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Victoria Moran

Reflecting on Life as a
Passageway to Transformation

by Victoria Moran

Reflecting on our lives can be a passageway to transformation. In these selections from Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body & Revitalize Your Spirit, Victoria Moran shows the connection between reflection and resiliency, vibrancy and an extended prime.

Younger by the Day by Victoria Moran

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It...

In a patriarchal culture, mature women threaten the status quo. We think for ourselves. We donít believe everything weíre told. We realize that consumerism is not the key to happiness and we have the audacity to say so. We like the truth and weíre willing to sort through a litany of lies to get to it.

As a woman in this age group or approaching it, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take on the mantle of the valiant, a vocal commitment to honesty and justice, and an unwillingness to back down. This has been the role of older women from time immemorial, even when "older" was thirty-five. It hasnít been easy. You studied in school about the burning times, centuries during which failing to toe the line could get you burned as a witch. The vast majority of "witches" were older women, along with some outspoken younger ones and some gentlemen too gentle for the taste of the times.

These days standing up for your values wonít lead to being burned at the stake, although it could get you gossiped about at the country club. Do it anyway. Our planet is in worse shape than our collective arteries. The root reason for a book like this is not so that more of us can stump the age-guesser at the carnival. It is rather to acknowledge that we are alive at a unique time in history. The average woman will live one-third of her life after menopause. Much of that third will be after her children are grown and quite a bit of it will be after she retires. This is an unprecedented amount of time and womanpower. If weíre healthy and energetic--and, shallow as this will sound to some, if we look well enough that younger people will listen to us--we have a legitimate opportunity to change the world.

All good people want to leave this place better than they found it, and most do that by raising honorable children or planting healthy trees or leaving a bequest to charity. This is noble and admirable, but we have a chance to do even more, and do it on a global scale. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, entails the following: Take superb care of yourself, keeping yourself in fighting trim like a soldier or an athlete, because changing a world takes stamina.

Formulate a viable spiritual life. It neednít be religious and given the penchant some people have for turning religion into mischief, we can use some non-religious spiritual people balancing things out. However your spirituality presents itself, you need it, because youíll have to make decisions based on more than ego and opinion. Take a stand. Maybe youíll speak for groups even if that scares you silly. Maybe youíll take your case to people in power, or be the voice for those who donít have one.

I canít know your specific path, but I do know itís there for you--should you choose to accept it. Revitalize your life with words: I have a role to play that is bigger than I am. I have a mission, and I choose to accept it.

A Nightly Check-In

I learned about the nightly check-in through the writings of Charles Fillmore, cofounder of the Unity movement. Fillmore suggested that when we lie down for the night, we would do well to scan the day just past from evening to morning, noting any places where we may have fallen short, asking God for forgiveness, forgiving ourselves and, if we owe anyone an apology, to note that as our first task for the morning. Of course we can--and should--also recall those times during the day when we lived up to our standards with flying colors. Even if nobody else noticed, we can, and give ourselves a mental pat on the back.

This small exercise, easily done in a minute or two, can pave the way for restful sleep since it tends to the day thatís past and, literally, puts it to bed. It helps us to know ourselves, grow as individuals, eliminate repeat patterns weíre not proud of, and give ourselves credit where itís due. It keeps life cleaned up, so we donít find ourselves in over our heads, trying to deal with more missteps and misunderstandings than we can keep up with. When the nightly check-in becomes a nightly habit, nothing goes more than twenty-four hours before itís taken care of.

Guilt, regret, denial, and avoidance promote aging. Awareness, amends, clarity, and compassion do the opposite. Check in tonight: it only takes a minute. Rejuvenate yourself with action: Starting tonight, put into place the practice of mentally scanning your day when you lie down and turn out the light. This is a time to be liberal with approval, generous with forgiveness, and honest about any need to make something right tomorrow. The day may not have been perfect, but you donít have to take it to bed.

What Would Your Life Be Like if You Approved of Yourself Every Day?

Sometimes I think there are two of me in the outward, physical sense. There is basic me--showered and covered but not much more, stopping at The Organic Harvest Cafť on 53rd Street after my Pilates class. Then there is my other self, the one whoís dressed well, wears makeup, and goes out into the world beyond my neighborhood. Of course weíre the same person, just different presentations of that person. Iím sure youíre familiar with what Iím talking about, because you have different presentations, too.

The key to integrating these divergent aspects of our visible selves is, I think, to accept ourselves both ways. This means no more feeling embarrassed when, as basic self, we run into someone who knows us as adorned self. You know the scenario: "I was only going out for a loaf of bread. If Iíd known Iíd be running into--fill in the blank: Prince Charles, Prince Charming, the woman whoís out to get my job--I would have looked better." But basic, as long as youíre neat and smell pleasant, is no less presentable than dressed to kill, and at times even more appropriate. Going out without makeup and knockout clothes is the way some very famous women protect their privacy: Fans are so shocked to see them a capella that theyíre less likely to approach. Itís like a sign that says, "This is my day off." You and I deserve days off, too, when a pony tail and lip gloss are enough doing up, no matter whom we meet.

This is not an excuse for letting yourself go, just for sometimes letting yourself be, and approving of what that looks like. Revitalize your life with words: I am who I am, when Iím all decked out and when Iím only in sweats and sun-block.

Excerpted from Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body & Revitalize Your Spirit, Harper San Francisco. All Rights Reserved.


Lit From Within by Victoria Moran Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran

Fit from Within by Victoria Moran Love Yourself Thin by Victoria Moran My Yoga Journal by Victoria Moran

Victoria Moran
Victoria Moran is the author of the new book, Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body & Revitalize Your Spirit (Harper San Francisco, 2004), from which this essay is an excerpt, and other books including Fit from Within: 101 Simple Secrets to Change Your Body and Your Life--Starting Today and Lasting Forever, Lit From Within, Creating a Charmed Life, Shelter for the Spirit, and Love Yourself Thin. She is a national speaker, has appeared on Oprah! twice, and has written articles for magazines including Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Yoga Journal, Vegetarian Times, and New Age Journal. For more information, please visit her website, www.victoriamoran.com.




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