Tag: acceptance

We Start With Suffering, Then We Turn the Page

We Start With Suffering, Then We Turn the Page

Suffering is just the jumping off point. It is the kick in the butt to do something different. We hurt. It motivates us to look for ways to relieve our suffering. We don’t always choose the best fixes. Some are dead ends. Others, however, lead us to places we never imagined going. Surprises await us at every turn. Miracles are born. Veils are lifted. Our sorrow grows into purpose and a broadening of our perspective. We discover there is more buried within than we ever knew. This is the miracle of transformation.

Suffering to Transformation

Yesterday, I read a post by author/memoirist/blogger/writer/friend, contributor to Voices of Wisdom series, Kathy Pooler. The title captured my attention when it appeared on my Facebook page buried among the endless political posts and a reminders of the recent act of terrorism. Turning the Page: A Memoir Moment smacked of hope, at least for me.

TURN THE PAGE

Suffering turn page“Turn the page” became my mantra not all that long ago, when I was at a crisis point in my life. While listening to REO Speedwagon’s song Roll with the Changes on headphones, hoofing it on a health club treadmill, I decided to face my fears and do what I always wanted to do — write. It was time to make some serious changes in my life and each time I heard “So if you’re tired of the same old story, Oh, turn some pages”, I knew I had to accept things I didn’t want to accept and move forward. It was a call to loosen my grip, let the winds of fate take me somewhere unexpected and to risk the journey.

There are things in life we can not change. The past for one. Physical disabilities for another. But, it doesn’t have to be the end of the story.  In fact, it can be the very beginning of a new adventure. Kathy describes with depth of experience and understanding her journey to acceptance and it is more than clear to the reader how much richer her life will be because of it.

We have limitations. But, they need not break us or ruin our lives.  We may start with suffering, but we can end with transformation.


HOPE MATTERS

Finding Hope quotes

THE PERFECT STYLE OF YOU #WednesdayWisdom

THE PERFECT STYLE OF YOU #WednesdayWisdom

style
This is a portrait of JEANNE LOUISE CALMENT (1875-1997) who was the darling of the media, back in 1995, when she reached her 120th birthday and became the oldest known person in the world – she would further become, by another year, the oldest documented person ever to have lived.

Online quizzes attract me like a kid to a cookie jar. Their popularity is a good indication that I’m not alone. Modern humans seem fascinated with the subtleties of their personalities and figuring out who they are, really. We want to know our hidden gifts and most attractive qualities. I’m no different. Many days I feel like a giant Rubik’s cube.

WHAT’S YOUR STYLE?

Over the weekend, the women in the Aging Abundantly Circle Meet UP group on Facebook had a lively conversation about our wardrobes, what we like to wear and why. Most had a pretty solid idea of where they stood on the subject. Unfortunately, I flip-flop from one style to another and am rarely consistent about anything I buy or wear.

Consistency confounds me in all areas of my life. My clothes are no exception. Some days I gravitate to free-flowing and colorful. Other days I want nothing more than the comfort of jeans and a sweater, figuratively and metaphorically.  It makes shopping difficult and having what I need available when I need it challenging. I whine to any of the Gods who are listening to please help me find a single, unmistakable style that I can embrace. I want to be me 24/7, and what I’m wearing is important! (Silence.)

My frustration was met by this  answer from one of the participants in the conversation: “You’re a mood dresser!” She seemed excited by her declaration, but what I heard was that I was moody and there’s no denying that. It just makes matters worse. I said such and she laughed and responded, “No! Not moody“, she said, “you dress according to your mood! That’s who you are!”

FINDING OUR COMFORT ZONE

styleBINGO! The unsettled blocks in my brain went click, click, click and my sense of identity fell into a new comfort zone. She was absolutely right! I want clothes that match my mood. Just like I want a coffee mug that matches my mood at any given time. But, could I embrace this about myself?

