08 Sep 2022

Living mindfully at each life stage

It’s taken a while for me to wake up to living mindfully. 

When the time was right, I was ready to shift my thinking and behaviour. Being a late adopter of mindfulness has some advantages; there is so much to learn and appreciate.

Do you think more about the present, the past, or the future? 

Future focus was my preferred modus operandi. All my energy and enthusiasm went into working towards a brighter future, striving towards the next goal, planning the next adventure. I was always active, even with leisure pursuits, moving towards the next destination.

For others, looking back and reflecting on the past is a bigger part of their thinking.   

With more mindfulness, I am learning to appreciate what each day brings, noticing my surroundings and moving at a different pace. 

Ageing mindfully helps us to be more aware of changes happening within us and around us, exploring what it means to us as individuals, accepting that each life stage is different, and flowing into the next phase rather than resisting it.  

No one says growing older is easy. The challenges are real. People look at you differently, some overlook you. Our minds and bodies operate differently, and the world responds differently to us.

Accepting that everything is transitory, nothing stays the same, is part of this process. Observing our changing reality, we can embrace the changes with a sense of openness and curiosity. 

Being in the present, we savour what is here right now, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Making time each day to appreciate the gift of life and what it continues to give.

Spending time in nature brings me back to the present. Noticing sights and sounds around me, nurturing my soul, switching off from social media and other distractions.   

Mindful walking awakens our sense. 

For example, I am awed by the Riuwaka Resurgence, a mystical river source surrounded by native bush at the top of the South Island of New Zealand.  The river emerges from the depths of the Takaka Hill in the Kahurangi National Park. When there, I appreciate why this is wāhi tapu (a sacred place) for local Māori tribes.

Mindfulness extends to the way we breathe, to mindful movement adapting to our physical changes, and healthy nutrition fuelling our body as we age.  

We are more aware of the wonderful things that come with getting older – wisdom from a life well lived, more patience and perspectives gained through experience, insights into dealing with adversity and, best of all, less caring what others think of us. 

This year I am living lightly and letting go; a work in progress which is bound to continue. 

Being mindful is part of the journey - still curious, still learning, making each moment count. 


Mary Somervell

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