I excel at multitasking; I am currently training for a half marathon; I have multiple degrees and feel great satisfaction from the sense of accomplishment. Does this sound familiar to you? I think it’s the’American’ disease. Problem is, I’m turning 65 in June and have decided to take the next thirty years to prepare for my death. So, given that multitasking seems to be in direct opposition of cultivating my meditation practice and slowing down, I am faced with a dilemma: If my value has been self-determined by the speed and efficiency of my accomplishments, what will be my value (either self-determined or determined by our society) as a 65 year old woman who opts out of the rat race? Clearly, I have some work to do on myself.
The epiphany about taking the next 30 years to prepare for my death is a great gift that I recently received from two different sources. The first was the very heart-breaking occurrence of a young and beautiful man’s death and the prayer his father posted on Facebook in a letter. It is a poem by the Buddha:
I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill-health.
There is no way to escape having ill-health
I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
The second gift came from an 81 year old wise woman who I interviewed for our Aging With Grace and Glory series. She said that when she turned 50, she made the decision to take the next 30 years to prepare for a strong mind, body and spirit during her 80′s. She succeeded! She is bright and clear and vital. Everyday she practices Qigong. She has a strong spiritual practice that has brought her to a place of peace and a deep presence of awareness. She is prepared for her death.
Today I signed up for Qigong. And so this journey begins. What are your struggles and joys on this path of consciousness? We are, after all, all in this together. Love to hear from you.