Transformation in Ageing.

flower fairy Florence

I have just been through a vital transition in life.

Through the last six months, I encountered “The Dark Night of the Soul.” A time when I was brought low and was forced to look at my life; where I was going, what I was doing. What was working and what was not.

There are times in our lives when we need to go through these dark nights. It is as if the Universe is saying “You are not listening to me, and you need to.”

I do not believe that the Universe, or God or this higher power, whatever you may like to call it, makes us ill, or depressed because I believe that we bring it on to ourselves. We think that we know best. So we will go on working, doing and striving, and wearing ourselves into the ground, or bed or onto pills, simply because we are not listening to that still small voice.

And that applies to anyone of any age.

Even those who say that they are living their purpose and carrying out what they know they are here on this Earth for, can be so busy doing, that they forget to be still, forget to listen, forget to notice things synchronising or not, and go ahead thinking that we know best.

I came to a place where I was forced to listen to that still small voice, and during that time I became quite ill, physically and mentally, but thank God that I still held on to my Spiritual life.

I realised that I had not been listening, I had been striving and worrying and pushing ahead, doing things that I thought I was meant to do.

I had a family problem to deal with, and although it was settled in a way that we thought was not possible at first, at the end of it, I had a meltdown. Not because I doubted, not because I was weak in any way shape or form, but because I had failed to notice that I needed to go through a transformation in my life. A passage of life that has taken me into my fourth age.

I run a group on Facebook for Ageing with Vitality. I blog about ageing. I talk about how we are still vital, but I had not taken into consideration that the physical body does age, whether we like it or not.

I was proud that I had reached the age of 72 and am still active, vital and healthy, but was finding the lower energy and the ability to multi-task, difficult to come to terms with. Along with a visual impairment that I now have.

We hear so much about staying active; keep exercising, keep walking, keep doing things, keep your brain active and on and on. But we can sometimes, be, so hell bent on doing those things that we ignore this important passage of life. Which is transforming into an older person, but one who can still have a good quality of life.

It may happen at different ages while growing into that fourth age. Some are ready to relax at sixty, while others will still be working at age 70, 80 or even more. But the important thing is that we do need to recognise that there will come a time for transition. It may not be an obvious one, but we need to be mindful of subtle changes.

I don’t mean that we wake up one morning and find that we are suddenly old, although for some who are taken ill this may happen of course. But I am talking about looking at why we are feeling more tired than we used to.

Is what you are doing working for you and the other key people in your life?

And I certainly do not mean that we have to “give in”. What I mean is that like a teenager who has to make the decision whether to go to Uni or the twenty-year-old who decides that life is going to change, they have left their teenage life behind and now have to settle down to life. Or the person going through a midlife crisis and decides that they want to change careers. We need to look at what our purpose is for the rest of the time that we are here.

For me, my transition has shown me that my purpose does not look like what I have been striving after for the last six or seven years. Even though in that time I have been more aware and conscious than ever before.

But I am at peace, and simply want to serve.

Nowadays, when I have a decision to make I ask myself what purpose it will serve?

I am so grateful that I do not have to work for a living now. I am grateful that I have accepted a simpler lifestyle and do not strive after belongings. My income is modest, and I love having no responsibilities.

I am healthy and do eat a healthy diet; I love walking and make sure that I walk at least an hour most days. I stay active; I love the Internet, Facebook and the groups that I belong to on there. I love the women’s group “Damsels in Success”.

I belong to a Women’s over fifty group “The Silver Tent,” whose purpose is to raise the consciousness of the world.

I love going to the Macular Society meetings with others who have sight problems. We have a laugh and obtain lots of important information.

I love eating out with friends and my beloved husband. I love writing and reading. Most of all I love my times with God, in quietude and meditation. Listening to the music of Taize, Snatam Kaur and other inspirational music.

My life is full and rich again after spending the last few months in transformation and healing. The transition into being a Wise Elderwoman.

