I was recently asked if I considered myself more of a Physician or a Healer. A Physician possessing Medical Expertise vs. A Healer, who deals with the Mind, Body, and Soul. I would like to consider myself "both", but in actuality, I want very much to continue my quest in reaching the highest goal of being a heart-felt Healer.

To that end, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my beliefs on senior mindful living and a few suggestions on how that might have a positive impact on your individual lives. As we look at the different stages of our lives, we can see how our circumstances, goals, and priorities have changed dramatically over the passing years. If we draw a circle and divide it into components (Yes! This is where the "pie" part comes in!) for each stage, we can visualize just how much our lives have changed! When we were young, we may have divided our "pie" into 3 or 4 components: School, Family, Sports, Friends, etc. A bit later we may have changed our "pie" to reflect that new stage of our lives: College, Family, Friendships, Career, Marriage, Exercise, Spiritual Growth, etc. The next natural progression might also include children, PTA, Home, etc. We can see our "life pie” is now getting more crowded! As time progresses, we find that even more is added: Care of our parents, Grandchildren, Retirement, Change in our living accommodations, Health issues, Loss of loved ones, etc. At this juncture, we might find ourselves overwhelmed, stressed, saddened, and perhaps, lonely.

“No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending “. So where might we begin with defining our new senior life? Take a pencil and a piece of paper. These tools can be helpful in creating a new beginning map for an exciting senior life! Let's look at what your "pie" and mindful living might look like. Before you start dividing and filling in your new senior "life pie", let's look at some areas you might to include:

1. Spiritual Growth. Is this an important area for you? If so, is this the time to delve into holy scriptures of your choice? Join a study group? Perhaps a course in comparative religions? Develop an active prayer/meditation life? Maybe this might be the "right time in your life to feed your heart and your soul.

2. Travel. Have you traveled to those places you always wanted to visit? Any places left on your bucket list? If health issues prevent you from the physical aspects of travel, how about a travel DVD of that area? How about inviting some friends over for a DVD & travel story evening?

3. Learning & Education. Something you always wanted to learn about? How about taking a course at a local college or online? What spikes your interest? This could not only sharpen your mind but be fun too!

4. Exercise & Health. Is this the time to really make taking care of yourself a priority? Work with a caring health team on a regular basis? How about exercise? Perhaps the local Zumba class might be a bit much, but what about a yoga class? Swimming? Walking with light weights? Stretching? Hand exercises? Whatever exercise you choose, start doing it daily! It's never "too late" to experience the benefits of exercise!

5. Hobbies. The list here is endless! Here at Royal Oaks, you have a full calendar of activities from which to choose! And you can "double down" with your Sun City recreation card! Almost any hobby you can think of will have a room filled with the necessary equipment, and a group of people to welcome you and share their expertise! Your only job is to choose what area interests you!

6. Volunteering/Community Work. Every one of you has skills and talents to share. You've spent a lifetime acquiring those skills, knowledge, and wisdom. Maybe it's time to give back and share with others that are just starting out. This will feed your soul as well. Organizations, where you could volunteer, are endless. Choose one! Or two! Your life has great value. It's time to share your amazing life with others.

7. Family & Friends. I chose to include both these important groups together as they become more linked as we naturally age. Throughout the years, sadness occurs as we experience loss of our friends, peers, colleagues, and, perhaps most painful of all, our family members. The loss of our parents, siblings, children, and a spouse can be a devasting experience and leave a deep "hole in our hearts". With true respect for the losses in your lives, I would like you to consider creating a "Family of choice"... Who would you like to include in YOUR family of choice? A neighbor? Old or new friends? Teacher? Mentor? I want to encourage each of you to create a "Family of Choice", and then invite that person to be part of your "family". Send them a note or card, phone call, email, or even a telegram (remember those?), or meet them for coffee and share with them that you would like them to be part of your family of choice. And WHY you've chosen them. I can promise you that this will be a blessing for both, them and for you. I hope that I've given you a few ideas for creating your own "life pie". I'd like to leave you with a few words of encouragement to begin each day with mindfulness and purpose. And to always remember that you are precious!

Dr. Ashish Sachdeva

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