A look in the mirror when we first wake up can truly be one of life’s most potent wake-up calls. The inevitable changes in the physical body and the accompanying wrinkles and gray hair remind us of our transitory nature. The awareness of this, however, can set us free – free from the illusion that one more face lift or tummy tuck will bring us happiness and immortality. It’s like chasing after the wind, and when we stop the chase, we can begin to live in peace.
Everything put together falls apart, and for everything that does fall apart, something new and unexpected is born to take its place. The mulch of generations of leaves and branches fertilizes every manner of plant, fungus, tree, and flower. Life emerges from death and death from life in every turn of the trail. It feels as if the earth is absolutely incapable of not producing life at every opportunity.
When we’re aware that we too are part of this forest, part of this cycle of replacement, we feel at once the larger context to which we so thoroughly belong. We awaken to our part in the larger impermanence of all things. The seasons of our life, like the seasons of the earth, are in constant motion.
The moon, the stock market, our hearts, the whirling galaxies all expand and contract with the rhythm of life. Every wise voyager learns that we cannot hold on to the last port of call, no matter how beautiful. To do so would be like holding our breath, creating a prison from our past.
In meeting these transformations in an embrace, wherever we are becomes holy ground, the seat of enlightenment. Aging allows us to be more fully alive, to live gently and easily, to let go of many cumbersome responsibilities, and to begin to more thoroughly enjoy ourselves. It inspires us to say, “Every day is a miracle. I feel such joy to just be alive today. I only give my care and attention to what is really important – being loving, being kind, creating beauty, being grateful.”