Aging is a challenge! And it takes STAMINA, according to Carol V. Rinehart, 72, founder of the Stamina Project. I love it when I happen upon other folks who who are engaged in their own version of what I like to call, “third chapter conversations.” Generating and holding space for the conversations that explore our lives as older beings, is Carol’s “gig”. Yesterday, on a hot Sunday afternoon, I joined one of those conversations.
As Carol explained: “One of the goals as we age is to develop the muscles that will sustain us, build our resilience, and yes, generate our stamina, for living in a world going crazy around us.” For Carol, the word STAMINA is also her acronym for Strength Training for Aging MINdfully Always. The question she returns to always, no matter how the conversation meanders is: “How can we build mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual strength as we age? What are those muscles?” No matter our circumstances?
Yesterday, we explored the pain of holding the horrific violence in our country and the world. What was also on the minds of women in our circle, ranging in age from 53 to 81, was the pain of the deepening political polarization in our own country. How we can hold all this pain without numbing ourselves out, surrendering to an invisible and powerless decrepitude of “at my age, there’s nothing I can do”?
At the end of this sharing of the truths of our lives, I felt more refreshed and eager to engage.
What we can do is maintain an open heart and be the elder who will LISTEN to those with whom we disagree.
We can balance the evil in the world, with our own conscious sharing of KINDNESS.
We can start the day with GRATITUDE, focusing on what is good and possible.
Having recently learned that gratitude practice has been scientifically researched to have a statistically significant positive impact on the health of older people, and probably people of any age, maybe that’s something I can start today.
As a mobility challenged person, I am grateful for what I can do, which is still to be able to get around to local area events that appeal to me. This was one.
Check out the staminaproject.com and especially note Carol’s definition of “stamina.”
I love Carol’s framework. I love the gentleness. I am intrigued by the upcoming conversation topics listed on her site. I love her commitment to be in “third chapter” CONVERSATIONS THAT MATTER. No matter how we choose to label them.