Tag: Aging Abundantly

Shape-Shifters & Magical Reinventors – Voices of Wisdom

Shape-Shifters & Magical Reinventors – Voices of Wisdom

SHAPE-SHIFTERS & MAGICAL REINVENTORS

Voices of Wisdom in a Chaotic World

 

Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? …We are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves.” – Diane Ackerman

 

voices of wisdom
Dragonfly and Daffodils watercolor by Marilyn K. Jonas

How dull life would be if we always remained the same! Yet, day-to-day life in this crazy, mixed-up world has activated a visceral longing for peace and security. I’ve read numerous blogs in recent weeks written by friends who are trying to find a way to navigate the political and social morass that greets us each morning via the little black box that sits in the corner of our homes. I’m not talking about the TV. That is only one vehicle of transmission. No, it’s so much larger than that now. There are copious avenues of transmission, each vying for our mental and emotional attention with great bravado. An attempt to fight off the incoming feels about as successful as putting a finger in a hole of a sinking ship.

Joan Z. Rough, author of SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go, (September 2016) and a self-proclaimed news junkie wrote in this in her blog last week:

Managing my stress is an important part of my self-care. I do not want to live with constant anxiety which turns my gut into a churning cement mixer filled with rocks. I get jumpy, depressed and feel hopeless. At the ripe old age of seventy-three, I want a life of ease. I can’t afford the damage that stress causes to my mind, spirit and body.”

Joan goes on to explain just how she reacts to too much news and what she is doing about it. Like many women over fifty, Joan is a shape shifter, a magical reinventor. She finds her way through life’s endless treacheries, by building her wisdom bank account. She is not trouble-free. No one is, despite the impression many give on social media. Joan is simply bold, brave and courageous more often than she is not.  She is open to growing, changing and learning the deeper, richer truths of life. Follow her blog and see for yourself.

Daisy Hickman, whose memoir The Silence of Morning I recently reviewed here, also flies through life-like a dragonfly. She shares her wisdom for navigating this “brave new world” in her post Disconnect From Uncertainty and Chaos. I learn something new about shape-shifting and courage every time I enter the Sunny Rooms Studio, where Daisy shares her wisdom. Her cyber studio reflects her philosophy of life and her how she has come to avoid too much chaos:  “A sunny room isn’t about always being upbeat, energized, or falsely positive. Rather, it’s about exploring topics that take us beyond the contentious nature of the world — the noticeable penchant for conflict, negativity, acrimony, controversy, and drama. There is more to life than surface distractions.”  Ah…that is wisdom. 

When I began Aging Abundantly, what seems now like a lifetime ago, I was consumed with what I often refer to as my “midlife transformation”. The quote, “Just when a caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly” became my personal mantra and the focus of my understanding of the aging process.  I entered midlife thinking it was the end, only to discover that it was the beginning. I was being melted down into viscous matter, as was my life, in order to be re-born into a more meaningful way of living and being.  I’ve come to believe that while our deepest transformation, or “dark night of the soul”, may occur in one fell swoop, the process of transformation, never ends as we are in the game. We don’t ever “arrive” unless we turn our backs on the process, and even then it has away of coming after us.

A decade later as I approach sixty-five, I am no less enchanted by the women of wisdom I continue to meet through Aging Abundantly and beyond. I feel blessed and privileged to have a little black box in my house that allows me to reach out and touch so many of them, to learn from them and with them, to walk beside them as together we grow, change, evolve, transform, and search for the gifts not only of the aging process, but of life itself.

As I move on in my journey, I find myself longing to focus in on the completion of several books I have started, in-between trauma and transformation, and keeping up with this and other endeavors. I long to put everything aside and sink into the writing of a memoir. I’ve always had more ideas than I could ever complete, now I have to accept that condition and work within its limitations.

I am not abandoning Aging Abundantly, I will just be shifting its focus from only my words to the voice of many. There is such beauty and wisdom in the collective vision of our generation. Together we are creating a tapestry of wisdom, unique to this time and place and I hope to be able to pick up a strand or two here to share with you as I launch The Voices of Wisdom Series™. Each Wednesday, I will introduce you to a woman whose wisdom I have come to value, and together we can listen to her voice. Sometimes the post will be written by others, sometimes I will post interviews and book reviews. always with an eye toward gleaning wisdom from voices of wisdom.

