Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Old age sucks

I'm teetering on the edge of something that looks pretty grim, and it's clear that I'm about to topple right over the wrong side.  It's called old age.  Over the last few months the signs have become increasingly more clear and while I'd rather ignore them, my Buddhist teachings insist upon seeing things as they really are so I can't really just put my head in the sand and pretend it's not happening.

What I'm noticing the most is a bad combination of resistance to exercise, and not much energy or stamina when I do exercise.  It would be so, so easy to just give in to that and vegetate, and that's something I really do not want to see happen. Right now, I'm aware of it and I am not giving in - at least, not completely. I do still walk to the library carrying the laptop (which weighs about 10 lbs), but one day last week it was a struggle to get there and back. Yesterday wasn't too bad, so I guess there's hope. When I manage to heft the weights I can tell how much upper body strength I've lost. My legs are still strong -- all that running, hiking, backpacking, cycling and leg presses, plus squatting and rising while working in the house and garden -- made them exceptionally strong, but if I don't keep walking and cycling and such, how long can I expect that to last? And I sure can't keep upper body strength if I can't manage to use the weights with some regularity.

Let's face it -- I've entered my 70th year and maybe it's time to just let go and vegetate. And yet, I know full well that doing so is the quickest route to losing all muscle tone, strength, and energy that's left.

It's a conundrum. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. There's not much I can do about the bits of mental confusion that show up from time to time, but with effort, I can keep the body strong. Where do I find the motivation to overcome the resistance?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yesterday I signed up for a metta retreat at Southern Dharma Center, in North Carolina, for 5 days in late March.  I did this for several reasons -- first, the teacher, Ayya Sobhana is the founding prioress at Aranya Bodhi, the new Hermitage in California. She also lived at Bhavana Society since 1989 learning from Bhante G, so I know I'll get a continuity in teaching that I want, plus I'd like to talk with her about the Hermitage.  I've always wanted to do a metta (lovingkindness) retreat, and the way she teaches this is somewhat unique and should be a perfect addition to my practice.  Southern Dharma is owned by the same folks who own the NOC, which I wrote about so lovingly a month or so ago. I've heard nothing but great reviews from people I know who have been there, and I'm sure it's done just as well as the NOC.  And it's a lot closer than Bhavana!