Treasuring the Natural Process of Life.
A few years ago, I was walking down the street practicing my Sanskrit alphabet in my head when I passed a sign that read, “Anti-aging Treatments.” Because I was repeating the alphabet in my mind, I started to play with the word “anti.”
I kept repeating the word anti in my mind, feeling the energy of the word. The more I repeated the word the more I felt I was embarking on a battle I was sure to loose, and I have way too much ego for that.
I mean, think about it. Father Time and Mother Nature rule. Every material thing on this planet goes through the natural cycle of life, which includes aging and death, and this acknowledgment is actually liberating.
I believe that ignoring it is what creates resistance and fear.
As I was repeating the word “anti” in my mind, feeling the vibrational energy of the word, I could taste the anguish associated with aging. So, instead of using the “a” vibration of “anti” I started using the “a” vibration of “father” and repeated “anti” with that vibration. It felt a little better, and from there I naturally went to “Shanti aging.”
Shanti is pronounced with the “a” sound as in “father” and means, “the essence of peace beyond any concept of what peace is.”
The way I see it, peaceful aging is not passive giving up. It is an active acceptance and ability to respect and celebrate the entire natural process of life beyond identifying with limited social constructs related to how one should feel at a specific age.
The more I thought about it, the more I resonated with “Shanti aging” as the path I want to take. The following are reflections I have had on what “Shanti aging” means to me.
I share these reflections with you in the hopes that they inspire a meaningful and uplifting action-oriented reflection for you:
1. I have chosen to stop identifying with my age based on social conditioning. There was a time when 40 was considered old; this is no longer true in our culture, so I choose to stay continuously open to new possibilities.
2. I never put on anti-aging cream, but I always moisturise with my shanti aging oils. I have noticed that my facial expression is different when I look in the mirror with that intention. I squint less and smile more, and I personally prefer the type of fine lines smiling provides.
3. I have noticed that heavy aging is accentuated by holding on to negative memories, which seem to press down on my shoulders, creating a downward and contractive energy. So, as a whole, I choose to stay curious and receptive, which makes me feel lighter.
4. When I walk I imagine that the ground is a trampoline, so there is an upward energy rather than a heavy downward energy.
5. Old is simply a necessary process for new beginnings to unravel.
6. I choose to stay fit, I practice asanas and breathing techniques and I journal, eat well and meditate, but I don’t use these things to try and avoid the inevitable. I see them as tools to support the journey rather than fight it.
7. I acknowledge and pay attention to all aging processes in the world of nature.
8. I choose to face the fact that death is inevitable (rather than ignore it) and appreciate meditating on the thought of it.
9. I choose to make space for people of all ages in my life.
10. I listen attentively to the world around me.
11. I reduce judgement—not to be confused with discernment, I love to increase discernment.
12. I do my very best to avoid gossip.
13. I make lots of space for nature.
14. I dance on my trampoline, as it keeps the feeling of expansion and lightness.
15. I love my spiritual journey and embrace discipline, but I try not to take myself too seriously.
These are some of my reflections. Please share your thoughts.
We’re in this together, and the more we collectively embrace aging the more potential we will have to experience the deeper gifts of the aging journey, which will allow us to further honor, value and respect people of all ages.
Author: Sylvie Gouin
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Author’s Own