Aging

  • blogpic lotusflowerinsandBeing drawn instead of driven. I’ve heard this phrase twice in the last month from two different people. When I hear the same thing from different sources, I feel like God is trying to get my attention.

    I was raised with the idea that being driven was a great quality. It meant I was willing to work hard, to go the extra mile, to do my best, to out-per

    orm expectations. Isn’t being driven necessary to meet your goals and accomplish great things in life? It’s part of the fabric of the American Dream – that through hard work, drive and dedication, you can fulfill your heart’s desire. Many times in my life, this has been true. Doing well enough in college in order to attend graduate school, being a dedicated pastor in challenging urban settings, and being an involved, active Mom have all required a certain amount of drive and ambition.

    I wonder now, however, if part of getting older is to move from being driven to being to drawn. My body can’t do what I was able to do in my twenties and thirties and it’s been persistently letting me know that it wants a change of pace. Although I’m quite sure part of my ailment is genetic (on both sides of my family tree), chronic migraines certainly change the pace of my life. In one of Louise Hay’s books, Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them, I read that migraines manifest “a resistance to being driven.” Hhmm. Now I’ve I heard this same message about being driven from 3 sources.

    There is something that feels unnatural about slowing my pace and accomplishing less. At the same time, I also feel pulled toward less scheduled, more contemplative time. While our three children were all at home, involved in several activities and Dan and I were both working full-time, the only thing I felt drawn to was a good night’s sleep! Maybe one of the best gifts of all of us getting older is the opportunity to pay more attention to what draws me in and feeds my soul, rather than to what success and goals I am driven to meet. Such a shift involves listening inward instead of responding outward; reflecting instead of declaring, being instead of doing, accepting instead of earning. It’s a process of spiritual unfolding rather than ego-building. Instead of my mind telling my body what it must do, my body is leading my mind into a new way of being--a way of being that I pray leads to spiritual transformation as well as physical healing.

  • blogpic BodyLove03I was praying one morning last week about my frustration with my weight. Even though I exercise almost every single day, eat a healthy diet with a glass of wine only once or twice a week, I seem to be on a steady rise in weight. My pants still fit, but now that I’m over 50, it’s the shirts that are getting tighter in the stomach and the sleeves. I do not understand why evolution thinks this is a good plan.

    My spiritual director shared that the granddaughter of a friend of hers calls the fat under her upper arms “fluffy angel wings!” While I love the phrase and the image, I still would rather not have fluffy angel wings until I get to heaven. Being on a headache prevention medicine that can cause weight gain is not helping my cause. I’ve lowered my dosage by 15 mg, but still have a ways to go before I wean off of it. 

    As I prayed for the grace to have middle-aged body acceptance, I heard the Spirit urging me:

    Love your body fiercely!
    Like Me, she’s been with you and supported you through all of your life.
       Your body has born the slings and arrows and hurts of this life—
          everything from cutting remarks, tears, pain, and illness
             to your own harsh judgments.

    Your body bears the scars and marks of who you are today, how you got here, and how you have become wiser.

    She has grown and changed with you and loved you,
       Your body has tolerated bad food and unhealthy choices,
          survived cancer and chronic migraines,
             walked you into foreign lands and new experiences.

    Love your body fiercely!
       Love your body as you love Me.
          It’s a sign of My presence with you.

    She holds the lessons of the past so you will not forget them.

       She enables you to move through today and offers you tomorrow

          Your body will be your constant companion until you die.

    Say thank you!

       Tell her you love her.

          Love your body fiercely!

    [I named this piece before I found the photo, but was so excited to happen upon it at: http://www.rebellesociety.com/2016/02/12/tracystamper-bodylove/

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