Tag Archives: aging

It’s Never Too Late

The Wisdom Share Continued
Living in Community, Part III

Embrace change

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself thinking it’s ‘too late’ to make something happen in your life?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While in the middle of our wisdom sharing, a dear friend of mine from out of town sent me an inspiring story about a 91 year-old women by the name of Barbara Beskind who is working her dream job in Silicon Valley. Yep, you read it correctly. She is working her dream job at 91 years old. Pretty amazing, right?!

Upon reading Barbara’s story, I had just spoken to a small group of business students and told them that as an entrepreneur I have yet to arrive, which is very frustrating because I really want to arrive! I realize that this is just life and me always wanting to be better and “get it right,” but Barbara’s words were timely and reminded me to never lose hopedream big, always persevere and that there is continual purpose and meaning behind everything that happens in our lives.  Barbara said this: “I arrived! As a ten year-old I wanted to be an inventor, but it took me 80 years.”

Scott Stump’s article about Barbara is bursting with her spry and sharp wisdom resulting from having grown up during the depression. Here, a few of Barbara’s pieces of advice I enjoyed most:

  1. Get Rid of Your Devices: “I’m one of the wealthiest people in the world. I’m as wealthy as Warren Buffett because I measure my wealth by having uninterrupted time. I have no cell phone except one to use for emergency. I have no laptop. I have no smartphone, no iPod, because I can’t see them. I have uninterrupted time to think.”
  2. Expect the unexpected: “I think the beauty of being 91 is that you can look back and see how the little pieces fit into the big pieces of life, and life is a complete puzzle. Only when you get to be this age can you see it, and that’s the joy and the excitement of it.”
  3. Don’t let age get in your way: “Age is not a barrier to performance. Live life as an adventure, and expect change and endorse it, embrace it. Because as you age, every day you will be making changes. You will be adapting to changes in the way you have to do things whether they’re physical or they’re visual.
  4. Don’t let “old” become your identity: “Everybody has untapped resources. You just have to find them. They may be in music, they may be in childcare, they may be in volunteering at the hospital or at the library. I think with the aging, you so often lose your identity, and I think this is what IDEO gives to me, the opportunity to explore what my identity is.”

Here’s to an awesome Spring Break, living in community, sharing your life experiences & wisdom and enjoying this rich video about Barbara!

VideoOnToday

Action Item:
Embrace your life as an adventure, open to the idea that things you thought you’ll never get to do or become, are still a possibility.

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The Antidote for Worry Is…

gratitudetheantidoteforworry

“Gratitude is the enemy of worry and can transform common days into thanks-giving, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
– William Arthur Ward

Point to Ponder:
Does thinking about your Thanksgiving plans make you more stressed out or excited?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While listening to the radio last weekend, the DJ’s were discussing the topic of Thanksgiving and how “the powers that be” are sadly having success at making Thanksgiving a thing of the past. They were speaking to the fact that as soon as Halloween ends, the focus unfortunately isn’t on Thanksgiving, but the commercialism of Christmas. And the question then posed was, “What happened to Thanksgiving?”

I think most people would agree that Thanksgiving is likely one of the best holidays, simply because it’s simple. To the point of one of the DJ’s, truly observing Thanksgiving — and not passing over it — is a necessity, as this holiday is one of the few opportunities we have to *pause,* actually rest and focus on family, friends, and gratitude. Sadly, most stores are starting “black Friday” on Thanksgiving Day afternoon, as early as 4:00 p.m!  Seriously, this ticks me off, but we consumers are the ones with the control. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should”.

To take the importance of thanks-giving and the Thanksgiving holiday one step further, we physically, spiritually and mentally need this time because too much of our life is filled with the stressors of anxiety, worry and fear. Believe it or not, gratitude is the antidote for all of these!

