Friday, April 25, 2008

it's where the light comes in.....

Our own personal faults may remain dark caverns unchartered by our refusal to see them. Who wants to admit something about themselves that produces a feeling of shame over the imperfection? Who wants to love a pock marked blemish on our own character when all around us is a message that only beauty counts? Who wants to reveal a fault which when it is admitted to, completely alters our way of looking at ourselves..........and if it is revealed, how do you overcome the shameful ugliness of it?

You may have many mirrors in your home, but when was the last time you REALLY looked at yourself in one? Like me, do you just take a fleeting glance simply to make sure you don't have spinach in your teeth, or that your hair isn't sticking up like Alfalfa? It's a habit. I could be standing in front of the mirror for a good 20 mintues blow drying my hair, putting on my make up and brushing my teeth in the morning and still not REALLY look at me. I'd prefer to keep the picture I have of myself as a vibrant person in her early 20's than recognize that this was a long time ago. But who am I kidding? No one else sees me that way anymore and no one seems to shy away from me because i look the way i do, why would I continue not to look more deeply? I'm only fooling myself.

When I conciously have a looksee.........when I register the reflection of who I am now, a woman on the upper end of her 40's my initial reaction is one of shock. WHO is that person looking back at me? Where did that young woman go..........the one whose face was thinner and wrinkle free.........the one who used to have smaller perky breasts and not ones stretched by nursing two babies............the one without the stretch marks on her belly. When did her skin lose some of it's elasticity all over? And what's with the seemingly extra skin on the eyelids?

What about the faults found within? The scars and fissures..........we were born with or have collected during our struggles? Some of them as well are more visible to others than to ourselves and for the same reasons. We try so hard not to reveal to ourselves fully for fear of being rejected. We'd rather remain blind? Our fault lines, like the ones found under the surface of the earth, our gaping holes like the ones found in old apple trees leave us tremoring with the very idea that it may be the thing that turns off the people around us. What if they find out? Will they stop loving us? So, we keep ourselves in the dark.

In the dark......where light is absorbed.

There is still light in there. It's just busy being absorbed.

Our awareness of ourselves, of how we interact with the world around us increases as we get older, mostly because of the experiences we have accumulated along the way. This makes sense. The farther we skip, jump, run, walk, limp, crawl, roll down the path of life, we collect a whole bunch of things to put in our backpack. Though awareness is always sprinkled with enlightenment which accompanies learning, it sometimes isn't satisfying because, may be really ugly. It may be hard to swallow. In fact when you think about it there are many things in life that are hard to swallow....some bigger than others. The cracks, the fissures, the bumps, scars and scratches on the surface may not be as pretty or handsome as we want to be. Leonard Cohen, that craggy old beautiful man sings in his song Anthem:

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be.

He understood the importance of letting go and moving on. He also had the insight to realize that perhaps our very own fault lines werent just ornaments to wear or to try to hide in the closet. They have a purpose........

Ring the bells
that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Is this how His light can get into us? Perhaps we accumulate these experiential openings to let in God's love. Perhaps those same ugly marks where light is absorbed is the access God uses to fill us with truth of love? And if we feel this wildly unconditional love, will this not lead us to understanding the mystery? How beautiful is that?

Still, I wish I still had perky breasts.


Rainbow dreams said...

You write so beautifully Dana. You know though that the wonderful thing about all the scars and traumas and wounds is that they make us less judgemental - they take away the judging others for their scars...what seemed impossible to comprehend and accept is now part of being human, the invincibility of youth fades and there is far more room for acceptance.

However, that doesn't stop me wanting to improve various parts of me... :) Childbirth does cause some lasting effects I agree...

I have never listened to Leonard Cohen.. might have to rectify that!

Baby-Sweet-Pea said...

When I was younger and everything was perky, I was super-concious of my looks. Now I have the odd stretch mark, a few scars from trying to be some cool dirt bike jumper, some grey hairs zinging here and there and I'm ok with all that. It is just part of me and my story.

And I agree with Rainbow Dreams, I am far less judgemental of the scars of others, the literal and figurative ones. But I know what you mean about sitting in front of the mirror for 15-20 minutes and never really seeing myself. I think that would be a good exercise, to take a look at myself...a real look. Not to find imperfections but to appreciate that every line, wrinkle, bump and ding are part of me, something else for my backpack of life.

Thanks for the post Awareness. You rock!

Gypsy said...

You have a wonderful way of making us really look at ourselves Dana just with your words.

I think I'm a little too honest with myself and quite my harshest critic. Lately though I find myself looking through the eyes of others and now I'm a lot more gentle on myself. Seems their view of me is a lot kinder than mine and that has been an enlightening thing.

Sorry it's taken me so long to get round to you Dana. I've so missed your words of wisdom and am determined to read all the posts I've missed.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I think it's very hard to see myself clearly at any age. I change so subtly that I am never really certain what is my reflection - let alone the reflection of those I love.

Open Grove Claudia said...