Look out for regular blogs again now,  about Ageing with Wisdom and Vitality, Death and all that it encompasses, (I am a Funeral Celebrant) and the eye disease Macular Degeneration and what it can be like to live with it. I will also still dabble in eating healthily and supporting people with issues around food and their eating patterns.

It is good to be back again renewed and with a fresh vision.

How about you? Are you listening to that still small voice that may be telling you it’s time for that transition?

 

Life is a beautiful cycle

 

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Hummingbird Funeral Ceremonies.

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The Hummingbird is an extremely versatile bird. There are many varieties, and they symbolise Lightness of being, Being more present, Independence, bringing playfulness and joy to life, Lifting up negativity, Ability to respond quickly and resiliency.

At a time of bereavement and experiencing death, someone who can use these abilities to bring comfort and compassion is vital if we are to remember our loved one’s funeral and the time just before and just after the ceremony, with a meaningful experience, rather than despair and hopelessness.

A funeral celebrant will endeavour to bring you an experience that will, just like the hummingbird, lift up negativity by making the funeral a ceremony that celebrates and remembers the deceased’s life. This will be carried out by reflecting on their values and beliefs and what they would like to leave behind for those who have lost them.

An independent Funeral Celebrant is independent of all religions, races or what is expected at funerals in general. The ceremony is designed to remind people of memories that may make them laugh, cry and reflect on who the person was.

By being present or there beside you, they will bring a sense of compassion and comfort that will carry you through a difficult time.

I have decided to use the Hummingbird for my brand and logo, because this bird has a spiritual connection to changing direction quickly and smoothly, invites you to flex your path to accommodate life’s circumstances.

As a Funeral Celebrant, I have been trained to support you in the adaptation of your new life circumstances by offering a funeral ceremony that will lighten the burden of loss a little and help you to move on to your new life without the person who has died.

The Hummingbird totem wisdom challenges us to stand strong while being able to fly high. When facing challenges that are plagued with negativity, you can call on the spirit of the Hummingbird to help you bring a positive outlook on the situation and find your way with optimism.

I can do this with the use of music, poetry and even dance to suit your wishes and beliefs, whatever they may be. Religious, secular or a mixture of both.

Eternity, continuity and infinity are the words, which for me bring home the message of the hummingbird.

We do not know what eternity is, but we may or may not choose to believe that our soul or essence will live on in eternity.

Continuity denotes the continuity of life that we leave behind on the earth. No matter what our beliefs, we do leave a stamp behind on this planet in some way, shape or form.

Infinity is the state of being infinite, and acknowledging that although death is finite, our infinity says that we cannot comprehend the endlessness, boundlessness or limitlessness of the Universe. It is only our perception that puts the limits on our comprehension on what happens after death. Because we are human, living in a vast Universe.

Not only can I help with the funeral of your loved one at the time of bereavement, but I can also support you in making your wishes known for your own funeral before you die. None of us knows when that may be, but it is good to be prepared.

By creating a Funeral Ceremony Will, you can leave behind your wishes for the way that your funeral is to be carried out. That way, your family will know your favourite music, poetry, beliefs and facts about you for your Eulogy.

This will save them, even more pain when they are in a state of shock after losing you because making choices at that time can be bewildering and cause disagreements among family.

I will design and write a script and your wishes, right down to the choice of coffin, transport and whether you want to be cremated or buried. Followed by a written eulogy that can be flexible, but will contain facts about you that family or friends may not know.

I will interview you either in person or online, to find out and suggest ideas, and send you a draft for corrections, then finish with a copy that you can print out and put into your files, or print it for you.

I would love to support you in whatever capacity you would like.

Please get in touch with me for a chat if you have any questions.

trishcherry734@gmail.com

There is a FREE report available, please request it by email above. You will not be added to a mailing list.

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The Culture of Death.

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The culture of death differs all over the world. Many of the rituals and rules surrounding death are for practical reasons, such as the climate, temperature, etc. Religious rules developed from these practical needs.Daisies

Human’s have been on this planet for a long time. But according to findings from archaeologists, rituals around burial, and disposal of the body has been around for all that time too.

