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QUALITY OF LIVING
‘Quality of living’ refers to how we move and our inner settlement.
It’s about being aware of how we are feeling within, and to what level are we caring for ourselves and those we share our space with, therefore becoming less imposing upon humanity at large and the planet.
For instance, one of the ways we can enhance our quality of living is to ensure we get adequate and quality sleep by reducing the level of stimulation in the evenings and being in bed prior to 9pm. This rhythm will set us up to wake the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to do a solid day’s work without feeling depleted.
Another beautiful way to develop quality of living is to address our emotional issues and any hurts we may have been carrying around with us for years so that we’re not indulging in emotional outbursts, judgement of ourselves and others and playing the blame game while not taking responsibility for our part in arguments. When we have less reaction and angst in our lives, our quality of living is boosted enormously.
Of course, there are many ways we can increase our quality of living, as highlighted by some of our wonderful authors, who are writing about their understanding and experience around quality of living.
We invite you to join us in this valuable discussion and share how you feel about your quality of living.
The moment we’ve realised that a promise has not been kept or we feel let down in some way, our ‘picture’ is smashed, often resulting in an emotional reaction which can be as mild as a slight irritation right through to a full-on rage.
This reaction exposes where we are holding either ourselves or other people to account and requiring a level of perfection – not allowing the true flow of life.
How many times in our life have we experienced the fallout of our expectations going awry and the ensuing drama? We can be extremely hard on ourselves and others – sometimes the resentment or judgement can last for years!
What then is the opposite, or counter, to holding expectations of ourselves and others? How might we live in a way that is more respectful of people’s choices and rhythms, thereby offering the space for a shift in outcome when things just don’t work out for whatever reason? Certainly, being less hard on everyone when things don’t go to plan can be very liberating and allows love to flow instead.
We invite you to share your valuable observations and experience of expectations.
THE IDEAL OF BEING 'GOOD'
We are trained to be good through our socialisation in the world and our education systems. Children have been taught acceptable behaviour from a very early age by being confirmed when being ‘good’. The ‘good girl’ and ‘good boy’ still permeates our communication with children, identifying them for what they do rather than an appreciation for who they are, setting them up for the need for approval from others throughout their life. Does this not disempower us all as children and then as adults?
Of course, it is hugely important for us to learn to respect and love ourselves and each other, however if we are raised with rules, at what point do they become our gaoler? Is it not more important for us to feel within who we are, and how to respond to life, thereby empowering ourselves and each other?
We have some wonderful articles this month from authors writing about their understanding of the ideal of good. We invite you to share with us your experience of being good, if and how this belief has impacted you.
CELEBRATING OUR ELDER YEARS
For instance, do you ever find yourself looking in the mirror and missing the youthful face that once looked back at you, or inspecting your arms and thinking they don’t belong to you? “These saggy bits don’t look at all like the arms I’ve lived with for much of my life.”
Our body can change shape over the years and not feel or appear to be as lithe or flexible as it used to be, and unless we come to terms with the ageing process and how it unfolds for us, we can find it challenging to celebrate our elder years.
We have a society that is geared toward the young. Most of the images we see in advertising and movies reflect back to us that we have to be youthful to be beautiful. However, have you ever looked into the twinkling eyes of an ageing man or woman who are clearly not fighting the passage of time and you know that there is something else going on there, other than just ageing? They appear to have an inner contentment; they are settled within which allows joy to flow through them enriching all those they meet.
We invite you to share with us on the Conversation page about how you are celebrating your elder years.
If we have tripped or fallen and broken a bone or sprained a ligament, the general approach has been that we have been the victims of an unfortunate mishap. If one of our parents had cancer or diabetes, then it is presumed that there’s a possibility that we will also get the same disease.
However, what if in these moments where we are experiencing illness and disease or have an ‘accident’, that we are being offered an opportunity by our Soul to heal?
