Month: February 2011

An Authentic Life is a Fluid Life

An Authentic Life is a Fluid Life

Spring is just around the corner! Change is good!

In other words, life is all about change. I know, what’s with that?!

I am only six months away from crossing another threshold. I am being launched, quite unwillingly,  into a new decade. I just got used to the last one! It seems like yesterday that I faced all of those enormous “growth opportunities” that enabled me to make some serious changes in my life, inside and out. I waged war with life and myself as I stared down the trials and tribulations of an empty nest, caring for my aging parents, menopause, and more. Through it all I truly believed I was headed for my final destination.  I was finally learning the last things I needed to learn, making the last adjustments that I needed to make to truly know myself.

It was a tumultuous few years, but I believed I was getting it right. This time, I would become me, arrive at my destination of a totally authentic self, and live happily ever after. This time, I was ahead of the curve. Ah, but those who think they know it all are the most deceived! I would not get my heaven on earth. I would not complete the “maturing process” and find nirvana. You know why? Of course you do. You’re smarter than me!

In this life, we don’t get to be done. We don’t get to figure it all out once and for all. Not ever. Not even when we’re 110. Westerners are painfully stuck in an achievers life view, even when it comes to personal and spiritual growth. We want to achieve perfection in all aspects of life and often refuse to rest until we arrive. That includes arriving at our authentic selves, our true selves, our wise and mature selves.

The truth is we don’t get it. We already are perfect. Perfectly human. And, being perfectly human means we are constantly changing, growing, adapting, developing, stretching, protecting, evolving and more or less groping our way through life. So even at fifty or sixty or seventy, when we’ve reached the age where we think we have lived long enough to know a thing or two, we still are the very same humans who were created to change and grow, to face new challenges that will change and shape us until the day we die. And who knows? Maybe beyond. I know, at times I don’t like it much either.

As I face this new decade, I now know my challenge is not to enjoy having “arrived” at some facsimile of my perfect self, but to learn to relax into my true nature, which is anything but static, and anything but perfect. Yes, I have learned a few things about who I am, but I am not beyond surprises. If I were to be really honest I’d have to admit that life would be pretty dull if we didn’t have a challenge or two to face and a new discovery to make just around the corner. Never knowing the end of the story keeps us striving and growing and learning. Now that we are truly a little bit wiser, it’s time for us not to give up the fight, but to look a little less at the destination and a little more at the ride. Today may just be as good as it gets.

PEACE and PLENTY after Fifty

PEACE and PLENTY after Fifty

Abundance is a word that means different things to different people. When I was trying to think of a name for my blog I came up with the name Aging Abundantly but struggled with it because I was afraid that it would send the wrong message.  I would not, of course, be focusing on how to get rich as we age, (although if my ship did come in one day I wouldn’t deny it might be a more enjoyable ride!) I gave up worrying about the meaning when I came to trust that the women who are interested in reading what I write, are tuned into the fullness of the concept of “abundance” as I am using it here.  That is not to minimize the absolute necessity, and importance, of finding peace and balance in our relationship with the material world. This is not an easy task for many women and one that is particularly challenging in these difficult economic times.

A very good friend of mine recently sent me a copy of PEACE and PLENTY Sarah Ban Breathnach’s new book. She gave me Ban Breathnach’s first book SIMPLE ABUNDANCE, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy a number of years ago, a book that carried me through some difficult times and I reach for it often when I find myself coping with another one of life’s discomfitures.

It seems the time is ripe both for me personally, and for the world at large, to take another step with Sarah’s new book. Written in the same beautiful style and convenient format, PEACE and PLENTY chronicles Sarah’s thoughts and reflections as she travels her own path to finding what she calls “financial serenity”.  She immediately confesses that all the money she made from her first bestselling book trickled through her fingers. After rising from nothing to a place of profound abundance, she woke up one day to find herself in dire financial straits.  She is a courageous woman, and following her inner guide, she picked up her pen to write her way home. We are the beneficiaries of her journey and if the book is a bestseller like the last one, she will have no problem finding her way back to financial security.

Her work does not feel “mercenary” as one might expect. Instead, as always, he speaks from the heart, guiding, and prodding her readers to a new perspective, as she does herself. She is a survivor and we all have something to learn from her determination and resilience; perhaps even more importantly, to hear her message that we “are not alone”.  Though we may never see the financial heights that she has experienced or the depth of her fall, her words speak to all of us who are struggling to find “financial serenity”. Whatever this may look like to each of us, it is an essential ingredient to aging abundantly.