I haven’t space or time to go into a history today; that will take another article. But I will say that in the 20th Century, death in England became taboo.

So that you can get the picture, I am going to describe four funerals.

The first one is an experience recently of a friend of mine. Grace was born in Northern Ireland. Very recently she went there to attend the funeral of a close friend’s husband.

The culture in Northern Ireland is to respect death and honour the deceased. Part of this respect in Grace’s eyes was getting up in the very early hours of the morning at 3 am, to travel to Bristol to catch a 7 am flight to Belfast.

When she arrived in Belfast, her taxi driver was very kind and reduced the fare. Not only that, but he took her back to the airport the next day. Again he saw this as respect because Grace was attending a funeral.

Since Billy had died, which was in hospital, a week before, he had been lying in an open casket in the front room of his own house, and people held what is known as a vigil. The old belief is that the soul takes three days to leave the body. But even if they no longer believe that the vigil is an essential part of the culture, and it also means that the closest family are not left alone, and there is always someone in the house, to talk, have a cup of tea with and draw comfort from.

The Mass was being held at 10 am. Before that, at the house, Grace found the coffin still open in the front room, with hundreds of cards beneath. After she had paid her respects, it was time for a final goodbye by Billy’s wife, to her husband. The wife sang a little song to Billy, then kissed him goodbye, just before the Funeral Director arrived to seal the coffin.

There was a parade of people following the hearse to the church, on foot. After a personal address, mass and service led by the priest, everyone went to the crematorium, where they enjoyed listening to Billy’s favourite Pop songs, including the Everly Brothers, before he was cremated. At the end of which everyone attended the Wake.

Funeral number 2, was an English Funeral. The same friend heard that a neighbour had died. When she asked her husband who out of the two of them would attend the funeral, he was surprised to think that Grace would even consider it. Grace, in turn, was shocked to realise that this attitude was normal for England.

She attended the funeral and found that no-one else in the street went.  There were only a handful of people there, even though this elderly couple had lived in the same street for over fifty years.

The coffin was brought to the church and paraded down the aisle to the words from the C of E funeral book. After a couple of prayers, and mournful hymns, led by a vicar who obviously did not know the chap who had died, the close family went to the Crematorium and everyone went home.

I attended a similar family funeral a couple of months ago, and the picture was the same. No sense of community, because there were only about twenty people scattered all over the church which was big enough to hold three hundred. I wanted to gather them all together and ask them to sit closer to the front. The body had been in the funeral Directors offices, taken out for a viewing at an appointed time, with an hour time slot. Then put back in the fridge until the funeral.

The vicar did not know anyone, spoke over the top of everyone’s head and was quite impersonal.

The few members of the family present went with the coffin to the Crematorium and the people in the church, just went home. Even though there would be a cup of tea at the house, the family had requested that only close family go to the crematorium. So that there was no sense of community or even a chance for anyone to pay their respects to the husband.

At the fourth funeral, everyone gathered outside the Crematorium, and the procession was led in by a Funeral Celebrant. She had been in touch with the family ever since the death.

After bowing to the coffin and placing a lovely photograph of the dead person on top, she took her place at the lectern and asked everyone to sit down.

She read some beautiful opening words acknowledging the family by name and saying a few words about death, and how everyone sees it differently.

The eulogy was read by the son of the person who had died, but it had been a joint effort with the Funeral Celebrant during an hours interview and meeting the family. The eulogy had everyone laughing and crying and reminded us of the character and life of the man who had died.

After the eulogy, everyone sang “Abide with Me,” not necessarily for religious reasons, but because Albert had been a big football fan.

This was followed by five minutes of reflection, listening to Leona Lewis singing “Footprints in the Sand”  while we all looked at a show of pictures on the screen above, of Alberts journey through life, his children and grandchildren.

