Ten years ago I would never have considered that ageing beautifully was something that I would feel; ageing and beautiful were two words that I would never have put together. I rarely made any self-loving choices and, at the time I was twenty kilos overweight and feeling the effects of a body that was starting to show signs of ageing.
It was about this time that I did Healing Courses 1 and 2 with Universal Medicine and started listening to talks given by Serge Benhayon. I had been seeing Serge for quite a while, each year I would head down south for an appointment. In this time things had started to shift, I started to see things differently. I became aware of things that I had never questioned before. If I were to describe this time I would say that things had started to slowly unravel for me.
There wasn’t a huge change but something deep down was starting to shift, it was like a wakeup call. At the time I was 52 years of age.
With this shift I became more aware of what was going on in my life and how I was living and I started to notice how very few self-loving choices I made. For example, I realised how much my choice of food was affecting my body and how I felt after I ate something. I would feel how sometimes I could get my housework done really easily and at other times it would take me all day to get anything done. I started to write down what I ate and how I felt after I had eaten. I knew that what I was eating had a big effect on my whole life.
Over the next two years I lost twenty-five kilos, never giving any thought to dieting, it was not about losing weight, it was about feeling how my body felt after I ate certain foods. I gave up dairy (which I always knew I didn’t like) and gluten. All of the symptoms that my body had been showing me started to fall away – the pains in my stomach from an irritable bowel, the hip replacement on the horizon, the stiff joints and the constant feeling of ups and downs.
I feel that the greatest support that I gave to my body was to take responsibility for how my body felt. It was because of the choices that I had been making that my body had been in such pain and now that I was taking more responsibility my symptoms started to fall away.
Often when I hear people talk about ageing it is with all the complaints that they feel ageing brings. It has so much negativity about it. We can expect this and that because we are now nearing a certain age that comes with an age-old stigma. It’s like you should expect the worst; that things will start to go wrong and life will start to become a bit miserable.
What if that is not what it is supposed to be like? Could it be that we start to give up on ourselves and make excuses because we are getting older as if we don’t matter anymore and putting ourselves into a certain category? That was probably the picture I once had, writing myself off in a way. I now feel that my life is all my life. If every day brings with it a learning experience that I can grow from then my life is no different to when I was a teenager or a young mum. It’s not about putting myself into categories: Child–Teenager–Middle-aged- Menopause–Old Age. It’s just my life. It’s all one.
As I was heading towards a time of life where women talked about menopause, I found a very old little blue book. It was funny as my mother gave me a little blue book when I was 11 years old to explain about the birds and the bees, which made no sense to me. This other blue book talked about old cronies, referring to women in their old age, I felt there was an ugliness in this description, like old women were like dried up old witches, past their used-by date.
In that moment I said no to this belief. I was not going down that path. I knew I was going to choose something different. What if eons ago Crones were the wise elders in the community, women who had wisdom to share with others?
In many cultures the elders were never considered as having a use-by-date, life was always evolving until the day that they passed on to their next life.
Over the years my choices began to change as I started learning to be more loving with myself. Loving me had also never been in my picture, my life had been about doing for others and leaving me until last, and usually by then there wasn’t much self-love left.
I remember cooking dinner one night, we had visitors and I was feeling quite unwell but pushing to get dinner prepared, not asking for or accepting help, thinking this was what I had to do. When dinner was all ready and we were eating, I remember thinking, ‘I can’t do this to myself any more’, as I felt absolutely exhausted to the bone. Later I found out that I had pneumonia.
When I started making more self-loving choices people around me began to react to the changes I was making. They had been used to me not making waves and upsetting the way things were. I remember someone told me one day that I was yelling at them. I was not yelling but they were not used to me speaking up as I had usually kept quiet because I felt it was easier to say nothing than to get into an argument. The more I expressed how I was feeling and questioned the ideals and beliefs that I had (because they were not what I felt inside of me), the more my life changed.
I could feel how this learning to love myself was impacting on my physical body in a far greater way than I had imagined – for example, I never really suffered from any menopause symptoms. For the first time in my life I started to love my body.
Crazy that in my 50’s, when it is considered normal to dislike a body that is starting to show signs of ageing, I started to fall in love with my body.
Years ago I read a blog by Fiona McGovern(1) in which she talked about lovingly talking to herself and brushing her hair. When I read this I cried and cried, it was like I had never considered talking lovingly to myself as a way of being. I was so used to bashing myself up, it had not occurred to me that the way I spoke to myself had such a harmful effect on my body. I slowly started to catch myself if I started to give myself a hard time.
It has been a slow process. Learning to love myself has been a completely different way of being after a relationship with myself that was previously based on questioning and doubting, punishment and bashing myself up. Self-abuse can inflict deep scars that affect us in ways that can affect every part of our lives and we don’t even notice this effect running its course.
This new way of allowing myself to be more loving with me has opened me up to allow more love into the relationships that I have with others. If I don’t love me first how can I ever love another? It now feels like this love goes hand in hand. The more love I have for me, the more love I have for others.
I truly feel that the choices I now make have affected the whole way I live. These new choices have changed my world. They have had such an impact on every part of my life, who I am, the way I live and my health.
When I look back I remember there was a time when I would not turn on the air-conditioner in the car if I were the only person in the car. I didn’t think that I was worth having the cool air if it was just me. That person now feels like someone else. Now when I get into the car in summer the air-conditioner is always on and in winter my seat warmer is usually on. No questioning. Every tiny choice I make that is loving towards me, makes a difference to how I feel about myself. I love wearing a singlet to keep me warm in summer and winter. These tiny things that just keep growing and expanding . . .
My husband loves watching Ground Hog Day – a movie where the actor is given the opportunity to make a different choice each day, when life comes around again and again. This is how I see life. I see myself forever learning and being given another opportunity to choose differently.
Embracing the possibility of ageing beautifully by making self-loving choices each day takes away any fear we may have around nearing the end of our lives and as there is a continual cycle from one life to the next, how we live this life will support us in the next.
What if loving ourselves is the best gift we can ever give to ourselves – and what a gift to come back to.
Denise C., NSW.
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