I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Winter is gone, spring is here

Primroses for sale at the grocery store
Everywhere I look, I see signs of spring. And why not? The first day of spring is this Friday at 3:45pm here in the Northern Hemisphere. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, it will be the first day of autumn, but it's still the equinox. Also, there will be a total lunar eclipse on Friday. Check out the details here for more about where it will be visible. We won't see it in the United States at all.

And Tuesday is St. Patrick's Day, which means I've got to remember to wear green that day or I'll get lots of grief at the coffee shop for forgetting. There was a parade in town yesterday but I wasn't around, having traveled down to Skydive Snohomish for Safety Day. It was a downright terrible day for a parade, though, with steady rain and dreary skies. A good day for being indoors.

We needed the rain, though, since it had been dry for the entire month of March until yesterday's soaking. With the snowpack in the mountains only a fraction of normal, there are already people worrying about a drought during the summer months when it hardly ever rains. I know that seems hard to believe when I complain about the rain that always seems to come on a Thursday, my hiking day with the Senior Trailblazers. I've grown quite accustomed to the weather in the Pacific Northwest, and it seems unusual when we get a string of days without any precipitation, except late July to early September. It was a really unusual winter, with much more sunshine than usual.

I get a massage every third Friday, and I really needed the one I received last week, after all the stress of the collision on March 6. It will be another three weeks before my car will be repaired, so I am forced to drive it around with the bumper all crunched in and the grill pushed out of position. The adjuster at the body shop said it's safe to drive, even on the freeway, but I drive it at slower than normal speeds and not very often. Fortunately for me, most of my driving is around town and I can take the bus most places that I need to go. (Smart Guy drove to Snohomish and back yesterday.) I am still very skittish behind the wheel after that accident. And the citation came in the mail, a whopping $175 ticket for my failure to yield on a left turn. Not to mention however much my car insurance will increase. A very expensive lesson indeed, but once the car is fixed, I can stop being reminded of it every single time I drive anywhere.

While I was receiving the massage, my therapist has an iPod that she plugs into her speakers to play soft music without having to listen to the same music all the time. She uses Pandora's New Age music channel, and it's always wonderful music without anything to make me focus on it, no rhythm or beat of any sort. I always enjoy it, but on Friday there was some very different sounding music that touched me very deeply. I asked her to see what it was, so that I could order it for my own relaxation. The name she was able to find is Sei He Ki and is a Reiki meditation. Well, all this was new to me, since I had never even heard of Reiki healing before.

It turns out that Sei He Ki is one of three symbols used in Reiki, and this one is the mental/emotional symbol, used to help people bring to the surface their problems and release them. I guess this was fortuitous for me, because it certainly helped me. Not only did I receive a great massage, but the music was so irresistible that I found it on YouTube and listened to it for an hour yesterday. Very relaxing. I will definitely buy it on iTunes once I find it. Fortunately I can listen to tracks from the available albums until I find this very one. Just another tool in my repertoire to keep myself as healthy as possible, in mind, body, and spirit.

Sometimes I worry that I am just trying to stave off my inevitable decline and that I am in denial of the fact that I really am well into my seventies and have already lived a full life. I read a passage from Cicero from his essay, written in 44 B.C., on old age. Cicero was a Roman statesman who was 62 when he wrote it, and a quick google search reveals that lots of people have gained solace from reading his words, just as relevant to us today as they were more than two thousand years ago. I found a blog post that pretty much sums up everything he says in that essay. What struck me is the reminder that everything has its season.
Enjoy the blessing of strength while you have it and do not bewail it when it is gone unless you believe that youth must lament the loss of infancy, or early manhood the passing of youth. Life’s race-course is fixed; Nature has only a single path and that path is run but once, and to each stage of existence has been allotted its own appropriate quality; so that the weakness of childhood, the impetuosity of youth, the seriousness of middle life, the maturity of old age — each bears some of Nature’s fruit, which must be garnered in its own season.
Even though there are moments of stress in my life, there are also many ways to cope with it, if I am willing to acknowledge that I have it. Every morning these days when I first get out of bed (after my cup of tea and my session with the laptop), I perform the Five Tibetan Rites. I started them last summer when I read a book about Olga Kotelko, who died at the age of 95 while still competing in track and field events. I wrote about her on my other blog, here, last summer. There's a video at the end of her at 93, describing why she competes. Anyway, some of her fellow competitors used the Rites as a way to prepare themselves for competition, and I learned about them and started doing them myself. I don't know if they have actually made any difference. Who knows? And now I have some relaxation music to help with my mental stresses. How did I ever get along before the Internet?

