The Spoon Theory (view the video above) is a clear and vivid way of explaining what it is like to live with any chronic, catastrophic and potentially life-threatening illness. I suspect that it is also explains what life is like for those who have lived long enough to be described as "elderly."
The first step in living successfully with catastrophic illness and advanced aging is to recognize (acknowledge/understand) the ramifications in terms of everyday life and its details. The Spoon Theory helps with that.
The second step is acceptance. That's about letting go of your story. It's about not being defined by the circumstances of your life. It's about living with not struggling against. This requires something much more profound than positive thinking, which does offer some help but only at a very superficial level.
Letting go of our story means letting go of judgement and attachment and a sense of victimization, which are the root causes of most of our very human pathologies. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote of this my-story mentality as "striving, disappointment, and boredom" or a life that is devoid of Spirit. Songwriters, who often make their living by stoking the "pain body" or the residue of emotional pain that stays with us (Eckhart Tolle), call this the IFD disease - idealization, frustration (the ideal is not achieveable/realistic) and demoralization.
The third step in the journey is to adapt, a business of the heart. Adapting is not about giving up. It's about joy and gratitude and no one says that better than the beloved Benedictine Monk, Brother David Stendl-Rast (video below), who combines the wisdom of traditional Christianity with the wisdom and pragmatism of Buddhism.
October 2014, Volume 1, Issue 1
A publication of Bequine Again and The Bardo Group
© 2014, feature article, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reserved