Something New – Part 10

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
* * *
Well, I am so much in the groove of doing new things that I forget to keep track. But, in October, even as I was buying the tickets I was amazed at our (my husband and I) sense of silliness and adventure.
In addition to doing something new each month, my husband and I have begun, once again, to take turns deciding on something interesting to do that takes us out of our routine. Watching Vera on Amazon Video may be entertaining but it isn’t enlightening or broadening unless we are trying to learn new British slang. And even if it is less graphic than many detective shows, it still necessitates me hiding my eyes periodically.
Okay, so you may think that our choice this month was no improvement – but we thought going through a Haunted House for Halloween was pretty fun. And it was a first for me!
Life Student

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Something New – Part 9

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
* * *
It has been a month of new things. Perhaps in going through this process, I am more open to trying things. Perhaps I have been doing new things all my life and not making note of them. Anyway…
1. A bit of shame surfaces when I tell about one of this month’s “new” activities. Why have I waited so long?
I speak Spanish. I am not totally fluent, but enough that I can spend a month each year in a small Mexican village where few people speak English.
For many years I have considered opportunities to work in some volunteer capacity that would serve our high Latino population. I considered “Smart” reader in the schools but cannot commit to being here every week. I hung some flyers at the library several years ago, offering to help non-English speakers with computer and other library issues. I had a few takers, but found that most older Latinos come with their children or grandchildren who were fluent in English.
A couple of weeks ago I got brave and visited a local organization that serves the seasonal working population in our valley. My orientation was pretty informative. The term, Seasonal Workers, covers a much larger section of the population than I imagined. In an high tourist and agricultural area it covers  a wide variety of jobs, including migrant workers in the fields, of course, but also those who struggle due to lay-offs in the low tourist months. Who knew?
My particular job took me to the orchards. I worked with organization employees to inform those in seasonal housing of their opportunity for representation, medical help, and legal help. We took clothes, listened to problems, heard stories, and generally looked over the state of living conditions of ;men and women who travel through to pick our fruit. In Spanish!
Professionally and socially I know some of the owners of the farms we visited. I was relieved to see that the housing was good (100 percent better than when I was young) and that injuries were well-tended. It was good to hear that the foremen were aware that they really needed someone to represent the interests of the workers. It was also good to hear that the organization with which I was working was well-respected by those we visited.
I don’t know how I will use my Spanish skills in the future, but I am committed to reach out!
2. I had different plan for the month but when we headed for Colorado for a visit to children and grandchildren I got a brilliant idea. My granddaughter and her husband are rock climbers. What if???
They were excited!
I began talking to myself.  This was my mantra: “It doesn’t matter if you go up two feet or ten feet – it’s the trying that counts.”

We were quite a group as we headed for the rock face. Of course, the climbers. And my son, my daughter-in-law, her sister, my granddaughter’s friend, none of whom had climbed before. And then were the Florida visitors, my grandson-in-law’s parents who had arrived the night before from sea-level and for whom taking a walk usually meant meandering down the sidewalk in the evening. (Even in Aspen the elevation is 7908 ft.)

Climbing boulders to get to the rock cliff.

Climbing boulders to get to the rock cliff.

After driving up toward Independence Pass we climbed boulders to get to our destination. The young ones thought it was all a piece of cake. Hmm…
Version 2Well, I did it! I probably climbed about six feet up the rocks. My son took photos from an angle that made it look as if I reached the top. Not!
I am grateful:
  • That my grandchildren use extremely safe practices in their adventures. They don’t free climb and they always check and re-check their equipment.
  • That I handled it all with some grace and calm. And that I wasn’t too hard on myself when I had to quit.
  • That I wasn’t the only one climbing. Man, that’s a lot of work to set up for one person who only climbs six feet.

3. This is crazy and incidental but I had a class to attend and a dinner to fix whose timing didn’t coincide. Leaving my husband to remember to put a roast in the oven has its drawbacks. Aha! I have all of the modern conveniences…why not use them.

I mastered the “Delayed Start” with the push of a few buttons. Gave it a few thoughts as I sat in my class but then let it go. I arrived home to a roast that was close to ready.

Hooyah!

Nice month, huh?

The Student

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The Silver Gate – The Task

“The Silver Gate requires us to surrender our egos and begin the process of accepting the aging of the body and mind. (…) Our task at this gate is to move beyond the familiar and strengthen our capacity to develop curiosity, trust, and flexibility.” Angeles Arrien

I have been working on this acceptance for years – long before I found this book.  In fact, I have written about it many times on another blog. You can read my thoughts here.

For the purposes of this exercise I’m going to wander down the ego path.

If I acknowledge (which I have done) and rest into (in some ways) my aging, what will I gain and what will I lose? This is looking at it from the ego, isn’t it?

I have gained so much and as I move through this book, I realize that there is always more to come. More joy, more wisdom, more sharing, more ease with life, more alignment in spirit and essence.

And there are things that I might not give up so easily.

I hope that I can stay active throughout my life. I have had periods of illness and restricted activity but have always been able to work my way back. I don’t fast-forward toward the “what ifs” and so I don’t know how it will be to give up my strength and vitality.

I am used to how I look. I still feel attractive and winsome. Oh, I gain a few pounds here, a wrinkle there, and sagging lots of things; but, overall my changes come slowly and almost imperceptibly. I continue to try to look my best – and that idea of my best has changed through the years. I think of beauty differently and value a smile emanating from inner good will as an ageless magnet. Will I ever look myself in the eye and be dissatisfied with who I see there? I hope not ever because of superficial changes that we take on with aging. But who knows?

I love my independence. Although I am happy to volunteer and assist those who need assistance, I don’t really contemplate how it will be when I am the one who needs it. I hope I have the wisdom to ask for and accept help. And I hope there is someone like myself who offers their hand in a friendly way as an equal.

I don’t really worry so much about my mind. Of course, I don’t like forgetfulness. But, I have much experience with loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s. If the only way I can master “presence” is to be unable to remember the past or plan for the future…so be it!

The Student

 

 

 

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