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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Beauty Is In The Living

AS one that tosseth up a ball. And what is a ball the better, if the motion of it be upwards; or the worse if it be downwards; or if it chance to fall upon the ground? So for the bubble; if it continue, what is it the better? And if it dissolve, what is it the worse? And so is it of a candle too. And so must thou reason with thyself, both in matter of fame, and in matter of death. For as for the body itself, (the subject of death) wouldst thou know the vileness of it? Turn it about, that thou mayest behold it the worst sides upwards as well, as in its more ordinary pleasant shape; how doth it look, when it is old and withered? when sick and pained? And as for fame. This life is short. Both he that praiseth, and he that is praised; he that remembers, and he that is remembered, will soon be dust and ashes. Besides, it is but in one corner of this part of the world that thou art praised; and yet in this corner, thou hast not the joint praises of all men; no nor scarce of anyone constantly. And yet the whole earth itself, what is it but as one point, in regard of the whole world? - MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book viii. 19
My quick response on the Words of the Ancient Wise blog to the passage above -   "Living in a society that is so obsessed with appearance, this passage really makes one think about what a frail and fleeting thing our physical body is. Let's keep our body functioning to the best capacity that we can, but focus on our moral and mental health more than anything else."
 As a middle aged woman, or as any woman for that matter, it is extremely difficult to live in this day and age and maintain a healthy sense of self-worth.  We are a society that is obsessed with appearance, conforming to the standard set by our peers.  The crazy fact is that the majority of us feel that we are held to a standard that is unattainable!  I am a fairly attractive 46 year old woman but still suffer pangs of remorse when I look in the mirror.  I am no longer the size 6 that I was in my youth.  Three full term pregnancies and some auto immune issues have taken their toll on my physical appearance.  I no longer have the perfect teeth that I had at 25 or the body that I had in my early 20's.  I have lived and loved and dreamed in this body that I have.  Yes, my body shows the ravages of a car accident (scarring on my knees and a chipped tooth), stretch marks from carrying three wonderful individuals inside of it, and various cuts, bruises and dislocations over the years but it as an engineering wonder.  My body is a testament to over 46 years of loving my family, husband and friends, of working through struggles and overcoming adversity, of grieving, of working through pain and yet still continuing on.  What an amazing vehicle for experiencing life our bodies are!
I will soon, as it says above, be dust and ashes.  Death comes to all for none get out alive!  Our challenge is to care for our bodies and our appearance as much as we can without becoming obsessed with it.  Many of us spend money and time that could be better spent elsewhere trying to fight the aging process with chemicals and with fad diets.  How much better and richer would our lives be if we could allow ourselves to age gracefully?  What if we were to spend that money that we spend on the latest cosmetic, hairstyle or fad diet on educating our minds or giving to a worthy cause?  What a force for change we have the capacity to be for our family and friends around us and for the greater community of the world that we live in.
Let's all strive to celebrate the uniquely beautiful individual that we are!  Let's move forward to the future and love ourselves completely.
With my Mum on the best day of my life. :)

A young Mum at 24 with my daughter Lindley.

At age 45 with Lindley and Emilie on Lindley's wedding day.