Imagine a woman getting up at 4:30am every weekday morning to get ready to go to the gym. Driving in Edmonton, Alberta on even the coldest days, with snow on the ground and icy patches on the road. And while at the gym, working out on the treadmill for 30 minutes, the stair master for 15 minutes and lifting weights up to 10 pounds with each hand. Then a series of exercises on a balance ball. And after that perhaps a few laps in the pool. Can you imagine that?
Now imagine that this woman is 82 years old.
Well that describes my mother Margaret Evers. She made a commitment to get in shape when she retired at age 60 and she is still going strong after 20 years!
Mom’s local gym is much more than just a place to work out. It’s a social club. The regulars – including several seniors – have coffee together, relax in the hot tub and share stories about their lives. The lifeguard Lynda, has adopted my parents as her own and calls herself my adopted twin sister.
When Mom celebrated her 80th birthday at the gym almost 3 years ago, there was a huge feast with cake and singing. For this special occasion, both my sister Lydia and I joined in the fun and exercise. Everyone was thrilled to celebrate this special day with Mom. You can see some of the pictures with this post.
Even though Mom loves going to the gym, she told me that she does expect to cut back a bit when she turns 90.
While Mom’s interest in physical fitness has been a priority for the past 20 years, her interest in mental fitness goes back much further. This incredible woman is also the wise and gentle spirit who started me on the path to unlimited thinking so many years ago. I can still remember how, when I would get nervous before a big test, she would sit down beside me and say, “You can do it, Miriam, I know you can. Tell yourself that you will do well. Tell yourself that you will easily remember what you studied, and you will sail through this test.” Sure enough, I would tell myself that I would do well and then I would do well.
And I remember how, when I was stressed about something, she would encourage me to look at the situation in a different way. She was a great listener. She was my first coach.
Mom is an avid reader and she devours books like “The Power of Self-Image Psychology” by Maxwell Maltz; “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy; and “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. She and Dad would often sit around the kitchen table talking about the power of the mind. I’ve never forgotten the excitement the day they learned about someone who had cured himself of cancer by deliberately directing his thoughts. How amazing that anyone can overcome a life threatening disease like cancer with their mind!
My mother applied what she knew about the power of thought to her work life as well. My parents moved to Canada in 1960 from Holland. They were well off financially and my mother never expected to work, but an accident with my father’s hand ended up leaving my Dad in great pain and unemployed for several months. My mother decided to go back to work. In those days, computers were still in their infancy, and program instructions were fed into computers on punch cards typed up by keypunch operators. My mother enrolled in a technical school to become a keypunch operator. Every evening on her way home from school, she would pass the Imperial Oil building and say to herself, “When I graduate, I’m going to work at Imperial Oil.” And once again, her vision became her reality. It seemed like whatever my Mom put her mind to, she could do. She quickly advanced to keypunch supervisor and continued to work her way up into more and more challenging positions in the accounting department. She worked with pleasure at Imperial Oil for over 20 years.
My mother has always understood “abundance thinking.” After 8 years in Canada, my mother borrowed money on a “fly now, pay later” plan to return to Holland. She told me that every time the next payment became due, she would remember the great time she had had on the trip and kiss the bill. The money to pay off that trip came easily. As the years went by she took many more trips to Holland.
In the 1980’s, Dad, Mom and I took a trip to Holland together. Mom sat between us on the plane reading a book called “You Can Heal Your LIfe,” by Louise Hay. My mother was so excited by the book that I couldn’t help but be curious. At one point, I was reading over her shoulder. “What?!” I exclaimed, “Louise Hay claims that we choose our parents!! That can’t be true. Is she some kind of a nut?”
“Well,” Mom said, “I don’t believe that part myself, but the rest of this is book is very good and I’m going to practice the affirmations she suggests.”
I couldn’t get that book out of my mind, and not long after that first introduction I began to seriously study, “You Can Heal Your Life” and to practice positive affirmations. How empowering it was for me to discover that I could change my life by changing my thoughts. When I found out that Louise Hay was leading a 10 day workshop for teachers near Los Angeles, I felt inspired to go. I called Mom and asked her to join me. I was delighted when she agreed. It was her first personal growth seminar. People from all over the world joined us at the seminar, including many gay men and women and many people with the HIV virus or AIDS. We sang affirmations, heard guided meditations, did a type of breath work called rebirthing, practiced hands-on-healing, colored with our non-dominant hands, created affirmations for ourselves, danced and put on skits. What an adventure! One of the most inspiring stories I recall from that workshop was from a young man with AIDS. He said that his doctor had told him to keep measuring the size of his lesions during the workshop and that, in the 10 days that we were there, there had been a significant reduction in the size of his lesions. We’d learned that with the power of thought and the power of love anything was possible!
Now, many years later after leading my own workshops on the power of love and joy and thought, I’ve come to believe that I did indeed choose my parents. And I’m so very glad that I chose so well. My mother taught me the power of unconditional love and how to be open to the abundance of life. Her example and gentle encouragement have taught me that I can be, do or have whatever I want. What an awesome coach!
Thanks Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!