Wisdom, as defined in the Free Dictionary is, “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right and lasting; insight.” Each guest post  ill offer a slice of wisdom as it pertains to aging abundantly in a chaotic world. Be sure to tune in as they sprinkle a little of their magic on these pages and inspire and assist us in becoming more ardent shape-shifters and magical-reinvetors.

If you are interested in participating as a guest in The Voices of Wisdom Series™, please send a query and brief bio to me at DSander@AgingAbundantly.com. For more information visit Guest Post Guidelines.

 

Mindfulness Mantles by Kay Moates

Mindfulness Mantles by Kay Moates

mindfulness mantles by kay moates

Kay Moates’ artistry is not about Kay and yet she is the essential ingredient in the making of her mindfulness mantles. Every stitch she takes is done in a state of mindfulness, her art is her meditation practice, and her very personal practice a very personal gift to her patrons. Kay, the artist and the woman embodies the spirit of acceptance, love and generosity. Her fundamental  and profound openness to the beauty of nature a blessing of connection to the world and all that’s in it.

In a previous life, Kay was a gifted dancer.  She did more than teach dance, she used it as a vehicle of healing for children. For twenty-seven years she created and directed Imagination in Motion, a creative movement dance company for young children, where dance was inspired by all forms of art and accompanied by improvisational music by a pianist. Through dance the children were taught to express the inexpressible.

There came a time when Kay realized lit was time to move away from dance.  She needed to care for and protect her aging body by reducing the stress that dance was placing on it. The desire for expression, however, was not yet ready to be silenced. She knew she would have to find a new medium to engage her creativity.

This is how Mindfulness Mantles, and her website On Slender Threads came into being. “From moving children through time and space to moving  fibers and stones into Mantles my work continues to focus on calling forth awareness to deepen life’s connections. Into the new I dance…” Fortunately for those of us whose lives she has touched and whose shoulders are now wrapped in the warmth and comfort of a beautiful handmade Mindfulness Mantle, her outreach continues.

Kay creates mantles that are both ornamental and practical. They are decorative, comforting and perfect for meditation and healing.  You will be warmed by her beautiful mantles, but more importantly you will be healed and uplifted.

Here’s how she describes them:

mindfulness mantle
Many include complimentary earth gems like this one.

Mindfulness Mantles ~ a gift for your Soul ~

companioning your journey,
celebrating your changes,
embracing your inner sanctuary,
ever gentling you deeper into being

many shapes, many fibers,
many stones, many colors,
many sizes
whoever you are,
whatever your pain,
there’s a Mantle for You

Created in silence with intention, Kay Motes offers healing and love to all those whose lives she touches.

See them for yourself by visiting her website On Slender Threads. 

Treat yourself to her healing touch by taking a tour

of her latest mindfulness mantels. 

[tweetthis]”Take care of you and there will be more to share with others.” DSander[/tweetthis]


Mindfulness Mantles kay moates 2
Follow Kay Moates’ Facebook page On Slender Threads where she posts her latest designs and positive, uplifting messages. 

Kay’s Mindfulness Mantles make wonderful gifts. They are beautifully wrapped and will be shipped directly to the recipient upon request; perfect for a friend or relative who is ill or going through a difficult transition, a bride to be, to honor a birthday, the possibilities are endless.

 

The Greatest Gift You Can Give … or Receive

The Greatest Gift You Can Give … or Receive

The greatest gift you can give another, is to be fully present with them and to give them your undivided attention. The greatest gift you can give yourself, is exactly the same.

I came flying in for a crash landing at mid-life, after several decades of living hell-bent on creating a life I loved to live.  I’d the greatest giftmanaged to run fast and long and hard into a giant brick wall. In fact, I even managed to get up, brush myself off, get back on the track just long enough to smash into another one. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much effort, work, thought and determination I put into achieving my goals, they didn’t happen. I did not, in any way, shape or form, have a life I loved to live. Quite the opposite.

