One of my courses this summer took me to Portugal to study Holistic Yin Yoga and become certified as a Yin Yoga teacher. It was an amazing course with excellent teachers and a wonderful group of women students. I was the oldest in the group. Most of the women were in their mid 20's to mid 30's, with a couple younger and a couple older.
On the last morning, after the 12 day course completed, we shared a tea ceremony in front of the fireplace. It was lovely and a nice way to bring closure. Sofia, our instructor who hosted the tea ceremony, asked me if I had any words of wisdom to share with the group from my life experiences. While I was a peer on the mat and in class, off the mat, a few of the women called me 'Mother Mary' - a nickname that was loving, respectful and welcomed by me.
The first thing that came to my mind when asked that question -
Sofia asked if I'd explain why, and I did. The gist of my words were about remaining healthy, feeling gratitude and being a vital contributor who shares with others.
I explained that it was truly wonderful to have had so many experiences that continued to shape my life. The longer I was alive, the more experiences I'd had to help me understand myself, others and the world better.
I spent much of my adult life rejecting the idea of getting older, as though it would make me a lesser being somehow. Our society tends to idolize youth, and those who are young are seen as more vibrant, more attractive.
Yet there is beauty in each age and stage of life. I feel just as vibrant today as I have ever felt when I am learning, sharing and engaging in life. It has taken me a long time to understand just how fortunate I've been all my life, but I'm glad that I've finally realized this. Too often my thoughts in the past included judgement, expectations, criticism and complaints. I was even harsher on myself than I was on others.
Health wise today, I generally feel pretty great! Yoga has been a pathway to a healthier mind, body and spirit for me. I now realize that health is not just about the body, but must include consideration of our emotions, feelings and especially our spiritual well being.
I have confidence as I face each day, am engaged and interested in all aspects of life and am excited about the new adventures that await me. Rather than feeling fearful and worried about what is to come, I am enthusiastic about what life will offer me next. What will be the next opportunity to learn and share what I learn with others? Each step on our path presents new lessons for us to either learn or not. What could be better than that?
Life continues with or without us, with its ups and downs, good and bad - it is a world comprised of opposites. I have bounced between those opposites like a yo-yo, experiencing many of the highs and lows of life. I am grateful for the 63 years of lessons that life has taught me. They were stepping stones to where I find myself today - walking down a spiritually rich path, practicing a loving and more balanced way of life. It's quite a pleasant place to be, and I am grateful.
Loving Life and Living Love,
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