Tag Archives: grief

Elusive Pleasures: Aging with Erroneous Beliefs

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Elusive Pleasures: Aging with Erroneous Beliefs

 

Last week I wrote about sprinkler heads.

Why would anyone stop to read about sprinkler heads?

Because it’s really about pleasure, and adapting to changes that block our pleasure.

Maybe for you, it’s the sound of rain on the roof that triggers a pleasure response. Or perhaps you’re drawn to the beach, where the rhythmic splash of the surf and the caress of warm breezes relaxes your soul. Some prefer the mountains, with the scent of pine, and expansive views. Still others are drawn to the city, where light and movement persist. Wherever you’ve found yourself prone to relax, forget your stressors and relish the moment, I’m writing about that spot. I’m writing about our brains associating sensations (like the sound of the sprinklers) with pleasure.

Then something happens to change the sensation.

  • The sprinkler heads need replacing, and the new ones make a different sound.
  • Construction of a ten-story condominium interrupts your favorite spot at the beach.
  • A stuffy nose blocks you from the aroma of pine trees on your mountain hike.
  • The building across the street hangs a huge neon sign that blocks your view of the city.

And the pleasure is gone.

That’s what I’m writing about! We all relate to pleasure. We want it. We need it. Without it, life is drudgery.

How do we find pleasure once it’s gone?

(That’s why you’re reading it.)

Hang with me, for this five-part series will get you there.

Today, I’m going to share with you a little more in depth about an obstacle I’m facing that is more challenging than changing sprinkler heads. It’s an obstacle that has been steadily crimping my pleasure for several years now, and one that I think many of you can relate to:

Elusive Pleasures: Aging with Erroneous Beliefs

I was going to knock around the tennis ball with my husband well into my 70’s. I was going to be that 80-year old still running the 5-K. I was going to dance in sexy high-heels well into my 90’s. I was going to lift bags of potting soil and bend over to tend the garden perhaps to 100.

Something ordinary and un-interesting cut off those pleasures well before their time: aging. In this aging body, they’ve labeled it many things: fibromyalgia (which I called the boogie monster in this article), arthritis, bone spurs, bulging discs and even a non-bony union of the subtalar joint. (Geez!) Whatever they’ve called it, it’s been one thing after another, and it’s always left me with a choice between:

getting to do the active things I love           or

check feeling good enough to function in daily responsibilities.

I fought it for a while. When my right shoulder hurt all the time, I taught my left arm to swing the racket. Then my left shoulder hurt. With both shoulders, a hip, low back and ankle hurting, I finally left the tennis court.

gif funny tennis game over aging pleasure
Credit senorgifcom

 

 

Eventually, even less strenuous activities like ballroom dance, yoga, biking, walking and gardening produced pain, which crowded out the pleasure.

For many people, this is “just a part of aging.” They don’t talk much about it. They just don’t do as much as they used to do.

Does aging necessarily mean life without pleasure? Is aging a slow process of peeling back the layers of pleasure until, at last, we’re ready to say goodbye to this cruel world?

I stepped back to think on this.

Elusive Pleasures: Aging with Erroneous Beliefs Be sure to read this second in a five-part series designed to help you restore pleasue after losing it! This is not just for the aging, it is for anyone who is experiencing a loss of pleasure!

(Selah)

What was it about that vision (of being the active older person) that gave me pleasure?

Was the pleasure response from running, playing tennis, dancing, yoga, biking, walking and gardening from their associated sensations? Was it from the pounding of my joints on the pavement? Was it from the sweat rolling down my face as I darted side to side across the clay to reach the yellow ball? Was it from seeing the same houses as I biked around our neighborhood day after day? Was it from the gentle breeze on an evening walk, or the impression of the soil between my gloved hands as I planted a new flower in the yard?

Or could that pleasure response also come from something inside? Something I perceived or believed?

When I thought about the pleasure response that came from being an accomplished, active senior, it wasn’t really about the sound, or the scent, or the tactile input. What was it, then?

Could it have been pride of achievement, of being better-than-average?

Hmmm.

I admit I’ve enjoyed that feeling since childhood. As the fourth of six children, affirmation and attention came from being the smart one, the honor roll student and the fastest in relay races. I could recite the alphabet before my school-aged brother when I was two years old. I could out-spell all of my older siblings by the time I was eight. I did algebra from my brother’s 9th grade textbook when I was ten, and, by the time I was thirteen, I could cook, clean and budget better than my mother.

Maybe so, then. Maybe I’ve held an erroneous belief all these years, and didn’t ever notice it.

If aging—and its associated decrease in good sensations—continues this way (as it likely will), then where can pleasure be found, if not from the feeling of being better-than-average?

(It never should have been from feeling better-than-average in the first place, but that is beside the point!)

My experience with aging is just one example of how loss of pleasure can be related not only to a change in physical sensation but also to underlying perceptions or beliefs.