Part of the problem, was that I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t fully present in my life. I was looking out beyond the stars, and missing the journey completely. Instead of giving myself the greatest gift, I was working overtime trying to give it to others. I didn’t think I was, but in retrospect I see now that I was so ensconced beneath the masks I wore that I had no idea who I really was or what I really wanted.

At an early age, I learned not to listen to myself or pay attention to my own needs and wants.  The last in a long line of children, little attention was paid to me.  I more or less raised myself, with a little help from my very bossy older sister. As time went on, I came not to expect attention or approval, and interestingly enough, I developed a deep commitment to paying attention to others. (It’s a question of balance.)

I developed powerful radar for those in need. I would give them what I knew somewhere deep inside was the greatest gift we can give another human being. I was able to intuit what they were feeling and thinking, often before they knew themselves, and, as a result, I was able to provide for them what they needed in any given moment. I was not listening to myself so I had lots of available antennae to pick up their signals.  My loss was their gain. Or was it?

[tweetthis]”Be present where you are otherwise you will miss your life.” Buddha[/tweetthis]

I learned a great deal from that part of my life. It has given me skills I might not have otherwise had. I learned that giving another person our undivided attention, being fully present to them and for them in any given moment, is valuable, and it requires setting aside all of our agendas. It means putting aside not only our cell phones, our to-do list, but also our expectations, and to some extent our own needs. Being fully present to another is a gift. It must be freely given. And, it is priceless.

However, as I have said many times, it is essential to give from our abundance. We must give, not to fill our own needs or to balance some imaginary scale of giving, but from the very core and essence of our heart and soul. This is a tall order, and one that is always a work in progress. However, there are two steps that we can take every day toward this end.

  • Be fully present to yourself. Being present to yourself means listening to your own needs and tending to them. Do not put off caring for yourself for some other imagined priority. Love and care for yourself first, as you would a child until you feel anchored and present from deep within. Then the next step is easier.
  • Be fully present to others when it is asked for or needed. This does not mean solving their problems. It does not mean indulging their every whim. It means listening. Hearing. Looking into their eyes and seeing them. It means turning off judgement, turning down the volume on your own agenda, and tuning into their signals and energy. You are looking for a heart and soul connection, so that you might hear their heart. Interestingly enough, one can often hear the most in silence.

 

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

A GIFT IN A BOX – Product Review

A GIFT IN A BOX – Product Review

Every Fall I seem to receive a mailbox full of product review requests. I’m don’t like to spend too much time doing this but when I see something that intrigues me and I think you might be interested, I welcome the opportunity to give the product a try. Here’s the first with more to come over the next week or so.  Be sure to see the savings opportunity for you at the bottom of the post. If you try any of the items I review, let me know what you think!

KONENKII

Founded by two fearless women making the most of life after fifty, KONENKII i Jan Craige Singer’s (right) and Sarah Smith Jan Sarah KonenkiiWhite’s (left) way of supporting women through the aging process. They are on a mission to add some fun and enjoyment back into the lives of women who have spent a lifetime giving it all away, to children, aging parents, spouses, and so many others. To make this happen they have created a quarterly gift subscription box service, offering a way to treat oneself or a friend without any hassle. 

Each gift is carefully chosen to ease, educate and empower women through challenging times.  I received the Fall gift box and it felt like my birthday or Christmas. I had no idea what to expect. What I found was a clever selection of things I’d never buy for myself but would enjoy as a gift.

Contents included: A selection of fall, tailgating gift items including recipe cards, a flask, a package of yummy nuts, scented soap, portable wine glass, a small rubber ducky, and a book. I think I got everything. Plus lots of cute little notes and ideas.

 


 

Konenkii Fall Box
I opened the box and this is what I found! The white thing on the right is an unbreakable wine glass! (If it was un-spillable that would be even better.)
Flask
Cute flask!
Nut mix
Yum! Delicious nut mix! (Gone.)
Pumpkin Spice Soap
Smells good enough to eat!
New York Times Best Seller
Always love a new book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


So there ya have it! it was great fun. Would I subscribe to this service for myself? Not likely. It would, however, make a great gift for a friend who could use a boost. Everything about the box says “personal touch” with women like us in mind. I plan to keep an eye on the women behind Konenkii. I expect to see great things coming from their site. They also were kind enough to offer my readers a discount on their next purchase. Just use the code below to receive 10% off any order. Let me know what you think.

