Month: March 2011

“Symptoms of Inner Peace”

“Symptoms of Inner Peace”

photo by D Sander

Sometimes, particularly when life seems full of challenges, we become so focused on what we’ve yet to achieve both in our personal growth and  in our life accomplishments, that we forget to acknowledge or even take the time to consider what already has come to pass by effort or circumstance.

Last week I wrote about the importance of finding a few moments each day for Quiet. I have capitalized the word “Quiet” here because the kind of quiet I’m talking about, and that we are looking for, is more than just the lack of external sound, though that is important, it is a deeper quiet; the kind of quiet that we find when we learn to turn down the volume on our inner noise, on the loud cacophony of self-doubt, recriminations, banter and barter that too often produces a non-stop assault upon our sense of peace and security. What we are really searching for is inner peace.

But would we know what inner peace looks like if we encountered it? Might it already exist but we simply don’t recognize it? The next time you take a few moments to dwell in a “Quiet” place consider the following items. Do you already possess a bit of inner peace?

THE SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE

  • Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.Loss of interest in judging self.
  • Loss of interest in judging other people.
  • Loss of interest in conflict.Loss of interest in interpreting actions of others.
  • Loss of ability to worry.
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.
  • Increasing susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
  • Increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen.

Saskia Davis copyright 1984

For more information on the author and the complete copy of “The Symptoms of Inner Peace” visit Symptoms of Inner Peace.com (A poster can be purchased on the website as well).

Quiet ~ Just a Small Dose Can Make a Difference

Quiet ~ Just a Small Dose Can Make a Difference

Photo by D. Sander

It is so easy to wander away from our dreams. Everywhere we go, there are enticing diversions calling for our attention. I can’t help but wonder why it is so difficult to stay focused on what we know is good and right and true…for ourselves. Perhaps it’s the result of a lifetime of living up to everyone else’s expectations and demands. It’s so easy to tune out our own desires when the world around us clamors for attention. Now, later in life, when those demands have quieted we may find ourselves disconnected from our inner voice, at least the one that tells us how to live our dreams. Chances are we just no longer recognize the still, small voice that is us, if we ever did. Now is the time. It is time to tune in, time to connect with our deepest selves and time to let it take us where it leads.

Most of us have the time we need now to develop a daily practice of tuning in. A few well-developed practices will strengthen the muscle of attention that will keep you connected to yourself. You are still there. It’s just a matter of reconnecting. These practices will reawaken your ability to tune in to yourself so that you can hear, once again, your true voice. They will help you come home if you’re feeling lost.

Quiet

Quiet is the balm that soothes for some and a terrifying void for others. But no matter where you are on the continuum, it is okay. Just begin. Begin to add a small dose of quiet to your day. Every day. Whether it is five minutes in the car after you’ve turned the engine off and before you’ve opened the door, or while sitting alone on your back deck in the sun, find a time and a place and breathe. Breathe in the stillness. Breathe in the clarity of quiet. Connect with whatever it is that feels like the center of your being. Then build on this every day. Add five more minutes, or ten until you are comfortable and connected with that which you already know is the still small voice within.

Beauty

Take in the beauty around you. If there is none, find some. Dwell on a beautiful flower, a masterful painting, a lyric in a poem, a melody that lifts your spirits. Absorb beauty in all its magnificence and that we too often ignore. Replace the violence of the news with the lilt of Enya’s melodies. Assemble the most beautiful photos you can find and place them where you will see them often. Whenever possible seek beauty first.  The beauty that touches you is within you. If you feel moved to create, create something from the beauty that comes from within you. The act of creation connects us to ourselves and is the core of the dreams we’ve yet to uncover.

Rest

Rest deeply, fully, completely. Stop the forward motion of your mind and body. Put aside that one more thing that you think you must do and rest.  Sleep if that is what comes. Sit. Read. Listen. Turn down the volume of your thoughts in any way you can. Busy your hands with needle work if you must, but make sure that what you are doing with your hands is beautiful and creative. If you can go away from your day-to-day demands to a place that nurtures your soul ~ the beach, a mountain-side cabin, a library or bookstore. For an hour, a day or a week, whatever you can manage, whatever the deep fatigue and disconnect within you requires. You will know. Turn off the demands and rest.

