Patina

Old wrought iron door with ornament

I was speaking to a friend about his intrigue with “patina” on furniture and building materials.  Patina is the signs of weathering that give wood, metal and objects character.  It’s considered desirable to show that the item isn’t newly manufactured and in fact, has been around for a while.

Of course, my mind went to patina in the human condition.  Why isn’t it desirable to look like we’ve been around the block a few times?  Why should we all look like fresh-faced newbies?

Maybe it’s capitalism… the encouragement to “get a new model” to drive the economy.  We generalize the concept that new must be better.  So new people must be better too.

I think most of us feel like new earthsuits would be more serviceable and less demanding that the older models.  With new earthsuits comes the reality of cluelessness, and most of us wouldn’t envy that part of the deal, not to mention the trials and tribulations needed to breathe some wisdom into the callow mind.

Here’s my suggestion; aging is just “patina.”  It’s a sign that we’ve been there, done that and hopefully have reached a peaceful place of self-acceptance.  I plan to wear my patina with pride because I’ve earned it!  (Not to say there isn’t some wrinkle crème in my medicine cabinet…  I’ll call that “artistic license!”)

With love,

Rosanne

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Telomeres

chromosome 3d illustration

Leave it to Western medicine!  We are finding the causes of diseases and aging.

Apparently our chromosomes are like shoelaces.  Each one has sort of a cap (a telomere) on the ends that keep the chromosome from unraveling or mistakenly connecting to its neighbors.  The more intact your telomeres are, the greater your chance of remaining healthy and vital.  This is because and intact chromosome is more able to accurately restore cells that wear out in the process of living and aging.

Nobel Laureate, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn’s research in the field of aging is mind-blowing.  She’s written a book, The Telomere Effect, with her psychologist colleague, Dr. Elissa Epel.  The book isolates the effects of stress, nutrition and toxins on those sweet little telomeres and offers strategies on how to preserve them.

What we find is that many of the practices in the East that have centered on restoring peace in our consciousness, also have properties that preserve the telomeres.

Use your Facebook, texting and random time to check this out… I believe it’s the beginning of an area of research that will revolutionize our health and wellness practices.

With love,

Rosanne

Our Faces

Having embraced our feet with appreciation in my last post, it occurred to me that faces, consistently exposed to review and evaluation, have their own challenges to bear.

portrait of mother looking at baby with love (focis on baby)

The first social connection is to the face of the caregiver, our ticket into the world of relationships. We presume, little egocentric beings that we are, that the expression on mommy’s face is a perfect reflection of who we are. Is mommy stressed, preoccupied, tired?  Are we welcome, important or an intruder, a bother?  No wonder we focus so much attention on facial appearance… Which one of the 200 possible expressions of the human face will bring people closer?  Which ones will repel people?  Are we aware of our expressions and how they’re affecting others?

Rather than emotions being the barometer of facial expression, in our culture, there is the perennial search for the perfect face, especially the nose. It’s as if nasal perfection trumps all of our insecurities.  The thought of a nose job gives me the willies!  I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I think of anything resembling a scalpel approaching my poor face. As for nose jobs, I can’t speak from experience, because I escaped the Armenian nose through some anomaly of DNA.  Those Armenian noses are prodigious. Maybe back in the day they were used to call the sheep home from the pasture?

Then there’s the aging face.  I have a beauty mark that used to be in the middle of my right cheek.  It is now closer to my jaw line.  What does that tell you about the effects of gravity?  I’d like to think that the beauty mark is migrating on its own, but it’s really my flesh giving up the fight.  Oh the ravages of time.

The things we do to shore up the effects of time and gravity!  People get injected, get their faces cut and lifted, and collect myriads of creams and lotions which (supposedly) perform youthful transformations.  Go into the medicine cabinet of any woman over 55 and you’ll see the stockpile of failed experiments and broken promises.  We lose collagen as we age.  Where does it all go?  It’s probably languishing at the ocean floor along with the single socks we lose in the laundry.  Someone could make a fortune drilling for collagen and recovering socks. Forget petroleum.

I remember my aunts and my mother having the family joke of walking past a mirror and doing a double take, saying “When did that happen!?”  It was always good for a laugh.  I understand it better now than I did then, though I confess that I’m not always laughing.

I also recall my father looking in the mirror and saying “Who is that old guy?”  He said he felt the same as always on the inside and was shocked when the mirror didn’t agree with his inner perception.  I guess, unless we want to live a delusional existence, we have to lean into that sweet, if aging, face in the mirror and appreciate its reflection of the journey we’ve traveled in the 3D world.

Along those lines we’re left with a choice:  We can wear our imperfect faces proudly or twist them into billboards of doubt, suffering and shame.  There’s a saying “In the first half of life, your face belongs to God.  In the second half of life, your face belongs to you.”  I take this to mean that, if our hearts are open we exude love and softness, an inner beauty shining through our faces.  If life has etched suffering and resentment, we are left with the facial residue.

Rather than spackling, injecting, cutting and pasting the facial lines of experience, why don’t we work on our faces from inside out?  Is it really where the skin is sitting on my bones that defines who I am?  I think I’ll go smile at myself in the mirror and see what happens.

Sending love,  Rosanne