Month: July 2012

Be Who You Were Born to Be

Be Who You Were Born to Be

As we get older life takes on new texture and color. Sometimes it’s dark and disturbing. At other times it’s richer than we ever imagined. Our focus sharpens. Things that once were paramount in importance suddenly seem silly and frivolous. Other things, that we previously put on the back burner, take on a new sense of urgency.  Making the shift into this new “mindset” is not always smooth. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself slipping back and forth between the two. Old habits of thought don’t go away quietly!

Social obligations are just this type of problem area for me. I enjoy people. Each and every one of my friends and family add a richness to my life that would not be possible without them. They give me love, spark my creativity, make me laugh, allow me to feel less lonely in my craziness. But, I am by nature an introvert and a loner. I enjoy solitude even as at times I fear loneliness. Over the years I did not allow myself sufficient time to live in my own world, think my own thoughts, explore my own imagination.  I forced myself to “act” in a more culturally acceptable manner and I hounded myself for not being better at it. Consequently, the mean girl in my head beat me up regularly.

At midlife a major shift occurred and for the first time in my life I began to embrace who I was and let go of all of the external expectations that I had allowed to guide my life. At first it was a great relief. It was exciting, even thrilling to suddenly give myself permission to be me. As time went on, however, old patterns of thought began to rear their ugly head. Social obligations would arise and the old fashioned knot in my stomach did as well.

It is my believe that the universe works very hard to keep us vigilant. There is no time for complacency. A lesson not completely learned warrants a reminder, don’t you think? For me, when old patterns of thought crop up, sooner or later, I know I need to wake up to the fact that I have to practice saying “no” again. I have to exercise my right to be me, more overtly, even if only as a reminder to myself that who I am is important and that the external cultural does not have power over me.

If and when something similar happens in your life, use it as a reminder, a kick in the butt, an opportunity to grow stronger in your conviction to be you.

Here’s to being exactly who we were born to be! No more, no less!

More on this topic:

Getting It Together After Fifty

Are You Still Pretending to Be a Younger Version of Yourself?

Perfectionism & Aging

A Dark Night Descends in Aurora

A Dark Night Descends in Aurora

My heart breaks and my prayers go out to the friends and family of all those involved in the Aurora, Colorado shooting. As their lives were being turned upside down, my twenty-something sons were eagerly anticipating and preparing for opening night of Dark Night Rises here in North Carolina. They purchased tickets well in advance at the local iMax theater, to insure that they would have a seat and talked excitedly about the positive reviews they were hearing.  I am a parent of young adults not dissimilar to those on both ends of the weapons unleashed early Friday morning.

We are all horrified, perplexed, and stumbling to find answers, to understand how this could have occurred and why, just as we have been previous similar situations: Columbine, Virgina Tech, UNC, only to name a few of the most notable. It is terrorism at its very root and yet it is not terrorism being perpetrated by individuals born on foreign soil. These terrorists are our sons, our children, whom we have raised in this country, in our schools, churches, and communities.

The first place we often  look for answers is to the family of origin. We want to understand how a young man of twenty four could do such a thing. Was their abuse in the home, neglect, trauma, a history of mental illness? But if we were to find such a history would this really explain such a heinous act? How many others have suffered such things and did not pick up an arsenal of weapons and unleash them on their unsuspecting peers.

There is no easy answer to this type of terrorism, but it is time we do the hard work and the research it takes to dig deeper into what may be at the root of what appears to be a devastating new trend. In the meantime, as fear and uncertainty grow stronger every day in our nation’s collective psyche we must resist the temptation to barricade ourselves into smaller and smaller lives. Just as we fought back against despair after 9/11, so too must we fight back again and again against fear and distrust when the violence is unleashed by our own. We must never allow ourselves to live in a police state or a police mind. Freedom always comes with a price, sometimes in ways we do not expect.

We must choose hope. We must choose faith. We must put one foot in front of the other, not blindly, but boldly and continue on, living in the knowledge that we will always fight evil with good, despair with hope, fear with knowledge, anger with love.  We must grieve our loss of innocence but not lose the wisdom we have gained in the process.

Is Facebook the New Church?

Is Facebook the New Church?

I went to church regularly for the first seventeen years of my life. I grew up in a family of lifelong Episcopalians and I learned early on the value of falling asleep during a sermon. An inner quarrel grew, however, as I began to experience what I perceived as a disparity between what I believed spirituality to be and what I felt was being conveyed by the church.

It has been an on again, off again relationship, and after taking a serious stab at raising my children in the church and not being able to do so in a positive manner, it has been off.  I wandered off in a rather permanent sense, though every now and then I entertain the notion of going back.

