Aging : We Rot At The Core | By Tom Lutes

Last Updated: September 20, 2018By

Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2018 issue

I live in a forest.

Trees live and die around us all the time.

This one taught me about aging.

Dis-ease starts deep in the unseen

With a small wound in the fabric

Of our self-regard.

Remaining unexplored and unresolved,

We now learn to live

With a Self that is compensated.

Nervous system stiffens to accommodate.

Eyes harden almost imperceptibly.

Integrity of BodyMind now slightly reduced.

Without wholeness consciously recovered,

And that ground being taken back,

We shrink the game

And learn to settle for less.

Loosing first what cannot be seen,

We surrender possibility in life,

And give up far more than needed.

It lives in the belly.

That vision of unlimited possibility,

That will to grow newly,

The possibility of rebirth,

All disappear into a subtle resignation.

It’s winter in our heart,

And spring rarely comes.

Having never learned to listen,

Deeper needs go unheard,

Stifled and unanswered.

Meaning and purpose

Give way to survival.

The hole at our center,

The true hunger,


Resignation deepens

Into a new normal.

Fresh possibility disappears

Into benumbed, dulled habit.

Routine and automatic pattern

Occupy and permeate us –

Mentally, emotionally, physically.

Every day, 24 hours a day,

We practice unconscious

Movement, feeling and thought.

All of it generated by a mindset

Dry of connection

To deeper meaning and purpose.

Just as energy follows attention,

And body reflects consciousness,

So the interlocked physical system

Begins a domino effect

Of compensatory moves:

Core strength wanes

Belly extends

Low back locks

Spine tightens

Hips stiffen

Ham strings shorten

Stride contracts

Shoulders slump

Balance wanes

We have become a shell of ourselves,

Looking healthy on the outside

But having no center,

No healthy core,

And no purpose to back it up.

We have little marrow in our substance,

Little gist to our grist,

And what is there has no foundation.

The hole at our center has taken over.

On we drift,

Until our biology

Perfectly mirrors

Our state of mind.

Life’s storms inevitably come.

With us hardened, unsteady, and inflexible,

The winds blow long and strong.

Soon we fall.

Break a hip.

Get pneumonia.

And pass on.

We rot at the core.

It’s an inside-out game.

When we habitually pay no attention,

Avoid looking under the surface,

And choose the sleep alternative,

Our inevitable will catch up.

Finally no substance is left,

Except the shell –

The casing that once housed

A deep drive to matter

And live life to its fullest.

The drive to know real depth

And see the true face of God

Lives in each one of us.

So too does a desire

To take the easy route,

To constantly avoid,

And look the other way.

We run the whole gamut

From enlightenment to slug.

Which are you choosing now?

Photos by Tom Lutes and Marcelo Silva.

Tom Lutes is a co-founder a teacher for Real Evolution Yoga. He has devoted his life to the study and practices of human development. For over 30 years he has been a coach, facilitator and trainer, working with over 200,000 people with diverse backgrounds, from corporate executives to at risk youth, yoga teachers to athletes. Tom draws from the fields of somatics, interpersonal communication, experiential learning, energy work, and martial arts in his work, seamlessly blending a variety of tools to powerfully contribute to his clients. He is widely known for his skill in coaching people through transition in order to evolve into the next best expression of themselves.


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