Living Healthy In Your Sixties Is Easier Done Than Said

I work at a cemetery, and read obituaries everyday. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people are dying in their late 50’s and 60’s. At 60 years old, I sit in my office feeling good, no aches or pains, no health problems, am not taking any prescribed medications, have no grey hair, and am not overweight. I plan to live actively to 100, and wonder why my peers look like they are aging faster than I am, so I gave it some thought, and decided to share my findings with you, to the best of my abilities anyway.

Around age 60 we should be at our best as we make wise decisions based on all we’ve learned through the years, but old thinking patterns and behaviors can also develop, and at middle age our bodies often can’t take the hard life-styles of our youth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything fun, in fact, it means just the opposite. Middle age is the time to pursue the things our souls may have been secretly wanting to do for years, the things most beneficial to our longevity and health. It’s time to trust your gut, your feelings, your body, with no apologies or explanations, just do it because you know it is right.

Healthy Habits That Work For Me:

1.  Think about the food you put in your body, but don’t make it complicated: drink water when you’re thirsty, and eat meat (mostly Amish chicken) from independent meat stores, not grocery stores. Eat plain chocolate when you have a sweet craving, not a candy bar. Stop eating from fast food restaurants completely, stop drinking soft drinks. Eat ice cream on special occasions. Eat three regular meals every day. If you get hungry in between meals, eat a few plain crackers. No special cooking required for healthy meals, just meat and potatoes and plenty of vegetables are fine for dinner, a sandwich and chips for lunch, and one egg and one piece of toast for breakfast. Avoid lots of sauces and cheese, just season lightly and enjoy the pure flavor of foods. Let yourself feel hungry between meals, it’s healthy and good for you.

2. Exercise in moderation: walking outdoors is great, and there are plenty of small parks everywhere. Plan to walk at least a mile on your outing, and I even end the walk with a small running sprint. I try to do it once a week, but sometimes to goes longer than that, and I don’t worry about it. I don’t belong to a gym or own workout equipment because I don’t enjoy exercising that way, no fun. I attend a yoga class at the level that challenges me twice a month, and do yoga at home twice a month, so I do it once a week. My class makes me try to do things beyond my capabilities, and often leaves me feeling sore the next day, which I think is good. It’s good to stretch your muscles and fill them with oxygen and blood. I make sure my head gets blood everyday too by touching my toes as I stand for at least 12 breaths every day. I have pulled a muscle here and there, and to take time to recover, so I don’t push myself too far. Moderation is the key.

3. Sleep naturally: I can’t emphasize this enough. A good solid natural sleep can be the best medicine of all. I find I have a rhythm of sleeping well, and not sleeping well, and if I just let it be, it is the best for me. I tend to sleep well at the end of the week, a vacation, or event, but I toss and turn at the beginnings of things. I used to panic when I didn’t sleep well, and now I just tell myself that I will feel tired the next day if I don’t sleep, and that’s OK, I’ll sleep good that night. I also sleep in my own bed rather than sharing a bed with my husband, (which has probably saved our marriage!) On sleepless nights I am now aware that I’m often obsessing on something, and try to consciously think of things that will calm my mind like visualizing a calm sea, or opening my mind to the random images and words floating around in the dozing stage of sleep. I’ve had amazing dreams in recent years that have guided me to some wonderful experiences in real life, so I don’t want to do anything to interfere with dreaming. I also give myself permission to rest during the day if I’m feeling tired, and sleep in on my days off. No reason to push yourself to extremes any more, and who says you have to get up early every day just because you’re an adult?

4. Give natural cures a try: I have found prescription medication side effects so harmful, that I avoid taking medications if at all possible. I do take antibiotics when needed, but ask for the mildest ones. I’ve cured stomach problems by changing my diet (no more grocery store meat), and have cured arthritic pains by exercising the body part that hurts. For example, my hands started to ache constantly in my early 50’s, so I started doing hand exercises with a gadget that you squeeze three times a week, and my hands stopped aching entirely. I still do it to this day, and I’ve noticed my fingers are straighter and stronger than many of my peers.

Another example of a natural cure I use everyday is wearing a nose strip at night instead of taking allergy medication.  I tried taking different medications, and they all made me feel like I had no energy, and didn’t relieve my symptoms.  The nose strips have no side effects, and were the only things that really worked to clear my nose and sinuses.

5. Select low-stress jobs: that’s right, it’s OK to quit a job because it stresses you out. I’ve done it a few times, sometimes before I had another job lined up, and it has landed me in a part-time job today that I love. I used to think the fact that I couldn’t tolerate a stressful job was a bad thing, but now I think it may have been a wonderful gift. Too much stress leaves me feeling chronically on edge, angry, sleepless, and sick, so I’ve made some difficult choices and resigned from some jobs I thought were really great at first. Some stress is good for us, as it stretches our capabilities, but too much kills us, I’m afraid. I’ve listened to my soul and made big changes that scared me at the time as I continued to put a peaceful state of mind first, having faith that it would all work out.

