Last night, I cleaned the kitchen while listening to one of my favorite podcasts: The C.R.E.A.T.E. series. I'm sure I've talked about this series before: A director (Kristen Hanggi) and an actress/yogi (Natalie Roy) weave together spirituality, eastern philosophy, modern life, and creativity. They quote Ram Dass and Osho and Michael Singer and Abraham Hicks. They say "fuck" sometimes and compliment one another on their outfits. I love them.
Last night, I went way back to the beginning of the series -- September 2016 -- and hit play. In episode #3 they talked about aging: Fear of aging is not really fear of aging; it's fear of time (how much has passed and how much is left).
They talked about how time (age), if you let it, brings you closer and closer to your truest, purest, and therefore most divine self. When everything false is stripped away, you are left with essence, and that is your divine truth... which is always the best part of you.
If your identify has hinged on your flawless skin and killer physique, time and age will take that.
If your identity has leaned on your speed and strength and athletic prowess, time and age will take that.
If your identity has been defined by your quick mind and unmatched intellect, time and age will (more or less) take that.
If who you are is your high energy and drink-anyone-under-the-table-ness at a party, time and age will take that, too.
Who will you be when all of your external attachments are gone?
If you want to suffer, focus on what is lost and feel less-than, maybe even bitter.
If you want freedom, focus on what remains. What remains is your divine truth, and that is inherently and without complication: good.
It is so hard to remember this.
At any rate, I wrote about something similar back in May 2017, on my 43rd birthday:
I wrote about getting closer to the most authentic version of myself by unloading any expectation or piece of baggage that felt untrue. But until last night, I had not necessarily thought of authenticity as a result of loss, specifically -- that every loss brings you closer to your own divinity.
I was reminded of that this morning when reading yearend reflections of friends and acquaintances on Facebook. One alluded to the rocky and painful end of an important relationship, how horrible it felt; and yet, inexplicably, he felt full of love. Another, a man I used to work with, lost his teenage son to suicide at the beginning of 2019. He wrote about how much closer he'd grown to God, his community, and his sobriety, in his grief. Friends who faced illness -- cancer -- resolved only to go slow, breathe, and stay present, because that is where the truth of everything lies.
Life has been rumbling lately. The rumble has grown more noticeable in recent months. It feels like something is trying to break apart so it can change through reassembly. (Again.) In my imperfection, I get rumbly with it. I stew and clench and drink too much. In the quieter moments, I trust the change process, trust the entity that's pushing it, and remind myself to be patient.
As I fumble into 2020 clenching and unclenching, it seems a worthy reminder, also, to trust that whatever is lost along the way will leave the truth behind; and that is always: good.