Yesterday was July 4th. It was a little over one year ago that I had my first massage at a spa. Now, I am no expert on the subject, having lived over sixty years before even experiencing my first treatment, but I can tell you that the experience transformed me. In terms of healing and wellness, the power of touch is nothing short of absolutely amazing. My spa experience last year was the warm up to a Chopra Center “Journey into Healing” retreat at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville N.C. The back to back experiences of the massage and teachings left me altered and renewed at a DNA level. It started my own journey from being “worried well” into true wellness. I have since come to believe that one simply cannot successfully launch a third stage of life venture unless our core body is healthy and well.
Recently I’ve been reading “With Purpose – Going from Success to Significance in Work and Life” by Ken Dychtwald and Daniel J. Kadlec, in which the authors coin the term “middlescence”. They write that until the early part of the last century there was no term for the period of adolescence, noting that G. Stanley Hall invented the concept. This is correct, yet they failed to acknowledge that Mr. Hall went on to write, in 1923 “Senescence in the second half of Life” which describes exactly what Dychtwald and Kadlec are referring to as this new phase of “middlescence”. In fact Mr. Hall wrote the senescence book as his middlescence (or Life 3.0 as we call it) effort. So the three authors agree and, in the case of both Dr Dychtwald and Mr. Hall, dedicated their lives to understanding this late life phenomenon of needing purpose in the evening of life in order to feel truly fulfilled.
I do not profess to be inventing anything at this phase of my life. For me, that time is now past. While I share a patent for a technology product in my history, I am, quintessentially, the guy who figures out what new “stuff” is good for. So, true to form, I now ask what do we do with the knowledge we have gained. Likewise, coaches will often ask clients a variation on the theme of “what would your life be like if it was true for you that the last thirty years of your life would be driven by your passion, gifts and purpose in a unique way that you now have the time, ego, and understanding to access?
Before he died in 1924, G. Stanley Hall, who lived in a Newtonian mechanical world, said “The man of the future may, and even must, do things impossible in the past and acquire new motor variations not given by heredity.” In the areas of health and wellness, more than half of what we have learned has been discovered in the last five years. That knowledge is still growing and in a few years no doubt more than half of what we know then will have been discovered after I wrote this blog. A good example of such learning is the recent idea that fully half of what we used to chalk up to “hereditary characteristics” is in fact social programming of our subconscious by our parents in the first few years of life and that it can be re-programmed. In consequence, I believe the biggest “motor variation” we must strive for is a way of accomplishing this re-programing of the subconscious mind to be more in tune and aligned with our core values and selves.
To effect this mental shift, we “lay” practitioners do not necessarily need to invent anything new, we instead must practice the gift of discernment. What is the knowledge level and currency of your “official” practitioner? Is he or she a life-long learner? Many physicians were trained in a Newtonian model to believe that the body is a mechanical structure. As we know now, such is not the case. Our bodies can be much more accurately perceived as holographic quantum beings, enjoying virtually unlimited potential and the capacity to constantly recreating itself. What we must now accept is that our minds and bodies are inextricably linked. Our wellness, in the mind, body and soul, is dependent upon our core physical body being in harmony with its surroundings. In essence, our body is linked to our way of thinking and being. Put simply, our thoughts become reality. We have seen this in many areas of our modern world, from studies that seek to unravel the power of prayer, in movements touting the limitless capability of positive thinking, and in our fascination with the concepts of empowered, motivated leadership in the business world.
Over the coming weeks and months we will explore how to move from being worried well to wellness. For today, I am going to pass on the two concepts that I took away from the Grove Park Inn. Massage and Meditation.
Yesterday I was catching up on my research into Spiritually and Health and found a DVD on how couples and families can massage one another (our monthly spa trips are simply not enough). I have already shared links on how to get started in meditation but I realize there are skeptics out there. For those of you that are interested, and those of you that are skeptical, don’t take just my opinion. Here is a link to the website for transcendentalist meditation which links other sites proving the benefits you will experience by incorporating meditation in your life.
Mickey Mantle commented shortly before he died at the age of 63 that if he knew he would have lived this long he would have taken better care of himself. For many people approaching this age, we have new knowledge that can be applied to our way of living in order to bring about healing and rejuvenation. Many of these techniques and dietary changes take a long time to implement. I have been working at diet and exercise regularly for the last 23 years since I healed myself from a serious illness using techniques that I learned from an early mind body physician – Dr. Bernie Siegel. This experience has led me to an ever increasing understanding of the mind body connection. The progress of the first several decades of daily exercise and an evolving way of eating expanded exponentially, making a quantum leap, when I began regular meditation and became aware of the healing power of touch.
Earlier this week, I took my ‘young in mind’ – but – ‘old in body’ mother-in-law to a doctor apt. When she was told that she would have to endure yet another procedure, she looked at me and asked if my wife (her daughter) would be available to go with her because the touch of my wife’s strong, bony fingers on her wrinkled and aged hand brings her comfort and energy. This exchange left me thinking that we must not reserve that touch and energy only for times of stress or wait until we are too old in body to try to start truly living the lives we were born to lead. If we are going to live till 90 we must decide what this life will look like. Will we be dependent on oxygen machines or wheelchairs, or will we be living active vital lives. Deepak Chopra jokes that life is a sexually transmitted disease that is always fatal, and someone once told me that there are no guarantees on a birth certificate. It is far too easy to underestimate the power we hold inside ourselves and the ability we have to share it, comforting and healing each other and ourselves.