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Some Good Ideas from Goddesses Never Age

6 September 2016

Barbara read Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being and learned refreshing ideas about how to have a positive attitude about the later years of life.

Tags: balance, barbara read, health care, healthcare, mindfulness

I used to receive unasked for newsletters from Dr. Christiane Northrup in the 80s and throw them in the trash can. I viewed them the way I now think about solicitation phone calls. By the time she wrote her book The Wisdom of Menopause, I realized she was respected in a circle I often cared about—Oprah, but I had finished with that so it was too late.

Northrup’s new book, Goddesses Never Age, hit my book list at exactly the right time. I’m generally pretty peaceful about the aging process. My daddy used to say that a birthday is exactly the problem you want to have every year. I’ve been inspired by messages from other women like Jane Fonda, who spoke at TEDxWomen 2011 Talk about the longevity revolution and Northrup has given me some new ways to approach the coming years.

I admire her educational background—medical degree is from Dartmouth and her obstetrician / gynecologist training at Tufts. She had ideas about the way the body, mind, emotions, and spirit are connected and that all four need to be addressed for wellness before those thoughts were as mainstream as they are now. She gets criticism from some of the medical community as you’ll see in this 2008 Science-Based Medicine article as well as this New York Times article in 2002, but I find myself wondering if her ideas have or will prove right the way the egg and butter are getting better press than they did for 30 or so years.

Some of her controversial concepts I am not willing to agree with, but as I read the book, I found pearls of wisdom that were energizing and uplifting.

  • Change your thoughts about suffering. You do not have to carry the thought in your mind that suffering is inevitable in the last 3rd of life. She wrote, “…let's start fertilizing the idea that it’s completely possible to die disease-free in our sleep when it’s our time…the goal: ‘Happy, healthy, dead!”
  • Don’t advertise your age. I thought being proud about saying your age was honest and brave. She says our culture puts you in their mental box and has lower expectations of you when you announce your age. If you are not careful, you will live into their assumptions—feel weak, have more aches and pains, and do less adventurous things. It is essential that you decide how you feel and what you can do. She suggests ways to increase your energy, have fun and keep your attitude positive. One example was dance whenever you can. She learned the Tango well enough that she can have a dance partner wherever in the world she travels that expects nothing more than the joy of that sensual dance.
  • Get a massage. Thoroughly enjoy without guilt the essential touch that helps you take care of yourself.
  • Get rid of clutter “…when you‘re feeling stuck or depressed, often it’s empowering to clear out a drawer or closet, shine your sink, or even paint a room or a wall. Clutter isn’t just draining. It can accumulate dust, mold, and mildew and cause respiratory illness. You literally have trouble breathing because of all the old stuff you’ve been carrying around. That’s why it’s very important to let it go—along with any old emotions attached to it. Invite chi, the life force of the Divine, to flow freely through your house. Don’t create obstacles for the flow.” Some are going to roll their eyes and think woo woo, but I was stuck on a writing project and cleaning out three closets helped me get going again. I’ve taken two carloads to Goodwill.
  • Exercise. We’ve all heard about the importance of exercise, but she suggested an activity that I immediately thought I could add to my life “…continual daily movement—as simple as standing up and then sitting down at your computer or while watching TV—about 32 times per day—will boost your immunity and put the health–giving effects of gravity to work for you.” (I can imagine many of the physicians I’ve worked with over the years will question the immunity assertion, but all will agree that weight-bearing exercise and not sitting in one position all day is important.)
  • Ask for help. With a specific prayer, she gave a name to a higher power that I hadn’t heard before. “Divine Beloved, please change me into someone who trusts that the perfect outcome to this situation has already been chosen. Change me into someone who can relax and let go… Letting go and letting God is a learnable skill.”

Some parts of the book will be shocking and too new age or tree hugging or (insert your special derogatory term) for some readers including me, but I did as I do with everything I read. I chose the parts that were helpful to my life right now, typed them in my computer, and started following some of her advice. I’ve always been able to pick out the useful parts of a book while acknowledging the parts that make me skeptical.

For example, I’m willing to go along with her vitamin D recommendations but not the one about more Iodine. I am encouraged and made braver by her directives to say what you think and feel and “get things off your chest” for heart health, but was repulsed when she said one solution to bacteria in your mouth is to brush with red clay. Even though I think her examples of miraculous healings are true, I worry that the cancer cure stories will hurt the people who are not getting over it.

I recommend reading the book and see what speaks to you. I found it energizing at a time when I needed a boost. I’d like to hear your thoughts.


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