Exploring “Spirited Ageing”

Two weeks into the New Year and I have finished reading my first book for 2014, albeit one I started some time back, in 2013. The book, which I have been reading, at a very leisurely pace, is  Spirited Ageing ~cultivating the art of renewal   ~ by  Juliet Batten .

Juliet, in her book, tackles, with a delightful combination of grace and common sense, the subject of preparing for one’s old age. She invites the us “into the adventure of conscious ageing”  and  provides basic, easy-to-follow, strategies to help us discover our source of energy,  the “illumination” or “regenopause”, upon which  we can draw  to fuel  a ‘ vibrant’ and ‘expansive’ old age. She also invites us to, amongst other things,  care for the soul, do new things constantly, identify treasure and clutter, bring creativity into our lives, and to focus on increasing the  renewable *spirit* of our being, as our physical capacity diminishes.

Clap your hands and sing

Clap your hands and sing

With Juliet’s suggestions in mind, I have been enriching my spirit, in recent days,  by researching  a post I meant to write more than a week ago; a post to acknowledge the closure of one Christmas season on January 6th and   the beginning of  another; that of the Coptic Churches, on  January 7th. I would have gotten to this *work* sooner, if it weren’t for those mayhem-making Moments you may remember from my previous post 😉 . However, when the subject of the post is of a  millennial vintage, a delay of a moment or two, or three ,or four, is neither here nor there.

So, with research completed, here is that delayed post, which has two parts:

Part One;

a visit to  the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland  to gaze upon  the Museum’s collection of Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts and icons;

Diptych Icon with Saint George, and Mary and the Infant Christ

Diptych Icon with Saint George, and Mary and the Infant Christ : Early 15th Century, Tempera on Wood

The Walters Art Museum has “one of the largest collections of manuscripts, icons and processional crosses outside of Ethiopia. Historically, Ethiopia was a Christian kingdom with strong ties in both trade and religion to the cultures located around the Mediterranean. Ethiopia’s Christian tradition dates back to the 4th century, when the ruler of the Aksumite kingdom converted to Christianity; by the 15th century, this African nation had developed a tradition of icon painting that rivaled that of the Orthodox empires.http://art.thewalters.org/browse/category/ethiopia/

and Part Two;

an introduction to the three books I will be reading, now that I have finished “Spirited Ageing”. All three books are by  Elizabeth E Wein ~ The Winter PrinceA Coalition of Lions and The Sunbird. They are visually beautiful books and lovely to hold, as well. I am eager to stretch my imagination and  embark on the adventures they promise in ancient, mythical lands.

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But, in case, you should think, with this post, that I am already lost to  those most ancient of days, I am pleased to report  some relatively recent news, which is  that the city of Vancouver has banned doorknobs in all apartment buildings and   private homes to be built after March 2014. http://www.vancouversun.com/story.html?id=9173543  They will be required to have easier-to-use, universal design levers. That’s the spirit Vancouver City! May I come and spend my old age with you?  🙂

© silkannthreades

 

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63 thoughts on “Exploring “Spirited Ageing”

  1. Pingback: Imagine | silkannthreades

  2. Hilary

    Hi Gallivanta .. I love learning more about the Coptic world and their art and knowledge – I’ve got Juliet’s book .. so will look forward to reading it .. and on your recommendation have also bought the Bateson book as mentioned above by Clan Mother.

    Great interaction and learning here .. cheers Hilary

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Welcome Hilary. Juliet’s book is so interesting. The whole subject of ageing is interesting. I have visited your blog and I think much of what you will find in Juliet’s book will resonate with your own experiences.

