Today the California Central Coast was absolutely beautiful. An early morning fog was replaced by a breezy yet warm and sunny day. My husband and I took our usual hike up the hill near our home a bit early so we could enjoy the rest of the day. At the summit, I looked out across the Salinas Valley to the Monterey Bay coast some 30 miles away. After a short rest, we hiked down the other side of the mountain a couple of miles further, then turned and headed home.
Feeling rather good about myself, I changed into shorts and a tank top, grabbed a magazine, and went outside. Before sitting down on the lounge chair, I thought it would be a good time to practice a few yoga moves. After taking time to do a few easy stretches, I got on my hands and knees then settled into child’s pose. I spent a few moments in child’s pose, then returning to my hands and knees, I tucked my toes under and gently pushed my hips back coming into downward dog. The stretch felt wonderful. I relaxed my neck, opened my eyes and, OH MY GOD, I saw my bare upper legs from this position for the first time. They looked like a skinny, saggy, baggy pachyderm legs! Shocked, I dropped to my knees and slunk back to the security of child’s pose. ‘Holy crap, how can this be? When did my legs become my mother’s?’
After several minutes recovering in child’s pose, I gathered up to courage to come back into downward dog. Once again, I relaxed and opened my eyes. I examined the wrinkled half circles around the tops of my knees, the contours of the cellulite, the spider veins, and the crepe paper look of my skin. Then, I lovingly thanked my legs for carrying me up the hill this morning, making it possible for me to see all the way to the ocean and beyond.
I wrote that about seven years ago. It is as true today as it was then. Like most people my age, I struggle with the outward signs of aging. Physical limitations, loss of muscle tone, wrinkles, memory loss, and multiple trips to the restroom, plague me daily. But, I have found a certain beauty and freedom that comes with aging. Now, most days, when I see my reflection in the mirror, I send a little love and compassion to those lines that define who I am, where I’ve been and who I hope to become.
May I be happy.
May I gracefully accept the changes in my body
May I learn that my true self lies within this body.
P.S. I also thank my mom for her gift to me.
-Smiles are contagious; let’s start and epidemic-