Saturday, January 28, 2012

the paradox of self-perception

Healing Hands workshop with kids today. The kids ranged in age from 4 to 18.

I taught with Tookie. Tookie is smart, well-educated, brilliant, beautiful, and compassionate.

We sat on the floor, in a circle. I sat cross-legged, blending right in with the shy and solemn children. We introduced ourselves. Tookie started.

"I'm Tookie and I'm 29."

There were gasps. Tookie gasped at the gasps. "Oh, you think I'm old?" she asked. The children nodded. Tookie turned to 18 year-old Wren. "Do you think I'm old?" she asked.

"Oh no," Wren said. "29 isn't old. Old is like, 55."

Now it was my turn to gasp. I did it silently, internally. Pretty sure it was silent.

We went around the circle as the children introduced themselves, prancing and writhing as children do. They were feeling more comfortable. They did cartwheels and flopped flat on the floor. There were a lot of young energetic children. Then it was my turn.

"I'm Meredith and I'm old."

The little girl on my left leaned over and whispered, "We already figured that out."

Then it was time for an activity. Everyone got up. Wren came over to me and solemnly offered her hand. "Let me help you get up."

How is it that others see one as elderly and decrepit; while one sees oneself as vibrant, lithe, strong, curious, and flexible? How is it that the body ages while the mind retains a youthful perspective? I feel wiser, but not older. 

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