The children who were present then went up to the catafalque and placed a flower on top of the coffin. Followed by those who wanted to, just to touch the coffin and say goodbye.

After a short committal prayer, the curtains were closed, and the Funeral Celebrant then closed the procedure with appropriate words including a poem about taking up the reins of life without the dead person.

We left the church to the sound of Acker Bilk!

There was then a Wake in the local football club premises.

I will leave it to you to assess what you think would give the most satisfactory way of saying goodbye and support loved ones left behind. It may be one particular funeral described here, or it may be a combination.

The moral of the story is that it is possible to do things differently with death.

The lady who founded the group that I trained with, Jane Morrell, had a vision of “Changing the face of funerals in England.”

The culture in England is one of secrecy. The body is quickly removed from the place of death, often even while it is still warm, whisked away to have “mysterious things” done to it.

We may have a chance to see it; all made up to look good, for a while at the appointed time in the funeral directors office.

On the day, the hearse turns up either at the Crematorium or the church, and there may be a good ceremony or not.

(Have you noticed the disrespect from other drivers when they see a funeral procession lately?)

This culture makes bad things even worse, and the funeral is something to dread even more, than just the saying goodbye.

Jane was inspired when she had that vision. We do need to change the face of funerals. We need a better culture of death.

If you want to read more about death, please visit my website

http://www.patriciacherrylifecoach.com

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Learning New Tricks As You Age.

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Tthe blossom of the spring, turns to the beauty of berries in the Auntumn. 

All living things are getting that bit older every day.

We all are and try as we might, we cannot avoid time and age.

But are you going to be active, healthy and vital in the 3rd age?

Motivated to do something different and active in brain and body? Vital in your outlook and realise that contrary to fears and popular attitude, your vitality still keeps you essential.

Apparently the body starts to decline at the age of 26.

Yes you read that correctly. 26!

People beyond the age of forty start finding that jobs are more difficult to come by. By the time you are 50 many employers don’t want to know. Then at age 65 you are expected to retire.

It is generally assumed that the older you are, the less your usefulness is.

But there is an anomaly here isn’t there?

Because at the moment the British Government is putting the age of retirement up. Also scientists are always experimenting with how to keep us alive longer. Yet many of us look forward to our later days with dread .

But you can change dread into anticipation.

A friend of mine at age 66, when she was diagnosed with a heart complaint, said, “I hate this business of getting old”  The moment she said it was like a lightbulb coming on in my head. “I’m outta here!” If I have to grow old I am not going down without a fight!

But at age 68 I obtained a Diploma from the local University for Life Coaching. 

I felt that my life had just taken on a new outlook. And boy am I enjoying it! Later, at the age of 70 I obtained another Diploma to be a Funeral Celebrant. 

I have never been academic and I would not have dreamed of going to University. Since then I have written four books, designed a course and am presently creating more products for my Website. I did all this by finding out how to do it from either friends or on line.

But I had motivation! What was it? I had always wanted to help people to eat in a healthy way. Not only for weight purposes, but for general health.

Also I now coach, and support people through the ageing experience.

 I read this statement in the book “The Age Heresy” by Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene.

Quote; It is critical to challenge your own mind and the minds of your co-workers, to strive to engage people and keep them involved, and to allow extra time for the elderly. Keep in mind that they are capable of “Learning new tricks”, provided that they see its relevance, perceive it as worth while and feel motivated. (My emphasis)

In other words, society and YOU need to relook at the role of all of us as we grow older. Contrary to popular belief, brain cells do not die off as we get older. BUT they will atrophy if we do not use them.

We need to give ourselves motivation by finding something that gives us sparkle and passion.

We are all experts at something.

What is your expertise? It could be gardening, writing, walking or history. It could be a craft, or a hobby that you love. Caring for children, dogs or cats. Or it could be that you are a good listener or just love encourageing others.

 No matter what your age, start now to look at your retirement with gusto and see it as the start of a new way of life. 

http://www.patriciacherrylifecoach.com

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