Begin

Begin today in whatever way you can to connect to you and the creative spirit that is your life force. Step by step, moment by moment be still and rest in the beauty that is you.

THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 by Barbara Grufferman

THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 by Barbara Grufferman


Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s book should be wrapped in brightly colored wrapping paper, tied up with a fashionable bow and handed to every woman on her fiftieth birthday. (Later is okay too!) The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money, and More is written in Barbara’s typical no-nonsense, down to earth, get-my-questions answered approach to life and it’s positively refreshing. Offering expert answers to the questions all women ask as we age, or wish we had asked, the reader feels like she has received a crash course in sanity.

We read and hear something new every day about what we should and shouldn’t do to stay healthy, what we should and shouldn’t wear, what we should and shouldn’t expect from our sex life after fifty. But what is the bottom line? What are our real options? What do we, as women over fifty, really need to pay attention to? What questions should we ask our doctors? What tests can we take to be proactive about our health? What should we wear when we go out with friends? We are not our mothers, but who are we?

The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money, and More is informative but not tedious, practical yet upbeat. It’s easy to read and I, for one, walked away feeling like I had just had my feet planted firmer on the ground. It may not answer the big life questions that I think way too much about, but it addresses head on the troublesome worries that are, at the very least, in the back of all of our minds. Getting these concerns out in front of us is the perfect way to begin to take control of our health and figure out what the heck to put on when we dress for our nephew’s wedding.

It’s easy to feel out of step with our bodies, our wardrobe, our sense of financial security as we cross into the over fifty arena. Barbara assures us that we do not need to feel insecure or uneasy. We still can be the take charge, sexy, fashionable and healthy women we have always been. We just have to do it a little differently and there’s no time like the present to begin to align our outside with our inside and our inside with our outside. We are, after all, women…hear us roar!

BRAVO Barbara! No wonder you’re getting so much press!

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Keep up with Barbara’s latest articles on her website, The Best of Everything After 50,  The Huffington Post where she writes about Life After 50 and on AARP and AARP YouTube.

On Twitter: @BGrufferman

On Facebook

SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS

SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS

There are many caregiving blogs offering support, advice and information for the caregiver. Each has something unique to offer and worth a visit if you are caring for a loved one. It’s a great place to talk about issues that concern you and see how others are handling their particular set of circumstances. Many websites have come online and new opportunities arise every day. A few are listed below and more will be added from time to time.

If you are a caregiver, take advantage of the information and support that is available. It’s really tough to go it alone.

 

INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT

TRANSITIONING AGING PARENTS – Dale Carter offers personal support for the caregiver. READ MORE

RELATIVE MATTERS – Chris Moon offers caregiving consultancy services in England. READ MORE

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ONLINE AND GROUP SUPPORT

HELPING AGING PARENTS – A counselor,educator and writer, the author of this blog shares her insights and experiences as a long distance caregiver for her elderly parents until their death, and now her husband’s mother.

MINDING OUR ELDERS – It is the mission of Minding Our Elders  and its author Carol Bradley Bursack to shine a light on the isolation often felt by caregivers and seniors and to give them a voice.

THEY’RE YOUR PARENTS TOO – “How siblings can survive their aging parents without driving each other crazy.”

THE INTENTIONAL CAREGIVER  –  I love this website! Shelley Webb is a registered nurse, geriatric care manager and health coach. Having cared for her father who suffered from dementia and congestive heart failure (along with neuropathy of the legs), she developed a keen interest in helping caregivers navigate their way through their own difficult but rewarding journey.

