Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just Like Me

Five of Pentacles from the Rider-Waite Tarot
I have the great good fortune to be taking chi gong with a local teacher I'd heard good things about for years.  It turns out they were right.

It is a small class at the local Rec Center.  It was not labeled "for geezers" but our youngest person looks to be over 50 and the rest of us over 60.  One guy, Mike, is learning to operate a new knee, and his friend Butch just stood there in the circle leaning on a cane for the first couple of meetings; he'd had a stroke that affected one side of his body, and his balance. When we did the tai chi walk, which is very slow and painstakingly balanced, he just walked along with small, slow steps, relying on his cane. 

We were halfway through tonight when I looked across the small circle and realized Butch was not using his cane at all.  He had made remarkable progress.  I smiled.  "Just like me," I thought.  Everyone working to stay even under the onslaught of old age.

Before the class we had been talking about cars, the cars they bought their daughters, how good Oldsmobiles used to be, who couldn't drive a standard shift, like that. These guys are not the professor-or-artist types I happen to spend most of my time with.  I was once told anyone could tell I was a professor (taught at a university, that is) just by looking at me.  I favored those big clunky sandals at the time, with socks, and a long ponytail. But long hair got to be just too much work.  It happens. Anyway, that tickled me at the time.

Across the circle there was Butch, whose goal is to get back enough use of his left arm to play golf again.  I found golf stupendously boring when I tried it, and anyway, I never could hit a ball.  My goal is to find equanimity in the middle of my moodswings, to stay healthy.  Whatever our goals, age is a great leveler.  We are all in the same condition in that room, the lame leading the blind, the blind supporting the lame.  Distinctions of class, gender, education, all that just doesn't apply.

If you haven't tried the "Just like me" meditation I posted on my Facebook Page on November 27, here is the link to it.  It is a two-minute practice in compassion.  I found that doing it even once affected my outlook.  I intend to gear into it the next time my mood is such that I'm finding someone (else) Difficult.

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