"We can't control getting older... but... we can control how we do it."
~ Barbara Hannah Grufferman
Today is my 65th birthday!
The beginning of this year found me recovering from a severe ankle injury that resulted from a nasty fall last September. That, along with what felt like "spinning too many plates" in my life, took its toll on my already sensitive adrenals. Bottom line is that I wasn't feeling very healthy or happy. So I decided that this was NOT the way I wanted to do my "senior" years and made a conscious decision to change it!
One doesn't usually get to this stage of life without a few physical reminders of an aging body - no matter how well we take care of ourselves. It makes the idea of "if not now...when?" come front and center. As long as I can remember I have wanted to pursue hiking. But between being a full-time single parent for many years, caring for my mom the past 15 years, and my many other business and personal endeavors, I just haven't had the time or energy to actually do it.
Last year, I finally joined a local hiking group (Go Wild Hikers) and then promptly fell and badly injured my ankle and foot. It took me completely out of the hiking mode for several months. Not to be deterred, I signed up to do a women's 5 day hiking trip (Sierra Sisters) in the high Sierras of Yosemite in August in honor of my 65th birthday this year.
In the spring, I was inspired to take a sabbatical from all things involving my Nutritional E-Cleanse Program business to relax, renew, recharge, and train for my trip. No big agenda... just mostly trusting and surrendering to whatever presented itself. As a Scorpio, the process of transformation isn't new to me. In fact, while the negative energy of Scorpio is associated with the scorpion, the positive energy is associated with the eagle or pheonix - the symbol of transformation.
Well, once I created the space, the Universe downloaded some new nutrition information to me that changed my world (read about it here). In response, I up-leveled my diet to less animal protein and more plant-based protein - and even MORE fruits and veggies. The result was amazing - I lost weight and gained energy - YAY!!!
My August hiking trip was cancelled due to record high snow pak this year, so I chose the next trip - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in October - and it was still in time for my birthday. This turned out to be the perfect thing to happen because it allowed me to sign up for an 8 week Hiking For Fitness series at Sugarloaf Ridge Regional Park that started slow and easy and each week increased the distance and difficulty. It was the perfect vehicle to prepare me for my big trip. I was so proud to complete the final hike of 7.5 miles and 1,500 feet elevation gain to the top of Bald Mountain.
Finally, the trip to Sequoia & King's Canyon National Parks arrived. In the days we hiked, we covered many miles and saw incredible beauty. The magnificence of the Giant Sequoias and the splendor of King's Canyon were breathtaking. And, thanks to my slow-but-sure training, I had no problem with altitude, distance, or elevation gain at all.
The most significant thing for me was overcoming my fear and hiking to the top of Moro Rock (see photo at top of page). The trail is comprised of 350 VERY SCARY, STEEP steps, is wide enough for only one hiker in some places, and while there are railings for most of it, at times I had to put my camera away so I could hold onto the boulders with both hands. Heart pounding and knees shaking - I DID IT!
Here are just a few photos from the trip for you to enjoy:
"These days we don't so much fear dying as not having lived. Today any regrets are of omission." ~ Frank Kaiser
I'm looking forward to continuing to hike in the future, keeping my body strong and fit in my senior years, and experiencing even more amazing natural beauty.
My take-away (and hopefully inspiration) from this year of transformation is:
- Believe in your dreams
- Set an intention
- Create the space for change
- Don't be attached to the outcome
- Trust the process that unfolds
- Enjoy the ride!
"You are not too old and it is not too late." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Master Massage Therapist, Certified Diet Counselor & Holistic Nutrition Educator, and Spiritual Counselor who is committed to creating, living, and enjoying health, balance, and freedom on all levels, both personally and professionally, while providing educational and healing services.