Please use ABUNDANT10 to receive 10% off any order. 

Konenkii Gift Box
Much prettier picture than mine!

 

There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect Marriage/Relationship

There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect Marriage/Relationship

Lovers
© Original image design by liz kapiloto Click pic for more information or to purchase.

I continue to be surprised by women over fifty who are still looking for that perfect someone. I admit that I might be doing the same under different circumstances, but I have been in a marriage for thirty-four years and I’ve learned that what is often said is true. There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship.  Perfection is a construct, one of the shadows many of us live under that draws us away from the truth. If we are dissatisfied with our relationship(s) it’s an indication that it’s time to take a deep, hard look at ourselves. Relationships push us harder than anything else in life to dig deep and dig often into who we really are and to own what we know to be true. It requires that we be honest with ourselves.  Honesty supersedes resentment. When resentment builds we are in a mindset that falsely believes that another is the cause of our unhappiness.  If it weren’t for you, then I’d be fine. Passing the buck leads to many divorces, I suspect.

It is as difficult to be joyous, peaceful, and comfortable with another human being as it is to be do so on one’s own. We cannot and will not be at peace with another until or unless we are at peace with ourselves. Therein lies the challenge of marriage. Marriage take honesty, self-esteem, courage, the willingness to be vulnerable and the ability to bear the shame of making a mistake. It takes telling the truth, owning our own feelings and beliefs even when they are not pretty; it requires taking a good look at who we are as individuals and what we create together. It’s staying committed to riding the waves and surviving the storms…together.  We are surprised when we find that many of the storms are taking place within the relationship, within the dynamics of two people just trying to love and understand one another. We come to the erroneous conclusion that something is fundamentally wrong with the relationship when this happens.  It is quite likely that there is something wrong with our relationship with ourselves.

There are dynamics in every relationship, both good and bad. We like the same movies, we hate that the other leaves his/her shoes in the middle of the living room for us to trip over. We love his courage, strength and commitment to his work; we hate that he doesn’t have the self-confidence to own all that he is. It bugs us more if we are not owning all that we are. It irritates us more if we also leave our shoes lying around.

We may see our spouses flaws more readily than we see their strengths when we are feeling out of sorts. When life is good, so are they. I have always encouraged my friends to seek love – endlessly if they have to – because I believe in love. I am committed to love in all avenues of my life. But, love is not always what we think it is when we’re in the midst of our longing. I used to fall in love regularly, with people, ideas, fads, movies. Love came easily to me. Enthusiasm for something thrilling swept me away. I dove head first into new endeavors for the love of it – for the way a new idea made me feel. I needed to feel good to help alleviate the pain.  This feeling of being caught up in, enamored by, infatuated with is a wonderful feeling, but it is a bit of a psychosis.  It has all of the same characteristics. In other words, we are not seeing reality in those moments. We are not seeing the whole picture. I believe we should savor these moments, though I experience them less often than I did in my younger days, perhaps because my pain is not quite as deep, but we must not depend on them. We must mourn their loss when the ride is over and move onto a deeper, richer connection.

When looking for a long-term relationship it will always be the friendship that two people have, the genuine knowing of one another that carries them through. Not the sparks, the great sex, or the feelings of love. Feelings of love are elusive, as all feelings are. They are not a reliable source of commitment, nor will they always be present to guide us through the rough patches. When we look in another’s eyes and see our self, our soul reflected back to us, then we have everything we need to carry us forward. It is not a look of infatuation, of adoration, or a glassy-eyed connection. It is an honesty that makes us feel vulnerable, scared even, but true. Most of us never dare to really look at another and experience them looking deeply at us. In long-term relationships, really looking at one another falls by the wayside as habits of connection take its place. This is a mistake. We must look often and look long. This is how we stay connected to the heart of the relationship itself. It is how we stay connected to our vulnerability. That is where the truth lies in every relationship.