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The Pomegranate Journal: The art of getting older one day at a time by Juliet Batten

In The Pomegranate Journal: The art of getting older one day at a time Juliet Batten has written a very honest and moving account of her ageing between the ages of seventy-five to seventy-seven.

As the beginning, she felt that the road she had been on, when she had felt ‘young-old’ was coming to an end. The years ahead were a mystery. It was scary to think what might lie ahead. Physical losses would inevitably happen, but there was no way of knowing what form they would take.

Intuitively she chose a pomegranate as a symbol of connecting her life with the seasons.

“I sense that the pomegranate holds seeds of knowledge, something I need to help me as I grow older, something that lies hidden beneath its dry exterior.”

As the months went by there would be many pomegranate moments. As the fruit revealed its treasures, she would weave these poetically into her story as a metaphor of ageing.

Having led a very active life, she now had to adopt a new rhythm to cope with the increasing frailty of old age. Severe pain was never far away. She searched for answers on how to deal with this and recounts some positive and some very patronizing experiences with health professionals. Beginning to practice qigong with a teacher from China helped.

Spending less time on her computer opened up new spaces. There was time to renew an old friendship with Tim from University days. They spent precious afternoons writing poetry together in his garden. It also gave her great pleasure to play with her grandchildren, to eat mindfully and to be in the natural environment.

When I am in nature, with my senses open and receptive, I enter a space that is beyond ageing and filled with wonder.” she writes.

At these times she could put pain aside. But there was no escaping from the deleterious effect ageing can have on bodies and minds. Juliet faced this stoically and refused to be defeated.

‘Yes, pieces of us seem to drop away as we age. But it doesn’t mean we are ready for demolition.”

And to her surprise there were still new beginnings. While she had become aware of a specific kind of pop-up memory loss, precious pomegranate seeds in the form of new faculties were also emerging and she experienced a new kind of intuitive wisdom.

Her journal ends on positive note as almost miraculously her mind cleared. Her memory, which she thought she had lost, returned. Was it because of spring, or doing qiqong or better sleep she wondered?

“I am reminded not to write things off. Last year I thought my active life was over. Now, contrary to all expectations, I have revived. The online teaching that I loved so much has sprung back into my life and I plan to do more. I am fit and active. My brain is working just fine.”

Juliet Batten always intended The Pomegranate Years to be more than a piece of reflective writing about these two years of her life. She wrote it to help others and brings her bountiful experience as a psychotherapist and counsellor to her journal.

Her journal is beautifully crafted and full of wisdom. Sharing her own vulnerability and allowing herself to be fully seen will bring comfort to and help others who are dealing with the challenges of ageing or going through difficult times.

Reviewer: Lyn Potter

Ishtar Books


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