Maybe you had to stop and examine yourself, too. Maybe a challenge you faced persisted to the point that you had to look deeper into yourself to question why you struggled to adapt to your loss. Maybe you didn’t even realize you held erroneous perceptions or beliefs, until you had to stop and examine the matter.

Yet, here we are: a change in sensation, a change in some bodily function, a change in something beyond our control, a change that keeps us from achieving that which we believed would make us feel better– and pleasure eludes us.

What can be done?

How can we get our brains to release that much-needed pleasure response again?

That’s where we’ll pick up next week.

(Oh, yes, you have to wait a week!)

In the meantime, I hope you’ll join this conversation by commenting below (in orange, where its says “Leave a comment.” What changes in sensations, or functions, or other losses seem to rob you of the pleasure response in your brain? What underlying perceptions or beliefs have you identified in between your ears?

-Joan

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11, AMPC

 

Elusive Pleasures: Sprinklers in the Garden of Life

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Elusive Pleasures: Sprinklers in the Garden of Life

Comfortably settling into my spot on the back porch for Sunday morning coffee, I noticed it.

It didn’t feel right. It seemed empty. What was it?

The coffee was its usual perfect color, aroma and taste. The cushions and pillows cradled and supported me as always; the velvety plum-colored pillow (brought out from indoors) fit perfectly on my lap, softly snuggling my coffee mug between my savoring sips. The garden sported more than its usual splendor of blooms. The squirrel did its ritual leap from the tree to reach the squirrel-proof bird feeder, where it cleverly clung to the wire mesh and bounced to get the seeds to fall out. Birdsong filled the air, announcing another beautiful day forthcoming, while the birds awaited their turn at the feeder. The sprinklers were on (I timed them to come on just as I get there so I can enjoy their rhythmical dance across the lawn).

Yet my usual Sunday-morning-on-the-back-porch-peaceful feeling eluded me. What was it? Read the rest of this entry

Passing

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Untimely for we who stay,

Torn in sore lament–

Time and distance

Ne’er to be breached again;

Not from our doing.

Resigned unto eternity

Or waiting to be joined again Read the rest of this entry

Has Anybody?

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“Has anybody told you today?”

“Well, just in case, I’m telling you again: I love you.”

It was his trademark; his brand, calling card. If you saw Mickey, you could count on hearing these words. You could count on a hug and a smile. If not from him directly, from many around you, as he facilitated groups and classes to “get up, tell someone you love them, hug a neck.”

He was the Cowboy Preacher. The Drunk Preacher, some called him. He’d chuckle. I doubt he’d ever had a drop of alcohol in his life.

He sought out drunks, with a purpose, to share God’s amazing love. Read the rest of this entry

It’s not all about what’s inside.

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These days we have disposable containers, because what matters is what’s inside. Right?

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Besides, what’s inside is not the same as the container, right?

Not so, on either count. Often the two are so melded, so interactive, so mutually dependent, that we just can’t separate them. We can’t value them separately, either.

Take, for example, a good book and its cover. Oh, you don’t think so? Well, how about Uranium-235 and its core container? Or, here’s a good one: the inner self and its human body.

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Successful grandkids: My granddaughter contained my grandson the troll, in an unexpected snare.

We are quite attached to these bodies, our containers.

Think about it; when we were little, we’d fall and scrape our knee, and it hurt. We cried. Our inner selves felt as if the world was coming to an end; at least until some sweet and very tall human kissed it, bandaged it, and promised, “No Mercurachrome.”

As children, we saw dead bugs, dead flowers, maybe even some dearly loved dead pets. Our inner selves realized those dead ones aren’t coming back. Most of us learned to be more careful with our bodies, to avoid the pain–and, hopefully, not go away forever.

I know I did. I wanted to grow up to be . . . alive! Then, when I grew up, I wanted to live to raise my daughter. Then, to see my grandchildren succeed. Still, I want to live, to create gifts for future generations.

Speaking of grandkids, I’ve seen this generation grow up playing war and street-gang video games, with avatars instead of real people. They don’t even flinch as they gun down innocent bystanders in the midst of the game. On top of that, the heroes get right up and keep going.

But life is for real, and so is death.

Many religions teach us about the inner person, the spirit, and a glorious afterlife. These teachings are inspirational. They are vital, compelling and comforting. Yet something about this begs more.

Maybe it’s the poor track record religion plays in war and peace.

Maybe it’s the impersonal way many religions try to comfort those who mourn.

Or maybe it’s the fallout of valuing inner, spirit-life as eternal, while considering the containers disposable.

Ask anyone who has lost a loved one; it’s not easy to separate the person from the container that now is gone. There is no one in their arms to hold. The loved one’s laughter no longer fills the room. Yes, the memory remains, and gives some comfort. A little comfort. To the grieving widow, child, and friend, though, the container is gone, and so the person inside.

Last year on this day we lost our beloved . . . been in a daze for over a year. . .

 

Containers are important.

