Tag: Dorothy Sander

The Holiday Blues

The Holiday Blues

christmas-fireplace-wallpaperhd-fireplaces-wallpaper-christmas-desktop-fireplace-with-nj67mz92The holiday season is winding down. If you’ve made it this far and haven’t had a bout of the blues, you’re doing great! Pat yourself on the back and keep whistling a happy tune. Your positive energy will surely spill over on someone who could use it!

For many, however, the holidays bring up all sorts of issues, unfinished business with family members, reminders of loved ones no longer with us, and as we get older, oh, so many memories! It’s not surprising we feel melancholy throughout the season. Nothing can trigger a memory faster than the smell of pine, or the taste of a candy cane. For me, cracking a walnut brings back a childhood stocking filled to the brim with fresh walnuts, fruit and a little bit of candy.

The holiday season is a time we may need to a reminder to be gentle with ourselves. Take a little extra care and a little extra focus on being kind to yourself. If you’re feeling lonely, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or neighbor. They may be lonely too. Treat yourself to a long, leisurely bath while listening to your favorite soothing music. Go to the library and check out a novel you’ve been wanting to read. Go for a long walk. It will not only raise your endorphin levels and boost your spirits, it’ll help you sleep better. (I went for three walks yesterday! I slept like a baby last night.)

Always remember, “this too shall pass”. You will get through it. Routine will return. New adventures are just around the corner. Above all, you are loved, and you matter.

Dorothy

A Tradition of Anticipation

Patient Waiting – The Gift of the Unknown

Inspirational Books by Dorothy Sander
Inspirational Books by
Dorothy Sander
We Have the Key

We Have the Key

 

Mountain Art
Granny Hands
Artist: Jill Pritchett
Click on image to visit her website
“So often time it happens,
we all live our life in chains,
and we never even know we have the key.”
The Eagles, Already Gone 
(Quote taken from Aging Abundantly’s A Little Book of Hope)
 

Sometimes it takes a major crisis in our lives to wake us up. Often it just takes turning fifty to realize that our youth has passed us by and it’s time to get moving, to  look at things differently. Midlife is fraught with issues of aging, as well as, external challenges and there are adjustments to be made; values to be examined; beliefs to be questioned. Enough time has passed for most things for us to look back and really evaluate our choices and to begin to see patterns in our behavior.

I read again and again, in blogs and articles written by women at midlife, about waking up to the need for change at midlife; of divorce, new careers, moving across the country, taking up a significant new hobby and more. There’s a sense of urgency, of the willingness to jump into something with both feet that seems to be driven more by fear than sense. The sense is that it is now or never to break free from the chains of our lives.

In many cases, however, it is more true that the chains have been of our own making, than the externals we view as the source of our bondage. Throwing out our husband may provide temporary relief from our unhappiness. Marriages and husbands are easy to blame for our unhappiness. We’ve had twenty or thirty years to study our mate’s problems and foibles , decades to master the blame game and to divert our attention from ourselves to them for the cause of our misery. Likewise, a job, a boss, a series of circumstances can take our attention from the true source of our freedom.

Making changes will certainly shake up the status quo, but to think these changes will bring about our freedom and happiness is delusional. Until we look inside of ourselves, the changes  we make today will always only bring us back to the unfinished business we still hold, the fears and anxieties we don’t want to face, and too the job of finding the key we hold within us.  The sooner we get down to the real business of breaking free from our false beliefs and in-congruent lifestyle, the sooner we will find true peace.

© Dorothy Sander 2013

Devotion is a Gift of Aging

Devotion is a Gift of Aging

Devotion is a gift of aging.
Devotion is a gift of aging.

When I see elderly couples together it warms my heart. Whether they are husband and wife, or friends walking arm in arm offering support and comfort to one another, I am lifted up. Aging doesn’t have to be a lonely, miserable venture. It can be a time of building trust and lowering our defenses as we come face to face with our utter humanity.

Our culture is one that reveres independence. It heralds the valiant individualist. Women of our generation, in particular, fought hard to gain respect as individuals. We worked diligently to stand on our own two feet and not be depending on a man for our survival. We are a generation who is fiercely independent. Perhaps that is why we feel so threatened by the aging process.

We fear aging because we fear that sickness or frailty will rob us of the  independence we fought so hard to achieve.  We will become dependent on someone, or something other than ourselves. We will, in the end, somehow not be able to be there for ourselves.

Independence has its value, but what we really sought was the freedom to live up to our fullest potential as people, regardless of our gender. Independence, self-sufficiency was often a mask we wore to make sense of the surge of power with which we were not yet comfortable. We had to pretend we knew what we were doing because we didn’t. We were learning.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned as we age is how utterly interdependent we are as human beings, and how fortunate we are to be thus. Love and devotion, tolerance, sympathy, empathy, compassion are beautiful things to experience, both coming in and going out. It is our interdependence that provides the richness and texture to life. It’s not Hollywood perfect, but sharing life with another person in any given moment is rich, meaningful, and often even necessary.

As we age and lose our ability to maintain our independence we have the opportunity to learn humility, respect, gratitude and trust. What wonderful lessons to be learned.