It’s not that we don’t know who we are, we just want someone to tell us its okay to be ourselves. We spent a half a lifetime, if not more, living according to other’s definitions of who we are and our essential self has seemed wrong for so long, that we could use a little reinforcement. So we take quizzes.

As I reflected on clothing styles and personality quizzes it occurred to me that what lies beneath the surface of both are one and the same. On the surface, what we learn is interesting if true, but so what? Beneath the surface the question remains, “what are we really looking for? What are we hoping to learn? Why do we need so desperately to know the answers?

If you look for the truth outside yourself, 
It gets farther and farther away. 
Today walking alone, I meet it everywhere I step. 
It is the same as me, yet I am not it. 
Only if you understand it in this way 
Will you merge with the way things are.
~ Tung-Shan

SELF-APPRECIATION IS HEALTHY

Most of the time I believe we are looking for one or two very fundamental things. We are looking for self-acceptance and/or affirmation of something we already intuitively know to be true about ourselves. We really don’t need the quizzes to tell us what we already know, we just want someone out there to say “yes, you are this”, isn’t it wonderful? In other words, we want permission to be who we already know ourselves to be.

My search for a style of clothes all my own is one of the least important things on the planet to me. What I believe I really want is to be okay with being me; to be okay with my idiosyncrasies and out-of-stepness. We all want affirmation, for someone or something to say, “hey, you got it goin’ on”, I like you!

We need this more than we might because a “mean girl chorus” hounds us to be like everyone else and to not dare be who we are. This very vocal and personal collection of people, made up of mom, sister and great-aunt Betty, has been with us for a lifetime. To send them packing is to open up a whole lot of space in our head that in the beginning feels really strange. As we begin to embrace the void, however, and fill the space with our own thoughts, appreciation and enjoyment of who we are, it gets a whole lot happier in there.


EMBRACE YOU!

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR

the first

NEXT STEP WORKSHOP

CULTIVATING RESILIENCE AS WE AGE

Workshop begins April 1, 2017

(Space is limited.)

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THE GRAMMYS 2016 and ROLLING IN THE DEEP

THE GRAMMYS 2016 and ROLLING IN THE DEEP

Grammys 2016I tried to watch the Grammys last night. I was hopeful. I like all kinds of music and there are many young up and comings that I listen to on a regular basis. My youngest son keeps me in the loop. He lives in Kansas City which you may or may not know has a happening music scene. It’s a hot spot for Indy bands and my son was born with music running through his veins.

I looked forward to the Grammys this year because I love Adele

and even though I knew she wouldn’t sing Rolling In the Deep, I was looking forward to her performance of her latest hit. I also wanted to hear Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie, and the Eagles of course. It was a disappointment, and I lost all patience when Adele’s performance went south. I felt for her. I was very sure it wasn’t her fault. I just kept wishing they’d stop and start over instead of muddling through. It was painful.

Her response? “Sh… happens!” I wondered if she was just taking the high road, or was really that nonplussed about it. Not a bad attitude to have of course, because she’s absolutely right. How difficult that must have been for her, probably as difficult as it was for us to listen to it…not to mention disappointing. All I could think of was, “do-over, please”. For both of us.

Yet, life goes on, even when it comes to the Grammys. We don’t get do-overs. Rarely at least, and even if we do get a second chance of some sort, previous failures and disappointments rumble in the background of our psyche and we feel tentative and uncertain when we try again or we compensate by striving for perfection.

Like a rock carried along by a river’s current,  we too are carried through life by the force of time. Sometimes it’s a fast, smooth ride. At other times we encounter obstacles that push us to one side or crack us wide open. We find ourselves in pieces or stuck, unable to get back in the flow.

It takes help to get rolling again when this happens. We need a friend to pick us up and help us find our way again, or a new understanding, a new awareness, an epiphany.  It takes courage and decision to find the rock solid core of who we are so that we can get back into the stream of life.

