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Life in Retirement: Live in the moment

I fell again and it was on account of my dog again, but it wasn’t really his fault this time. We were roughhousing in the yard, going pretty hard in a game of chase, when we found ourselves running headlong into one another. Before we knew it, he had sideswiped my legs right out from under me and I made significant airtime before hitting the ground. As though I had leaped to clear the high jump, I came crashing down first on my ankle and then my hip before my head bounced off a patio flower pot.
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I fell again and it was on account of my dog again, but it wasn’t really his fault this time. We were roughhousing in the yard, going pretty hard in a game of chase, when we found ourselves running headlong into one another. Before we knew it, he had sideswiped my legs right out from under me and I made significant airtime before hitting the ground. As though I had leaped to clear the high jump, I came crashing down first on my ankle and then my hip before my head bounced off a patio flower pot.

Strangely, I was unhurt. Except for a few bruises you’d never know it happened. Just like I swore to never be looking at my emails when he tripped me on the stairs a few months ago, I did try to learn a lesson from the mishap. I’ll still play with him, and probably still play hard, but I will try to focus on the moment. If I hadn’t been completely lost in the fun of it, I wouldn’t have made the wrong turn and run straight into my big excitable dog.

Falling is what seniors are repeatedly warned about, and understandably so. I’m just lucky I didn’t break anything and we’ve all heard what can happen after a bad break. Avoiding falls is a big part of yoga practice – being aware in the moment, retaining good balance, approaching each step with strength and purpose.

I had joked at one weekend yoga retreat that when I try to live in the moment, all I see is the dirty laundry waiting for me. That’s when the instructor shared what I thought was strange advice: just remember, you are a small speck spinning on a planet that is hurtling through space. Hmmm… the thought of all that action just made me more distracted.

I did experience a sense of grounding later that weekend, though, and I’m only sharing it because of a funny thing that happened after. A different instructor led us individually through a meditation to help us discover our animal spirit guides. She warned us to take the discovery seriously, or our spirit guide might distance itself from us and we would surely miss it in our lives, even if we were hereto unaware of its presence.

Warning heeded, I sat quietly in a private room with her while she closed her eyes and took long deep breaths. Finally, she opened her eyes and announced that my guide was The Great Spirit of the Cougar. I thought about this for a moment, about the symbolism of a cougar involving protection, agility and adaptability. Yes, I told her, this makes sense to me.

I was excited to tell my young daughter about the revelation when I got home, including the seriousness of the philosophy. When I picked her up after school that day, her grade one teacher asked me with a smirk what I had been up to lately. Apparently, my daughter put her hand up and announced to the class, “My mom is a cougar.”

Sandy Bexon is stepping into retirement after over 35 years as a communications professional, reporter and writer. She lives in Red Deer.