“Researchers from Harvard found that anxiety and fear destroy the proteins at the end of our chromosomes called telomeres, which dramatically speeds up the aging process. Furthermore, researchers at the University of Chicago found that when people write their positive feelings and what they are grateful for, they significantly lowered their levels of worry and harmful cortisol levels. And, it raised their performance on tests of memory and critical skills by 10-15%.” (Anchor, Shawn. Success Magazine)

Cortisol is a life-sustaining adrenalin hormone that is naturally produced as a result of all good and bad stress. (AdrenalFatigue.org) However, consistent stress produces too much cortisol, which negatively impacts our health and overall quality of life in many ways, including:

  • impaired cognitive performance
  • poor thyroid function
  • blood sugar imbalance
  • decreased bone density
  • sleep disruption
  • decreased muscle mass
  • elevated blood pressure
  • lowered immune function
  • increased abdominal fat (which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and other health issues)

Furthermore, continual stress makes our bodies secrete too much cortisol and adrenalin, and adrenal fatigue sets in. This contributes to:

  • brain fog
  • mild depression
  • blood sugar imbalance
  • fatigue
  • sleep disruption
  • low blood pressure
  • lowered immune function
  • inflammation (which science is learning can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disease and other health conditions)

Despite the temptations to be busy over the Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to embrace it as the holiday of gratitude, spending time with the people you love and giving your body, mind and spirit the necessary time of renewal. When allowing ourselves the time and opportunity to be in a continual state of gratitude, our worries will disappear, your heart will sing and your health, quality of life and the people we love will reap the benefits. Truly, truly our health is our greatest wealth and feeling your best is the most wonderful gift you can give during the holidays and every day of your life.

For a beautiful and emotional display that our best days come from people and not things, check out the video below and Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

yourbestdayvideo

Action Item:
Over Thanksgiving, resist the temptation to be busy and instead focus on spending time with the people you love and giving your body, mind and spirit a necessary time of rest and renewal.

The Final Step: Having Gratitude for our Ungratifying Traits

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
-Frederick Keonig

Point to Ponder:
What physical attributes of yours do you regularly wish were different?

Action Item:
Learn to appreciate your so called “flaws” for what they really are by making a list of all of things that body part HELPS you do.

Throughout the past three week’s we’ve covered many transformational topics, that when applied to our lives will allow us to live less exhausted and more wholehearted. They are:

  1. Be selective with what you choose to spend your time on, as this eliminates exhaustion and allows for passionate living. Think it terms of ‘less being more’.
  2. Comparison is the thief of joy” – Teddy Roosevelt. Stop comparing your life, your body, your career, your relationship, or who you were yesterday to who you are today. Live your life.
  3. Don’t take things personally (The Four Agreements)
  4. Don’t make assumptions (The Four Agreements)
  5. Be impeccable with your word (The Four Agreements)
  6. Always do your best (The Four Agreements)

As we conclude our ‘Antidote for Exhaustion Challenge,’ the final step is one that in theory is simple, but because of our  tendency to compare, it takes significant intention and practice.

Below is an honest and beautiful example in appreciating the things that we typically don’t appreciate and even take for granted.

 “Hands On!” Gratitude for our Ungratifying Traits

by Kathleen Parker
by Kathleen Parker

A couple months ago I went to lunch with a group of friends that I have known for a very long time. All of our kids grew up together and we gather for birthdays and other celebratory events. One of our interesting topics landed on plastic surgery, which drifted to despite our efforts to keep our faces looking youthful, our hands show our true age. At that moment I looked down at my hands and smiled. I noticed that they were larger than most women my size, and my fingers are long with maybe more “knuckle wrinkles” than most too. I also have a sunspot on my right hand that looks like a huge freckle.

As I was driving home, I continued to look at my hands on the steering wheel. I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude as I was reminded of all the amazing things my hands have done and continue to do. They held, loved, and raised four babies. They may not be delicate and beautiful, but they are strong! They can grip and hold a ski rope behind any boat (which is when I am my happiest!). They even won the “grip test” at the Austin’s Fittest Competition and they were great to have at the pull-up station, too. They enable me to live my dream job everyday! They are holding my husband’s hands as we take our dance lessons this spring.

Realizing that one of the least aesthetically pleasing parts of my body is actually one of my best assets has made me appreciate my big, long-fingered and sun-spotted hands.

Through our critical eyes we may see some of our greatest blessings as unattractive, too big, too small, or not good enough, but they are actually allowing us to walk, run, hold, clap, see, hear, hug and so much more. We are all wonderfully made, and we are all given different gifts. So, rather than wishing we had less, more or were created differently, let’s focus on being grateful for everything we do have.