When we’ve been in the stream for a while, rolling along, we become like the rocks I found in Monument Valley last September, all round and soft.  The movement through time smooths our surfaces and rounds our edges and in this state we are more resistant to breakage, more resilient and at ease rolling in the deeper waters of life. Adele knows something of this process. Even though she is young, much younger than you or I, she’s an old soul who is growing up fast…faster than most of us have had to do. Her flip response may be real, or it may be a mask to protect herself. Either way, her response was a good one. She’s developed some resilience. She has a sense of humor about herself and is willing not to take things that are out of one’s control too seriously.

smooth rocksWhat’s the take away? What can we learn from Adelle’s experience with the Grammys this year? For me, it’s learning the value in taking a step back when life throws us a curve, and to  remember that nothing is perfect…as Wayne Dyer liked to remind us “no thing” is perfect.  There is also value in making it a practice to interact with life, like we are a rock rolling down with a river. It’s not always possible to grab on to the shore, to something solid in life, but it is possible to learn to trust the journey and understand the process – to see life as a process, one that smooths our edges and strengthens our core self. We may not be able to see ahead through the muddy waters, but we can trust that we are a part of something bigger and grander and most assuredly an essential part of the whole.

[tweetthis]It is time to stop wishing, worrying, planning, hoping and dreaming our lives away.[/tweetthis]

 

Inspiring Quotes by Coretta Scott King

Inspiring Quotes by Coretta Scott King

Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”  Coretta Scott King

It’s always been said that behind every great man is an extraordinary woman. This was even more true at the time Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King fought for racial equality. Coretta Scott King not only fought for racial equality, she bore the burden of gender inequality as well. It did not hold her back. Today as we honor one man’s legacy, let us also honor the woman who stood beside him, fought with him, suffered with him and was ultimately left a widow to carry on his dream in his absence. Her’s was not an easy journey in this life, but despite everything, she made a difference.  She had a dream. She believed in her husband’s dream. She believed in freedom and justice for everyone. She understood the powerful truth that, “if the soul of the nation is to be saved” then the soul of women must be front and center. Thank you, Coretta Scott King for your strength, courage and commitment to a better world, and to dedicating your life to this cause.  Thank you for supporting your husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. as he created the legacy we celebrate today.  Dorothy


Coretta Scott King Quote
Coretta Scott King was an American author, activist, and civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1953 until his death in 1968. Coretta Scott King helped lead the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

 

Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” Coretta Scott King


 

I’m fulfilled in what I do. I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes – the finer things of life – would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be filled in a spiritual sense.” Coretta Scott King

 


 

Coretta Scott King quote



If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.” 
Coretta Scott King


Segregation was wrong when it was forced by white people, and I believe it is still wrong when it is requested by black people.”  Coretta Scott King


 

I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.” Coretta Scott King


The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, … a heart of grace and a soul generated by love.” Coretta Scott King


 

 

Soul Encounter – An Encounter that Goes Right to Our Soul

Soul Encounter – An Encounter that Goes Right to Our Soul

A soul encounter
A Soul Encounter

A soul encounter often comes when we least expect it.

My grand-dog Rowdy and I have done our fair share of walking in the rain lately! Like many on the east AND west coast, we’ve had one of the rainiest (and warmest) early winters on record.  I often walk to settle my nerves and with the holidays fast approaching Rowdy and I headed out for a “calming” walk up our blessed hill.  I live in a hilly, wooded area and as often as I curse the incline I am compelled to climb each day, I am grateful for its health providing benefits and its beauty.

As we rounded the corner and relaxed into the straightaway that takes us past a beautiful wooded stream, I happened to spy a pert, colorful leaf in the gutter. It jumped right out of the drab and dreary landscape, a splash of color on the soggy terrain. Despite its small stature and seeming insignificance, it drew my attention away from everything around it…and took my breath away. It was a soul encounter of the first order.

