Welcome to the Blog for June, 2020

News and Views on Ageing
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Intimations of Mortality

No longer counting the days. June 28th, 2020
native woodland
I was walking through the woodland this morning, the sun streaking through the trees to my left and birds singing noisily ahead of me. As I walked I snipped back the brambles that threatened to overgrow the narrow path. All in all a beautiful Sunday summer’s morning reflected in the scattering of red campion and pinky-white bramble blossoms. And yet as I walked I became aware of a tender sadness and thoughts arose of my impermanence and that of all the woodland life around me. I connected with a deep sense of not wanting this to end yet knowing in my gut that I and all this life about me will one day cease.
Being with these thoughts and feelings, allowing them to arise and take space, has a sense of correctness if not of comfort and they pass too if we don’t cling to them and make them our story. Indeed, as I left the woodland, passed the poly tunnels and walked up to the top garden I smiled in amusement as I disturbed the blackbirds feasting on the redcurrants – like errant schoolboys they rushed for cover.

Walking around the garden, harvesting courgettes, helping my self to blackcurrants and looking over the valley of the River Dart I acknowledged that yes everything passes but right now everything is here and here is where my joy and sorrow resides.

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Challenging Perceptions

No longer counting the days. June 27th, 2020
maternal great grandmother
I recently came across the phrase ‘person with age’ instead of ‘old person’, which comes directly from the use of the phrase ‘person with a disability’ and in both cases the focus is taken away from some categorising difference towards the commonality of being a person.

It is very clear that we are only starting to unravel the web of ageism that binds each of us and all of us and the best place to start that unravelling is with ourselves. What is my learnt ageism, what did my family, school, books and popular culture teach me about older people?

How does my own ageism hold me back, dampen the joy of my years? And the attitudes we find, do they match the reality of our experience of later life, do they enhance or inhibit our lives?

How do I react when a person says that I look young for my age or that I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for my age? How about, how I look is how I look at 74 and that the amount of energy and enthusiasm I have has very little to do with my age and a lot more to do with living a life that suits me. I think of these questions and what they can uncover as just another part of the de-cluttering process that seems to me to be essential in order to bring ease and calm. It also makes us harder to pigeon hole and just by being authentically ourself we offer a challenge to the assumptions that society make about us people with age!

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Home Retreats from the Barn

Day Eighty Seven of Solitude June 16th, 2020
Barn Buddha
Our 3 day online home retreats are now receiving bookings for July! Come join the Barn team & a supportive small community to practice & share together. There will be familiar faces including Tasha, the co-ordinators, 'bendy Justin' (our beloved yoga teacher), and our Barnie Buddhist teachers who would all love to see you again.

One of the unique features of this retreat is the chance to develop supportive community through connecting with each other and sharing our experiences in smaller groups.

The retreat offers a variety of practices live and offline, including several of which are downloadable that you can come back to over and over after the retreat.

There will be a maximum of 12 people on this retreat with opportunities for smaller group sharing, as well as connecting in with the group daily during the retreat and weekly for the following month ensuring that you have the best conditions to weave the practices into your life for the long term.

See The Barn Home Retreat: for more information and booking.

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Regret and Remorse

Day Eighty of Solitude June 9th, 2020
pink rose
Looking at the dictionary there would appear to be little difference in the modern usage of the word regret and remorse yet to me at they are very different experientially. It appears to me that regret involves looking back to past behaviour, ideas, paths taken or not taken and wishing they had been different. The wish may or may not be accompanied by feelings of sadness or anger possibly tinged with nostalgia but the process is essentially passive. “Oh well, what’s done is done.”
Remorse, seems to me, to involve a direct emotional relationship with a past event, behaviour or way of being which one does indeed regret. Most of us have things in our past that we would rather not face but an essential part of a healthy coming to terms with our life’s journey is to look into those dark corners, to see and acknowledge, in fact and in feeling, how we have hurt or mistreated. To understand that we were wrong, to look our behaviour in the face and to be in that dark space in order to know it afresh. It’s hard, most of us don’t want look at the things we have tried to ignore in order to feel that we are OK or that do not fit with our self image.

Once started the process of bringing our unskillful behaviours into awareness can be painful and, at times, relentless as one memory opens up into another. Yet, it seems to me, when we acknowledge and experience the emotions around our remorse we can begin to apply forgiveness and compassion to our unskillful past actions. In the process we can allow the sun to shine into those corners so that they are no long in dark denial but may take their place in the long history of our life. The sun removes the shame.

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