Finding inspiration to enjoy my golden years

As a semi-retired person, finding meaning and purpose in daily life can be challenging even in the best of times.

My goal is to stay healthy and well no matter what. I look for find ways to connect with others and keep my self-care program going. We are body, mind and spirit, and my self-care program is based on nourishing each aspect.

I take a variety of approaches, and I’ve found inspiration in a variety of ways, even as the health crisis restricts some of them.

One of my favorite things is my daily walk or bike ride. I feel lucky to have easy access to the trails that run though Verona. In minutes, I can get outside in nature.

Soaking up the sun is so important as we go into our darker months. I’m also realizing that many of my friends are not able to walk very far, much less ride a bike.

I have found some wonderful resources at the library. I read both fiction and nonfiction, and they have puzzles and games and online resources galore.

The outdoor story walk is on one of my walking paths in the park near the library. This beautiful building also has great lectures and exhibits to learn from and enjoy.

One of the books I just finished reading is the biography of Fred Rogers. He was the epitome of kindness and an inspiration to many. He loved children and was proof that how we speak to each other matters.

I wonder if we could take the time to consider our words, and the intent behind them, perhaps we would be living in a more kind world.

Another source of inspiration is actually going to the grocery store. I enjoy going to Miller’s because it’s obvious that people matter there.

People who work there seem happier than most workers. I’m guessing it is because they feel valued. If I have a suggestion or make a request, the person I speak to, extends extra effort to help me. This matters to me and meets my need for caring.

My zen temple, in Chicago, has been offering many of the regular services on zoom. This is great for me as I can participate more often.

I admit it takes some getting used to, as it is a different experience. The support and guidance I get from my meditation practice gives me a foundation to stay steady in all kinds of situations. Connecting with the sangha meets some of my social needs.

The Dalai Lama is also an inspiration. He speaks about how important it is to be aware of how our actions and words impact others.

His attitude toward the Chinese amazes me. He still speaks of them kindly after what they are doing to his country. Love and kindness is his message, and he lives his beliefs.

All religions give guidance regarding human behavior. All say that love and caring are the higher good.

Having more time for quiet and prayer have also been a benefit to me. I believe that prayer sends the white light of love out as a positive vibration benefitting all life.

I have been cooking more as part of my self-care, and recently I got a cookbook based on Ayurvedic medicine. There are a lot of overlapping concepts with traditional Asian medicine.

It’s fun to try new recipes, and ordering dry goods ingredients online was a snap. I get my fresh things locally.

My self-care program also includes practicing qi gong. This involves forms, self-massage and breath regulation.

My practice started when I lived in the Chicago area, and I’ve been taking workshops from one teacher for more than 10 years. My teacher is a 17th generation lineage from China. She comes from the Daoist Limitless Gate School.

Breathwork, from the yogic tradition, is also something I practice daily. I chant sutras, pray and study daily also.

My foundation for contented living and the basis of my health care is the seven branches of Asian medicine. They are acupuncture, herbs, diet, meditation, martial arts (or exercise), moxibustion and massage.

These practices have been in existence for thousands of years. I’ve been doing this for years, and so far I have been blessed with great health and happiness.

They are truly preventative, based on making healthy choices. Practicing them requires me to take responsibility for my diet, exercise and rest and relaxation.

Learning from other cultures is not just a source of useful, healthy information, it is fun.

For example, Okinawa, Japan, has some of the best longevity in the world. One of the things people there pay attention to is socialization. They have noticed that close personal relationships are an important part of longevity.

My goal is not just many years, but also quality of life. I studied with a Japanese man to learn shiatsu bodywork. I also visited Japan for three weeks! It was wonderful.

Being actively engaged in projects that help others is also a source of inspiration and self-care for me.

I’m an optimist. I look forward to getting these activities going again in the near future.

Jo Ann Lindberg is a City of Verona resident.

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