This ‘stop’ moment may be supporting us to let go of the ideals and beliefs that have held us in a detrimental pattern of behaviour for many years or even lives. Is it possible that rather than the illness being a negative impact upon our body and the ‘beingness of who we are’, instead it is a time of clearing, an opportunity for healing and a chance to look at how we have been living? This approach to the healing process would then offer the space for us to decide if we have truly supported ourselves or if there are changes that could be made that would allow us to live in a more self-loving manner? Being open to the realisation that ‘accidents’, or illness and disease could be a true and deeply loving offering from our Soul is no doubt a challenging consideration for many of us, however it’s one that at the very least needs to be explored.
Two of our articles this month offer a beautiful insight into the author’s experience of healing. Ingrid’s ‘A Deeper Healing Offered Through Illness and Disease’, and Anne’s ‘Cancer: Disease or an Opportunity for Healing?’
We invite you to join us in this vitally important discussion to expose the myths held around illness and disease and to shine the light on the truth of what is really on offer for us to learn from.
TRYING TO STOP TRYING
There are heaps of new year’s resolutions we can no doubt relate to, i.e., ‘I’m going to lose X kilos by March’, ‘I’m going to finish my diploma by June’, ‘I’m going to be a better person this year and not fight with my partner or mother’, and on they go.
However, the very nature of trying brings a hardness into our body and puts us into drive which ultimately exhausts us. So, what is it about trying and why do we constantly find ourselves trying hard to get the job done, trying to achieve this and that, and trying to be better in some way?
There’s an ideal in our society that to succeed one must achieve. We must be well educated, have a great career and do well at it. Whatever our choice of career or desire, it has generally meant striving to achieve it. Trying has been championed, but at what expense to our general health; and it appears to have saturated our lives with devastating results. Caffeine and sugar usage is through the roof as people, feeling exhausted, try to get through another day.
If we look back at how we’ve been in our life and focus on how we’ve lived in just one day, we will no doubt find that we’ve been trying most of the day. To simply get out of bed, go for our walk, eat breakfast (if we made time to do that) and prepare for work, many of us would have been rushing about before we even left the house let alone the drive that we went into during our working day.
Has this momentum set us up to continue the trying even after we retire from work, leaving us unable to deeply rest and live more surrendered in our bodies?
For those of us who are still in the workforce, are we still trying and still exhausting ourselves or have some of us realised the folly of this and found a more supportive and healthy way to move through our day? We would love to hear your experience.
This month there are two incredibly insightful articles where the authors are sharing their observations, ‘What Makes us Want to Try?’ and ‘Trying = Effort'.
EXPECTATION IN CELEBRATION
While many look forward to this time of year, there are others who don’t have this expectation of Christmas, theirs is one of dread, for this time highlights their loneliness and despair. For the elderly who no longer have friends or family and the homeless living on the streets and in shelters, their expectation is of a very different kind. Of course, there are also those who simply don’t hold with these types of celebrations for either religious or cultural reasons while others simply can’t be bothered with it all.
Though there are many who find this time of year difficult, the bulk of the population of the western world goes into overdrive with this festive season. There is decorating the house in tinsel and holly, Christmas cards written and posted (though now-a-days many do this via email), the last-minute gift buying and many conversations for the planning and preparation. Much food and drink are stockpiled so no one is caught short and running out over that week of festivities, which results in lots of food preparation and cooking to be attended to, so everything is ready for the occasion.
One can feel the exhilaration and excitement building as Christmas Eve draws near as people prepare for the celebration, and while many will say they’ve had an amazing time and can’t wait to do it all again, there’s also a very palpable feeling of a ‘drop’ in vitality after it is all over. This ‘drop’ can feel different to each person. Some might say there’s a sense of aloneness, others may feel a little depressed or melancholy while others might explain that they just feel tired and relieved it’s ‘done’ for another year.
What is it that drives this ‘Christmas mania’, and on balance, are they always the happy events people are hoping to enjoy? What happens for people when these long-awaited celebrations and gatherings don’t live up to their expectation?
Sandra comments that “My most memorable Christmas was when my Dad and I spent the day on our sailing boat with just ourselves and a pack of homemade sandwiches. It was the connection we had that I so enjoyed and the opportunity of being together with very little to do.”
What are your experiences of Christmas and other celebrations? We invite you to share your comments and ideas, what you’ve noticed about celebration and the expectations it holds for yourself and those around you.
