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Encouraging women to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

Get Ready for the 7th Inning

S T R E T C H

 
“In baseball in the United States and Canada, the seventh-inning stretch is a tradition that takes place between the halves of the seventh inning of a game – in the middle of the seventh inning. Fans generally stand up and stretch out their arms and legs and sometimes walk around.”  From Wikepedia
 

 

 
Even if you are not a baseball fan, the idea of taking a break from the action and stretching is timely.  The idea for May’s newsletter was born when I received an e-mail from one of our readers, “Gail” from Tennessee wrote:
   
“Kendra, I enjoy your news letter and have been using the meditations.  I realized a few months ago (on a trip) that I could no longer touch my toes.  For one who did acrobatics that was an eye opener.  Now I stretch every morning and I am doing much better.  It does not take long for us to lose the ability to be limber.  Just a thought I wanted to pass on.”
 


Proper exercise – which would include some stretching – is vitally important for good health, regardless of age.  I asked a good friend, Tracy Reeves, to provide our readers with some stretching exercises.  I met Tracy when we were both founding members of Ladies Links Fore Golf.  Tracy is a highly respected Yoga teacher who has decades of experience providing personal training.  She’s promised to give us some tips, after she’s had time to research just the right exercises for us.
 
 
In the meantime, she cautioned: 
 
“Of course, any kind of exercise should only be done with the approval of your medical provider, taking into proper consideration any limitations or precautions.”  In addition, Tracy recommends that “any stretching exercise is initiated only from a stable, strong base – or core.    So, if you are working with a personal trainer on flexibility, ask that they also provide you with core conditioning.  Don’t stretch from weakness.”  More from Tracy later.  
The idea of stretching took on a life of its own!  I looked it up online and was pleased to find these ideas inherent with stretching:
 
Capable of change without tearing or breaking
Extending oneself to the fullest in order to reach something
 
  
As we pass from one stage of life to the next, it’s understandable that we resist having to move on to a new identity – leaving behind one that no longer fits - something that provided us with a sense of comfort and confidence.  We functioned pretty well in it.  After a while, it just felt natural! 
 
Then, with the inevitable passage of time, we changed, and those around us changed too.  Children grew up, went off to college or work, married and focused on their own adventures.  Spouses retired, or became ill or died.  The roles and identities we held, associated with careers, ended with retirement.   
 
Trying to hold onto past identities and roles is futile.  Yet, many people persist, because the other option – to “let go” and “extend one’s self to the fullest” is a scary notion.  It’s almost as if we fear we might tear or break if we try to change.  Unfortunately, as we get older, it’s easy to lose our flexibility.  
I’ve just begun a book by Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun. It’s a memoir about taking chances and encountering the “deeper pleasure of learning to live another kind of life.”  Against the advice of more cautious friends and family, Mayes bought and restored a home in Italy. The lesson she learned about growing grapes grabbed my attention.  Burying …”the grape tendril in such a way that it shoots out new growth I recognize easily as a metaphor for the way life must change from time to time if we are to go forward in our thinking.”  
New growth, new identities, new roles are available.  Sometimes we need to “bury” some old goals that no longer are productive.  We may need to shed the old “skins” so we can move on.   From time to time, we all need to stretch!  
 
And talk about stretching and being flexible to new possibilities,
check out The Global Grannies. GlobalGrannies.org
I first heard about the Global Grannies when the three founding members were interviewed on National Public Radio.  These women were alone after many years of marriage.  Rather than seeing themselves stuck because they could no longer travel with spouses, as they had done for years, they stretched their concepts of travel.  They began to travel together.  They invited others to join them.  Then, in the fall of 1995, they formed an organization.  Today they have over 300 members and they are open to more!  The travel opportunities (see their calendar on their site) are amazing.
 
They describe themselves as having “flexibility in all situations.”  They enjoy taking “opportunities to learn, travel, see, do and meet many interesting people.”  They do require that travelers “…leave complaints, aches and pains at home and pack SMILES, LAUGHTER, AND CURIOSITY. “
 
I’ve had the pleasure to interview the founding members and next month’s newsletter will contain much more about these interesting and successful women.
 
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Copyright © 2014 Kendra Brown, Ph.D, All rights reserved.


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