CAREGIVER.COM – Caregiver Media Group is a leading provider of information, support and guidance for family and professional caregivers. Founded in 1995, we produce Today’s Caregiver magazine, the first national magazine dedicated to caregivers, the “Fearless Caregiver Conferences”, and our web site, caregiver.com which includes topic specific newsletters, online discussion lists, back issue articles of Today’s Caregiver magazine, chat rooms and an online store. Caregiver Media Group and all of it’s products are developed for caregivers, about caregivers and by caregivers.

NATIONAL FAMILY CAREGIVER’S ASSOCIATION 

The National Family Caregivers Association educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 65 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of diagnoses, relationships and life stages to help transform family caregivers’ lives by removing barriers to health and well being.

CAREGIVING.COM – A Community website for caregivers.

AARP – Caregiving Resources – Everything you need to know and more!

 

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CAREGIVING ARTICLES

HUFFINGTON POST on CAREGIVING

NEW YORK TIMES BLOGGER PAULA SPAN – You will find an excellent selection of topical articles on caring and coping with aging parents. Here are a few:

AGING ABUNDANTLY ARTICLES ON CAREGIVING

 

Aging in Cyberspace

Aging in Cyberspace

The internet has offered aging women an opportunity to step out of their solitude and find friendship and advice from fellow life travelers.  It’s a new world.

Art by Annette van der Spuy

Just a generation or two ago, women aged in the comfort of their own home with children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters within arm’s reach. This, of course, is something of a fantasy because in truth these aging women were still undoubtedly the primary caregivers and didn’t sit knitting in a rocking chair quite as often as we imagine. I wonder, though, if they feared the aging process as much as we do.  Losing a child, a sibling, or a friend to an early death was a common occurrence then. Our ancestors lived with death on their doorstep.

I doubt there were as many mirrors as there are now either, both the reflective kind and the kind we pass by in magazines and on TV that cause us to be self-conscious about the outward appearance of our aging.   We feel exposed.  We cannot hide our wrinkled skin, our graying her, our sagging breasts. We struggle to feel comfortable in our own skin, so unfamiliar, so foreign, so alien to what we’ve spent our lives striving to obtain.

Interacting with other women through the vehicle of the internet has had a profound effect on our sense of power in the face of aging. Women over fifty across the world are bonding, sharing, talking, exploring what it means to age in today’s world. We are re-defining the process for ourselves. I see great progress being made in our acceptance of ourselves and each other. We revere the woman who ages well, who exudes wisdom and confidence, who takes care of herself as much on the inside as the out. I wonder how much this translates from the activities in cyberspace to day-to-day living.  I do know, it has made a difference to me.

On a Lighter Note

On a Lighter Note

 

Certainly looks ideal!

Did you know that more people than ever are retiring abroad? According to an article I read today on CNBC.com “An estimated half a million American seniors have moved overseas to retire in recent years, and that number is growing. Some relocate abroad to get a bigger bang for their ever-shrinking retirement buck. Others go in search of adventure.” What a concept!

 

It seems rather sad to me to think after all the years that we have toiled in this country that we should be forced to move to a different country to be able to afford to live! But that’s definitely the downside of the situation. It sounds to me like an incredible, life altering adventure that I’d love to take, if I had the courage!

Moving to a more appealing state-side spot is a little more within my reach. I hear that Oahu real estate is more affordable than in the past and I have always wanted to spend some serious time in Hawaii! It is true, however, that if you currently live in a high income area such as New York and other metropolitan areas, the sale of your home may reap you enough cash to buy a nice home in a quieter part of the country with a lower cost of living and turn financial stress into a financial windfall. I know there are many Baby Boomers who would appreciate a windfall right about now! Stretch Your Retirement Dollars is a companion article to the one above with a few more details.  In this article they cite a woman who sold her home in New Jersey for $561,00 and then bought a spacious home outside of Charlotte for one-third of the price! My question is this, “what if you already live in Charlotte?” (I live in the next city over!)

For many of us women over fifty, financing our “retirement” isn’t going to look so pretty. But dreaming of moving to a far away land? Now that’s something I can get a handle on!