Free to be…What would that look like?
Freedom to be my true self, who is actually two selves, sounds good to me. Sometimes I’m very social, someone who loves to be with people, basking in their energy. Then there’s my introverted side who desperately needs time to herself to recharge batteries by writing, reading, meditating, soaking up nature and long warm baths. And I must say, it feels incredibly good, after years of feeling off balance and in emotional turmoil, to start feeling like myself again.
I’m having one of those recharging couple of days now while my husband is at the beach with friends. Billy Joel is singing “Hey Girl”, I’m writing and completely by myself. Today I’ve meditated, gone to yoga, picked up a few groceries, which I’m only a little bit embarrassed to say included a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Cookie Fix ice cream. Oh Yeah!! Yesterday I hiked my beautiful Forrest Park Trail. HEAVEN! By tomorrow afternoon when Husband comes home I’ll be refreshed, ready to re-enter the world and very happy to see him.
I realize how fortunate I am to be able have access to this kind of alone time. Being retired has it’s benefits but as I’ve said in other posts, (After Heartbreak…Rescue Yourself) taking time for ourselves whenever we can should be a priority. If you’re working and/or have a family to take care of you’ll probably need to get creative. I remember taking twilight walks in the neighborhood with a girlfriend or by myself when my son was younger. Or after he was in bed, slipping into a bubble bath. Even those little bursts of care for ourselves can be refreshing enough to get us back to appreciating the people we love and back in balance, reconnected to our true selves.
Free to be comfortable in my own skin is something I’m working on.
I want to appreciate what an incredible gift my body is with zero judgments about how it looks. Our bodies are the vestibules of our spirits, they are not who we “are”. We “are” what’s inside our hearts and minds; how we think, what we say, how we treat our fellow earthlings. Of course taking care of our bodies so they serve us well by exercising and eating healthy is super important. Sarah Rudell Beach of Left Brained Buddha has a helpful article titled: The Most Important Self-Care: 10 Ways to Nurture Your Body where she gives common sense ways to take care of our bodies and feed our spirits. With eating I try to go by the 80/20 rule: Eat healthy 80% of the time, 20% not so much. Sometimes I tip to the “not so much” scale more than I should, Caramel Cookie Fix ice cream anyone?!? We do our best.
And let’s not waste our precious energy feeling jealous of the woman with the “perfect” figure, the man with a six-pack, the neighbor with the cool sports car or anything else. I can honestly say I’ve never been envious of anyone’s success or wished I had what they had. I’m happy, ecstatic, when my friends succeed. I’m not in competition with dear friends, but I have had former friends who were so competitive to be the best at everything, including me, it was exhausting! Believe me, I have plenty of other demons to work on but that kind of jealousy & competing with friends doesn’t enter my brain.
So let’s celebrate our wrinkles, gray hair, stubborn spare tires or whatever body we are blessed with. Depending on how you look at it, aging can be exciting or terrifying. I heard someone say “I’m now closer to the end than the beginning.” I don’t want to fear growing older, I want to embrace it! There is a lot of pressure in society to look younger than our actual age and there are a lot of options to help with that if you choose. I color my hair, refusing to ever be gray – some people look beautiful or handsome with gray or sliver hair, I’m positive I wouldn’t. Some of my friends get help with Botox, fillers and other tools available. I don’t like to say my age out loud but I should be proud and not shy about the number. It is only a number, not a representation of how I actually feel. No judgments here, just a reminder to be kind to ourselves, each other and live our best lives. All of us should be free to be whatever we want as long as we aren’t harming anyone in the process.
One more thing, Cyndi Lee, a renowned yoga teacher wrote a memoir: May I Be Happy: Love, Yoga and Changing my Mind. Even she had body and self-image issues as she aged. This book describes her journey to finally be free to accept and love her body, imperfections and all, along the way to finding inner peace. Sounds good.
Till next time…
Peace & Love,