When I ask myself what I miss about church and why I imagine that those who attend continue to attend, I come up with these three benefits of church attendance:

  • The social part, chatting with friends and acquaintances, sharing a bit of life together or a new recipe, catching up on the latest gossip. This is often the best part of regular church attendance. It provides an opportunity to socialize in an orderly fashion without excessive expectations or preparation.  One can escape in a flash if someone or something is particularly annoying with the comfort of knowing you won’t have to see the individual for another week, if then. “Sorry, got to run. I’m meeting Aunt Sally for lunch and she hates when I’m late. See you next week.”  Most people are best enjoyed in small doses.
  • Giving back. Being a part of a community that gives something back to the world feels good. Participating in church events or even just putting a few dollars in the plate on Sunday morning gives a person the feeling they’re contributing to the betterment of the world. We all need that. It’s all planned and orchestrated for us so it doesn’t cut into our very busy lives.
  • Food for thought. Inspiration. Something to help get us through the week. Nourishment for our soul, even if we’re not sure we have one. And even if we sleep through the sermon, chances are good that we’ll carry away a little golden nugget to spur us on in the daily challenges we all face.

Now, I ask you, doesn’t this sound exactly like Facebook? (And you can even get an app for that!)  I would love your feedback!

Health News ~ Are We Taking too Many Prescription and Non-Prescription Drugs?

Health News ~ Are We Taking too Many Prescription and Non-Prescription Drugs?

Healthy aging for women over fiftyAs women over fifty, it is often difficult to discern truth from fiction when it comes to treating our physical concerns. Which aches and pains should we do something about? Which discomforts come with age and which should we consult on with a physician? Should we be taking the medications we are taking? Should we have the tests that are being prescribed?

The medical and health field has been in a stage of rapid advance in recent years. Like technology, it’s moving full speed ahead. What I see developing is a growing respect for alternative treatments and a skepticism regarding prescription drugs. My conversations with Aging Abundantly women regarding this subject often revolves around the general feeling that physicians often treat symptoms with medications rather than getting to the root of the problem. This is not, of course, everyone’s experience, but I hear it more often than I used to.

The questions  arise: What are we to believe? Who are we to believe? Can we trust our doctors to advise us correctly? How do we know if this alternative treatment is safe? It’s a minefield of uncertainty and fear. The ability to access information on the internet has intensified the dialogue. We have, at our finger tips, detailed information that keeps us better informed, but the fact remains, we are not doctors. Can we really see the whole picture?

My mother lived to be ninety seven and rarely even took an aspirin. In her mid-nineties her doctor talked her into taking calcium and something for her allergies. She fiddled around with anti-depressants a time or two, but she would go days and weeks without taking any of them. Was she unusually healthy? Perhaps. She also modified her behavior when necessary. She ate a healthy, balanced diet, was physically active (not in the way we think of today) and lived a simple life. She gardened, cleaned the house, kept up with her friends and family, cooked three meals a day and took care of my Dad who lived twenty years after a stroke. He lived a similar lifestyle, although the stroke added some medications to his daily regime. Their first line of defense when they were not feeling well was always to modify their diet and rest.

The key to taking care of our bodies as we age is to have a sense of what they can handle on their own, and when our physical health would benefit from medical attention. I have been exploring this issue for myself and over the months ahead I will be sharing with you what I have discovered and information I have learned in my research. I will be inviting experts to share what they know on a variety of topics and welcome your input and comments.

Aging abundantly requires seeking health and peace in body, mind and soul. I do not believe we can have one without the other.

Chia Seeds Are Good for Damaged and Aging Skin

Chia Seeds Are Good for Damaged and Aging Skin

5 Easy Chia Seed Recipes For Fabulous Skin

by Lisa D Liguori

Chia Seeds are really good for your skin!

Do you want a simple tool in your diet that can help prevent free radical damage, inflammation, and premature aging of the skin? I thought so. 

The Teeny Tiny Powerhouse

If you open my fridge, you will see various jars of seeds; hemp, flax, and my new love, the teeny tiny chia seed.

Sprinkles

Initially, chia seeds intimidated me. You too? I had heard somewhere that  you used chia seeds differently than flax or hemp. Flax seeds you grind up and sprinkle on everything you can, or bake with them, or make raw crackers. Hemp seeds you also sprinkle over your food, or make hemp milk, or just eat em by the spoonful. But chia seeds? I just wasn’t sure.

So, I did what anyone would do with a bag of chia seeds in their fridge. I googled it. Wow! Who knew the chia seed, the very same seed we used to sprout on our chia pets in the 60’s (Yes, I had one. Did you?), had such a fan club.

And with good reason!

