Tuesday, April 22, 2008
What to write about? Sometimes it is good to see what comes even when I have no idea what to say. Today was a gorgeous spring day and I got to walk for two hours with a dear friend. It is such an expansive experience to be with a person who I can be honest with and free to express myself as I am. We talked about many things both mundane and sacred. At the end of our walk we began to talk about aging and what a challenge it is to age gracefully in our culture. That was also one of the topics we shared about in the women's spiritual support group that I facilitate. In the past in this country older women were diminished. Our sphere of influence was narrowed and we were taken less seriously. Now more and more powerful aging women who have found their voices are available as role models. As we age we can know that beauty ages also. We can see beyond our wrinkles to the radiance that shines through our faces. We can know that our definition of a lovely body needs to include flesh that has seen decades of experience and exercise. Being a crone means there is much richness to share with others, born of the challenges, suffering and triumphs of a lifetime. Aging is an opportunity to become bitter about the inevitable deterioration of the physical body or to develop compassion and acceptance for what is. Though it is disconcerting to have my body and energy level changing I feel more content with myself and less driven. Maybe that is one of the possible benefits of aging: that it is easier to accept what is, as good enough and not be always looking ahead for what will make me happy. It's clearer to me that This is it, not what will come tomorrow, if I only try harder. I have mixed feeling about the silver streaks in my hair. Sometimes I think they are pretty and sometimes I use them to feel scared about how quickly my life is moving and that I will miss out somehow. I want to ask myself what I would regret not doing if I didn't do it and prioritize the important things in my choices. I want to open to my fear and sadness and joy about aging. What does it mean to age gracefully? What do you notice about the aging process? How do you resist it? How could you open to its challenges and its gifts?