6. No smoking, getting intoxicated, doing drugs, or being excessively social: Enough said.

7. Be kind to yourself: self-awareness is a gift that can come with age, so use it to be kind to yourself. If I find myself worrying about something, I am now aware of it, and I understand the power that negative thinking can have on one’s health, so I say nice things to myself to avoid panic attacks or becoming depressed. I say things like, “it’s going to be OK, things will work out for the best, you can do this,” and “breathe,” I also try to figure things out instead of giving in to feeling overwhelmed by something. If I’m sad about something, I have a good cry, and grieve it out. Giving myself quiet time to reflect on something can be the most healing thing I do, as it helps me find my truth about something. This doesn’t mean I avoid conflict or suppress negative feelings, as I believe that can have extremely harmful health effects, rather I become clear and strong on my position on something, and think before I act on it. This helps me express myself calmly without being upset, even if others do not agree with me. Very important to mental and physical health.

In other words, living a pure life-style, somewhat like you did as a child is how I believe I’ve been able to age well. No need to do anything extreme. You know what you need to do, just find a quiet place, close your eyes, listen and breathe.


How To Conjure Up Self-Confidence When You’re Feeling Self-Doubt

If you’re like me, your greatest challenge to expressing yourself honestly, and thereby living your most authentic life, is your own lack of confidence. Most people are uncomfortable with conflict, especially within family relationships, so they “go along with things” they may not believe in or support for the sake of keeping peace between the people with whom they are the closest.  As our culture evolves, and people learn that suppressing their truth causes everything from mild depression to addiction to disease and death, we are finding ways to get support to live our truth and stand our ground, making our lives happier, freer, and healthier, but this can be scary. Sometimes even the best support fails to keep us steadfast when the pressure to go along with something we don’t agree with is strong.

Living my truth is tested regularly as politicians promote agendas that harm people, drug addiction causes upheavals in families, and systems of belief vie for our attention.  I have found that these days more than ever I need to embrace confidence in my truth, or my self-doubt will destroy me.   Situations where my self-confidence wavers often leave me full of fear, anxiety, fatigue, anger, sadness, you name it, all because I simply lack the self-confidence to take a stand on what I believe in, and hold to it no matter how things turn out.

Defining self-doubt and confidence can be tricky, so it’s important to understand clearly what they mean.  Self-doubt actually stems from a good quality, as it leaves us open to changing our view on something when we are lacking the information needed to understand it fully, but too much self-doubt can leave one empty as we dismiss our opinions to please others.  Confidence should not be confused with stubbornness which stems from the fear of changing a belief.  True self-confidence is having the courage to align yourself to what your quiet voice is telling you is true despite how painful, uncomfortable, or scary it may be.  It is a fluid state of mind, open to adjustments that new information brings to the situation, but secure in the current point of view.

During one particularly sleepless night as I was struggling to release my fears and relax, I decided to imagine I was completely confident about everything I was doing in my life.  I didn’t have to believe I was confident, I just had to imagine it.  As soon as I did this my self-doubt vanished, and I was completely relaxed.  I realized that both confidence and self-doubt could not exist within my psyche at the same time, and wondered how I could fill myself completely with confidence, leaving no room for self-doubt in the future.

As I lay in bed pondering this dilemma, the idea came to me to actually try to conjure confidence for myself from cosmic energy, and to do it by creating a painting.  It is common to state an intention before doing things like yoga, so why not do the same using paint and canvas to harness the energy of self-confidence from the universe into our souls.

Equipped with paint brush, paint, and canvas, I dove into it with enthusiasm, slashing the canvas with bold colors, dotting it obscurely, dripping water by mistake, pounding out patterns, throwing caution to the wind, and all the while asking this action to capture energy from the universe and fill my soul with the confidence I was born with, the confidence that had eroded as life took its toll me, as it does us all.

It worked!  Not only did the act of creating the painting instill confidence in me, but now every time I look at the painting I am reminded to be confident.  It started as a simple feeling of pride of my accomplishment, and grew each day, as I became clear and secure in my feelings.  The painting became a strong visual image I could use to connect with the truth deep within.

An amazing thing about self-confidence is that once you feel confident about something without wanting reassurance or validation from anyone or anything, you become a magnet for circumstances and assurances that support your view.  It’s as if the act of becoming self-confident causes the situation to go your way.

So find a way to conjure up some self-confidence for yourself by setting it as your intention when you do something.  You can do it when you do yoga, paint a picture, go for a hike, whatever works for you, because believing in yourself can move mountains.  Don’t be surprised if you experience strong emotions as your confidence grows because confidence is built on truth, and truths that can be hard to accept are often realized during acts of intention.  You know what you know, and believe what you believe, and living that truth is not only the best way to live, it honors your soul and purpose on Earth.  You heal yourself as you heal the world by listening and respecting the quiet truth of the universe.  Of that, I am confident.




How To Use Your Dreams To Change Your Life

Painted by Amy Swen,

Most of us have dreams without understanding the message exactly.  We can be scared by them, entertained by them, embarrassed by them, you name it, but imagine they are messages sent to help you with your life.  imagine they are the very key to finding the answers and paths to creating a life your soul has longed for, a life that fulfills your special purpose in this world.

