Aging Gracefully

Solar Term 17 | October 8 – October 21

Graceful leaves

It is fascinating to watch the leaves change as they stop making food for the plants and trees.

Each day as the sun retreats a little more, the leaves transform from being green and helpful to a stunning array of red, orange, and gold.

It makes me wonder why so many of us believe that when we age, and change, and stop being productive, that we will turn into something lesser rather than something spectacular.

How have you changed?

Observing this change all around, I wonder about how this kind of change is reflected in us.

We are all older now than when the now changing leaves were new sprouting last spring.

How have we changed from then? How do you feel about it? And, is there something that needs to change, something that is holding you back from becoming vibrant?

Living gracefully is about the ability to change

Aging gracefully is about living in harmony with the seasons of nature and life and accepting the changes.

Turning our experience into wisdom is what makes us better as we age.

It gets harder to change as we age, partly because we lose our yin – the fluid for all aspects of our being. We dry out and get hard. We see it in people who get stuck in their ways, whose hearts harden and get mean. But it also happens in other places – arteries, organs, joints, tendons, minds, and brains. Then the moment comes when change is necessary and we are unable to bend, so we break instead.

Flexibility is your biggest strength

True yin manifests as flexibility — physically, emotionally, and mentally.

The flexible individual can move their body with ease. They are always open and interested, even in new ideas, and understand their knowledge may be wrong. There is elasticity to allow for trying, for mistakes, and for change.

I have a client who has been coming for many years now. At first, they were so inflexible physically, mentally, and emotionally. It was a stretch for them to come in for something like acupuncture. But, through treatments and conversations in my clinic, change was happening, even if it was slow at first. Then the tide rose and a softness came into their whole being. They were moving, flexible, smiling and experiencing joy.

This is living, and aging, gracefully.

Discovering your outdated beliefs

This is a time to ask yourself about your flexibility and inquire into the kind of changes you are observing because it is the underlying beliefs that create suffering.

  • Are you able to accept yourself as you are?
  • What is your attitude toward aging?
  • What is your attitude toward change?
  • Are you approaching it with rigidity or flexibility?
  • Is there a belief that is making you inflexible?

Getting old sucks

We all hear it, we may even say it. Do you want to live with that belief dictating your life? Perhaps you came up with a different answer that sheds light on where you are resisting change. You may find a faulty belief that causes suffering and is rooted in not accepting change.

Change old beliefs

Create a statement that sums up where you resist change. To make an affirmation, reverse the statement while keeping your desire to embrace change at the forefront of your mind.

These techniques can help to re-program our beliefs that determine our inability to change by accessing the nervous system on many levels. Try a few by tapping as described below, 4 to 5 passes for each movement. See what resonates.

Changing beliefs – Nape of neck
Tap along the hairline of the nape of your neck with the tips of your middle & pointer fingers, 4-5 times.
Repeat the following affirmations by completing the sentence to make it your own (for example, “I am flexible with my emotions”):

  • I am flexible…
  • I welcome change…

Changing the Perspective – Eyes
Tap around the eyes with the tip of your middle & pointer fingers 4-5 times.
Repeat the following affirmations or make your own:

  • I see clearly…
  • I have an open vision…
  • I can see new options…

Letting Go of Fixed Ideas – Forehead
Tap along the hairline of your forehead with the tip of your middle & pointer fingers 4-5 times
Repeat the following affirmations or make your own:

  • I have an open mind…
  • I am free of judgment and prejudice…
  • I welcome new ideas…

Finish – Top of Head
Tap on the top of the head with the tip of your middle & pointer fingers 4-5 times
Repeat the following affirmations or make your own:

  • I welcome the challenges of my life…
  • I can learn from my challenges…
  • I can be rich by my experiences…
  • I am grateful to be alive…

Rooted in peace

It is good to practice this daily for a week then evaluate the difference. I like to incorporate it into my falling asleep routine.

Now is the time to look deeply at our root beliefs until the sun returns on the Winter Solstice.

Acupuncture is a powerful tool for aging gracefully because it helps embrace change by smoothing transitions.

Remember, growing old is the goal.

Life is so much better when you are at peace with yourself and accept yourself the way you are.