LONELINESS AND AGEING
For many, loneliness is a very real factor of our elder years, particularly where the number of relationships we’ve enjoyed throughout our lives begin to drop away and we start to notice that our social sphere is getting smaller.
If we’ve been in the workforce for most of our adult life, retirement can leave us feeling we have been set adrift with nothing solid to hold onto. This is particularly difficult if we’ve placed value on what we ‘do’ rather than who we are within. Without a sense of purpose outside of ‘doing’ this can be a very challenging time in many people’s lives.
So how do we avoid feelings of loneliness as we age? There are many activities open to us. For instance, we can join various community groups, art, craft, book clubs, bushwalking, sporting, and gardening clubs to name just a few. These can all be enjoyable pastimes and are great avenues to get us out and about to meet other people. The key here is perhaps ‘other people’.
On the Relationship page, Gayle has shared a segment from the book ‘A Book of Joy, lasting happiness in a changing world’ which offers, in the words of the Dalai Lama:
“Sometimes I say that too much self-centeredness closes our inner door, and it becomes hard to communicate with other people. When we are concerned with the well-being of other human beings, that inner door opens, and we are able to communicate very easily with other people.”
Whether it is your personal journey or from what you have noticed happening for others in your community, we invite you our readers, to share your experience of Loneliness and Ageing.
Might it be smarter and more supportive to recognise and appreciate the potential our elderly folk have to offer the world around them, regardless of their age, and give them the space or platform to be more included during their elder years?
There is often a stigma around ageing where there is a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated and unworthy of interest or attention. A very prevalent belief is that they are unsuitable for employment.
There is an insidious undercurrent of thought about what it is to be getting older that becomes a truth if we don’t challenge or arrest that belief.
We have all read or heard the reports from elderly people where they have received outward discriminatory remarks from younger employers, colleagues, neighbours, or family members. They are often seen as a burden on society rather than a wealth of wisdom that can be harnessed for the benefit of the community.
The Australian Human Rights Commission states, ‘Young, old and everyone in between – Australians of all ages, have the right to be treated fairly and to enjoy the same opportunities as others.’
Have you noticed ageism in your community and if so, what would you like to see happen to support your elderly folk to lead more inclusive, full lives?
We invite you to share your insights and concerns on this super important topic.
WHAT IS true family?
Some of us may feel virtually unscathed by family life having developed ongoing close relationships with our family members while others would not describe family life as harmonious or supportive at all, perhaps resulting in feeling unlovable and isolated from the family unit and often from society in general. In fact, if we look at the rates of domestic violence, incest and homicides that happen in the home, we then have to ask ourselves; "what needs to change to allow for a more supportive way to live together as a family unit in our society?"
Two of our June articles offer insightful and different frames of reference for this complex discussion. Caroline’s article, ‘Is Family Good for Our Health?’, and an article written by members of the Joy of Ageing Esoterically team, ‘In Search of True Family’.
We are inviting our readers to share with us their own understanding of what a true family looks like to them. We are asking the question: In a true family, how would we be raised, how would we relate to each to other in a way that would ensure we grow up feeling loved, nurtured and appreciated for who we truly are?
IS TIME RUNNING OUT?
Another way it can unsettle us is when there’s something that we know we need to do but we think we have plenty of time in which to complete it. We reason with ourselves that we can do it tomorrow, after all what could possibly go wrong? What often results from this ‘innocent’ decision is that something else will pop up the next day that requires our attention so now our task that could have been actioned yesterday gets pushed back another day, and then another, and before we know it we’re days or weeks down the track and still have not managed to complete it.
What initially could have been done easily and gently has now been moved into the ‘urgent’ category. When we feel ‘pushed for time’ we’ll often feel stressed and anxious about the looming deadline. This heightened state of tension generally means we will rush the job, reducing our level of enjoyment in the task and diminishing the overall quality of the project.
This common dilemma can affect us in many areas of our life. It can be as simple as not returning emails, or more complex as in not doing our homework and having it build up to a point of overwhelm.
A more insidious way this can grab us can be in our elder years where we might begin to feel that time is running out to do ‘something’ - perhaps it’s that special thing that we’ve wanted to do for years and not found the space or courage to do it.
