And I now believe it's possible. Deepak, Louise, Wayne Dyer and a number of other spiritual gurus all tell us the same thing: that if you believe something, you can achieve it and experience it. For years I held the limiting belief of "I'm not flexible". Well, as Wayne would say, whatever you put after the words 'I am' is critical to success or failure (for more on this, see his latest book Wishes Fulfilled, which is one of the best on manifesting that I've ever read). So, by saying, 'I am not flexible' I was enforcing that belief. However, last year I got sent the updated version of Vanda Scaravelli's Awakening the Spine, and was amazed and encouraged by images of this slight, 90-year-old woman putting her feet behind her head and bending into the most incredible postures. And she only began yoga in her forties. I also watched some Youtube videos of women who've taught their bodies to do the splits in just a few months by practising each day. So, no more excuses for me....
healthy mind = healthy body
What we do with our bodies and minds, not to mention what we put into them, IS our choice. We choose what to eat, drink and think. but it's a daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute practise. I won't get flexible overnight; progress, in any area of life, is often made by taking constant, continuous, little-by-little steps.
But the combination of seeing the elegant lady, hearing Louise's talk, and recalling Vanda's book all motivate me to take healthy actions so that, hopefully, I live to a ripe old age. I plan to be doing yoga - and the splits - in my nineties, and I have a feeling I'm going to grow old disgracefully, in that I'll be far less stressed and worried about what other people think by then. Though I do wish my grey hairs would hold off for another decade or so until I'm really ready for them!
What Katy Louise Did...
- Katy Louise
- Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.