When I turned fifty, I performed in a spoken word show on Kauai. I played a game called “Sick Bingo” with audience participation. The audience had to call out health advice given to me in Los Angeles versus Kauai, the myriad of advice I had been given during cancer.
“Botox will make you look better, and when you look better, you’ll feel better.”
Everyone shouted – Los Angeles!!
“I can get rid of the twelve entities in your body for $300 per entity.”
Everyone shouted – KAUAI!
I have thought so much about dying, maybe more than you have because of medical challenges, maybe less. I have had doctors not meet my eyes when they give me bad news, spent hours up researching medical conditions, had doctors just tell me to relax and allow nothing to be wrong when I’m sitting across from them gasping for air.
Been dismissed by doctors, shocked by them and also healed by them.
Each day I am alive is like a small, beautiful rock coming out of the earth into the sun.
And I have walked hundreds of thousands of miles throughout this time, pondering it all. Sat under trees, beside rivers, in waterfalls, dinner with friends, in front row seats at a Neil Simon play. Written thousands of words, pondering it all.
We may be infinite creatures, but we are living inside a body that – if we are lucky and we make that far – becomes like an old car. It gets dented, it smokes, it heals poorly, parts need to replaced and other parts can’t be replaced.
Sometimes our bodies catch on fire.
And of course one day it stops running.
Some of us accept the older car part of our bodies, and others fight it, with everything they’ve got. Through extreme exercise, by only dating younger people, through sex, through a myriad of supplements promising us cellular activation for youth and thousands of dollars on cremes and beauty products, rollers for our face, balls we can clamp down upon with our jaw so we tighten our sagging, thinning neck muscles.
My heart aches for the Hollywood women, working so hard to stay young for so many reasons we can’t relate to. I can’t imagine how a body and face react to so much surgery to keep aging at bay and wonder if their body is also in rebellion.
Mostly I wonder what happens to the spirit when we don’t allow our bodies to age.
When I saw Demi Moore’s face on the runway, in a beautiful outfit, with stunning earrings, I thought it was a photo of someone else, I was sure it was, that it was a mistake -and then I remembered all her young daughters, the ex husband with the young wife and new family, the young boyfriend who married someone his own age.
So she turned herself into someone else. Not who she was before, because that is never possible, we can never turn back the clock.
Yes, we all have the right to carve and slice our bodies and swallow a thousand supplements and inject and implant and remove and adjust.
We have the right to live the life we want and look the way we want if money will buy it for us.
But what about the emotional price?
As women and men, aren’t we meant to turn into the wisdom keepers and allow the young to have their place, not desperately want to stand beside them?
To soften into who we are, not harden into it who we wish we were?
I have a friend who is horrified by her aging, she’s maybe only a few years younger than me but always points out she’s SO much younger than me. Cleansing every four weeks, terrified of arthritis, the stiffness that comes with bad weather, not exercising much.
The more terrified she is, the more weight she gains.
She is widening into her fear.
And here is what I wanted to tell you this morning. Eat well, walk, lift weights if you can, take good immunity support (C, D, Zinc, colloidal silver if that is all you can afford)… but when you look into the mirror, please don’t want to see your younger self.
Every morning I look in the mirror and I smile.
I see her in the mirror. I see all of me in the mirror, who I was and who I am becoming. Your younger self is inside you, involved in everything you do, in every choice you make, saying remember when we did that? Let’s not do that again.
Remember when we went to the mountains? Let’s do that again.
She’s your wisdom and your judgement and your desires.
She’s your wild and your tame and your funny.
She’s your bedroom eyes and your soft tongue and your harsh tongue – the biggest part of your wisdom. Just don’t try to look like her.
And thank God she’s softened into you, because the world needs you, exactly as you are.
Exactly as you are becoming.