      Reply
  3. tiny lessons blog

    The icons are truly beautiful! I saw quite a few of them in Ethiopia. The Coptic history was present everywhere, but unfortunately we were not able visit Lalibela due to the instability/conflict in the country at the time. So that’s still on my bucket list as part of my “spirited aging” adventures 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I don’t believe I have seen one in real life. I have seen the processional crosses though, or replicas of them. Good to know that Lalibela is on your bucket list for spirited ageing 😉 I have sent some links from your blog (about coffee) to http://valeriedavies.com/, another NZ blogger whose latest post was about searching for the perfect coffee 🙂

      Reply
      1. tiny lessons blog

        Thank you! I was pleased to see yet another serious medical study earlier this week to conclude that coffee improves one’s memory. So two cups a day will be part of my “preservation program” as I age!

        Reply
  4. womanseyeview

    Another book for my want to read pile – thanks. My husband has spent a bit of time in Ethiopia over the years and because of that I was introduced to amazing coptic christian art – visiting Lalibela ( http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/18 ) in Northern Ethiopia is still on my ‘hope to get there’ list. I thought Vancouver was very thoughtful with it’s bylaw – when we downsized to our present home we had all the doorknobs changed to lever type ones…ahead of our time it seems!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I wish you could see my to read pile! However, sometimes, even if one doesn’t get to read everything one wants to, it’s just nice to know that it’s there, waiting. Also, lovely to know that your husband has spent time in Ethiopia and has introduced you to Lalibela. I haven’t been to Ethiopia either…yet 😉 I loved this piece on Ethiopia done by Joanna Lumley in her series about the Nile http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= Ah, you were very forward thinking when you downsized. Did you make any other modifications?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Typos…no worries! My sister’s computer is on the blink so I get messages from her that look like this “pleasetellmewhereyoufoundtherecipeforblueberrymuffins”. So typos are easy to handle 😀

      Reply
  5. cindy knoke

    Chuckles……we may as well be spirited as we age because what is the alternative? Unspirited aging? That doesn’t sound very entrancing does it? I like to focus on life itself rather than aging per se. I just want to squeeze every drop of joy out of life that I can before I die. Interestingly enough I have always thought it is important to think of death in order the compel one to appreciate life now. Can you imagine anything worse than faing your own death and realizing you never really enjoyed life? You would want to say, WAIT, STOP! Let me try this again!
    The Coptic traditions and art are fascinating and mysterious. I had no idea about the collection in Baltimore but I look forward to learning more from you!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes to focus on life (and living well) is something we can do every day, no matter our age. As for thinking about death….I know that you do….because you take trips with rattlesnakes!!!!!

      Reply
  6. Tracy Rhynas

    I am still lost in the beautiful rich colours of those artworks – stunning! As for banning doorknobs, I mean, really? The fact that they removed the Art Deco doorknobs from City Hall – a heritage listed building – despite saying they would not retroactively apply the rule, well, that is the equivalent of destroying art!! Like a lot of things, it’s all very sensible, but at the same time quite sad – with ‘sensible’ comes uniformity and loss of character. But my hands may be glad of it one day, even if my eyes and spirit aren’t!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the rich colours of the art. It is difficult to get the balance right with those doorknobs, I would say. I don’t think I would like an outright ban but I know I would appreciate an incentive to have good quality door handles that I will be able to manage for the rest of my days 🙂

      Reply
  7. Juliet

    I’m delighted and honoured that you have featured my book ‘Spirited Ageing’ on your blog. People can order it directly through my website http://www.julietbatten.co.nz
    It’s also on Amazon, but may cost a little more that way. I’m receiving a lot of orders from readers who got it out of the library and then realised they had to have their own copy as they want to keep dipping into it.
    Thank you so much! And is it OK for me to post this on to my Facebook books page?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Hello, hello Juliet. I am glad to see you have read my post. I would be more than happy for you to post this on your Facebook books page. Feel free to edit it to suit your Facebook, if you wish to do so. And I am so grateful to you for writing this book. Many thanks.

      Reply
  8. Clanmother

    What a wonderful post!!! You gave me so much to contemplate! And to think that I first found out about Vancouver’s disappearing doorknobs from your blog! The Coptic Church is also vibrant in Vancouver!

    Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of Margaret Mead, has a great book on moving forward in our timeline. I read is two years ago when I was in transition. “Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom.” I liked her idea of Adulthood II.

    http://www.amazon.com/Composing-Further-Life-Active-Wisdom/dp/0307279634

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Wiki tells me that there are 40 Coptic Orthodox churches in Canada. And one million Egyptian Coptic Christians living outside of Egypt, in various countries. The Coptic Church in Christchurch has plans for a beautiful new church in a lovely park setting. The book by Mary Bateson looks excellent. I have read a few pages via the link; thank you. Our lives are so rich with wonderful writers and thinkers and do-ers.

      Reply
      1. Clanmother

        Our population is aging, thanks to the wonders of medicine and our increased knowledge on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We are able to draw from a greater base of experience simply because we are living longer. Whether we gain wisdom…ah, that is an entirely difference conversation. One that we continue to have as we blog along….

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I would like to think that we do gain wisdom but…some days I feel less wise than I was the day before. 😦 and the day before that.

        2. Clanmother

          Perhaps that is the beginning of wisdom…
          I certainly hope so, because there are those kind of days on my side of the world too! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Mrs. P

    Well I’ off to a good start…over the past few months I have been doing more creative things than ever before. Sounds like a book I should read!

    Reply
  10. Just Add Attitude

    Juliet Batten’s book ‘Spirted Ageing’ sounds interesting. I like her suggestion of doing new things constantly, in cold print in sounds exhausting but I am telling myself that it could mean something as simple as trying a new recipe or walking a different way somewhere. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh ,absolutely, doing new things can be as simple as trying a new recipe. Walking a different way somewhere is one of my favourite things to do. And what about walking round the supermarket in a different direction from usual. That’s a fun one and really tests my brain, and other customers’ patience! That’s my own idea…not Juliet’s!

      Reply
  11. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

    Gallivanta – I’ve yet to visit your blog when I didn’t learn something and normally I learn multiple areas of interest I wish to explore. I’ve written down the book you’ve just finished reading and will head over to Amazon soon to order, Juliet Batten’s book titled Spirited Ageing. I seem to be more drawn to non-fiction these days.
    Your celebrations continue and that seems a perfect reason to me for not being front and center on your blog. Matter of fact, life experience, always seems to make blogs richer as I read them.
    I hadn’t thought much about European style door handles until you mentioned them. I’m all for your way of thinking. They are easier on our hands and even arms as we age.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Although the next books I will read are fiction I do prefer non-fiction these days, too. I am very interested in universal design or good design for all ages. We shouldn’t be limited by our physical environment. This is one of my favourite videos on the subject of ageing http://video.mit.edu/watch/meet-mit-agelabs-agnes-10347/ Similar research has been happening in Germany http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/jul/09/suit-students-experience-old-age

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      More of an ease of use issue, I would say, but they could be a health hazard. I am not sure but I think new hospital/medical rooms would probably not have doorknobs for health reasons.I must look carefully next time I am at the doctor’s.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Mmmmm……I think there is a whole PhD dissertation in this doorknob issue….the more I google them, the more complex it gets. Hygiene is one part of the doorknob debate but I don’t know how much that factored in the Vancouver City decision.

  12. utesmile

    I love puzzles always have even at a young age…hmm I am still young… That ageing book looks really interesting. Unfortunately I have still another 5 to read on my list as I haven’t had time to read for quite a while. Hopefullly I can indulge in a book again soon.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I have a “to read” list a mile long! I try to read four of five pages a day but you can imagine how long it takes to read a book at that pace! But I read the book you gave me, immediately 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It’s a difficult topic, really, but, as Juliet says, we prepare for childbirth and, yet, rarely prepare for old age. In fact, many of us, because of lifestyles, no longer have old age role models within our family groups.

