Month: May 2012

The Flight to Wisdom

The Flight to Wisdom

Flickr image from Tom Stewart
I originally found this wonderful image on on Flickr.com and I agree with Tom Stewart, this chld from Peru is just a cutie

“Keep me away from wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

I cut my teeth on Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Even at a very young age there was a sense of truth in his words that resonated with my soul. All these years later, I feel the same way. The simple, yet profound words he used continues to reach thousands upon thousands of hearts and souls in a way all the complex gobble-dy gook of religious tombs and psychological manuals have never been able to do.

There is a reason for this. Truth is simple. Truth is understandable even to the simplest of minds. Truth stands the test of time. Truth bears its soul in the eyes of children. We must not allow ourselves to be fooled by a culture that throws a blanket of confusion over you us. To grow in wisdom we must throw it off.

Any culture consists of a myriad of traditions, customs, and beliefs that do not stand up to the test of time. We must live in the world, but we can choose to stand beside the culture often enough to learn to recognize its power to fool us, to lure us into a false sense of security or perhaps more often a false sense of insecurity.

Our media, for example, is peppered with word usage, tone, and a focus that is meant to startle us, to set us on high alert.  It wants us to live in fear and to believe it holds the truth so that we will check back with them often for an update on whether or not we are still okay.

The marketplace wants us to believe that our health is at risk every minute of the day.  Pharmaceutical companies want us to look for problems with our health so that we will think we need their help to remain healthy and buy their products. The insurance companies want us to be afraid of catastrophe so that we will buy insurance, “just in case”. The fashion industry wants us to believe that we could not possibly feel good about ourselves unless we’re wearing the latest fashion. The list of soul grabbing cultural entities that pull and tug at us every day is endless. One might wonder if we are really free, our freedom simply having been usurped in a different way.

Yet we do hold the power of choice. We can choose to step back, to seek a truth that stands outside of culture. We can choose to look into our hearts and souls to find our own personal truth and choose to live by that which we can be certain will stand the test of time.

WISDOM FLIGHT
Look into the eyes of a child
See the innocence, the purity
The unveiled love and trust that
Eagerly embraces only now
A single moment in time
Open, trusting, free.
This is the face of your soul.
In that quiet center of you
Where laughter, peace, and wisdom
Sing a harmonious song and lift you
Up upon the wings of truth so
You can fly.

©Dorothy Sander 2012

Surviving Divorce

Surviving Divorce


A PERSONAL STORY by Chris Moon-Willems

As I sat on the edge of the bed grappling for my glasses, blood pouring from my nose, I realized the blow to my face signaled the end of my 34 year marriage. I had been unhappy for years, in fact ever since I realized I couldn’t change my husband’s addiction to gambling and lying about his whereabouts. I have since realized that we cannot change others, only ourselves.

At first I stayed for the sake of our two sons but after they had left home it was because I didn’t want to be on my own. I have never been good at DIY tasks, disliked driving and preferred company to being on my own. Besides, where would I live and how would I manage financially as I contributed substantially to joint bills? But now as I felt the throbbing in my nose, somehow my fears about living on my own seemed less important and I filed for divorce.

I soon became aware that buying a property would not be possible. We had a big mortgage as a result of my husband’s gambling and I was told he had a right to half my pension. In order to keep it I had to forgo my share of the property. This meant I could not buy my own home and had to rent somewhere to live for the first time in my life at the age of 54.

I met my husband when I was 14 yrs old and now, in my fifties, I found it hard to adjust to being single for the first time. As well as living in the habit of being married we had been together for many years and living on my own was a completely new experience for me.

I found moving on after divorce was rather like moving to a new country. I had to learn about my new territory and how best to live in it as a single person.

Less than a year later my husband died suddenly. In addition to losing someone I had shared two-thirds of my life with and the father of my children, I NOW lost home ownership. To compound my sadness, my son went through a painful divorce and my beloved granddaughters moved 200 miles away with their mother.

Alone in my head 365 days a year and finding myself at a party for one more often than I would wish I often felt empty and isolated. For a long while I used solitude as my comfort zone and somewhere to escape to when I felt insecure or threatened by something. I also allowed myself to be a victim and spent far too long wallowing in self-pity and apportioning blame for my failed marriage.

Finally I found that divorce differs from other loss because it is a catalyst for change in EVERY area of our life and it therefore offers a fantastic opportunity to reinvent ourselves as successful, independent women.

For me, I did this with the help of a life coach. My coach gave me a safe place to explore what I really wanted for the future in the sort of objective way you can’t always expect when talking to family and friends. With her help, I clarified my goals, re-built my confidence and discovered a brand new lease of life. The most important thing though, is to get the help that feels right for you, whether through the many books available about surviving divorce, via the internet or divorce survival groups. There is really no need to make the journey on your own. Look out for part 2 where I have put together a strategy to help you survive divorce, based on my own experience.

Chris Moon-Willems is the founder of Relative Matters and author of the book Relative Matters – the essential guide to finding your way around the care system for older people (England).  A Life Coach, Retirement Success Coach, Master NLP Practitioner and Social Work professional, who specializes in helping women over fifty.

Zen and the Art of Aging

Zen and the Art of Aging

 

I was talking to a friend the other day. Like most of us she has way more problems in her life than she’d like to have, frankly more than her share. But, who is to say what a fair share is? What may be devastating to one person may be a roll in the hay to another. I do not welcome upheaval in my life but if I have learned anything I’ve learned that the hardships I have faced have made me a better person and my life far richer than I imagine it might have been otherwise.

 

Most of my life I fought these hardships. I hated the way I felt and worked really, really hard at not feeling that way. I worked hard on myself to fix me; fix my attitude, my unhealthy thought patterns, my choices, my appearance, my interactions with people and the world, etc. I looked to therapists, medication, careers, a man, religion and anything else I could think of to help me  find the inner peace I so desperately sought.

I don’t know whether it was age, chronic failure to achieve this peace of mind, hormones or just dumb luck but at some point in recent years I’ve grown into a profound awareness of how doomed to failure such an approach is, and always will be. We are taught from the day we are born to achieve, to improve, to work hard at life. The basic premise of this attitude is that we need fixing and lots of it! Apparently we don’t arrive on this earth in very good form! We must kneel at the altar of some higher power and ask for forgiveness as soon as we can walk and then hobble along to the finish line using all the external support we can get!

Hog wash! (Choice of words is evidence of my grandfather’s influence on me. ) We were perfect when we were born, always were and always will be. We are perfectly human. What we have needed, and most of us still need, is to not work harder at changing ourselves, but to be more Zen-like, and go with the flow, trusting ourselves and our inner guide. “Let it Be”…maybe that’s why John Lennon’s song resonates so deeply with us. Somewhere in the dark recesses of our souls, we know the truth of these simple three words.

We have everything we need right inside of ourselves. Everything! If we didn’t pick up a book, kneel at an altar, or bow before the gods of our cultural mandates, we would find all the resources necessary to arrive at our very own version of inner peace, in the human sense of the word. In fact, I have begun to believe that as children we knew inner peace (again in the human sense of the word). It was just taken away from us by the world we encountered.

So, the question remains, did I have to live fifty something years to come to this place in my life or is it something that is instinctual? I knew these things when I was fifteen, probably younger but I was drawn away from them over and over again. It seems I did not trust the simplicity of the answers I held. I did not trust myself…I did not trust the truth that lived in me. I would like to believe that in a differently shaped culture, the odds of getting here sooner and locking in deeper are indeed possible.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was one of my favorite books when I was 19.

The Art of Aging is one of may favorite pages on Facebook! Thank you Sophie Lumen for all you do.