Wellbeing notes: The Patina of a Person

01/05/2023 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Wellbeing notes | Leave a comment
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There’s an upcoming auction near me on 11th May: The Fine Contents of a Wiltshire Property. I may attend, because there’s a similar scene I’m working on in the novel that I’m currently writing. It’ll be useful research. 

There’s something about antique objects that is innately pleasing, despite or maybe because of the way they’ve changed over time. Consider my great grandmother’s sewing box, pictured here. Maybe one day the parquetry lid will be restored, but even so, it will never again look new. Its surfaces reveal the passage of time – and that is surely part of its charm. Wear and tear, interspersed with licks of polish… there are no short cuts when it comes to creating an aged surface, or patina.

And so it is with people. We all age differently, and we all face different choices when it comes to the process of time. Do we apply skincare creams, including sun block, daily; do we opt for more drastic intervention? How do we react to the arrival of white hair? And do we keep our bodies flexible through exercise?

We each find our own answers to these questions. However, the icon of older beauty for me will always be the white-haired woman (or man), with serene and cared-for features, who accepts and embraces her true age. She has learned the art of self-acceptance, and to love life fully. That is truly something to aspire to. 

November’s message of self-acceptance

01/11/2020 at 9:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The trees around me in Wiltshire UK where I live are fast losing their colourful canopies as we approach winter. Leaf by leaf, they reveal their true shape. This is the perfect time to notice that there is no such thing as a perfect tree. They are all asymmetrical. Limbs and branches twist and extend in a mysterious pattern. We accept and delight in a tree’s unique shape. Why then should we not delight in our own unique human forms? 

Seen without judgement, human beings are gorgeous examples of creation. I’m pretty certain we are adored by the divine, creative force that lies within and beyond all living beings. And yet we can be so quick to find fault with ourselves. Even something as simple and natural as our age or weight can become something we prefer to hide. Think, for a moment, about how conscious so many of us are about our height. We feel too short or too tall. And yet we are only talking about a difference of a few inches! How can that matter compared with the vast reaches of the universe?

Each of us has the capacity to carry many psychological wounds through life. From childhood onwards we may retain messages from external figures of authority who have left us feeling ‘not good enough’. In adulthood we may become experts at criticising our appearance and our actions in countless small and punishing ways. We may even be unconscious of how wounded we are in this respect, which can lead to a tendency in us to project our unresolved issues on to others, and even to judge others harshly for their own perceived faults.

Yet the revealed shapes of trees in winter suggest to me that humans, like trees, are perfect, just as we are. Our healed wounds and scars are part of our personal story, to be honoured and even loved. Humans, like trees, are surely a beautiful and unique addition to the landscape. And, just like our cousins the trees, as we prepare for winter we carry the potential for new personal growth in the new year.

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