There are so many quotes I love about living an authentic life.
“You do you.” (My son laid that one on me a little while ago. It was intense. Wisdom comes at all ages.)
“Be the best you that you can be.”
Liza Minelli said:
“I would rather present a first-rate version of myself than a second-rate version of Mama.”
Quote above the Temple of Apollo at Delphi”
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
*My comment on this is: if you realize you ARE enough, you are truly rich.
And here is one from a more modern day philosopher:
“If you don’t know yourself, you don’t know your nature. If you don’t know your nature, you don’t know where to exist. By knowing your nature, knowing yourself, you know what to be and how to live. And that only comes from knowledge of self, knowing yourself.”
AND to quote The Who:
“ Who are you? Who the fuck are you?”
How long does it take to know yourself?
Which would you choose?
What DOES it take to know ourselves?
Do we really want to know?
I can only answer that question for myself.
We don’t have unlimited time to “figure that out.” Do we really need to figure it out?
If we are living an authentic, genuine life with integrity, don’t you think the answers on who you are at your core will appear?
What it has taken for me and what it may take for you may be VERY different.
We invent ourselves depending on our circumstances and the road we are traveling.
We also reinvent ourselves when we see that “persona” isn’t getting as much attention as it once did; or none at all.
We morph ourselves into what we THINK or believe is needed for our job, our relationships, and our social media.
What if everyone was BRAVE enough to drop the pretense, drop what you THINK others want and just be ourselves?
First, do we have any idea who we are?
What really makes us tick?
What are our strengths, and our weaknesses?
Are we willing to even admit that we have weaknesses, idiosyncrasies, foibles, flaws (both internally and externally), shortcomings and imperfections?
We are very happy to reveal the FANTASTIC things about ourselves and our lives, but what about the not-so-great things?
In your life and your chosen profession, career, or art there will ALWAYS be someone who is better looking, more accomplished and more talented than you.
AND there will ALWAYS be someone who is not as good looking, less accomplished, and less talented than you.
That’s just life.
We have put ourselves under so much pressure, to look a certain way, feel a certain way, to make sure we present ourselves in a certain light to others, AND not to age.
Ok, if you TRULY aren’t a nice or good person, and you are WILLING to admit that, then there is some work that has to be done BEFORE you can be on the way to self-discovery.
It is a part of self-discovery to admit you are a flawed or a difficult person, BUT the real you and the good you IS in there. It may be covered up in pain, hurt, anger and feeling devalued.
PLUS, the concept that anyone can be calm, cool and collected all the time isn’t reality.
I have seen the most self-actualized, present, and focused person lose it.
We have emotions.
Many of us have A LOT of emotions.
Some of us have ALL of the emotions!!
There is nothing wrong with emotions. It’s when those emotions control you, and deter you from living a more healthy life that we need to examine them.
Is happy all the time possible?
Is it even healthy?
I don’t believe it is.
Insisting on happy all the time denies the ups and downs of life. It isn’t sustainable.
We ALL have ups and downs. ALL of us.
Look at all of our great leaders, especially the non-violent leaders.
You still see pain, frustration, and anger.
However, it’s how they managed it and what they knew about themselves.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, (and still today The Dalai Lama) they all had really, REALLY horrific days working for justice and equality.
They suffered and they knew they were suffering.
They didn’t wallow in it. They took action over themselves and that stood as examples for others.
We allow our external world to dictate how happy, talented, intelligent, attractive, fit or valuable we are.
As for me, I have to call bullshit on that. On myself.
Are you ready to embrace who you really are?
Are you ready for the ride of your life?
Are you ready to admit your flaws, foibles and indiosyncracies?
Are you ready to tell yourself how much you love yourself;
to accept your talents and expand them?
Let go of self-sabotage and self-flagellation.
Look in the mirror and do the Ho’onoponono Hawaiian forgiveness prayer to yourself.
“I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you.”
You ARE WORTH IT!
Thanks as always for reading.
Feel free to leave a comment. You never know when something you contribute might help someone else.
See you again soon.
With all of the traveling I’ve been doing I see a lot of different faces, in a lot of different cultures and countries.
Most of them over the age of 50 are NOT obsessed with looking like they are 25.
MOST are into aging enthusiastically, or as I like to call it PRO-AGING.
Why would any of us want to ANTI-age?
I know there are many people who don’t want to age.
THAT is impossible no matter how hard you try. It's one of those things we just have to “get over”.
Wouldn’t you rather age than the alternative?
