Give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness expert
Denial — even resistance — to getting older is a natural impulse. But what if we embraced it instead of pushing it away?
Pushing away aging makes good sense; why not stay healthy and fit as long as possible? The difficulty in doing that is a seeming glitch in our design that reveals the essential challenge of being human. Eventually, knees and hearts give out, eyes and sex drive weaken, the broad mind and the narrow hips exchange places. We look in the mirror, half expecting to see our 20-year-old selves looking back at us, and notice a spot here, a sag there, lines everywhere. One minute we are striving and on top of our game, the next moment we are in a doctor’s office, waiting for a variety of invasive procedures to keep us around a little bit longer. And, even if we do manage to slow down the effects of aging, mortality is always right around the corner.
The human experience of aging is interwoven with vulnerability. And what if it’s OK to be vulnerable? What if wisdom and connection, depth and richness all come from the realization of impermanence? You don’t have to pretend the sensations of aging are comfortable, or pleasant, or wanted. But what you can do is be present as it all bubbles up.
And just maybe, if we can find a way to stay present we might be surprised to discover that being older than we were yesterday is part of being alive. Enjoy the changes of life, the new discoveries that come with every breath.
“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness and equanimity right here and right now.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
The new Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness at Jupiter Medical Center is a beautiful, soothing space overlooking the Jacqueline Fiske Healing Garden designed to teach people to be more mindful and to manage the tension of everyday life.
The ongoing practice of mindfulness helps by lowering stress levels that are often a contributing factor to “dis-ease.” In addition, those who practice this discipline can achieve an enhanced sense of balance in their lives and a greater interest in learning the “how” of taking good care of themselves, enhancing their ability to focus on overall wellness.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes are the cornerstone of the services offered at the Calcagnini Center, in addition to other services like meditation sessions, workshops, health coaching, and other integrative medicine practices such as Yoga, Tai Ji Quan and massage, to name a few.
To register for Jupiter Medical Center’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes, visit jupitermed.com/mindfulness or to learn more about the services at Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness at Jupiter Medical Center, call 561-660-1828.
A quick practice in mindfulness
When fears, worries, and concerns about aging overtake you, try this three-minute breathing space practice, which is used in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to maintain openness and curiosity.
Breathe in. Notice any thought bubbles that appear, including negative thoughts about aging. Notice what these thoughts trigger in your body, and which emotions arise. Continually remind yourself to be gentle, open, and curious—even if (especially if) you feel overwhelmed. Aging happens. It’s OK. After a moment of opening to whatever you noticed in your mind and your body, rest your attention lightly but firmly on the rise and fall of your belly, feeling the stretch of the inbreath, the release of the outbreath. Your body is your anchor to the present moment. Notice when your attention seeks distraction from being here. Do not judge. Simply notice and then gently return to the rise and fall of your breathing. After a minute of repeatedly returning to the breath, expand your attention out into the rest of your body, noticing whatever sensations arise. Be aware of your facial expression and your posture. Then stretch a tiny bit further and notice the space around you. Be here now.