One of my absolute greatest Joys is sharing the Teachings of Asana, Pranayama, Meditation and Energy Work with Our Elders spread around the Las Vegas Valley – most living in Retirement, Assisted Living, Dementia or Alzheimer’s communities.
I’m confident that the majority of them believed throughout their lifetime that they were building their best lives possible; raising families, working hard, saving money (lots of it in many cases) and planning for a ‘wonderful’ Retirement. Most of them very consciously had planned to save money for Retirement and eventually live in a place where ‘all’ was taken care of for them and they could merely bask in the beauty (in the eye of the beholder) of the space and . . . Retire.
As I walked into one of the many lovely communities I Teach in this morning; the message saturated my being with a heaviness and clarity that I’m certain few who live in these ‘facilities’ ever thought about. As beautifully decorated as these places are, as nice as the food can be, as nice as the entertainment can be, there’s a strong sense of people waiting to pass, even those appearing healthy. This dream so many had to finally retire and live ‘freely’ without responsibilities, worries, etc. actually has placed them in an environment full of people with Fears. Fears of health, Fears of losing money, Fear of falling, Fear of continuing. . . to Live.
My love and I oftentimes find ourselves talking about the aging factor, Our Elders and ourselves somewhat. . . the ironic, sacred recipe of hard, hard, frequently soul-wrenching work, being the sweetest and strongest of Medicines. (I remind him often, as he does me). Freedom should be re-defined for our Aging families; Freedom must be defined as doing what we Love, from a Soul level, and working towards staying healthy and engaged as possible – even through our very real Trials we all encounter in this Human life, to ensure that is the life we live, through our final breaths.
The percentage of Elders whom choose to continue to feed their Health – in all forms – versus feed their Fears of Aging- seems to be unfortunately small in these planned Retirement Communities. Some take the Yoga & Meditation, and love it. And these are the people who I feel were clearly renegades in their younger years and somehow were blessed with the insight that Feeding our Joy most definitely, does, Feed our Health. Majority however walk slowly, present in pain, fear and troubles and have gone from their dreamed mindset of Retirement, Yes! to Retirement, doesn’t feel so well.
The message that permeated my Soul was that Community – comprised of family, friends, loved ones, healthy meals, plenty of exercise and literal ‘work’ until our last living breath are Communities that nurture our Elder’s later years. Planned Communities which do everything for the person in fact foster Fear, Fear that they actually ‘are’ aging and that their lives will slow down, will suffer. It’s interesting – that which they planned for their entire lives to ‘finally’ arrive to that place of Freedom, actually is quite the stifling moment for many. Too many Doctor’s appointments flourish, never ending pharmaceuticals are taken, surgeries are recommended as common place. As we age, our human bodies withstand less invasiveness than in our younger years. And this man-made medicine (?) presents an entirely other level of concern and oftentimes Fear-based living versus the joy they imagined possible in their Elder years.
I believe from my heart, the perfect Community for our Elders is a Community of loved ones, friends, shared work, shared thoughts, shared laughter, music, art, shared, healthy meals, wholesome Earth medicine and a mind-set of Living heartily to our last breath! The planned Retirement Communities do such a fine job of living up to their marketing; the problem seems to be that there’s a lacking of true Community – friendship building, sharing, and . . . Work; that which keeps our Souls alive – the mindset of I am Healthy, I am Strong, I am Protected, I am Safe, I am Free to Be all I can be and More!
I am beyond Grateful for the time I can spend sharing the love and light of Yoga, Meditation and Soul work with our sweet Elders, as so many truly love the ‘reminder’ of who they are from a Soul level, and their ability to (re) connect to Spirit, Creator, Source and love themselves back to Life, one confident breath at a time. And I Pray daily that more will consider taking this Self-Journey and keeping their Spirit alive, nurtured and loved as their bodies and minds begin to slow down a bit.
Our Mind’s are powerful, powerful wonders that we’ve been Blessed with, our Thoughts create our entire Realities, so to be able to trigger some of our Elder’s memories of youth, health and wealth is a wondrous joy. And as for the Retirement facilities – the concept is excellent – now to have as many Holistic Practitioners, Spiritual Advisors and Holi-people share of their time and Divine talents – to give these friends of Ours, life-giving hope and Strength, knowing their Medicine is but in their own hands, hearts, and . . . Minds. I love my Work, and am reminded . . . One Person at a Time. May these Blessings continue – in their Lives more and more, and Mine.