The picture: This is the beautiful mural created by James R. Hahn, renowned world class artist, created for my Chef Teton TV studio. The post below provides a hint of what we will be doing. Stay tuned!!
Last year, July 4, 2018 (my birthday) I came down with a horrible case of shingles. On the left side of my body, wrapping from the left side of my spine, under my arm and across my left breast to my sternum. My heart center was encased in a nightmare. It hurt in a way I cannot describe, which I believe led to a level of mourning I never experienced before. I was already a self care junkie and have been teaching and coaching for years, but now the experience and insights that flooded in are serving me and I hope will serve you as well.
It has been over a year. I am back, but different. Thank God. My goal was to be completely back to normal in one year (by this recent July 4, 2019). Oh God, let me rethink that. It was normal that put me down, so I don’t want to go there again. Although I knew the vital aspects of stress, self care, personal development and diet, I was cutting corners and not practicing what I knew I should. Could you be doing this as well? Because I “sort of” practiced excellent self care since I was 50, and was healthy for so long I thought I was invincible and took advantage of my vitality. Someone needed to knock me on the head and inform me that I am in my 70’s after all. I had let my self care practice slip, thinking I was somehow immune to any disorder. Wrong. With humility I see the error of my ways and am dedicating myself to a new practice. The is another factor in this in that we continue to learn so much about the body, our inner lives and how we can age better.
This post is dedicated to the underlying motivation that propels my self care practice now, and why I am re-dedicated to Aging With Purpose and Vitality, and sharing what I have learned and am learning with you.
My new mission: I am going to do the best I can. I am going to push my limits like I am going for the gold medal. This does not mean I am going to push in an unhealthy way. It means I am committed and on purpose with a new attitude, perspective, wisdom and vigor.
My training involves soaking myself and putting into action the latest info and methods about aging. It includes diet, the energy system, Circadian Rhythm, Mitochondria health, supplements, Chinese medicine, yoga, etc.. Most importantly, I am embracing the energetic and soulful lifestyle that includes community, pleasure, fun and the deep spiritual practice it takes to connect with self, honor self, and take appropriate and safe action. It has to be fun! And, I am discovering the rewards are dramatically satisfying.
This may sound a bit much, but I am driven in this area for some reason - always have been. I am a warrior on the path of wellness (the path of Imi’ola). It is just the way it is. It is my art, it is what motivates me, and I love the study of life at its best. It is me letting my Freak Flag Fly.
I have arrived at 74 actually quite healthy, and feeling vibrant, although the way I approached it in the past was stressful in that I sought vitality through avoidance of getting older and weaker. I was trying way too damn hard. Although my inner world was wise and I could teach spiritual practices for self growth with my eyes closed, I was not nurturing myself with what I knew to do. I was partially acting out an old identity with adaptive behaviors that I was blind to, and that are often motivated by trying to avoid something or trying to get something. In the most subtle ways I was not acting on my own behalf a good part of the time, although it sure looked like I was. Did I know this? No. With guidance I cried “help” and thus grew to discover that the energy of approaching life through avoidance is one that creates stress in the body and soul. I had to wake up and re-learn what acting on my own behalf is. Can you relate?
Conversely an impeccable self care practice motivated by the vision of Aging on purpose, with purpose, creates excitement and motivation fueled by honesty, humility and commitment and a vision of wonderfulness. I mean, let’s really look at this. We either age and embrace it or go underground. We can’t really anti age, but we can age well and be happy while we do it. The current paradigm of aging is full of fear and disease, and often shame and embarrassment. Every time I listen to a new summit or podcast, they start out by informing the listeners that all these horrible diseases are imminent as we age. This is not the TRUTH. They are not, if we breeze into our elder years with preparedness.
Learning new ways is easy, but putting them into practice is another story, particularly if they call for change. It takes discipline, and this calls for a new type of discipline, one motivated by a vision of possibility. I recently heard my yoga teacher say “discipline is being a disciple of your higher self”. This landed in me deeply, because this is where it must start. We must be disciples of our higher self who whispers in our ear’s what is in our highest and best interest. Are you listening?
Acting on our own behalf takes much more than a healthy smoothie or a vitamin supplement. It takes listening and maneuvering in a world that no one has taught us to go yet. Watching my Mom live in her 80’s and 90’s paved the way for a new vision - for me anyway.
Webster defines discipline in negative ways speaking of punishment, yet there was one definition that spoke more true to me: “To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control”. Is self control what it is going to take in our current culture? Yes, I think so. Yet, self control does not need to be taken to the limit of torture. Learning, growing and using self control to create new lifestyle practices is what is being called for here. None of us have lived tomorrow yet. Most of us do not have role models that show us how to live vibrantly at 70, 80 or 90. There is just too much disease and depletion happening. I see those of us who take on the path of Aging With Purpose and Vitality as the new warriors of elders. Let’s do it well.
If we are not disciplining ourselves and not taking the action we know is in our best interest, then our only punishment is depriving ourselves of our God given potential, pleasure and fun that is available to us.
There will be much more coming from me on this subject as I let my freak flag fly. I am creating a movement, and I hope you will join me.
Keep your glow, enhance your vitality and honor the self that has no limits.
Let’s sail into the era as wise elders who have their shit together.
What say you?
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Susan Teton is an Author and evangelist for smart eating, regenerative agriculture (culture) and living a vision of our highest potential as we cruise into our elder years. Www.ChefTeton.com