Lisa M. Miller* *Mind-Body Health Specialist*Teacher*Chaplain
"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are like works of art"
"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter"
"The best part about being my age is in knowing how my life worked out"
I’m particularly drawn to this last quote. It has me thinking about life as a story, experiences filling the pages of each chapter, and chapters are all made complete by both insignificant and significant details.
As I think about this, I see that we can’t possibly know the relevance of an experience until many experiences later when they’ve all been assembled and integrated into the story line.
But even having been the one to have lived my own experiences doesn’t automatically make me well versed in the symbolism and meaning therein.
Could I lead a high school or college English seminar on the symbolism of love, addiction, family, grief, bliss, and all the living that has been the great work of my life so far?
Hell, yes. I force my teen daughters to take this class almost every day. (I’m sure they’d say “hell” was a good way to begin this paragraph. But they are allowed to audit because I am a kind and righteous mother).
But perspective isn’t immediate—it tends to be quite a little journey down that road of whatever experience and accompanying emotional stuff it features—it has to be that way, the panoramic view requires distance and space. And similarly, the plot doesn’t make sense when you read only chapter 18.
So, I’m here at 62 (chapter, not years, thank you) with a lot of back story to work with—trauma, drama, love, pain, plot twists, and pa-lenty of metaphor. It’s all really very interesting so far. A top notch read.
But really, I think that the best part of my age (45, thanks) is my awareness that the way in which I read and re read my own story is completely up to me, and can determine the way I live the RESTof my life. Regardless of this character or that situation, this is really about my own education. This is essential for me.
(By the way, if the theme of this blog entry were favorite t.v genres, I would say here that I’m partial to the sit-com and that I like actresses with great hair and teeth.. They can play me in the movie about my life.)
Finally though, it’s true for me right now that, “the best part of aging” is knowing that there IS a rich story ahead, that I intend to enjoy it consciously, and that most of all, my story is made all the richer as I share it with my girls again and again and again and again….
Shanti Om y’all,
And a hug,
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do
are in harmony. -Mahatma Gandhi
Hmmm. I used to think of a million reasons about why I couldn't be happy until later including but not limited to: losing 10 lbs, finishing that project, finishing this course, earning more money, losing 14 lbs, leaving this job, switching lanes, leaving that job, switching cities, losing 6 lbs, leaving this gathering, switching vitamins, when my husband stops snoring, taking a vacation, taking a vacation from my family, taking a vacation from my thoughts, leaving this vacation and going home, losing 24 lbs, buying that thing I NEED, eating a pizza....
So there was a lot of getting somewhere else in order to be happy, it was never right now but rather, a destination in the future.
But what happens is that later, when we finally get "there", is still not actually there because there can't be a here and now for the later thinker, later will ALWAYS be later and somewhere else.
So what did I do?
FOUND A WAY. FOUND A WAY. FOUND A WAY. I had to find a way to be happy in myselfness, even if only for some brief, genuine, constructive ("constructive" does NOT include the deceptive lie of colored sugar and artery clogging fat found in cake and other processed desserts, and bacon) minutes throughout the day.
And it wasn't easy, at first. But I'd heard that people could do it. There were true stories of not-perfect, non-vacationing, working, family oriented, unemployed, healthy-food-eating, kids, adults, men, women, and centenarians, who were actually happy. And often, they felt happy for no particular reason. And some of them even lived in poverty—with only one leg and maybe 6 fingers all together.
So, this made me think, but what's more, it began to give me perspective.
Thinking that happens only in the brain is limited. Perspective however, is something else (as in, "all that perspective is something else, aint it!") because perspective is thinking from the heart and the soul.
It’s seeing and feeling and knowing in a big-picture way. And this leads to gratitude, and gratitude is right now. And each right now full of perspective, heart, soul, and gratitude, creates exactly what is most desirable for the future.
And, it takes us there gently, more smoothly, with hope, and with awareness; it's not some other time and place, it's a process of now turning into later eventually, evolving into later in the same way that the sun rises and over the course of the day it sets too, and then night turns into day again smoothly and definately.
Well, here I am today. My kid has this big problem and my husband another and I'm really worried about that thing that could potentially turn horrible, and world politics is...
But it's okay; this too will pass, and right now I'm breathing clean air in my own space, in my safe neighborhood surrounded by chirping birds and the light of day, and I've got five good fingers on each hand.
It's right now in this breathing moment, an amazing thing to be alive. And right now. And right now.
This is the space (full of calm, perspective, gratitude, awareness) from which to approach each perceived problem.
And apparently, because “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”, it might make sense to re-evaluate a lot of what’s been stored in that thinking department upstairs--there can be a whole lot of expired junk in that old cupboard of a brain in my head.
So here you are right now, too. What are you feeling happy about right now? What are you grateful for? And what is the big picture for you?
I would love to know; your stories continue to inspire us all. Briefly, post here!
Shanti Om (peace y'all)