I have spent the last few years trying to convince myself that turning 65 was a non-event. It turns out that God has a tremendous sense of humor. A few weeks ago, I, like many other boomers turned sixty-five. They say that sixty-five is the new fifty, and while I still believe that, the excesses of the past come home to roost. In my case, it was centered in the lower back, which has been an issue for years but suddenly became much worse.
My spring of heavy functional exercise caused four lumbar discs to bulge and produce something that I never heard of before – paraesthesia. My body felt like my cell phone was on vibrate at different points in the pelvic area and down each of my legs. Normal essential and routine bodily functions were being impaired – this was a definite wake-up call. Something was very obviously amiss and so I set about identifying the cause. I had an x-ray and then an MRI and to quote my doctor, the results were “not awesome.” The good news received, oddly, from a surgeon, was that I did not require surgery.
Taking a lesson from past health issues and modern medical failures, I decided to care for myself rather than expecting a medical miracle courtesy of my primary care physician. My process included a combination of diet, exercise, acupuncture, chiropractic care, medication, essential oils, meditation, EFT, PSYCH-K, and therapeutic massage. Now, six weeks from this milestone date, things seem to be getting better.
What I have learned from this experience so far is that there clearly are new rules for the second half of life. First, we must be smart about how much functional exercise we do and perhaps more importantly, how we do it. Poor posture and poor technique may be survivable in early life, but a lifetime of bad habits regarding lifting and posture will have a profound effect as the shadows lengthen. Second, there is no easy cure for chronic health conditions. I used ten techniques to begin to change my condition. I will add yoga and reflexology to the mix to bring it to an even perfect twelve (call me superstitious!). Included in this mix were twelve professional traditional and nontraditional caregivers – four doctors, a chiropractor, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a PSYCH-K practitioner, a personal trainer, a yoga instructor, a reflexologist, and my own self-coaching (my wife and I are, after all, health coaches).
An important takeaway from all of this is that work-life balance emerged as a particularly important aspect to be resolved. The twisting of my back quite frankly told me that I could no longer stand the approach that I was taking in a number of areas of my life. To that end, I have begun to change my approach to be more in line with my core values of loving wisdom. The x-ray showed that my spine suffers from scoliosis, which was new news to me. Interestingly, it is bowed to the left – or to the feminine side of my body. This leads me to believe that the discs that were bulging are related to childhood trauma and the need for grounding. I was left with the realization that I was angry and needed to do something about it if I wanted to feel better.
Upon reflection, what I came to understand was that my core values of loving wisdom, which I discovered previously using the Taylor Protocols Core Value Index, were hidden throughout much of my corporate career. At that time, I relied heavily upon my (arguably inferior) values of powerful knowledge. I tended to just “show up and drive” and placed a far greater value on “facts” over “feelings.” Western society identifies these as the more “masculine” (and often more important) values while viewing loving wisdom as more “feminine” (and so, necessarily, weaker). I realized, as I started working with people in the business world in my current role, I had inadvertently returned to drawing more on these inferior values that are not at the core of my essential being. This led to denigrating and limiting who I am and how I “show up” or behave in a given situation.. I was angry that I had regressed to this older way of being, so out of keeping my essential reality, and the truth was coming out in increasingly aggravated health issues.
This reflection and clarification of who I am and how I need to show up are both freeing and empowering. I have begun to tweak my branding ever so slightly to reflect these changes. I’m also now using the full suite of tools and techniques at my disposal including PSYCH-K, EFT, and my extensive knowledge of both Christian tradition and eastern wisdom, and its confluence with the quantum reality of our existence.
When I started this practice, I was committed to combining these modalities and teachings into my offerings. But, as I attempted to explain what I do to my referral partners and the general market, I watered down my marketing too much. The result was that I began attracting business that was outside my target market and not in line with my goals. I was attempting to fit in when I need to fit out. I am an outlier. I do not fit in and the genius of this is that is precisely why people hire me. They want my loving wisdom and outlier perspective. I’ve recommitted to making this available. So in turning 65, it is time for my authentic self to be present in my practice with no apologies. I have come to realize that for me life begins at 65.
How about you? What music is still inside you – and are you ready to play it out loud?
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