And by the alternative, I mean death.
Or is “die young, stay pretty”, the preferred option?
I am extremely passionate about aging intelligently.
What do I mean by that?
You can age intelligently by caring for your skin, your mind, your body, your relationships, your career and your health.
We have to get out of the mindset that “aging is a curse”.
I have seen gorgeous women (and men, for that matter) in France, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Spain, China and many other locales, who are absolutely stunning inside and out..
And over the age of 50.
They are living a good life, having fun, and taking care of themselves.
They are loving, making a contribution to their communities, wise, knowledgeable and resilient.
That is REAL beauty!
I’m just one of those women who can’t wrap her mind around “anti-aging”.
It isn’t just the entertainment industry that is obsessed with the clock not moving forward.
Is it Vanity?
All of the above?
We can all spot, from a mile away, the person who has had so much work done on their face or their body that they don’t look real.
Let’s face it (lol, pun intended), a 70-year-old woman with an extreme facelift still does NOT look 40.
Plus, no 50 year old who has overdosed on fillers will ever look 25.
Don’t get me wrong I wholeheartedly support taking care of yourself.
Get facials, Dermabrasion, Dermaplaning, Botox, muscle stimulation, microneedling and any of the non-invasive procedures that you fancy.
Along with that exercise, eat healthy foods — be a health advocate. But going under the knife, sometimes again and again and again, seems to me to be an addiction
Is one ever REALLY satisfied after they get on that merry-go-round?
Have we become such an insecure society that we only care about how others see us and that influences how we see ourselves?
My grandfather, on every one of his birthdays, would always say that he would rather be having a birthday than not!
It took me a while to get there and now I feel exactly the same way.
As we age, granted, everything isn’t still in its original place. We may not have what we had in our teens, twenties or thirties. However, if we really think about it most likely we have more.
Some of the most inspirational people I know and observe are not in those age categories.
That is not because I’m of a certain age, either. I have friends in their 20’s to their 80’s.
When was it decided that only youth was beautiful? Is it a North American or western phenomenon?
In my teens, twenties, and 30’s I didn’t give aging a second thought.I was too busy with my career. In my VERY late 30’s I was busy raising a child.
The sad thing is that today those groups are getting bombarded with the notion that one tiny wrinkle or a grey hair is a fatality.
Keeping up with whomever is the only way to beauty or self-worth.
I don't remember being inundated with all the products on the market to keep us perpetually 25.
When did that happen?
Skin care IS important. Mostly so we don’t get skin cancer, which is a hell of a lot worse than a wrinkle.
I have never met anyone who died from a wrinkle.
With age comes wisdom. YES! It’s CLICHÉ but it’s true.
Maybe wisdom doesn’t come to everyone over the age of 40 but those years are life experiences and life experiences teach us.
Who decided for me that my laugh lines were ugly or that my silver hair makes me old? (A guy on YouTube did last week but he was just asking for trouble online and I happened to be there.)
The fact that I’m not still wafer thin makes me less than?
Honestly, I’d rather be healthy and strong than skeletal.
BUT the pressures I have felt and have seen my friends experience are an uphill battle.
When did we lose our talent, creativity, abilities, and exuberance because we turned the corner of 40, 50 or 60?
I was out one evening in Vancouver, Canada with girlfriends between the ages of 40 and 60. We were having a fantastic time dancing, and hopping from restaurant to club, to coffee house. We were laughing and joking and having quality time together.
At one point in the evening, we were all crossing the street, and a group of 20-something women was crossing the street at the same time. They started pointing at us, laughing and making jokes about us.
One of my friends turned around and shouted “What are you laughing at? We’re YOU in 20 years!”
Well, that shut them the bleep up.
If those ladies are LUCKY they will be anything like us in 20 years.
We were a group of attractive, accomplished, talented, vital, vibrant and SEXY woman.
We had life experience.
We were walking, talking, living, breathing, oozing experience.
Everywhere I go I learn something new from other women in other cultures. I love going into a European drug store to pour over the shelves of healthy creams, lotions and potions. Most ultimately end up in my suitcase in the convenient travel size. Europe is light years ahead of us in self-care.
Eating right, exercising, meditating, being grateful, making a contribution somewhere, going for it, going with the flow and making your mark (whatever that is) at ALL ages — THAT’S the ticket.
It’s wonderful to have older women friends to learn from and to absorb THEIR wisdom.
What is NOT wonderful is to have pressure to be someone else’s idea and image of perfection.
AT ANY AGE.
