Living in This Body… and Soul
“How hard it is living in this body!” is a phrase that’s been rumbling around in my head these days. I shouldn’t complain; I have it easy, being relatively healthy. Yet this fluid, ever-changing, seventy year old body is still demanding on my attention from moment to moment. And it has taken to complaining.
If I spend too much time on the computer, stay up too late, or forget to take one of my medications it tells me about it. The demands and desires of living in this aging body could consume most of my time if I’m not careful. Gratefully, there is the work of living to do--as well as my work--and family and friends to attend to—but in all of this, what do I want? What does my Soul want? Compared to the body, it speaks only in whispers.
For every diminishment in aging I believe we are called to a larger engagement with the Soul. Our Soul, the organ of meaning making, tugs at our hearts for an increasingly authentic life. It demands that we listen to it, and speak from our personal authority.
What does this mean? For me it means setting priorities each day which allow for reflection and connection. Yes, the shopping and cooking must be done, but at the end of the day what will I be most grateful for? Although I must do my daily work, I now must also allow time to rest in late afternoon, or my back will speak loudly in protest. While I need to shop, cook, clean and manage the bundle of details which constitute a life, I also long to be in service to my Soul. Not always easy.
The Soul hungers for beauty; let there be fresh flowers on the table! It yearns for inspiration and insight; let me take time to read and write today. It longs for connection; who can I talk to about things that matter most to me…?
The Soul makes meaning out of daily acts of courage and endurance; how can I do what must be done today, no matter how little, repetitive or uncomfortable? How can I finish the paper work and do the consultations, as well as find what truly nourishes me? Perhaps I must call the doctor about that new complaint from this old body but I will also treat myself to a long leisurely dog walk with my friend, and enjoy my single glass of wine with dinner.
“Give ME time my Soul whispers!” How to do that today? The past, like a half-forgotten dream always moving through my life, links me to what once was, but the present moment whispers to observe what is arising moment by moment, and to gently move the moment towards what could be… to respond to whatever comes my way with the most authentic response.
It whispers about my commitment to my Self and the truest best work I do. Yet what is that today? And what will it be tomorrow? How shall I live authentically in this body that carries me along like the moving ocean...constantly changing. It would be easier if I could stand on the on the shore, the solid ground under my feet, and observe the movement of it all...but I am the movement. Observing the Self is a skill of consciousness that could help me ride the waves, rather than swimming for survival. I will practice that art. This is the story of aging, I tell myself; and some days are better than others. ~