“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” ~Voltaire
Shh. Listen. Do you hear that?
The gentle whispers of brave souls who have gone before us. They are part of the fabric of who we are today. Courageous women, quietly sharing their parables filled with wisdom. They discuss the enormity of the adversities they faced. They tell tales of meeting their challenges with bravery, honesty and humility.
I picture them sitting in a room with large, fluffy pillows scattered about, like Oprah might have for a gal pal sleepover. On one pillow sits Bette Davis (her pillow is embroidered with her “Old Age Is Not For Sissies” quote), holding court and discussing the challenges of breast cancer with Joan of Arc, who tries to explain the ridiculous sentencing by the English after labeling her a heretic. Eleanor Roosevelt easily chats with Rose Kennedy about staying married to an unfaithful husband. Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Althea Gibson swap stories about their gift of athleticism occurring when the wide world of sports was strictly a men’s only club.
Their whispers envelop us, subliminally reminding us that these brave women paved our road, demonstrating how we can travel alongside adversity by aging gracefully with bravery, honesty and humility.
We all heard the recent shocking news about veteran actress Valerie Harper receiving a diagnosis of incurable brain cancer. Like all of her fans, I was devastated. Yet in the face of her adversity, Harper maintained her usual effervescent style by choosing to live every moment to the fullest. As she said in a recent Today Show interview, “It could be a week, it could be three months, and it could be several years. I’m not dying until I do.”
“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Aging gracefully is not only about finding the perfect wrinkle cream, the best way to lose belly fat or buying the perfect outfit for a dinner party. Aging gracefully is more about learning from the teachers of our past, and from those who live among us. Their attitudes, their steadfastness in the face of tremendous obstacles have proven how we, too, can face the inevitability of getting older with determination and grit.
In her book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”, Dr. Christiane Northrup discusses our ageist culture and how it convinces women that menopause signals the end of vitality and attractiveness. She suggests, “What we can do is consider ourselves pioneers on a new frontier, one at which menopause and aging will be redefined. This is clearly possible…I see this happening everywhere I go as women around the world decide to age with power, strength, and beauty.”
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
My recipe for aging gracefully is a simple one:
- Look in the mirror and see the beauty within you.
- Reflect on the blessings surrounding you each day.
- Begin a gratitude journal and list three positive things you learned that day.
- List three things you like about yourself.
- Read biographies about people you admire.
- Make time to take walks, and notice the beauty in nature.
- Tell the people you love how you feel about them (including your pets.)
- Each day is a gift, each hour an opportunity to enjoy life.
- Follow your passions.
- Take time to laugh, sing, dance and be silly.
What’s your recipe for aging gracefully?
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DISCLAIMER: Comments from An Empowered Spirit are brought to your attention on topics that could benefit you and should be discussed with your doctor or other medical professional. I am not medically trained and my posts are of a journalistic nature and not in lieu of medical advice. An Empowered Spirit and its author will not be held liable for any damages incurred from the use of this blog or any data or links provided.