So go ahead and use those potions and lotions (cuz soft skin feels terrific), but don’t lose sight of your beauty inside and out.
Don’t let someone else tell you what is aging and beauty. (I’m also talking to the men out there, too. Pro-aging is not just for women.)
Find your support system and nurture it.
“Smell the roses.”
"Grab for the gusto.”
“Go for it.”
‘You do you.”
Be YOUR best self, AND never let someone else define you — at ANY AGE!
My wish for you is long and luscious PRO-aging on whatever continent you reside.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again soon!
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” Nietzsche
This is my response to the article “The Curse of Always Being Happy” by Qigong and Kung Fu master John Munro
This is a subject that I have personally been thinking about quite a bit lately.
For me, there is no light without dark. No up without down. No Yin without Yang, hot/cold, day/night, right/left, male/female (In general. Exceptions acknowledged and honored).
It is when we are stuck in our emotions that it becomes a great challenge.
When the pendulum swings wildly one way, it will swing wildly in another.
We talk incessantly about being happy, and looking for happiness.
What about the ease of being content? A very mild, pleasant sensation. Much like the theory of neutral talked about in the article.
Have you ever noticed how feeling ecstatic can make your heart race and make your actions very amplified?
Have you also noticed how anxiety, too, can make your heart race, make you frenetic, or active in an entirely different way?
These are both still very heightened states of emotional or physical response.
Being more “neutral” helps us remain more non-attached in differing situations.
I look at it as going with the flow.
As teachers it is crucial that we go with the flow. No two classes are the same, no students are the same, no responses to the material are the same.
Remaining flexible in these environments makes for better classes and better teachers. If we are constantly in states of heightened emotions it is not good for us or our students.
“Put on a happy face” or “Don’t worry, be happy” may not always be the best course of action.
We have all known someone who puts on a happy face all the time.
They are exhausted putting up a happy front BUT they are not truly happy inside. Do they feel they need to maintain the facade because that is what they feel is expected of them? (That is classic people pleasing behavior.)
Everyone has a less than perfect day. All the teachers we look up to: Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, Jr. etc. expressed and express themselves sometimes with passion and sometimes with dismay. However, there is still a calm running parallel to that expression. There may be anger, frustration, pain, elation, jubilation and ecstasy but the way it is expressed is gently, lovingly, firmly with reserve and self-control.
Additionally, as teachers in the healing arts, we can put so much pressure on ourselves to be a perfect example. OR our students and critics put a lot of pressure on us to be perfect. Granted, that is more about them than it is about the teacher, but the pressure is there nonetheless. It takes a strong, confident, self-aware teacher and individual to remain unaffected by this external pressure. Why put immeasurable pressure on ourselves to be other’s idea of perfection and adopt that as our idea of perfection? Do we need an idea of perfection about ourselves at all?
To walk, talk, live and breath as what we feel or have been pressured to feel is as the perfect teacher or person, for that matter, is completely unnecessary and counterproductive. It’s a tough role to play in today’s world.
When we develop our emotions to be expressed in a more serene, calm and composed manner, our existence will follow suit.
If we can have the self-discipline to enjoy the middle ground, instead of the tumultuous highs and lows, imagine how much more peaceful our lives can be.
The old story of the monk facing every situation by saying “We shall see,” may be one of the best examples for a content life.
So “don’t worry, be content.”
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again soon..
If you would like to read Master John’s article here it is:
This poem was written at two VERY different times in my life. It was started in 2011 and finished in 2019.
Talk about PRO-aging!
I feel more in tune with myself. More able to look at my life and understand pain may not always be my enemy. It also can be my friend, and in many instances, my teacher.
Do I feel the same way I felt when I wrote the body of the poem?
No, I definitely do not.
Sometimes we have to "let it burn".
Burn off our karma, our past judgment, our self-criticism, self-doubt and pain.
What may feel like constantly getting "burned" may be burning off our garbage so we can go to the next level of our lives.
Take heart, it isn't always as bad as it seems.
Keep moving forward.
It's worth it.
Thanks for reading.
See you again soon.
The article is entitled “Who are you calling old lady?”
Revolution Gray is an online magazine that focuses on women fifty and over. A very positive, forward thinking publication that supports women fifty and over in every aspect of their lives.
I recommend that anyone who has a women fifty and over in their lives make it a point to take a look at this magazine.
I am passionate about PRO-AGING. Aging as well as possible - given our life circumstances - with enthusiasm, contentment, vitality and energy.