Aging Well

Aging Well

The first half of each year is always a busy season for me, with lots of travel. giving talks and teaching workshops.  So I haven’t had as much time for blogging about what I’m seeing in the faces around me –  much of the time it’s a choice of Twitter or nothing!  But here I am back again, because of a flurry of questions I’ve recently had in media interviews about if Chinese face reading can help us avoid aging.

So many of us tend to look in the mirror and cringe when we see wrinkles developing or changes to our faces as we grow older. This isn’t surprising since our culture has such a limited definition of beauty, and with enormous pressure to fit into narrow parameters of what’s considered attractive. And as we see signs of our aging, we’re also reminded that we’re coming closer to the end of our lives here, which can contribute to our viewing getting older with fear and resistance.

But I still find it fascinating that our culture’s reaction to aging is so extreme. What if we approached other stages of life with this mindset? What if we felt our 10-12 year old children, on the brink of adolescence, should delay puberty?  What if there were drugs and procedures, creams and potions to stop their bodies and faces from developing into this next natural stage of life?  What if we tried to prevent our babies from learning to walk, and churned out books for parents about how not to let your children look their age?  How ridiculous and horrifying that sounds!

And yet we look at the later phases of life with their associated changes as bad, to be delayed and resisted for as long as possible. But Chinese face reading reveals that many of the wrinkles and other changes to our faces at this stage are actually powerfully positive signs of the lessons we’ve learned, experiences integrated, and wisdom gained.

For instance, those lines by the corners of our eyes, that the West calls “Crow’s Feet”, are termed “Joy Lines” in Chinese face reading.  They’re the sign of someone who’s been able to keep an open heart in life, to be able to be loving with other people.  These lines develop through frequent smiling, as a genuine smile involves both the muscles around the mouth and the eyes.  These lines are often the sign of a courageous heart, that despite having been hurt in the past, this person has been strong enough to maintain their open-heartedness.  So this is a wonderful sign on your face, and certainly not one you’d want to make disappear!

Now, there are signs of aging that develop on our faces when our energy becomes out of balance in life, due to our falling into patterns of negative emotions, such as pessimism, anger or sadness. Our faces are just reflections of who we are inside, the history of our reactions to our life experiences, our choices about how we feel, and our expectations about the future.

For instance, by middle age, it’s not uncommon for a person’s mouth to be turned down, or with lips held very tightly, or even with vertical wrinkles above their upper lip. This can be a reflection of how stressed they are overall, and frequently it also shows they’re holding on to the disappointments they’ve had in their lives, and carrying a more negative attitude as a result.

They may have had a truly difficult time, had important hopes and expectations go unfulfilled. But by developing a pattern of negativity, they’re almost ensuring these experiences will continue. One of the many things our mouths represent is how well satisfied we feel and how receptive we are to other people and life in general. A turned-down mouth or tight lips basically gives the message, “I’ve been disappointed so many times in the past, and I’m sure I’ll be disappointed again.” And the universe will certainly comply!

This certainly is a sign of the kind of aging that we want to avoid. One thing I suggest is to occasionally become aware of how you’re holding your mouth as you go through the day, much like you check your rearview mirror as you drive. If you become aware of tension there, or feel your mouth turning down, consciously relax your lips, and create a small smile. You’ll be amazed at the impact a simple practice like this can have on changing subtle but longstanding patterns of emotion, thought and even behavior.

There was a recent study of women identical twins’ faces, to see how environmental and lifestyle factors affected aging. Since twins are genetically programmed to age the same way, then any differences in how they aged could be attributed to external factors. They found that things like smoking and sun exposure did age people faster. But they also discovered that the twins who’d experienced more emotional stress aged faster, and those who had struggled with depression did so as well. And as I gazed at these photographs, I saw so much more information presented on their faces. In many cases, the twin who had aged faster had a face that showed she was holding on to anger or hurt, was seeing life through a negative filter, so stuck in her belief system, she seemed barely still open to receive, or give love.

So, how to avoid signs of aging on your face? Many of the signs that develop are wonderful indications of the depth of your own personal growth, and heroic journey through life – and no one should want to avoid those.   And the others are ones I consider  gifts – early warning signs, if you know how to read them, that you’ve navigated slightly off course, and how to come back into balance.

And just because our culture hasn’t yet embraced aging in this way, I believe we’re poised for change. I think we’re moving beyond many old mindsets now, about to experience a shift into celebrating aging as another powerful stage of being.  I’ll see you there, Joy Lines intact!

8 thoughts on “Aging Well”

  1. The joy lines on my 50+ years face bother me much less since taking your workshop in Seattle April 4-5. What I am noticing that does bother me is the slightly turned down mouth ends that you mention here and the vertical lines on my upper lip. My face may be telling me something of which my conscious mind has not been aware. I am checking my mouth in the normal course of washing my hands at the bathroom sink and, as a result, have been more consistently taking 15-20 each day to relax in order to decrease stress. I will incorporate creating a little Mona Lisa smile because, for sure, I want to attract more good and make those joy lines more prominent!

    1. Yes, it’s so nice to realize that what the West calls “Crows’ Feet” are actually “Joy Lines” – a sign of an open heart, someone who smiles frequently! But even those wrinkles that don’t have completely positive meanings I consider gifts – early warning signs that we may be navigating slightly off course. They show us where we’ve gone off balance and how to come back into balance. Those little wrinkles around the mouth are helping you remember to take better care of yourself, relaxing more often even in small moments, and becoming more receptive to life again. Your Mona Lisa smile is actually changing the energy and biochemistry of your system to create a new future, not one based on your past. Congratulations.

  2. I liek seeing Joy Lines on people their charming! I’m only 27 bit I have a crease in teh midlle of my eyebrows…the hangin blade….I dislike it very much adn now I really want to get rid of it! I dont know how but I really want to I notice my Identical Twin sister has the same line. Interesting stuff, but there are differences in our face eventhough we identical. hmm Great Blog!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, and please don’t dislike your hanging blade – this is also often the sign of someone on a spiritual path, to develop their own inner power and vision. The information on our faces can reveal to us the kind of life journey we ‘signed up’ for, and guide us as we go. The more awareness we gain, the more we can love ourselves and our lives.

  3. I enjoyed the blog. Now that I am 65+ I am aware of wrinkles, I too found the down turn of my mouth, and vertical lines on the upper lip. I too am praticing smiling when I think of it. Thinking of positive things in the future not the fears of today.

    There are so few mentors out there for us. I met a lady years ago, who was a grandmother with white hair but what I remember the most was the sparkle in her eyes. She exuded excitement, love and joy. That is what I want to be like. in my 60,70, and 80’s

  4. Dear Jean, Your comprehensive book is exquisite and I find your website to be a great adjunct to the book. I am starting on my second read because there is so much good information to absorb. I do seminars with women in the 40 to 75 year old range, and the pressure to get plastic surgery is high in the area of the country that I live. It is such a pleasure to take on the challenge of “loving the lines” and lightening up on the critical judgments. Your book goes a long way in helping us to accomplish that. Thanks so much.

    1. Thank you for your very kind words, and for joining me in working to help others love themselves for exactly who they are right now!

  5. Hi, Jean. GREAT WEB SITE! looks beautiful. Just wanted to say HI and wish you well! I hear wonderful things about you.
    If you wish to tune in tomorrow 3/19 I’ll be featured on TYRA BANKS doing “Face Reading” – our love!
    Wishing you all the best,
    Barbara (Roberts)

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