Posts Tagged ‘somatic experiencing counseling’

Endlessly Fascinating, this thing called aging

February 14, 2010

In all those years that have gone under the bridge, I never paid much attention to my body. No make-up, or hair or clothes styles. I wore comfortable clothes, and while maybe not the most stylishly dressed, I could shape up for occasions.

I had a rich life, trying out everything from commune living, to travel, to three long-term relationships that had their value; spending 10 of those years in the women’s community and being a successful counselor; becoming an author and still writing; living in glorious S.F. and the bay area; reconnecting with my roots by visiting my grandparents’ houses in Norway and Germany, and, best of all, having many deeply thinking friends and children. Not bad.

My body worked for me so I never thought to examine it specially. It had its losses that I recognized: no more time for babies or menstruation; becoming invisible to the opposite sex earlier than i thought right; a few accidents that I prophesied would haunt me in “old age” way off in the distance; the loss of a breast to cancer at 72 still not feeling old, and not particularly fazed except by the bra with filling. I’d given up bras years before, yet, if i wanted to keep my back straight, a friend said I should wear a silicone-filled one, so sometimes i do. I was blessed with an abundance of energy, so the loss of some of it as I marched toward my 80’s didn’t stop what i wanted to do.

Getting to be 80 must be like my granddaughter’s expected thrill at 10, or my older grandkids graduating from college. I was Free. Free of having to  drop everything to respond to yet another need, even from casual contacts. Now I could surprise folks by saying “I’m 80” and see a certain respect and an understanding when I said “no, i really can’t do that (whatever it was). This slightly dishonest new response is due to the messages I imbibed from the culture about me as girl/woman giver, and from an early message from my depressed mother that I must rescue her from whatever. (Impossible task of course, but i sure tried––with her and every other person I came in contact with after I grew up.) So now I have found that I can assess the request and actually make a choice based on the good it would do for the person, AND for me. “No, sorry” is now in my vocabulary. Not that the old impulse isn’t still there, but I catch myself faster, stop that instant leap into action.

As far as the body is concerned, it too is a learning experience. I am forced to pay it attention. I’ve discovered everything from hair follicles to the ends of toes can hurt! Sometimes an ache really can give me pause. But I know other things too. From my Buddhist women’s class where we practice embracing every part of our lives rather than, say, pushing pain away (always no solution), I know how to become the viewer of the situation rather than being caught directly in the pain. This can be physical or it can be emotional/mental. The kind of pain my body gets seems to come and go and never be so unrelenting that modern medicine’s drug stash has to be called on. What I have learned from slowing down through Feldenkrais treatments too has helped me carry my body with more caring, to forestall pain that I create.

And the mental pain? Having worked with a somatic experiencing counselor, it finally occurred to me that there is, yes, some really deep pain from my life located in my lower belly. It can rise and I can let my feeling rip; weep and release. But the pain that I cause myself through the delusions my mind can take–well that just isn’t necessary. I used to hang up from talking with a family member and begin the litany, “Oh my poor (whoever), how awful his life is, how terrible that I didn’t solve his problems a long time ago, instead i added to them….blah blah.” Meanwhile, that person has gone back from the phone call into his life, doing his karma in the best way he can, and I’m sitting in my comfortable space drumming up imagined pain ‘for him.’ That’s nuts, eh? 

It’s February 14, so, happy valentine’s day, whoever happens on this learning blog (my understanding of computer language puts me back to kindergarten).

May you find inner peace, even if it comes and goes.    Lynn