Nutrient Dense

Chia seeds apparently have: 

  • 3 times the anti-oxidant strength of blueberries
  • 5 times the calcium of milk, PLUS, magnesium and boron which aid in the absorption of calcium (key point)
  • 2 times the amount of potassium as a banana
  • 3 times more iron than spinach

Chia seeds are: 

  • Rich in healthy omega 3’s
  • A fabulous source of soluble fiber
  • Virtually tasteless, tasting like whatever you add them to
  • A plant based complete protein

What to do with chia seeds

1. Replace half the butter when baking, using chia gel.

2. Sprinkle chia seeds on your yogurt , salad or cereal, and add them to your smoothies.

And then, try these 5 Chia Seed Recipes: 

Chia Breakfast Bowl #1

Toss 2 to 3 T chia seeds, 1 T maca powder, 1 T protein powder, 1 t coconut oil, 1 T hemp seeds, 1 T goji berries, 1 T cacao nibs, add banana and blueberries. Place your chia seeds in the bowl first. Add 4 to 6 oz hot water, and wait for about 3 minutes. Your chia seeds will grow and turn into a thick porridge or sorts. Now add your other ingredients and enjoy. Thank you The Holy Kale for this superfood recipe.

Chia Breakfast Bowl #2

Toss about 2 T chia seeds into your bowl. Add a handful of raw nuts of your choice, a scoop of blueberries, 2 tsp. flax seed,  half of a sliced banana, cinnamon and fresh nut milk of choice. Let stand for about 5 minutes to thicken up and enjoy.  Thank you EcoDiva for the inspiration.

Chia Energy Bars

This one is from Vegetarian Times. 1 1/2 C pitted dates, 1/3 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup whole chia seeds, 1/2 t vanilla, 1/4 t almond extract, 1 C raw slivered almonds or pistacios. Place dates in food processor; puree utnil thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla and almond extracts. 1. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add nuts; pulse until nuts are finely chopped and well distributed through date mixture. 2. Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and use paper to press mixture into 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Wrap tightly, and chill overnight. 3. Unwrap block, cut into 8 bars and re-wrap. Enjoy.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

1 c non-dairy milk such as soy, or almond, 1 t vanilla, 2 t raw cocoa powder, sweetener of choice – to taste, 3 T chia seeds, 1/2 to 1 C berries of choice (or other fruit). 1. Place milk, vanilla, cocoa and sweetener of choice (I still love a good quality agave) in the blender. Blend well. 2. Pour milk mixture into a bowl and add chia seeds. 3. Mix well and stir every 15 minutes or so. It will take about an hour for it to thicken and absorb the liquid. 4. Refrigerate and add fruit just before serving. Thank you FatFreeVeganKitchen!

Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola

1 C oats, 2 T chia seeds, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, 2 T honey or maple syrup, 1 T coconut oil. 1. Preheat the oven to 300 and grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil. 2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. 3. Slowly stir last two ingredients into the mixture till all is coated. 4. Spread granola onto prepared baking sheet and bake for approx. 15 minutes. Stir half way through. Let cool and enjoy. Thank you Shape Magazine.

I pretty much sprinkle chia, hemp or ground flax seeds on everything and everything to ensure I get my healthy fats, and essential fatty acids that are crucial to good health, and fabulous skin.

Have you tried chia seeds yet? Do you have a good recipe or suggestion as to how to use them? Do share!

Lisa D. Liguori, Founder of StyleEssentials.com

 

Lisa D Liguori is the founder of Style Essentials, a green healthy-beauty marketplace, featuring mineral makeup, botanically based organic skincare, and even a bit of handcrafted jewelry, all with a serious personal touch.

Visit StyleEssentials.com or join her on Facebook for green beauty and healthy lifestyle tips.

You can also download your FREE Report on The 10 Easy Steps To Detox Your Beauty Routine Here.

 

Cures for “Midlife Madness Fatigue”

Cures for “Midlife Madness Fatigue”

I love Sophie Lumen's artwork. She exemplifies the aging abundantly spirit in all that she does. Be sure and visit her website www.feedthebeauty.com.
art by Sophie Lumen, artist and founder of FeedtheBeauty.com

There’s a lesson to be learned by those just beginning their journey into midlife from my experiences that I describe in Midlife Madness. The most important of which is that it’s time to fasten your seat belt and hold on for dear life! You’re in for the ride of your life! All kidding aside, midlife madness is jam packed with life lessons and I say as often as I have the opportunity, the decade from fifty to sixty was, without a doubt, the most challenging, demanding and fulfilling decade of my life thus far.

The intensity of the challenges we face are equal to the intensity of the depth of our soul we can reach. I do not wish misfortune on anyone, even myself, but it is bound to place itself in our path sooner or later regardless of how much effort we put into protecting ourselves from it. The good news is that we come out the other side a fuller, deeper, richer, more compassionate human being.

If you are struggling with aging parents, health issues, difficult marriages/divorces, strained relationships, financial difficulties, take heart and take hold of the wisdom to be gained in them. When we face our problems head on, evaluate our responses to them, give up our need to constantly control the outcome, and love and accept ourselves despite the mistakes we make, we are gaining wisdom and we are learning to age with an abundance of spirit.

Women are survivors.  More importantly they are thrivers. At their very core, they believe in love. They believe in happy endings. They believe that life is good. It is that very belief that gives them so much power to heal the world.

Midlife madness fatigue may give you pause, but it will not defeat you. I promise.