How to Get Ready to Retire?

Get healthy.

This article is in the context of Covid-19 crisis, but its point – that the vast majority of Americans are not healthy – is a call to action for each of us individually. “Only 12 percent of Americans over age 20 are considered metabolically healthy — that is, with optimal measures for waist circumference, blood sugar, blood pressure and lipids, and not taking drugs to control these risk factors.” Even without Covid-19 our healthcare system was about to be overwhelmed.

The single most important thing to do for yourself is to get and stay healthy. Also, probably the single most difficult thing to accomplish.

Life After Coronavirus

Yuval Noah Harari wrote a very interesting article in the Financial Times recently about how the choices we are forced to make quickly today – to save lives, to expedite medical supplies – will have lasting impact on how we live post-crisis. Does our future hold totalitarian surveillance or citizen empowerment? Nationalist isolation or global solidarity?

Contrast this with the kind of thoughtful decisions we have been making, or should have been making, all along. Like the ones described by Ozzie Zehner in his book Green Illusions. Do we have the wherewithal to lower our energy demands significantly, immediately, and to live more lightly on the earth in multiple contexts? How do we set ourselves up to make our species successful?

One thing for sure. There’s no going back to “normal.” We are forever changed.

A Thousand to One by Berton Braley

There’s a thousand “Can’t-be-done-ers”
For the one who says “It can!”
But the whole amount of deeds that count
Is done by the latter clan.
For the “Can’t-be-done-ers” grumble,
And hamper, oppose and doubt,
While the daring man who says “It can!”
Proceeds to work it out.

There isn’t a new invention
Beneath the shining sun,
That was ever wrought by the deed or thought
Of the tribe of “Can’t-be-done.”
For the “Can’t-be-done-ers” mutter
While the “Can-be’s” cool, sublime,
Make their “notions” work till the others smirk.
“Oh, we knew it all the time!”

“Oh, the “Can-be’s” clan is meager,
Its membership is small,
And it’s mighty few who see their dreams come true
Or hear fame’s trumpet call;
But it’s better to be a “Can-be,”
And labor and dream—and die,
Than one who runs with the “Can’t-be-done’s”
Who haven’t the pluck to try.

Berton Braley (1882–1966) was an American poet.

Thanks to Dr. David Purlmutter for bring this to my attention.

My Mom Would Have Been 86 Today

Chani Nicholas wrote this in a horoscope post she wrote about the New Moon moving into Aries today, and it couldn’t be more suited to the mom I remember:

Aries … ushers in a call to life. It rallies the spirit. It is the original spark of intuition, initiation, and inspiration. If any sign knows how to embody an almost delusional amount of confidence, it’s this one.

Miss you Mom.

An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans by Kristin Flyntz

Brain Tree

Stop.

Just stop.

It is no longer a request.

It is a mandate.

We will help you.

We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt.

We will stop the planes, the trains, the schools, the malls, the meetings, the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart, the way we breathe together, in unison.

Our obligation is to each other, as it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.

We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions, to bring you this long-breaking news: We are not well. None of us; all of us are suffering.

Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause. Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan. Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.

You have not been listening.

It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives. But the foundation is giving way, buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.

We will help you. We will bring the firestorms to your body. We will bring the fever to your body. We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs that you might hear: We are not well. Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.

We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.

We are asking you: To stop, to be still, to listen; To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all; To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart; To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy?

How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy? To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?

Many are afraid now. Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness, listen for its wisdom. What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?

As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?

Stop.

Notice if you are resisting.

Notice what you are resisting. Ask why.

Stop.

Just stop.

Be still. Listen.

Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well. We will help you, if you listen.

Written by Kristin Flyntz. Thanks to Jeanne Peters for bringing this to my attention.

Perspective

We are smarter, faster, and better than any virus, but only if we work together. My favorite medieval historian, Yuval Noah Harari, gives us historical context in this Time magazine article. As usual, leadership matters.

“In this moment of crisis, the crucial struggle takes place within humanity itself. If this epidemic results in greater disunity and mistrust among humans, it will be the virus’s greatest victory. When humans squabble – viruses double. In contrast, if the epidemic results in closer global cooperation, it will be a victory not only against the coronavirus, but against all future pathogens.”

A Revelation at Hand

The world shifted on its axis this weekend as the impact of coronavirus on the human race came into focus. I felt the zeitgeist slip a notch, in contrast to its usual slow turning – borders of all sorts closing, new leaders emerging as previous leaders are shown – in a flash -to be ineffective, new concerns moving front and center and old priorities – once held dear – suddenly not even relevant.  March 2020. Something new has been born into this world.

The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Staying Informed

One source of information I am finding very helpful during this time of poor leadership is Dr John Campbell out of the U.K. He is publishing at least one video a day (on YouTube) full of very helpful background, tips and tools, what is going on in other counties. Highly recommended.