For several weeks now I have been trying to think of the word “focus” whenever I go up or down steps. That must sound like a very strange thing, and you may be wondering what does that mean? I will try to explain. Since about mid-September my leg has been trying to heal from a bad fall that resulted from trying to climb up on the concrete edge of a flower bed that runs the length of my house. I had just awakened and needed to see if my window was damaged from something I heard hit it the night before. I wasn’t fully awake, and just started to climb up to the window’s height like I have always climbed up on things.

This was were “judgment” or “critical thinking” should have stepped in but did not. My body no longer has the balance or strength it used to have, so in trying to climb up I started falling. I had a choice—-I could land on my back on the hard ground or I could stop my fall by hitting the flower bed edge with my left calf. I chose the latter.

I probably escaped a concussion, broken hip, or broken back (I have osteopenia, the pre-cursor to osteoporosis). But what happened instead turned out to be a real nightmare. I hit hard enough that I thought I would look down and find a bad bruise starting to develop. Instead, I found a bad cut that would not stop bleeding. I had discovered that concrete edges can be very sharp.

The bleeding would not stop when I applied pressure so I ended up calling 911. The responders were wonderful, and they got me to the emergency room. They started an IV and measured my vital signs on the way there. My blood pressure was something like 82/64—-weird enough and low enough to scare this retired nurse who usually has hypertension. I realized that I just might be going into shock. The doctor who saw me in the emergency room “sewed me up”—–it took 35 stitches, some of them internal. The doctor said I was very lucky I did not break my leg. The hospital billed me for surgery.

My wound has still not fully healed even though October and November have come and gone…..but it is very close to being so. I’ve had to cushion the wound all this time so that I would not bump something and open it back up. Being a diabetic I am most grateful for the slow healing; the alternative would have been much worse.

So, I have been trying to discover a way to remind myself to “think” before I try to do something that seems relatively easy for the body I used to have and, most importantly, to pay attention to my balance which has emerged as a major culprit in my tendency to fall. I finally thought of the word “focus.” My sister who works with special needs children tells me they teach those who cannot accurately judge where their body is spatially located to “plan their motor.” I tried that. All I could visualize was a motor in a car. That didn’t help.

So I bought a “flower-power” quad cane (see photo) when my doctor told me to start using a cane on a regular basis. I have been using it, but sometimes I do not either because I forget to pick it up or I don’t want to go in a store with it and forget to pick it up before I move on. Now, I try to think “focus” when I recognize and react to anything that might negatively interact with my balance problems (mild vertigo) or my problems with three dimensional perception. I don’t always remember the magic word “focus”—-but it is helping. Hence the title for today’s blog, “Focus, Focus. Hocus Pocus.”

The magic comes with my growing ability to accept myself as I am in the current moment. The “aging challenges” have been difficult for me to accept because my subconscious seems to create a constant self-image of someone who is thirty or more years younger. Oddly enough, this morning’s sermon in church was about the need to transition—– the need to work at accepting change and to realize even the specific change we’ve adapted to can also change instantaneously.

Today’s gospel reading in church was from Luke 21: 25-36 in which Jesus says, among other things, that “Heaven and earth will pass away.” This is the first time I heard that heaven would also pass away. What did that mean? So, on the way out of church I asked my priest. She explained that there is no one answer to that, and that it is an invitation to go within and find out what it means. She further explained that when I have discovered my answer to let go of it and keep searching as things will always be changing.

I have never thought of heaven as passing away even though I have come to belief that heaven is a state within each soul where God, love, and compassion dwell—–and from which our thinking and actions can, with our permission, be guided so that things may be “on earth as in heaven.” Of course, due to my Ozark upbringing, I still tend to think of heaven as a destination as well as a way of being in constant relationship with our Creator. To be honest, no one really knows what “heaven” is, and every one must search out that changing meaning for themselves.

I have thought of myself as an “evolving elder” for quite some time now, and I am just beginning to understand that means both my physical state and my spiritual state. I am focusing at this moment on trying to comprehend that change will always be active both within and outside myself—-as well as throughout the eternity of an ever-changing individually perceived heaven. All the different change theories I taught during my time as a professor have either just taken on new meaning or need to be discarded. The one constant that is, has, and will be is the need to “let go” and accept a change that will, in turn, change. The twelve step concept of “Letting go and Letting God” is not only a lesson for the present but for eternity.

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