creating and reflecting elder beauty

Isabella and her Mama, Irena Sliwinski

Sidney Callahan has written a wonderful piece for NCR from her vantage point of 79 years of life, titled My days with the other old yoga ladies.

My own vantage point is from a few years past the 50 year mark. The 50’s is a decade when physical youth seems to speed away from you. It’s a time of panic at each new sign of oncoming age. Fifty year old women need models and mentors not only for graceful aging, but for showing us that the best years are truly yet to be. Callahan writes of the beauty of a woman’s body in her elder years; a beauty that reflects the inner experiences and wisdom of a life well lived,

My appreciative range for bodies has extended far beyond my habitual baby worship. Who can resist plump little hands and feet, miniature ears, big eyes and rounded foreheads? Our delight in babies arises from the promise of their future. With an aging woman’s body, it is the marks of past living that appeal. Engraved on the faces, figures and hands are decades of experiences undergone.

Think here of the aesthetic appeal of old houses and antique silver and furniture. A distressed finish and a well rubbed-patina attract our eyes. Fading flowers and autumn leaves manifest beauty. Trees filled with moss or gnarled by winds express variety. On the Maine coast we wonder at Earth’s history in the eroded rocks.

My own Mama, Irena Sliwinski, is a model and mentor of the giftedness of life after fifty. She didn’t begin painting seriously until she was my age. Today, she is an accomplished artist with her art hanging all over the world. She has sold over 200 pieces, and our own home is graced with some of her finest. This past weekend, we attended the opening for yet another art show of her works at the Fleet Gallery in Winnipeg. Last week, the Interlake Spectator highlighted her in an insightful article about her journey as an artist.

At 77 years of age, Mama continues to create and reflect beauty. An inspiration indeed!

11 thoughts on “creating and reflecting elder beauty

  1. Yes, indeed! What a wonderful celecration of your mother’s life and work! I have often reflected on the women in my family and the character and strength they all possess. Like you, I look in the mirror and see that my reflection is changing. To your point, there is much to celebrate! Thanks, Isabella! Here’s a recent reflection of my own…
    http://cpgutierrez.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/today/
    🙂

  2. Old age is not a punishment but a victory!

    We are becoming a natural monastery! Diminishments of our senses with aging, the loss of vision, loss of hearing, loss of sense of smell are a call to interiority. What does this loss of the senses say not about our vulnerability but about but our need to live from within? There are other levels of the senses that we may not have been attuned to: our intuition, our deeper feelings, and our desires are there interior sense that are awakened by the losses of the outer senses?

    If we believe in the paschal mystery that out of loss and death comes life, and life in abundance, how is this gradual loss and deprivation of senses of the an invitation to us to profoundly and intuitively recognize that my life and consciousness is moving to a new arena and a new level? Are we being invited to go to a mysterious place where God dwells? Is there an inner eye, an inner vision, and inner hearing, and inner way of feeling that compensates for the external losses? Are the signs of aging really a call to contemplative life?

  3. Thank you, Isabella for sharing your mama with us. She certainly is an inspiration to me as I begin my journey into my 70’s. She is the kind of woman (model) I would enjoy meeting. If she wants to move from cold Winnepeg to warm Florida, I know of a lovely cottage she can buy.

    I know you are proud of her in many ways, first as mama. I suggest your other readers go to the article you reffered to from the local newspaper. I
    was touched by the piece she was holding in that.

    Many more years of love and creativity for Irena!

  4. Haha….no way I’d let her move to Florida, Chris. I like having her right where she is! And by the way, when I read Sidney Callahan’s wonderful article I thought of my favorite yoga enthusiast. You are living proof that it melts the years away and magnifies the peace and wisdom within.

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