Welcome to the Blog For July and August, 2020

News and Views on Ageing
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Beginners Mind

a world of wonder August 31st, 2020
path
One of the cultivations of Buddhism and of mindfulness generally is ‘beginners mind’ which practitioners are encouraged to develop. That is, to see and experience things as if for the first time; to see the world around us with engaging curiosity. What is not so clear is how to develop our beginners mind and when to allow it because what is clear is that we cannot live in this modern world in a continual state of wonderment, it is just not practical.

However, if we keep open the possibility of wonderment, ‘wow’ moments will come along.

For example, I was dressing on the first cool morning that proclaimed that autumn is upon us when it struck me how amazing it is that the laws of the universe have arranged it so that as I put layers of clothes on I get warmer and stay warm. That seems absolutely marvellous to me. Something I had just taken for granted all my 75 years – never given it a thought as for over 27,000 mornings I have put on my clothes! Modern human beings would not have evolved without the fundamental laws governing insulation.

Another example of that simple wonderment came to me today I was collecting up the buddleia cuttings from yesterday, before clearing some overgrown steps and going on the mow the back lawn. There is a simple joy in knowing what one is doing and doing it, the process engenders a pleasurable and quiet confidence.

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Harvesting

"Bringing it all back home" * August 20th, 2020
rocking chair
Very often we look back at our younger days with a combination of rose tinted spectacles and lashings of nostalgia. There is a tendency to compare our present negatively to the past which is a hiding to nothing as we can’t go back nor is there anything to gain by wishing to.

However our past has immense amount to show and to teach us as none of us gets past middle age without having committed some inglorious mess-ups, ones that we would often rather not expose to daylight.

And yet, on examination, we may see how responses and patterns of behaviour occur in certain types situation or relationship. We may see how some responses no longer serve us well and begin to find new, more skilful, responses.

Harvesting our past can also bring to light successes that we have forgotten or have never acknowledged. We may see that our life has always had meaning and purpose however much we have dallied down dead ends or gone around in circles.

Often exploring our journey so far brings up more joys and sorrows, successes and failures and in the process we see that our life is deeper and richer than we might have imagined.

* Bob Dylan

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Forgetting and Remembering

No longer counting the days. July 9th, 2020
rocking chair
Many of us become concious of apparently being more forgetful as we age in years and few of us remember our forgetfulness as teenagers, harried parents or workers. Having said that I have become more aware of the times I forget something but then I have became more aware of many aspects of my existence in recent years. An example of my forgetfulness would be this morning when I looked for my green jumper. Very quickly I recalled that I had last seen it on a wheelbarrow outside one of the poly tunnels, so the forgetting is balanced by the remembering.
We can fall into the trap of criticising ourselves, raising fears of decline into dementia and all sorts of catastrophic fantasies. We often hear people expressing their fear through jokes or flippant remarks, “I’m having a senior moment.” Not only is this ageist it also causes self-inflicted suffering

I think it is well worth the effort of exploring our level of forgetfulness at other points in our lives. While the forgetting may be embarrassing in some circumstances most times it can just be gently smiled at without censure. We are allowed to forget what ever age we may be, forgetfulness is not just the domain of the over 60s we all live there at times.

Right now I cannot remember where I left my waterproof jacket but there’s a pretty good chance it’s on the coat hook by the door!

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