With so much talk about what is in the container, what about the container itself? With such emphasis on inner life, and on the glorious afterlife, do we devalue the precious containers that are vital to achieving our purpose here on earth?

Just tonight, I opened my refrigerator to get a salad I hadn’t been in the mood for yesterday. Having not been sealed in a container, the salad had wilted. I regrouped, and slid it into the juicer with the other veggies. As the juice flowed out, I wondered: what if there were no container to hold the juice? That juice would have spilled out, rather than fulfilling its purpose– to nourish my body.

Our bodies–our containers–are important. They are more than avatars in a game! Take care of your body and treasure what it holds. Encourage others to nurture their bodies. Respect life in others. Feed your bodies with healthy, organic food. Exercise regularly in whatever way you can, building up to and maintaining your best physical state. Take care of the relationships and the planet we need for our containers’ survival. Live in balance: work, rest and play.

For without your container, how will your purpose here be fulfilled?

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For we hold these treasures in jars of clay –II Cor. 4

 

Joan T. Warren
Heart to Heart in a Shielded World

This post grew from:

Containers | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/containers/

And further developed into a mystery ending with encouragement from:
Mystery Ending | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/telephone/

Resophonic Forever

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I missed the chance to see him again. My Uncle Mike. 

I had begun to loosely plan a family reunion that year. Seven hundred miles, other family problems, no vacation time–swoop, the hawk clasps prey in its talons.

I suppose I have no right to say how much I miss them–my aunts, uncles, cousins–when it is of my own doing. I chose to move away. Now, thirty years later, my heart doesn’t care if it has the right. I miss them!

I love my Uncle Mike. Not because we were so close; we weren’t. We weren’t close in a pal-around sort of way. I hadn’t even seen him since 1993, when he helped carry my mom’s casket. We spoke on the phone, well, maybe never. We emailed and Facebooked a little.

Our closeness was in mind and heart. A gentle soul, humble, quiet, unassuming, was he. His eyes twinkled; glorious wrinkles at the edges–evidence of many happy times. His smile turned the edges of his lips down a bit instead of up, especially when he felt a bit embarrassed by adulation. His hard drink was milk.  Mike was mild-mannered and humorous, with a self-deprecating style–not bound by fear or low self-esteem, simply unfettered by pride.

Courtesy Matt McClain/Washington Post

Courtesy Matt McClain/Washington Post

If any man had reason to be proud, it was he. A self-taught musician, he earned the respect of musicians world-wide. He not only mastered the instruments he set his hand to, but he innovated their use and design, especially that of his beloved resophonic guitar. His Auldridge tone and style are cited as the turning point in the sound of the resophonic guitar overall. Earning numerous awards throughout his life, including a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album (1994) and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (2012), Mike was involved in mentoring many famous artists and playing with well-knowns like Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Lyle Lovett.

He was a man who honored family commitments. In his earlier years as a musician, he kept his day job. Forsaking the call of Nashville with its star-making machinery (to borrow a line from Carly Simon), he chose to stay in the Washington, D.C. area, where he created a stable home for his family. He kept it simple. He kept life balanced despite his remarkable talent, inspirational creativity and incredible productivity. His band name reflected that choice: “The Seldom Scene.” He kept his head.

When I was little, uncles Mike and Dave entertained our family with their music in the living room, in the yard, at the park. No one knew what talent he carried back then. He was just Uncle Mike. He brought home a new toy one day, a pedal steel. He let us kids see it, touch it. “The difference between men and boys,” he grinned, “is the price of their toys.” I figured he felt about the same when I saw him with that Z-28 several years later. That was about the extent of his extravagance, though. Well, he might have paid someone to iron those jeans of his, I’m not sure about that.

As I’ve read what others said about Uncle Mike, I realize I miss not only the Uncle Mike of my childhood, but also a man of great import.

Uncle Mike, you have done well. You influenced many for good. This gives me heart-strength, encouragement, direction. Your nature and your accomplishments together are a star on our family tree.

You resonate beyond your years.

Here’s to you, Uncle Mike. You are gone too soon. May we catch up soon–and sit around God’s living room, listening to your heavenly strings, sharing our stories and a glass of cold milk. 

Love,

Joan

In honor of Mike Auldridge, December 30, 1938 – December 29, 2012

Related Links:

http://mikeauldridgetribute.wordpress.com/

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/mike-auldridge-mn0000478847

http://www.cullmantimes.com/features/x1633440287/Mike-Auldridge-Founding-Member-of-Seldom-Scene-Bluegrass-Group-Dies-at-73

Mike’s signature resophonic guitars:

http://www.beardguitars.com/guitarbeardMA6square.html

http://www.beardguitars.com/guitarauldridgemain.html

http://www.resohangout.com/archive/31391

A very important note for prostate awareness:

http://permissiontotalk.org/september-is-prostate-cancer-awareness-month/

bigstock-Blue-ribbon-for-prostate-cance-43468495