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
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
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
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.
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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