A Beautiful sharing from a 71 yr old on : ” Loving What Is”
There is, I think, only one universe. There may be more, but we at least know there is at least one.
There is also, I think, only one time we get to “go through” this life as a human being in this universe. I know there are a lot of people, as they read this, arguing one point or the other. For the moment, I will assume you agree there is only one universe we get to go through, and this is the only time we get to go through this universe as who we are right now. As some wise person said, “This is not a dress rehearsal.”
There is, finally, only one “present moment.” There´s the past of course, and the future, whatever it may turn out to be. But if you look up from whatever you are doing at the moment and look around and see what is, what you see in that moment is the only time you’ll ever see exactly what you are seeing exactly the way you´re seeing it. The moment is unique. A good example is seeing a rainbow—if you aren’t in the here and now you’ll miss it.
When I heard about Byron Katie and her remarkable book, Loving What Is, I knew I had found one of those guideposts I needed in my life. She´s brilliant in making her point that we have to love what IS and she made it so clear that I can use her expression day to day, moment to moment, to keep me sane as I go on 72 and look into the jaws of the future.
The wrinkles on my face dig deeper and deeper, the sags in my once-tight swimmer legs sends me looking for longer shorts, and I broke my wrist rollerblading, proving, once again, that I´m not as young as I thought I was.
All these realizations hit me all of a sudden one night as I was dressing for dinner. I had spent time carefully choosing what I would wear to “cover up” what is. Suddenly I looked in the mirror and realized that I love what is. I don’t want to be 18 again, or even 40. I want to enjoy being 71.
I thought about when I retired at 55 and began what was for me a long transition from workaholic to retired and making lots of changes in my life. At the time I wanted to write a book, Retirement, Heaven…or Hell—or a little of both? Did I want to get a job, write a book, or just hang out on the beach? As the years passed, I did a little of all of this but mostly it was a time to reassess who I was and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. What became clear to me as I continued to get dressed was that I have no choice—I am going to finish this life, on this universe, in this body. I either enjoy the moment or I don’t. If I don’t make the choice to enjoy each individual moment, then I’ve lost the moment. My moment. And I can’t get it back.
It is gone, just as a wave takes away a sand castle.
Just as children grow swiftly from child to adult.
Just as butter melts on a hot summer day.
Within days of realizing all this new information, a friend of mine said to me casually as we were looking at a friend who had just had her’s done, “So, Cleo, are you going to have a facelift?” I thought about her question a few minutes, went to a mirror and pulled back my skin. I was shocked with how much younger I would look with a facelift.
And then quite quickly I replied, “I don’t want to look 40 or 50. I want to look just like who I am. When I am standing in front of someone or have a man in my life, I want them to know that who they see is who I am, sags and all—there are some things you just can’t hide.” The fact is, that although my skin may be sagging; my mind is learning Spanish, my body is body-surfing and kayaking and I feel more alive and free than I ever did at 40, or anytime for that matter.
Aging, therefore, is a brilliant plan because we get to let go of all of our “shoulds,” we can be happy for our wrinkles because they show how much we laughed and when all is said and done, I like who I am and that’s the best gift of a life well lived. So thank you Byron Katie. As I continue my life I’m proud to show the universe that even though this is the only time I’ll pass through it, I’m going to do so, enjoying every moment and loving what is.