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Breathing In a Legacy of Love and Nurture

week10

…When one is willing to let life in and let life out, it’s more comfortable than when one is in resistance to life all the time.
— Patricia Townsend, Yoga Teacher

Action Item:
Breathe and know that when you sigh out your breath reminds you that you can live to lovingly pass along your legacy with your next grateful breath.

By Cary Fyfe

By Cary Fyfe

Journey seventeen’s legacy theme has been highlighted in my world lately as I have had to escort my mother through the transition of not living on her own. My mom is a delight. Her laugh is like raindrops on sea glass. She has an adoration of life-long friends and an uncanny knack for keeping plants flourishing is magic. I have many sweet legacies to cherish, and, as in most relationships, it is a mixed bag. Our journey together as mother and daughter has not always been smooth and as I willingly guide her through this unwelcome passage, I am a vessel burdened also by regrets that sometimes catch my breath and stop me in my tracks.

One recent afternoon, a dear family friend listened quietly while I shared my heartbreak of having to move my mom from her home. Each word I spoke unleashed a torrent of emotions inside of me – some surprising, some not – but all came from so deep within that they had me at an emotional standstill. As I fought for a steady voice, I told him of the questions, doubts and regrets that were swimming through my mind. I so desperately wanted it all to either go away or make sense so that I could breathe easily in this new definition of my mother.

He waited until my winds eased a bit, then answered my unanswerable questions with a question of his own. He asked, “What is your deepest regret about this?” And without any thought or awareness of what the answer would be, the words spilled out: “That the chance to receive the magic of mothering is slipping away from me.” So many meanings, so many levels of sorrow, the core of it being that the “mother’s touch” would be gone forever.

My friend gently closed his eyes as he let the dark clouds that gathered around my words settle, and he said, “You will be mothered in this new place too, just listen for it and be open to it.” This was very comforting advice so I took a deep breath and tucked those words away. Take a moment to look over the Weekly Intention Guide to set goals that apply well to your life this week.

at iGnite we like to keep our friends close- to stay there for each other when we could use a little rebalancing.

at iGnite we like to keep our friends close- to stay there for each other when we could use a little rebalancing.

A few weeks passed and I visited my mom in her new surroundings, where she has the support she needs. I felt her sorrow as I absorbed her new place in life. I also visited her home again. It was not an easy visit, and my breaths weren’t always steady as I internally resisted this sad transition. I sighed out as I carried a favorite item from her home to take to my own — an old, beautiful ivy — one that had crept its way up a wall, and with a quiet embrace had encircled a portrait of me as a child.

When I returned to Austin, I gently removed the old ivy from my car and found a cozy spot where it could flourish. It brought me peace to have the ivy in my home and as I bent to place it on my porch, one of its leaves brushed across my cheek so softly that I gasped. And there, in that unexpected moment when my breaths were effortless, was my mother’s legacy. Her mothering was right here, right now, alive in the beauty of this old plant she nurtured; alive in her early days of nurturing me, alive now in me, nurturing her through what she sees as the beginning of her final journey.

I gently sighed out. My breath was suspended no longer as I saw clearly that life does indeed ebb and flow, and that our breaths will dance rhythmically with that lovely tide if we let them in, then let them out again. Life flows, no matter how resistant we become, no matter how hard we try to control it, no matter how hard we try to make sense of it. It flows, and the beautiful reality is that every time we drink in a breath of fresh air, we are awake to a message of love and nurture, such as one from a simple old plant. It’s a legacy…a gift — and one that, when you sigh out again, reminds you that you too can live to lovingly pass along your own legacy with your next grateful breath. Join Cary and other wonderful yoga teachers to practice your breathing outside in beautiful Austin and feel the powerful benefits: our updated weekly schedule. 

I realize this weeks video was highlighted during last Journey, but in the spirit of breathing and passing on our legacy with grateful breaths, I think I’ll slip on my leotard, tease my hair, use a bottle of RAVE hairspray and starting practicing my favorite breathing techniques from the video. More than anything, I’m bound to get a belly ache from laughter. Enjoy and happy breathing.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- Do you use your breath as a powerful tool to calm and center you? 

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