John and I took a bit of a sabbatical with our walking and exercising while we were still in Florida.
Sometimes when we are in the middle of a renovation, everything else gets put on the back burner.
Our excuse was that we were too busy renovating our new house, and then we suddenly had to fly back to Canada due to Covid-19 and then quarantine for two weeks, which created a lot of fear that we tried to squelch with comfort food. And maybe a beer or two.
The bottom line is that we were both feeling old and frumpy.
Our weight was going up and our motivation was at an all-time low. Then I read something that snapped us out of it.
I have a book called 365 Tao – Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao. I’ve owned this book for about 29 years. When I first bought it, I read one meditation each day from beginning to end. Then, for many years, it sat untouched on a bookshelf. A few years ago, I rediscovered it and left it out so I could pick it up whenever the mood arose.
The author intended the reader to study each meditation on the equivalent date. So one should read the first meditation on January 1st, etc. I prefer to play a game with this book. Without looking, I’ll fan the pages with my thumb and when the moment feels right, I’ll put my finger on a random page. The page I choose is always relevant to what I need to hear at that moment. Every. Single. Time. It’s kind of eerie, actually.
So, here I am feeling frumpy and uninspired when I pick up my magic book and play. I have to share with you the page I landed on.
A moving door hinge never corrodes.
Flowing water never grows stagnant.
Even in the autumn of your life, you cannot give up growth. If you do, you only invite decline.
All the different aspects of a person – body, mind, and spirit – have one curious quality: If they cease to be exercised, they stop growing. Once they stop growing, they begin to atrophy. This is why, no matter how much you have accomplished and no matter how old you are, you must keep exercising all parts of yourself.
We only grow when we are challenged. Muscles do not strengthen without resistance. Mental faculties do not sharpen without critical thinking. The spirit does not soar without something to excite it. It may seem like a great effort to constantly try new things, but unless you do, you fall out of your heights very quickly. The constancy of physical exercise, varied from time to time into new routines, and the constancy of mental and spiritual challenges are essential to stave off the infirmities of aging.
We cannot reverse aging completely, but we can slow it down. As long as we are vital, we will not suffer as much. Although aging is natural, sometimes following Tao means more than following the route of least resistance. Why slide into old age, illness, and senility? The way of challenging oneself is also a valid but difficult path. Sometimes Tao chooses the difficult over the easy.
Wow. What a wake up call. I’m awake, I’m awake! I immediately read it out loud to John.
We are both walking every day again and working out regularly.
My daughter-in-law recommended a great app, FitOn, which I’m using so I can mix up my workouts. I’ll do pilates one day, a HIIT workout the next, and then some strength training. The app has so many workouts, it’s easy to mix things up. My other daughter-in-law recommended this idea to me years ago, but it took me this long to get with the program. We have really smart daughters-in-law.
You never know where you might find inspiration, so keep an open mind and choose the difficult over the easy now and then. Challenge yourself. Keep in mind, as Helen Hayes once said, “If you rest, you rust.”
I highly recommend reading (or playing) 365 Tao – Daily Meditations.
If this all sounds woo-woo to you, fair enough, but if you ignore the strange way I came to it, you have to admit the message is still solid.
No matter what age you are now, let’s all keep our hinges moving.
Here’s to staving off the infirmities of aging!
Here’s to sharpening our mental faculties with critical thinking!
Here’s to finding new things to excite us and constantly challenge us!
Here’s to you!