February 11, 2011

Aging Gracefully in Australia

This week's beauty is Meghan Halverson.  Meghan was a year below me in high school and what I remember most about her was her smile. She has lived all over the map but now resides in Australia where she says she wears many hats. Meghan is a wife, mother, nurse, midwife, health practitioner, artist, actress, photographer and wildlife warrior, to name just a few.

"When I received Louise’s request to participate in Lines of Beauty, I thought, “Wow, what words of wisdom do I have to share?” I re-focused this year on the 1st of February when I celebrated my 49th birthday. I wanted to have a re-start to a year that had not begun well.  Many changes were occurring in my life and I felt a bit lost and unclear in my path. My eldest child had just finished high school and my youngest was beginning her year in a new school after suffering the effects of bullying last year in a state school.  Life was in chaos; therefore I sought a new path. In doing so, everything began opening up for me like a flower and thus I feel honored to write for Louise as this new journey begins.

I am embarking on a 365-day project inspired by my son Josh as I photograph each day of my life.  I share this on facebook and it involves random moods and inspirations. Through this project I am more thoughtful and mindful to the moments of each day. 

Thoughts of aging never really entered my consciousness much. My mom was ageless and always a friend to me. She had an ancient wisdom through her unassuming presence and her lack of judgment for others. She could always see the good in everyone. Her kindness and selflessness cemented my own deep belief that everyone has a special gift to be shared with the world! Her gift to me was adopting me and always reminding me that I was special.

For me, aging is a state of mind connected to what I feel deep inside.  Happiness brings “smile” lines and I smile a lot. Just this simple act lifts me up when I am feeling down and hopefully gives hope to others as well. Animals make me smile and I surround myself with them. When I moved to Australia I began volunteering at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to help care for the koalas. These amazing marsupials fascinate and inspire me. When I look deeply into their eyes and gain their trust I am speechless. I notice that when someone photographs me, that my mouth is nearly always turned up at the corners and I like that.

Health has always been another gift I am grateful for. I love good food, good wine and good company. I eat healthfully and organic as much as possible.  I eat mostly fresh vegetables and herbs and I love having a garden and getting my hands into the earth. If  I eat meat or fish, I like to know it is raised ethically.  I believe in purity of mind and spirit as a lifelong practice and I try to nurture this daily. I practice yoga and meditation and when I get off track, I really feel it.  I also stay active and swim, hike and take long walks on the beach with my dogs. The work I do at the Wildlife Hospital is both mental and physical and that helps to keep me fit too. 

I listen to a great deal of music and I sing.  Music is everywhere and the sound of ocean waves, wind through the trees or rain in the garden inspires me.  I see beauty in all that surrounds me and I try not to let the anger and corruption of the world get to me too much. I do the best I can with each day that I have.

I spend a great deal of time with my kids and we have good relationships. They make me laugh and they make me cry and the best job I have ever had is the journey of their life through mine.

I don’t wear a lot of make-up except when I am acting in the theatre. My daily regime is one of simplicity. I moisturize, always wear sunscreen as the elements are harsh here and I drink a lot of water. My birth grandmother lived to be 96 and I can hope and pray that I am blessed with this legacy!

So, what are my “secrets”?

Living life to the fullest, challenging myself and believing that anything is possible!"

Wonderful Meghan. Thanks for being this week's beauty, my dear.