Not to mention all the friends and acquaintances I have made through blogging. I almost always have to mention how grateful I am for your presence in my life when I'm getting ready to sign off for the week, and this upcoming week is no exception. I hope you keep yourself as healthy and happy as possible until we meet again. I'll be busy doing the same.


Marty said...

Thank you so much for the summation of Cicero's essay. I'm already thinking about how I want to preserve it and who I might send it to.
Have a good week, DJan.

Linda Reeder said...

Thanks for sharing your weekly words of wisdom once again!
It's a rainy Sunday morning, a good day for slowing down. I have plenty of inside tasks to keep me busy.
Your posts always make me examine my own thinking and my own ways of doing things. I guess I deal with stress by getting busy. I have never had a massage. I do not study Cicero or listen to relaxing music. I do go for walks and listen to rock music for tempo. I watch TV in the evenings for escapism. And I do a lot of thinking and problem solving in my head. I guess it works.
My life has so much less stress since I left the teaching profession that life now seems simple most of the time.
Have a good week. the sunshine is returning soon.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I found some of that music on You Tube. Yes it would put me to sleep for sure! We had a Reiki place in town they did some weird stiff. Like having you put your feet in a bucket to soak out the heavy metals in your system. They have gone out of business. I met one of the Reiki Masters once...what a strange encounter that was.
I clean to relax...it works for me. Too bad I am not nervous more often!
I know the accident affected you deeply. Accidents are just accidents... it is good no one was seriously hurt. Cars can be fixed and perhaps you can put it out of your mind when the car is fixed:)

John's Island said...

Hello DJan, As I’m writing this morning I’m listening to Sei He Ki by Jonathan Goldman from his album Reiki Chants. I just purchased it on iTunes and can’t believe how good it is … we must have very similar taste in this kind of music. So relaxing and comforting! It gives me another opportunity to mention the unexpected things that come from blogging. Who would have thought? … Well, OK, maybe if you were blogging about music … but this comes from a blog where one person shares reflections on life. So, in today’s post, I find out about this wonderful music and, for the first time, read Cicero’s thoughts on aging. I find what Cicero said so long ago to be so true … the only thing is, one needs to be at a certain point in life to appreciate the wisdom of his words … and we are there. :-) Wishing you an excellent week ahead. John

Elephant's Child said...

Here in the Southern Hemisphere we don't celebrate the change of seasons at the equinox (which I think is sensible) but at the start of the month in which the equinox falls. And the seasons change in their own time - not ours.
Reiki healing is gaining in popularity here - I will have to explore further.
Thank you for another thought provoking post - and have a wonderful week.

amanda said...

Spring has even arrived to Northern Minnesota. Almost hard to believe, it came on so strong and sudden. But not hard to enjoy!
I am now listening to Sei He Ki instrumentals and Reiki chants on my Spotify. Thank you. :)

Arkansas Patti said...

You do realize that if the Trailblazers hiked every other day, it would bring the rain and you could bust the pending drought. Just a thought.
Cicero certainly was a wise man. Hadn't thought of life that way but he is right.
Hope you get your car fixed soon so the constant reminder will be gone and your confidence can return.

Friko said...

My dear DJan, whatever lights your candle, as they say. If it’s ‘relaxation music’, reiki, massage, whatever; if it makes you feel good, do it.

It probably won’t hold back the ageing process, but it might hold back some of the niggles that come with it.

