I’ve been back in Sydney for a few weeks and I’ll be leaving to go back to Sri Lanka, this weekend the 15th February. After a month in Sri Lanka I will fly to Cambodia to spend time with friends and help with some children in an orphanage.
I am at a crossroads in my life, the vicissitudes of accidents and genetic heritage leave me at time breathless with struggle. A struggle to walk sufficiently often and far to keep fit, a struggle to fit into the model of ageing well. Cheerfully disappearing into the philosophical blanket gained by a deep yoga practice, good eating habits, a voracious appetite for music and books. Soooo my chemistry is balanced at a neutralish pH, which augers well for my continued good health, except for the run away inflammation that swells my knees, inherited apparently.
On one level I’m ageing really well, calm, self sufficient, great friends, sleep well etc. I recently attempted to Skype a friend overseas and was confronted by my own image peering back at me. A pair of specks perched on my nose, hair recently washed and untamed. I look tired, yet it is only mid morning.
I scrutinised some images of me taken as I was teaching and they showed me that my posture is not what I thought it was and that my back is still majorally contracted around the disc bulges on the left side of my lumbar. Much as I still see myself as my younger self, these images betray that self deception. The widening hips, the flappy arms, the lop-sided back. It’s led me to a rock and a brick wall. Back fat freaks me out more than pretending I’m my slimmer self.
I can list the merits of age with actuarial precision, yep, wiser, yep don’t care what others think of me, but you know deep down I care about how I see myself and somehow I have to jive the deceitful image of the cultured slim rock chic yogi with the back fat and the floppy bits. The bigger the dissonance between the two images the greater my humph with myself.
“Does my bum look big in this?” Well, the succinct answer to myself is, “Yeah,It looks big in anything ‘cause it is big, my bum that is.“ You might think that having something resembling a meditation practice I’d be less prone to self deception of abnegating the truth.
I’m prone to holier than thou thinking, and the only way I can sustain that is to create a self image that I can tolerate. Perhaps it would be better to have less back fat, I could do that by restraining the satisfaction of my appetites, one less piece of toast, one more back extension, revving up my life style to capacity when I really only have the fuel and fortitude for minor excursions accompanied by a low tolerance for whatever I deem stupidity, I did mention a tendency to arrogance and self deception.
Deep down I really believe that I am not on this dusty little planet to be a one-woman judge and jury I’ll leave that to the zealots who have the stupidity to believe and act on their unquestioned beliefs, feelings and impulses.
So to my own little puddle of self contemplation, I am going forth into the world carrying my back fat under a tee-shirt, hauling my dimpled legs along encased in tight tights, disguising the bulges and for brief moments I will be blissfully unaware of my inner dilemmas and laugh with my friends under Equatorial skies and tell silly stories about stupidity, mine predominately and all in all have a jolly time in this world of shadows and light. I wonder if I can photoshop all my pictures, speaking of shadow and light, and at least in the one dimensionality of a photograph maintain my self deception, probably not, I don’t know how to use photoshop except to make peoples faces into swirly patterns and that doesn’t help, funny though.
5 thoughts on “Shadows and Light”
Yep, can relate to a lot of that. Enjoy your new travels and adventures xx
Hi Maggi, a lot of self analysis and soul searching there! All I can suggest is that awareness is the most important part (which you seem to already have, which doesn’t come at all as a surprise). Now you need to decide a few things.
What of the things I can change do I want to. Another way of looking at this is what actually matters?
What things do I need to accept as something I can’t change and how do I accept that.
Once you know what you can control and what you can’t and what you really care about, then you can decide what you can focus on 🙂
Sounds easy but I know it isn’t!!
Take care Maggi, and never lose sight of the difference you make to so many lives.
Absolutely agree Tony. You change so many lives Maggi & mine is but one as you know. BTW best way to lose back fat is to use crutches, or so I found when I broke my ankle. They do little for hip movement though.
Sorry but I laughed at some things & went straight to a vision of Grumpy ol’ Woman. Its all perception. I still see myself as a BYT (bright young thing) and love the fact that as my eyesight fails so it seems does my concern for things I cant do much about. I instinctively know what looks good on me and about me & I don’t need others agreement or affirmation. I realise how much time younger woman waste on self reflection with others. Life is to short.
Youth is absolutely wasted on the young and though I do wake up in the middle of the night on occasion, thinking about my next 20 years before I will be definitely OLD, I wake up the next day happy that my cat and partner are with me on this journey. Every day above ground is a good day or we should strive to make it so.
Small things make me happy and I can sit back and watch the madness from the comfort of my own satisfaction.
Enjoy the next part of your trip and smell the flowers Maggi! Love and miss you xx
Luckily I actually opened this email Maggie. Been ignoring them since late last year for peace of mind.. I guess we’ve all been there at some time as we age and I knowhere you are coming from. A little quote:” Ego says When everything falls into place I will feel PEACE. Spirit says “Find your peace and everything will fall into place.” May this be your reward on this journey. Go in Love and Light.. Vix
You know its strange but like all phenomena on this planet, peace, when achieved reaches for its opposite, excitement lurching into disaster and back to calm and then the subconscious clearing of a moment outside of time and space swirling back to involvement, judgement and attachment. Beyond that I sense/touch/ something untouchable, something eerily eternal that is calm with palpable potential. How can I explain my perceptions with words of the senses that are rooted in the experience of duality? The place of peace is ever changing, the experience of my self-peace is rooted in my choices. Yet this surge of love that is not what I thought it was going to be (it’s not fluffy and nice) pulses and dances through all life, including me.