Every time I step onto my yoga mat I expect so much more than a work out. For me yoga is a moving meditation and through it I have learnt so much about life, love and everything in between. A few days ago as I sat on my yoga mat and earnestly folded my body forward stretching toward my feet, I had an awakening. Rather than just looking at my feet and wondering if I would ever be able to fold all the way forward, I really saw them.
I realised one day I would look down and with hope, see the feet of an 80-year-old woman. Just as once I reached up to my baby feet when they were amongst all I could see as I lay on my play mat. In that moment I acknowledged how many times I had been reborn; From baby to toddler, child to adolescent, young adult to now. I am constantly evolving into something new. Eventually I will be older and all of this just part of my fragmented memory.
We often look to the past for answers. We search for the lessons and call upon our experience and knowledge in an attempt to make the right decisions going forward. Whether we are delightfully reminiscing about the good times or painfully wallowing in our regrets, the past can be as much of a gift, as it can be a hindrance. Intermingled with the heart warming, mind blowing and life changing memories you may have; are the failures, the betrayals, the heartache and energetic wounds you carry. Our struggle to remain present often comes from the fact we are stuck in the past or worried about an imaginary future.
If our past self does not have the answers we are looking for, what if we were to look to our future self for the solution? What if we were to try to consider how our older, wiser self might look upon a situation? Sure guess work and story telling is involved but hey, even our recollection of the past can be at the mercy of our story telling ways.
So here is what I think your 80-year-old self would say to you if given the chance-
1. You are beautiful-
Enjoy your youth, every single last ounce of it. You are young until your heart stops beating. We live in a society with a warped definition of what youth is. For some reason, we believe youth ends as soon as we begin to see any small signs of aging. Would a 20 year old yearn to look like a toddler again? Sound ridiculous? Well why would a 45 year old want to look 25 again? Each season of life brings with it changes and the moment you embrace those changes and see the beauty in them; you emanate a beauty and confidence that exists above and beyond labels and societal concepts of impossible perfection.
2. If you can move it, use it-
Mobility is by far one of the greatest gifts of life. To move, jump, swim, stretch, dance, run, hop, skip and walk, are among the simple joys of living. As simple as each may sound, they offer so much genuine joy and freedom. How many times in a day are you grateful to be able to walk freely? If not at least once, then you are under the illusion that time cannot take away this simple yet profoundly important gift. Take care of your body, enjoy moving it as much as possible and never take it for granted.
3. Don’t worry about what other people think-
Throughout your life many people will come and go. More than you can even contemplate at the beginning of your journey. People you are so eager to please today will be a distant memory in time to come. The only person you will always have with you is you. Do what makes you happy, live according to your own inner voice and know that nobody is really thinking about you anyway. They are preoccupied thinking about themselves, it is human nature. If all you do is try to make others happy, you will lose touch with what it is that makes you happy and that would be a tragedy.
4. Family and friends count most-
As important as career and achievement is to your sense of self worth and purpose, in the end all you will have is your loved ones. What you give you get back. Invest time in nurturing and loving the people you care about. You are never too busy to show them you care. Tell them today and every day after that. Just as time will eventually erode your body, so too will it take the ones you love. There is no greater regret than to watch a loved one pass and know you never got to say all that needed to be said. Nothing lasts forever, cherish your loved ones with all your heart and make the most of every moment you share, even the most mundane.
5. Enjoy the journey-
What seems like a huge problem today will become a memory in time to come. Your pain, stress, worries and fear in any moment will eventually be healed by time and space if you allow the natural course of life to take its place. If you can learn to appreciate even the hard times, you will have truly mastered life. We are here to experience the entire spectrum, to expect only light, joy, happiness, fun and success, is to be completely deluded. No matter who you are, where you come from or whether you are privileged, you will experience dark, sadness, failure, boredom, loss and tragedy. Be prepared for it all, it is part of the journey of life and in the end when your time has come, you will be grateful to have lived.
Who you are today, is not who we will be tomorrow, that is part of evolution. So if you ever get stuck in the now or worse still the past, let your future self guide and do something today that your future self will be grateful for.
Love and Magic