Grateful for Growth

Post Date: July 31st, 2016


The thermometer has dropped from 90 degrees, and it is nice to have breezy fresh air circulating through the house. But as darkness settles in, the humidity is too challenging for sleep, so I close up the house and put on the central air.

Immediately I feel the protection of my home and its lovely, sturdy spirit. And I luxuriate in the deep quiet. I reflect, contemplate, and pray.

I think about aging now that I’m 65. I’ve spent my adult life actualizing my emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves, and that will continue for all my years. I never thought, however, about actualizing my physical self.

Eight months ago I finally followed a dear friend’s encouragement to work with a personal trainer. A particular personal trainer. One who is emotionally and spiritually mature. She is profoundly nonjudgmental, a gift to everyone, especially women and elders, with whom she works. She is a former ballet dancer, so has spent her adult life actualizing her body through dance, running and working out.

With her guidance and support I have grown in strength from a pathetically low level to being able to bench press 30 lbs. and do bicep curls with 12.5 lbs. in each hand (I’m closing in on 15). My muscles have developed some definition and I’ve improved my posture. I feel physically confident and, not to be trite, empowered: more capable, not easily daunted.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed that my energy is not what it used to be. And I sleep long hours. But to be growing stronger against the effects of physical aging pleases me.

I am not pleased to see the bulges beneath my eyes and gravity’s downward pull on my neck. Yet I’m becoming all that I can be physically at my age, just as I am in the other realms of self.

I think that is the great adventure of aging. With retirement, one has time to concentrate on oneself, to develop oneself in ways that aren’t possible with the full giving of a career. There are more spaces in a day, which some find challenging. But these spaces are liberating to the spirit and allow movement toward even more integration of one’s whole self. I’m grateful for growth.