I was struggling along like everyone else, trying different avenues in life, changing course when needed, learning from my mistakes, as I made my shaky way through life.  One night, however, I had an amazing dream after I had summoned the courage to stand up to my overbearing mother like never before. In the dream I was walking through the hardships of life with a small band of fellow explorers.  We were learning things that only we were capable of learning, and bringing our knowledge to the masses to help them. I had a tan back with a geometric symbol on it.  Later I slid through a dark wet tunnel with my friends, and ended being greeted by a large leopard face as we entered a world that was always dark as night. I was in my mid-fifties at the time, yet still struggling with issues involving fear and anger. By finally having the courage to calmly stand up to my mother, it was if I had earned the right to join the ranks of this special group of soul warriors.

During the next few months, I continued to have amazing vivid dreams, mostly occurring in the early morning hours.  In one dream a man with bright blue eyes that seemed to be lit from inside him, approached me.  At the time I was unemployed and longing for a fulfilling job of some kind.  He was dressed like a world explorer too, and seemed to have full knowledge of the world.  He looked at me intensely and asked me what I liked to do the most, and I told him that I liked to do my crafts more than anything.  He then walked to a closet door, opened it, and showed me it was filled from top to bottom with grey pieces of metal piping.

The man then looked at me with more intensity than I have ever experienced.  He pointed to the grey pipes and said that I was to do with them what I do with my crafts, and then he left.  I didn’t understand what he meant at first, but the intensity of manner made the dream stick with me as I thought about what it could mean.

A few days later I realized what it meant.  The door to the closet represented the door to the new path I was longing to enter.  The grey metal pipes were symbols of difficult, cold, hard things I would have to deal with on my new journey.  He was telling me that to go down a path that will bring fulfillment, I would encounter things I find hard and unpleasant, and to approach them the same way I do working on things I enjoy like crafts.

I realized that when I work on a craft project, I pick something that appeals to me, I work on it when I genuinely want to, and when it is finished I don’t worry about.  I display it or put it for sale, and enjoy it.  What if I did everything that way?  What if I did everything from cleaning my house, to working at a challenging job, to doing home improvement projects the same way I work on crafts?  I realized I could do this, and approaching anything like this would make everything I do part of an enjoyable adventure rather than a dreaded chore.  Doing everything like this would energize me, and make me more invested in what I was doing, enabling me to be more productive in ways of greater significance.

As the weeks passed, and I had more dreams like this, and realized more and more about myself.  For example, I had a dream where I was arrested because I was riding in the passenger seat of a car.  I told the officer that it wasn’t fair, and he said, “no it wasn’t.”  This dream made me aware that I often sit in the passenger seat of life, and let others call the shots, and that this isn’t being fair to myself, and I needed to step up and take charge of my own life.  As dreams like this empowered me, things in my life began to change.  I found a job I loved, my craft creations evolved into bigger and better things, my relationships were easier and more joyful, I worried less, and things I had always wanted began falling into place.  I had become more honest, courageous, insightful, intuitive, calm, and was sleeping better, all because of my dreams.  I also realized that my ability to understand my dreams, and the dreams of others was a gift, and I wanted to help others to use their dreams the same way I used mine.

I began by asking friends and family to tell me their dreams, and helped them to understand.  Then I became a Certified Dream Therapist, read some books by dream shamans like Robert Moss, and attended an amazing workshop in Ireland.  As I practiced working with dreams, and experimented with the guidance and ideas from myself and others, I came up with a clear technique for understanding how to use them to improve our lives that I have listed below.

  1.  Put effort into remembering your dreams.  This can be done by writing parts of dreams down during the night or in the morning, or by laying in bed just a minute when you wake up as you focus on whatever dream you had been having.  Start having conversations about dreams with others, make dreams a part of your world.
  2. Ask and answer the following questions about your dream:
    1. What happened?  Tell or write down everything that happened in the dream.  Describe details that stand out, everything.
    2. How did you feel about what happened in the dream?
    3. What do you think the dream meant?
    4. Was the dream related to anything going on in your life at the time?
    5. Could the people or animals in the dream be parts of yourself?  For example, could a cat traveling beside you represent your vulnerable self?  Could babies or old people be you as an infant or the older version of you yet to come?  Imagine for a minute that everyone in the dream is you, and what meaning could come from that.
    6. What positive message could the dream be trying to give you?  What guidance?  Think up a slogan that captures the meaning of your dream.
    7. What is an action you can take because of the dream?  The action can be a physical act, or a change in attitude or thinking about something.  The action can be researching something that appeared in your dream, or purchasing an item related to something in your dream.
  3.   If you don’t dream much, do things like practicing yoga, walking in nature, taking naps, and setting an intention at night to get guidance on something specific in your dreams.  It is also possible to tap into the dream world while awake, and I will give examples of experiences and techniques on soul journeying in my next blog.

Guidance from the other side is powerful magic, and by practicing a little awareness, and having the willingness to act on a message, you too can take advantage of this resource designed especially for your soul and helping you fulfill your greatest purpose.  If you would like to contact me to set up a dream session, please email, or you can purchase a session at my shop.  Wishing you the most amazing of dreams!