Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Spreading Wellness: What lessons have you learned from a cross-generational relationship?

An elderly woman with a thick, almost uncomprehendable Irish accent, the deepest belly laughter, and a story teller like none other. These are the first thoughts that come to mind when I think of my former land-lord/house mate, Mary, from Tacoma, WA. For 3 years I was a traveling therapist (PT Assistant), and had the honor of meeting some amazing people along the journey. This was before the days of being connected to people through social media...yes, I was slow at jumping on the social media band wagon. My first assignment was in the Seattle/Tacoma area, where I stayed for 2 years. The second year I rented a room from one of the most memorable elderly persons that I've ever met. I kept in touch with her via Christmas cards and random phone calls for a few years, and then my life became increasingly crazy, and I wasn't sure if she was still alive...we lost touch. A number of months ago, I was excited to see a profile of one of her girls on my social media, and sent a friend request. I learned that Mary had passed away. It was sad to hear, but I was not surprised as the last time I had talked with her she told me about her increasing ailments and doctors visits. But it did make me pause and reflect upon what I had learned from my friendship with her.

Mary was adamant about me watching one show a week with her, even though I didn't like watching TV, she said I will like Emeril. So most weeks we shared this time together, and yes, it was fun, and we always laughed. She was looking for a friend to socialize with, and this was something we could do together. (Relationship)
Squash Tacos - YUM! 

I was an avid runner when I was living in Tacoma, and there were amazing running groups that I was a part of, but many evenings I would tie my running shoes and take off from the house. She was always concerned for my safety and would spend time thinking about beautiful and safe places for me to run. (Showing Kindness/Caring) She was using her mothering instincts of love, and encouraging me to continue exercising, even though she wasn't able to part-take in intense physical exercise anymore. She would tell me that it was important. (Encouraging Exercise)

Mary and I had deep discussions about the spiritual meaning of life...she understood the importance of having meaning to life. (Spiritual Engagement/Meaning)

We often sat at her kitchen table, where she shared stories of her past. The one that I remember most was about a friend of hers...back in her late teenage/early 20's. With only humor that Mary could use, she told me how she saved her friend from being hurt by feeding vodka to a plant. A story that I cannot retell, but that story had deep meaning. She was sharing her strengths, virtues and values with me...to teach me the importance of helping a friend, and how to get out of a tricky situation if one ever came up. She did this in such a laughter filled story, that I will always remember it. (Strengths and Virtues)

Every day that I spent any time with Mary, we laughed. She was full of positivity and gratitude. She shared stories of love for her family, and absolutely adored her grandchildren. (Positive Mindset)

What does this memorandum have to do with health and wellness & nature? In parenthesis above, you see underlined traits. These 6 traits define the science of a truly happy person. The only trait that I did not personally see Mary use was "Flow." But, I believe that when I was off working and spending time with my friends, she had her own version of flow. When I stopped to reflect upon my time with Mary, I realized that Mary was one of the happiest people that I've ever met. She lived it every day. Positive psychology is a relatively new field of science. A field that I'm an avid learner in, and I love having real life experiences to relate research too. When I found the science based website, The Pursuit of Happiness, and I looked at the traits, I thought about my friend Mary. Now I can use science and reflection on real life experiences to really set the understanding of the practical application of these 7 scientific traits of happiness.

Mary was a wonderful woman. A woman that I will always remember, and I feel honored to have spent time getting to know her. Now I ask you, do you have an elderly person in your life that you learn/ed from? Have you truly reflected in gratitude about the relationship that you have/had with that person? Have you truly reflected in gratitude about the lessons that that person has taught you?

I encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect upon a relationship that you have/had with a significant person in your life. Preferably a person of a different generation, of a different background, of a different culture. It truly is amazing how much we can learn from one another, across generations, and across cultures.

Have you ever thought of adding this sort of goal to your health plan? Have you ever thought of the importance of relationships across generations and across cultures as it pertains to the health of your corporation or organization?

Maybe you know of an assisted living, or elderly community that would enjoy having E3 lead hikes or fitness groups? I enjoy working with the elderly, listening to their stories, and learning from them. The entire time, we can all work on our pursuit or continuation of a happy lifestyle. :)

If you would like to learn how I (E3) can help you, your family, your corporation, or your organization, please send me an email (info@e3twinports.com). I am excited to meet with you. The consultation is free. And when you send me that email, please feel free to share with me, a story about a wonderful relationship that you have experienced across culture, or across generations.

If you have stumbled upon this blog, and would like to be added to our list, simply email info@e3twinports.com, with "Blog Sign-up" in the subject line. I'll happily add to to our growing list of over 150 people. 

E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Energy and Empowerment through Exercise
Owner, Jodi L. Tervo Roberts
Jodi L. Tervo Roberts, Owner
E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Helping people to lead healthy, happy, & meaningful lives, while promoting healthy lifestyles through outdoor recreation, fitness, and interactive educational presentations.

Website: e3twinports.com
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