June 23, 2014

I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes yesterday, Sunday, when the gym doesn't open until 8:00. Then I used a few machines instead of swimming. I appreciate the alternate exercise which is hard to fit in on days I swim.

Walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes is harder than swimming for 65 minutes. I hold onto the side rails constantly. When I first started walking on the treadmill, my arms ached. Now I try to hold on lightly but I still don't have the balance to let go altogether.

Three friends with whom I've walked the last two months have allowed me to lean on their extended arms when I've needed extra support after the initial twenty minutes. Of course, I always use a cane when I go out for a walk. The neurologist asked me at our second meeting if I am using a cane more and I replied (somewhat diffidently), "No." Morning walking is fine and a cane slows me down. Holding a purse, car keys, a wallet, opening a door, and carrying my briefcase are all I can handle. I don't really need a cane until mid-afternoon when I tire more easily. I enjoy the energy of the morning hours.

In the mornings, I arise at 4:30, do floor exercises, drive to the pool, swim, return home, eat, meditate, and rest. Then my work day starts. I see Medicare clients in their homes for individual psychotherapy. I began serving this population when I moved to this area. So very many folks need services but can't easily leave home. I don't want to maintain an office so our needs mesh nicely. I see adults who are challenged physically by normal aging in addition to those confronting unexpected situations. They are folks who have lived with integrity making decisions that seemed like good judgment at the time they made them but life still led them down an unexpected alley. And there are the folks whose impulses historically have ruled them, now living with diminished options and capabilities. Both groups find themselves up against one or more walls, uncomfortable and confused.

At this time in my life I am surprised, also. During my initial hospitalization in 1971 the neurologist said I would age more quickly than others. The last nine years (since I was 55) have thrust me into my senior stage with a fury. Consequently, I have eliminated all needless running around. I think about where I must go, the parking, and my energy level. I don't go out in the evening because I'm too tired. I rest every day, sometimes sleeping. I'm satisfied with less activity in my days.

I've lost a lot of busyness but I've gained a deeper level of acceptance, both of myself and of others. Now I appreciate whatever there is to appreciate about folks I encounter. I'm not driven and not goal-oriented. That involed a major shift and a surrender. I know I can't effect what I want so I delight in the gifts I'm given.

In my meditation yesterday I was led to post a giveaway on craigslist--my mother's 1948 Singer sewing machine. I had taken it out of the carrying case the day before and discovered it doesn't work. (It had been more than twenty years since I had used it but I thought maybe . . .) Within three hours of posting the ad a young woman picked it up and left a cute Thank you note. She needed a part for another 1940s era machine which can't be bought and was delighted to receive mine. Spirit had orchestrated the transfer precisely.

When Spirit works its magic around me and with me I feel great joy. That's how I participate in life.

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