Don’t fret, let what happens happen, and all will be well. If something goes wrong, don’t blame yourself. Pay your fine and forget about it.

Have a glorious week of spring.

Gigi said...

It seems like Spring may have finally sprung here (crosses fingers). A few of the trees are starting to flower.

Once you get your car fixed the reminder will be gone. And, hopefully, you can then put it out of your mind.

Have a wonderful week, DJan.

Red said...

What matters in our life is quality. You are working to have good quality of life in both mind and body. You don't have to look too far and you see people who live a long life but have very poor health.
Enjoy your spring.

Sally Wessely said...

I think of aging so much as I just celebrated my 70th. Cicero was a wise man. You are a wise woman. I learn so much from you. Hugs, my friend. As long as those blue eyes of you sparkle, you will always have spring in your heart.

Glenda Beall said...

It seems we all deal with getting older in our own way, just as we deal with grief. I am not a hiker or skydiver, so I try to find ways to include some exercise in my daily life. Dr. Northrup, in a program I watched this weekend, suggests we do extreme movement, exercise, for twenty seconds several times a day. I can do that and it really makes me feel better. I write and my work is sedentary. My mind is active, always working on an idea, but my body is like your car, DJan. A little dented and banged up, but I keep getting massages, see my chiropractor, and let my sister do Reiki and EFT on me when I can. I'm glad you had no serious injury in the accident, but I know it hurts to pay that big fine.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you have found peace and are comfortable with your life. Not an easy thing to do, especially in this hectic, violent world.

Rita said...

My favorite station on Pandora is Liquid Mind. My very favorite music to listen to has no voices or, like this piece you mentioned I am now listening to on youtube as I am writing, choral sounds without words. Before I moved up to Fargo-Moorhead in 1999 and lived in Minneapolis I had taken two levels of Reiki training (didn't go on to become a master) and then took two levels of Healing Touch training at St. Catherine's college in St. Paul. (The third level of HT has mostly to do with starting your own practice--would have continued on if I hadn't had to move away.)

A friend of mine was taking all the classes, too, and she did continue with the final level and became a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. She never opened her own practice but has volunteered for years at a clinic and works with cancer patients (she's a nurse). I had been doing volunteer energy work at a couple churches in Mpls. What a wonderful reminder. Precious memories.

I have always believed that we all send out energy--all the time. Here's sending good energy to you, my friend. I know the accident was a jolt. Thank goodness no one was hurt. I believe there are spiritual lessons in everything that happens to us. You will figure out what the message was. :):) Love and hugs from an old flower child.

C-ingspots said...

I am learning to appreciate and even love the seasons of my life. Some days things can be rough, but overall everything just keeps getting better and better! I try to keep in mind and be thankful for, the blessing of growing older. For we all know, the alternative is not so great! Your accident sounds very unsettling, but I'm glad to hear you were not hurt worse.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Age is just a number. It means wisdom, but not necessarily decline. It means experience, but not necessarily doom. I think it all depends on your beliefs. As within, so without.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I am now listening to Sei He Ki music on YouTube, and I'm going to look for it on Pandora. It reminds me of "Music from the Hearts of Space," which I used to love. Very relaxing indeed. I would tell you to let go of your stress about the accident but I think it's like the stress I have felt after falling, meaning you have to work through what it means. Here's a hint, though: you are not all washed up as a driver. And if your insurance company wants to raise your rates, see whether they reconsider if you offer to take a safe-driving refresher. Many of them give a discount for that. Meanwhile, be well!

Modesto Culbertson said...

I think you should just pace your urge to take the wheel. You don't have to hurry yourself up, anyway. Take the time to fully recuperate, both physically and spiritually. Meanwhile, you can step back and inspect the accident in all its angles, as well as its causes and effect in order to understand it, so that it wouldn't be a phantom that puts the weight of guilt on your shoulder a bit too much. Thanks for sharing that, DJan! All the best to you!

Modesto Culbertson @ D & Z Law Group