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!