Wednesday, 23 December 2015
Today I have been immersed in Christmas memories. And the importance of Christmas rituals, especially for children, for these rituals lay the foundation for treasured memories, & for future memories. The excitement, the anticipation, for children. The family gatherings. The laughter. How blessed are we to have the opportunity to do all this. I am truly grateful, especially at Christmas, when we are all gathered for breakfast & secret santa, that my children & grandchildren are well & happy. It is the greatest gift.
This year, our large extended family has had 3 passings over, 1 serious emergency stage 3 cancer operation (recovered, thankfully), 1 very serious kidney operation (also recovered, thank you universe!). So we are all extra aware that these moments of gathering are precious indeed. And we are welcoming a new addition to the family early next year, so this also is very special.
We in New Zealand, no matter what our circumstances, are not in a war zone, nor fleeing from war. We are not in a famine. These are great blessings. As a young child, our Christmas mornings were ....extremely sparse, to be diplomatic. Thankfully we went to our Nanna's after for lunch.....yummy food & presents!! And cousins!
Later, life became more affluent, but I shall never forget the gratitude I had from those early years. It has stayed with me, always. I know, from experience, that we don't need "stuff" to be happy.
And I hope that you all have a happy Christmas, with beloved friends & family. And that it is a happy time, irregardless of "stuff"
Thursday, 3 December 2015
(family wedding late 1970s. My two eldest are in the front, both with dark hair, and I'm in the back, fourth from left)
I was reading about a study done in 1959, where older people who were degenerating, were put into two control groups. One group wore clothing from 20 years prior, & talked & acted for that time too. The other group talked about the time of 20 years before, memories & such. Both groups regenerated to a remarkable degree & were able to resume much of their life in a more active way.
If we think back to a wonderful time in our life....what made it so? We will have so much memory, of weather, smells, sounds, emotions, food, clothes, hopes, dreams....the list is endless. Amongst all of this there will be specific things that made us feel, & look, good. We can replicate those things in order to enhance our life today.
I have looked at much of my life, seeing what works, right here, right now. And what worked in the past...& why it worked, how it worked, circumstances. Honestly it can often boil down to simple things such as the food you ate, how you dressed, how you looked after yourself. Obviously, peak times are falling in love, & with our family, & our children. But there are other times too.
There was a long period in my life when I was as fit as I ever was going to be. Sleek. It was a lifestyle which isn't exactly appropriate to my life today, tons of exercise (yoga & walking), long periods of meditation.
Then another period, just before the above one, when I did less exercise than my peak period, but I looked & felt amazing. I had a very short yoga routine & it worked, it made me look & feel great, on all levels. I also peaked in self-care, & truly it was minimal...but consistent, as I had very little time to myself. A good wash & wear haircut, hardly any makeup, clothes which flattered & were fuss free, simple skin care. I went for a very quick brisk walk at lunchtime. Both times my diet was simple.
I could apply all these principles to today's life & they still would work. I am constantly recreating much of that period, because I liked how I felt about myself. I felt light, freer, had more energy, looked great. I personally don't wear clothes of a couple of decades ago because it's ageing. But the principles of what suits a person don't often change. I adore wearing strong colours, especially black & white together. I have returned to it...with a flourish! Although I dye my hair now, I still keep my hair simple so that it moves. I wear minimal make-up. I've learnt, through experience, to never let an older woman "do" my make-up, as it invariably puts me into a time-warp...& it looks old & tired. I wear clothes & shoes which enable me to move, not only because it feels good, but also because constriction is ageing...whether it's hair, clothes, shoes, etc.
So, what in your own life, amongst the memories, made you look & feel great? Why was it so? Can you recreate any of these elements? How? Rediscover parts of you that you liked, & which have been buried. Some of these parts of your former life might not work today.
But, you know, some just might.
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