This is the prayer we used to close my woman’s circle for the past 11 years. I had learned from the Sufis, but it was written by Marina Widerhehr. Last week was the group’s last circle. We shared “popcorn snapshots,” images of the precious and not-so-precious moments that have united us: the weddings, funerals, illnesses. The laughter and tears.
Since then I’ve noticed my own popcorn images: photos of me in the full bloom of my twenties and thirties. In the radiance of my forties and fifties. I noticed that only when I look at the snapshots from this distance am I able to see the beauty that I was. When I was younger my mind was way to full of the mosquito beliefs brought to me by my inner spin doctor. You’re too fat. Your eyes are too close together. Teeth too big. In a nutshell, There’s something wrong with me.
The unique joy of this time of life is that my physical evaluation seems less important. Once I go down that slippery slide it’s a big plop that ends with major donations to cosmetic firms or plastic surgeons. There’s another, more efficient choice. I can look in the mirror and catch the spin doctor at work. When I see I have a choice whether or not to believe it, I can catch the mosquitoes before they hatch. I can see the beliefs as what they are:well-rehearsed mental loops that have no substance in reality. Because I have now have ample evidence that there’s a whole lot RIGHT about me.
It takes determination to stay with the truth of my own beauty. But when I do, I thrive.
And sometimes I need a little help. That’s when I’m glad I remembered the prayer. God help me remember when I forget it.