      Reply
  13. lensandpensbysally

    Books that take a very long time to devour are some of the most memorable. They make us stop and ponder a phrase, a concept, a sentence…If you ever want to visit Walters Art Gallery, it’s about an hour away. Be delighted to take you. But cyberspace gives you a taste of their collections, which maybe all you need.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I would love to see the Walters Art Museum , in your company,one day. What I love about it, is that their collections are so accessible on line. They really make it easy to download images and embed items in social media….it’s the first museum I have come across that engages so freely with its online audience. The museum obviously maintains the philosophy of its founders, which was to SHARE their wonderful art collection with the public.

      Reply
  14. ladysighs

    I grew up in a small town. I remember seeing this elderly lady elegantly dressed and carrying a parasol. Her hair was in a pile on her head and she stood straight as an arrow. She would walk past our home on her way to town several days during the week. I must have noticed her in the summertime. I never spoke to her or even saw her up close. I haven’t thought of her in years until reading your post. There is nothing more to say about her except I am thinking of myself in my sweat pants, sweat shirt and tennis shoes. I didn’t age very elegantly…lol
    But I’m pretty spirited. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I like your pretty spirit 🙂 But I am also ever so curious about the elegant lady with the parasol..who was she? I think she needs one of your poems 😉

      Reply
  15. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    i enjoyed the entire post, but wow, weaning away from the door knob? just yesterday i admired the beautiful door knob at my printere’s office! i looked at both sides and commented on its beauty. (old building in manta, ecuador)… while i have empathy for those who have problems with door knobs or walking up/down steps without a rail or opening a bottle cap, i agree that the doorknob is the handshake to a building!

    sometimes we can be too protective. should we keep training wheels on all bicycles in order to protect any age rider from having accidents?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the posts. I thought you might like the art work 😉 I love doorknobs/knobs too. My grandmother had a lovely chest of drawers with amber coloured, cut glass knobs and they fascinated me as a child. I think a ban on doorknobs is intriguing. I expect, thinking about it from my NZ perspective, that the ban would have something to do with social justice and housing affordability. For years, in NZ, we have built poorly designed houses which means that when a certain group of people, say the elderly, need warm, accessible housing, there is only a limited (and therefore expensive) housing stock available for them. Oftentimes, the only way they can get this housing is by finding a place, or a room, in a retirement village, said village being a business with shareholders to please. I think it is much better, in the long run, to have houses that are well designed, to universal ( aka as really really good) design standards, that anyone can occupy at any stage of life. The other day I read a comment by an architect who said he believes that it takes about 50 years of occupancy for a house to obtain its patina( I would say essence of home/houseness); but many people don’t get a chance to see that, if the house is poorly designed for life, in the first place. Your house, I must say, has patina already 🙂 So, isn’t it interesting how something as small as a doorknob can raise such incredible issues?

      Reply
  16. YellowCable

    The “Spirited Ageing” book is interesting. Getting old (I meant getting into old ages) is not fun 😦 Juliet seems to have some good ideas. I may have to take a peak at her book.

    Both activities you have here are great. I think reading books or doing puzzles can help too. I am trying to also doing both now 🙂

    Reply
  17. Su Leslie

    My son went to preschool with a little boy whose father is the Head of the Coptic Church in NZ. I have a wonderful memory of the boy’s 4th or 5th birthday party, with a smiling, very witty Father Bishoy wearing his cassock (if that’s the right term). It was the first time most of the children had seen a holy man and they were a bit overwhelmed. I knew nothing about the Coptic Church before then, but tried to learn a little bit to share with my son so he could understand his friend’s life better.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The Neighbourhood programme on TV One featured an Egyptian Coptic priest and his family, not so long ago, but I can’t locate the exact episode. It was a lovely segment. I have fond memories of the Coptic Church and monasteries from our days in Egypt. The Coptic Church is a vibrant one in Christchurch even though they are in temporary accommodation, having lost their church in the Sept 2010 earthquake.

      Reply

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