PS - We need to talk about Prima Donna bras if you are serious about the breast perk - they are so beautiful they are better - much better than perky breasts! ;)

Awareness said...

Katie, thank you

You make a good point....I hadn't put words to it though it's exactly what happens.

Leonard Cohen is a true poet. His voice, like Tom Waits, is one you have to grow accustomed to if you know what I mean. He's actually playing here in our little concert venue two days before I fly to the UK. Only 600 tickets. His first stop on a world tour! I'm not going (couldn't justify the $$ but Jamie and our friends are going). I have no idea how he sounds live anymore.....he's in his 70's and this stop is almost like a practise session for him....he's hitting various sites in the Maritimes before he goes to Europe. But, anyone who's going is doing it for entertainment and to pay homage to a man who has embodied spiritualism all our lives.

Baby SP...Me too. Though I take time to pull myself together in my uber funky way, I'm like you. I'm not super conscious anymore. that I think about it, i don't know how alert i was back then either. I think I just took it for granted maybe?

Gypsy.....wonderful to see you again. I'll try to pop an email off to you this weekend. Thank you so much for leaving your comments and feedback on my latest posts. It means a lot. As you know, you write something sometimes and you wonder if it's too weird, too much.......if it makes sense. So, thank you.

Like you, I think I'm my harshest critic.......either that or there are a few liars out there who are just not telling me like it is! :)

Claudia....I can't tell you how long it's been since I wanted to be a Prima Donna. Yes, I'm interested in learning how.
You raise a very good point too (no pun intended) I do think it is a slow subtle process for everyone around us that we don't actually see it happening.
Yesterday for example, my 10 year old son and I were walking together, and when I looked over at him, I was surprised at his height and wondered if I had shrunk. I had been paying attention to his gradual growth over the winter months.....knew it was happening and could see that he was filling out and stretching.....and hoping his jeans would make it to the end of spring.....the accumulation still surprised me because he somehow transformed from a little boy to being on the verge of a young man......

i don't think i'm shrinking yet.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I hate to sound like "The Elder", you get older, your priorities change in some ways and id you are having trouble with how you look now...LOL..Well, it only gets worse! In fact, I think I looked my best in my 40's and 50's.
It is like I came into my-self...Now? All I can say is OY!
The Mirror is NOT my friend! I find I haqve kind of gotten to where I don't really care in the same way anymore. Not that I was ever terribly into "my looks" or my "age".....Except for the fsct that I am really feeling my age now, I think because of Physical Problems....but inside? I am still a young girl....! I'm kind of in a place too, where I don't really care all that much about how my body looks, until that is---I see pictures of myself! Oh Dear! But otherwise? Well, I kind of don;t hive a damn. I think I always valued what was inside of me and others more than looks to beging with. I never saw myself as others saw me anyway.....It is only in retrospect---Looking at old pictures of myself, that I look and say..."Damn! I was pretty!" Too bad I didn't know it then...Except maybe that was a good thing. Because as I said, the emphasis for me was always about other things anyway. To contradict some ways I am MORE Vain now....And yet...part of me just does not care all that much.

This is certainly a thought provoking post Dana....As ALL your posts are. Much food for thought.

You asked about my Camera....I have three that I have been using over these last three or four years... They are all three Fuji's....a 3800, which is old now..But I loved it...The S9000...A wonderful camera, too...quite a bit heavier than the older one...And my NEWEST one, The Finepix S8000...(They are all Finepix, by the way....) I LOVE this camera a lot! It has a pretty great long lens....Though I could use an even longer one...It is at the moment, my favorite of ALL three....! And it is lighter in weight and easier for me to handle with arthritic fingers, than the S9000. Each has it's good points and it's not so good points..BUT, the S8000 seems to combine the BEST of the other rwo. Hope this is helpful, my dear.

Awareness said...

Thank you Naomi. Your insights and comments are always always welcome!

No matter where we are on the aging continuum we have to take a step back every now and then to acknowledge the changes in us or it is a big shock when one looks in the mirror.

Like you, I don't really put much stock in the outward appearance of someone and am much more interested in whats lurking inside them. Kindness, compassion, empathy, optimism, humour, wittiness, awareness....this is what i find beautiful.

And like you, I believe its the youthful spirit which matters most. I truly believe that the drive to continuously want to learn and to broaden ourselves that way to me is the most attractive.

The last conversation I had with my grandmother before she died was about a documentary she and I had watched in our own homes.....I had called her to tell her about it beforehand knowing that the history and the stories the doc was highlighting would be of interest to her.....our conversation was a lot of "Did you know that? I didn't know that." And.... "Wasn't that interesting when they spoke of........." She was 91 years of age and was still learning. That is true beauty.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Dana, you've spoken so beautifully about how we can reframe those cracks and wounds and look at them as an opportunity to let the light in. Loving ourselves and moving past the shame and imperfection toward that light and gifts that we possess is what healing & growth is about. Still, I miss my perky breasts too ;-) xx, JP/deb