One of the men at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution talked about how he was frustrated—and kind of angry—about his knee. It hurt and it was making it difficult to do his job. He said his body used to just be there for him and now that he was older, it was not supporting him as it did when he was younger. I asked him if he had some sadness about his body losing some of its strength and resilience. “Yes!” he said, “and I still feel as young on the inside, so it’s not me thinking old. I still feel like a kid.” He seemed more thoughtful than frustrated as he connected with the changes that come with aging.
Suddenly he smiled and said, “So then I started thinking about how that knee got hurt when I was dirt biking. And I thought about all the fun I had when I was doing that and I felt so happy remembering what a great time that was in my life.” He smiled and laughed thinking about those times.
I loved how one minute he was able to acknowledge his sadness and loss, and the next minute he was basking in the joy of remembering and experiencing the needs met with that time in his life. This is being in the flow of feelings and needs. Sadness. Joy. Not one or the other—both. To me, that’s a wonderful example of being alive. Think about a happy time in your life, and remember the details, the scene, the colors, the smell, the faces, how it felt. What are you feeling? What needs are met? What a wonderful experience we can have when we remember, honor, and treasure those times when needs are met too.