It is not a death sentence. It is not a race to turn back time. It is not an achievement to look eternally youthful. The unsettlement in the body is unbearable when you want to maintain your youthful looks. Every moment that we reflect on how we can stay young we rob ourselves of the exquisite rite of passage in allowing ourselves to age.
'You are joking' you say? The only way I will embrace ageing is if I can do it with creams, potions, a little work and a lot of makeup.
But let's take a moment to consider the benefits and beauty of ageing which is far more than skin deep.
When I was sixteen, I used to brace myself when walking into the local bank to bank my weekly pay cheque. Every week, the older lady who served me would look me up and down and growl as I smiled sweetly and asked her how she was. I felt like I was really not who she wanted to see and I could feel the seething jealousy that came from every pore of her body. I used to leave the bank feeling sad and let down and I decided way back then, that someday I would be older and women of a certain age would no longer treat me with disdain.
Little did I realise that there were two things happening here. First of all, it was not so much my age, as it was the lightness, purity and vitality that had her unsettled. Secondly, one of the main reasons why we are fed feelings of inadequacy and comparison as we age, is because we have bought into the suitable lie, that young women are lucky, pure, have their life in front of them and in some way are more desirable than older women.
This is not only incorrect, it is a completely misleading deception of what it is to be a magnificent being in a transitioning, impermanent body.
Formlessness in Form
We are not a body. We are not the sagging skin, lines and the extra kilos. We are a formless being in an incredible rental property, known as the human body.
We are ageless – We are eternal and we are forever pure of heart.
Nobody can take this from us. The human body ages as does any other living thing, be it a flower or a tree.
The body is our impermanent vessel, heavenly satellite station, sacred temple and external cloak whilst we live within its seemingly confined boundaries.
We are not only beyond the boundaries of our bodies, we are also interwoven with each other and all other aspects of ourselves, beyond what we care to know.
The ageing skin we are wrapped in, is the precious gift that we have been given for now. It is not our enemy. Our heart, skin, flesh and bones are our friend. When we age, we have an opportunity to detach from the external matter and awaken the inner soulful self. The more we detach, with respect, the more freedom and space we have to love who we truly are.
Don't get me wrong. It takes immense courage to age gracefully. We say we will, but as we start to notice the little signs along the way, we can start to gaze at our reflection with a little less care and a little more criticism. This occurs especially when we have not cared for ourselves over time and have had images and cultural beliefs pushing us to stay youthful. We risk feeling rejected and ultimately rejecting ourselves.
Women look at their daughters and younger women and envy their youthfulness, not because they want that, but more because they had it and did not truly appreciate their own delicate, bright and unique beauty every step of the way. Comparison and jealousy between women, let alone mothers and daughters, should never exist. Women in the end, are their own worst enemies – branding themselves as redundant based on an external image.
The beauty industry preys on ageing women but what we forget is that the trillion-dollar beast, is actually based upon demand and supply. We demand a fix and we get what we ask for; the promise of magical potions to turn back time and maintain a false relationship with the eternal beauty.
What a set up! Not to mention the fact that women cannot feel truly beautiful if they do not take care of their face and body and honour themselves as the sacred women they are, every step of the way. Let's face it. How many of us have actually done this?
Don't waste it
Ageing is a privilege, reserved for the ageing, which is in fact, all of us. Ladies love yourselves to the core. Take care of your delicate skin and appreciate who you are and what you have chosen.
If what you have chosen is etched in the lines on your face, then so be it.
Get honest, heal, surrender and deepen. It's never too late.
Make friends with your physical self and truly accept who you are, in every way, so you can finally love your home away from home.
Now, almost 40 years later, when I gaze into my sixteen year old daughter’s beautiful eyes, I see her exquisite beauty and I celebrate that. This is what that woman in the bank would have seen in me.
I wonder if she ever learned to appreciate that she is beautiful and pure and extraordinary beyond words and that she too has a light flickering deep within just waiting to ignite and sparkle as bright as a star.
In appreciation for the All.
Kathryn F., Australia
For Kathryn's website click on the link below: