Sometimes, because of the chronic health problems and aches and pains that so often accompany growing older, plus the fact that my mother died at 74, I have felt like my life is winding down, even though most of me doesn’t think that is true. The dilemma about what I want to do when and if I retire adds to that unsettled feeling.
I met someone in India this past December who was such an inspiration. It is a memory I can hold in front of me during the times I am feeling down.
Amma’s Amritapuri ashram is small in size, but there are many people who live and/or visit there. I can go many days without seeing particular friends, and some it seems like I almost never run into. But each year I go, there seems to be one or more people who seem to cross my path at every turn. This woman was one of those. Over and over again, she would pass by me as we walked, or would sit down with or near me during meals. Or I’d look across the courtyard, and there she would be.
She was a small, elderly, woman but her eyes twinkled. She was full of the zest of life. I felt myself very drawn to her. At first, I just overheard her talking with others, but in time we had short conversations of our own.
We had so many things in common. She was 73, I’m 65. We both are from the U.S.; she lived in Minnesota, I live in Seattle. She used to be an Emergency Room Nurse. I am a nurse and have worked in many fields of nursing. In the last 27 years I have had a private psychotherapy practice, but my credentialing is in nursing. She had been feeling very drawn to study Sanskrit. Her plan was to go to Pondicherry, India to take an intensive Sanskrit course once she left Amritapuri. I’ve been studying Sanskrit for the last 2 ½ years. The number of similarities seemed uncanny.
I learned even more about her. She told me in the past she had been sick for an extended period of time. By 2003, she was essentially bedridden. The doctors finally concluded that her problems were due to plastic that had been inserted under her eye during some past surgical procedure. It apparently had been leaching toxins into her body. At some point, she felt led to see a healer in Costa Rica and had been treated by that person. Only weeks later, she was on an 82 mile hike, carrying a heavy backpack!
She did amazing things in the following years. For the first seven years after her healing, she lived in Costa Rica. The last three years she had been living alone in a village in the Himalayas. She visited Amma’s Amritapuri ashram for a month or so each year. She was happy and lived a life filled with adventure.
Inspiration comes in many forms. In this case, it came to me in the form of a 73-year-old woman from Minnesota! I can’t tell you how much listening, watching and talking to her for short periods over a few days gave me hope for the future. Whenever I wander away from the positive, thinking about the way she is living can bring it back.
What I know is:
- My life is unfolding just as it should.
- I have lived a full life already and there are likely to be many more adventures ahead.
- Tomorrow isn’t promised though, so it is important that I take advantage of today!
- God will send inspiration and help to me when I need it.
- It is important for me to live in awareness and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. In doing so, I will continue my practice of living in a way that when I die, I will leave this world with no regrets.
Written for Writing 101 Assignment #6