On the Wisdom of Elders page, Sandra’s article ‘Is Time Running Out?’ is a fascinating peek into her experiences and ponderings around the subject of time.
We welcome your valuable insights and invite you to share with us anything you have noticed about how time affects yourself and/or those around you. Do you feel supported by time or does it impede your inner calm?
THE BEAUTY IN AGEING
The beauty in ageing can be expressed in many ways. For some it can be about how they view themselves as they age, without judgement and thereby lovingly accepting the tell-tale lines on their face and the sagging skin as the body loses muscle tone, still able to see the beauty in this phase of life.
For others it is the absolute delight in getting to that age where they can let go of worrying about what others think. Expressing more freely without trying to second-guess what others will be comfortable with, choosing clothes that feel beautiful on their body rather than a ‘look’ to gain approval, so being more authentic.
It could be that for some, retirement and letting go of the burdens of holding down a job, raising a family and paying off the mortgage is finding the beauty in ageing, while for others it might be more about an appreciation of how they’ve developed as a person over the years, recognising how much they’ve grown and how that has allowed them to live with more harmony and wisdom in their relationships.
Gayle commented, ‘Fortunately, the grace of ageing helps us see through those superficial markers of what beauty is’.
We invite you to share with us anything you have noticed about yourself and others that might help to expand our awareness regarding the Beauty in Ageing.
STAYING ENGAGED – UN-RETIRING
This month we have three very inspiring articles for you to read. Un-Retiring by Sandra, Never Too Old by Mary and Misconceptions of Ageing by Gill and Christina.
Their journeys are unique to them but relevant to us all when we live our retirement years with purpose and a commitment to staying engaged with others, we can have very fulfilling, rewarding and happy ‘retirement years’.
Last month we also had two very inspiring articles written on this subject. They were Unfolding from Within – Un-retiring by Bernadette and Purpose by Catherine. Both of these authors discovered that un-retirement for them is about an inner journey, a deeper connection to themselves and the importance of bringing that part of themselves to the world around them
Let’s continue this conversation knowing that our stories can inspire others to look forward to their ‘un-retiring’ elder years.
In the Google dictionary the meaning of self-entitlement is depicted as someone who believes they are more deserving than another, privileged and more important i.e., what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.
In her article, Family and Self Entitlement, Sue writes, “This also supported me in detaching from my sense of entitlement with my blood family. Just because we are blood related doesn’t mean we owe them any more than we would anyone else, or that they owe us.”
Self-entitlement creates a sense of separation and individualism and is at the core of all wars, domestic violence, murder, paedophilia, greed, corruption and all our relationship issues. It’s why we have the global catastrophe of refugees who find themselves homeless in a world where others feel more entitled to live their way exclusively, resulting in enormous human tragedy.
Without this sense of entitlement, we’d be left with humility and the true understanding of equality and brotherhood. It begins with the most subtle thoughts such as “What do I need?” and ends with “I’m entitled to do or say whatever suits me”.
To what degree have you noticed how self-entitlement imposes on others and impacts our communities? We’d love you to join us in this discussion and share your interpretation of what it means to be self-entitled and how you see it playing out in your own life and the world around you.
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'Join a Conversation' is where we invite you to comment on a topic that is meaningful to ageing joyfully.
The more we are willing to talk about ageing, the easier it becomes to dispel the many myths and misconceptions that people of all ages feel about ageing and the elderly in their communities. It is up to us.
Let's start the conversation!
All written content copyright © 2022 Joy of Ageing Esoterically Pty Ltd and all Authors as mentioned.
Photos copyright © by the photographers: Alan Johnston, Clayton Lloyd, Dean Whitling, Desiree Delaloye, Iris Pohl, Steffi Henn, Steve Leca ,
Shannon Everest, Matt Paul, Gayle Cue
Photos copyright © by the photographers: Alan Johnston, Clayton Lloyd, Dean Whitling, Desiree Delaloye, Iris Pohl, Steffi Henn, Steve Leca ,
Shannon Everest, Matt Paul, Gayle Cue