I moved in closer to snap the picture you see to your right, hoping beyond hope, that it would  convey the feeling it evoked in me. (It didn’t and doesn’t.) I stood a moment, trying to hold on to that something,  then continued on deep in thought.

Why did that seemingly insignificant encounter go right to my soul?

Did I only imagine it? Why did it draw me in? What did it symbolize to me? I thought about how often we must all pass just such incredible moments, never noticing. Would someone else passing this way see what I saw? Or would they be oblivious to it.  I wanted to understand the texture, the meaning, the emotion beneath this brief encounter.

I groped and reached and leaned into the moment, searching for its message. The first words that jumped into my mind were lone leaf. The singularity of the leaf was important. It stood alone. We usually think of a leaf as part of a collection of leaves. We don’t often see a tree with just one leaf, standing erect in full sight.  We usually take them in en masse. Of course, we may collect a few, wax and display them, but in their natural setting they are seldom seen alone. The juxtaposition of the solitary leaf, elevated on the twig that held it, against a backdrop devoid of color, turned the ordinary into extraordinary…for me at least. This lone leaf, in spite of being at the end of its life, made a statement, beautiful, strong and compelling.

As we add years to our lives, aren’t we very much like this lone leaf?  We are no longer green, yet we are colorful!  We are often set apart and alone, no longer a part of the main stream. We are weathered and scarred, but our strength and beauty shines forth in a different way than when we were young, but every bit as beautiful. Our uniqueness, our resilience, our ability to stand apart, impacts the landscape. Just as this lone leaf lit up the dreary, dark ground as I walked, we too have something to add to our surroundings. We are worn and scarred,  but the beauty that gathers in our veins, oozes through our pores and overshadows all else. We are also prone to soul encounters, and that is a gift, a gift of years lived and of wisdom gathered. It is ours for the taking should we be willing to open ourselves to it.

A soul encounter is a gift of age.

When we stand strong, resilient and grounded in all that has gone before, acknowledging and letting in what life has taught us,  we are able to cast a light upon the path of those who follow us. Each soul encounter we experience serves to ground us further.

We cannot, nor should we, deny the passing of time or the wounds we have suffered. As women of wisdom we are gifted with the responsibility to rise out of the ashes and like the Phoenix soar;  prove to all who follow that the journey is worth every bit of the pain and struggle.  It is our job to share what we have learned while staying focused on rising from the ashes.  Let’s cease wasting our energy trying to turn back the hands of time. Rowdy Resting

REFLECT ON PEACE – A Selection of Quotes on Peace

Being Older and Wiser is the Icing on the Cake of Life

Being Older and Wiser is the Icing on the Cake of Life

I know I am not the only one who has said repeatedly in recent years, “Gosh, I wish I knew that twenty years ago!”…or ten years ago, or five, or even yesterday! As we move into our later years it’s easy to bemoan not only our aging body, but that everything we learned getting to this point would have served us better in our youth…or so we believe.

Living all these years has also given us a wonderful opportunity. Our many years of  making mistakes, wrong choices, wrong actions, wrong thinking has allowed us to amass a whole lot of learning and experience.  In fact, we know so much now that we might even be considered “wise”.  One can only be truly be wise by having tried and failed, loved and lost  many, many times and consequently, be old! So, we should put aside our regrets and grab hold of the gift of wisdom and get busy living our todays.

Being older and wiser is the icing on the cake of life. It is our comfort food to savor and enjoy and it will be our companion for the remainder of our days. It is, in fact, a gift that will keep on giving and growing as long as we choose to live life to the fullest.

We get to know a thing or two about life…to have a few answers, to have a better idea of what it takes to be happy and fulfilled. I just think that awareness might just be worth a few wrinkles, sagging boobs and gray hair. Besides, creases around the eyes enhance our eyes, our soft bodies delight and comfort our grand babies, and our gray hair makes us look like queens. We’ve graduated from our jobs as princesses. Now, we not only have beauty, we have the power of wisdom.