© Dorothy Sander 2013

IT’S EASIER TO BE HAPPY WHEN….

CHOOSING THE REAL YOU

When A Dream Dies

When A Dream Dies

Carol Jung dreams

There comes a time in each woman’s life when we look at our best efforts and see only the failure. We started with a dream or a mission or a purpose.  We put ourselves behind it, believing without a doubt that we were on the right path. The path was to take us on a marvelous journey to an ideal place. We devoted days or weeks, months or years to our vision, only to wake up one morning and realize our dream has failed or vanished.

What then? What do we do when we find ourselves curled up in a ball in the corner wanting to hide, the pain too great to even acknowledge? We ask ourselves over and over, what went wrong? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? And why, oh why, did it turn out this way? We want to curse the world, or the person who demolished our dreams…perhaps it is ourselves we wish to demolish…blaming ourselves for the failure, for our inability to see the future when we made our commitments. We all know that seeing the future is a gift given only to a few, if any. And yet, we expect it of ourselves.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions as we try to break through the confusion and the pain. Blaming others is futile even if it is a survival instinct. Blaming ourselves is equally as disastrous. The real question is what can I learn from this? What can I take forward with me into the rest of my life? What does this experience tell me about who and what I am — the good and the bad? These are the questions of growth and survival.

Life is a learning experience and sometimes we have to learn the same thing over and over until it takes. As painful as that may be, we eventually do learn, and then we have a gift to pass along to others. It is a gift that every woman has to give as she ages. Previous generations looked upon it with reverence and respect — it is the gift of wisdom. It is the most we can hope to gain from our life’s difficulties, but it is a gift that keeps on giving.   

© Dorothy Sander 2010 Excerpt from Caring for Mom

Every Day We Have A Choice

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Learn to Listen to Your Heart

Learn to Listen to Your Heart

DS quoteOne of the most important things we can do to create change in our lives, at midlife and beyond, is to learn to listen to our hearts. I paid lip service to this idea for years. I thought I was listening to myself, but I came to realize that I had so many complex messages running around in my head that I couldn’t even begin to hear my heart’s directives.  Most of the noise going on inside of me didn’t even originate from me. Little by little, day by day, through discipline and effort I was able to untangle the mess that lived inside of me and cluttered my decision making process and generally wreaked havoc with my life. Your head and heart may not be disconnected the way mine was, but if you’re struggling to make decisions, yearning to follow your heart’s desire but don’t know what that is, or live under a cloud of unhappiness, you can not only change, but find all the answers you need right inside of you.

STEP 1: Tune in to you.

Begin by slowing down, even if only for five or ten minutes a day. Create space in your day to do absolutely nothing. Use this time to relax and tune in to what’s going on inside of you. Pay attention to what thoughts go through your mind, what feelings you are feeling and where in your body you feel them. Don’t try to solve any problems or make any decisions, just notice and name what you are experiencing and let it go. Do this every day if you can or at least several times a week. When the fifteen minutes are up you may want to write down your observations.

Step 2: Identify the voices in your head.

By the time we reach 40, 50 or 60 years of age, we have such an assortment of voices in our heads we may have lost touch with which one is actually our own. We may think we are doing what we “want” to do, but we may actually be following the dictates of the culture, our parents, our friends, our spouse, and even our children. From little day to day decisions, to major, life changing decisions, do you know who is in charge of your life? Do you know who is actually making your decisions and what is behind them?  As you continue a practice of tuning in, you will begin to recognize certain patterns of thought. Some you will be able to identify as clearly your own, others will likely be messages you heard from your parents and significant others. When you recognize a thought that is not your own, make a note of it. Later ask yourself, “is this something I believe?” or “is it just something I think I’m supposed to believe?” This time around, you get to choose which values and beliefs you will hold on to and which you will eliminate.

Step 3: Listen for your inner voice.

As you begin to eliminate the thoughts that are tied to beliefs that are not your own, your true inner voice will become stronger. The more often you are able to say, “yes, that is my true voice. That is a message from my inner most self,” the stronger you will become anchored in the real you.

© Dorothy Sander 2013

 

OTHER ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY

How to Practice Mindfulness

Rediscovering Your Gifts

The Gift of Presence

 

 

Rediscovering Your Gifts

Rediscovering Your Gifts

personal growthWe each carry within us a treasure. Living deep inside, it is a quiet place where we can go to find our untarnished heart and a soul that is still pure. We once knew this place, our place where there is peace and understanding, wisdom and strength, though it may have slipped from our memory.

The hours, days and years that we have struggled and pushed, yearned and stretched toward something more has powered us through our lives. It is “life yearning for itself”. Our desire for something more and incessant discontent led us down many a winding path and along the way we collected bits and pieces of life’s debris.  Instead of tossing the debris aside, we often instead as packaging material to insulate us from the world.

Sometimes we build a wall of anger, of fear, or of resentment, so thick and so profound that we forget our treasure ever existed. When we feel the sting of hurt and rejection we recoil inside of ourselves and do not remember the gifts of understanding and forgiveness we once knew so keenly. The longer we live the more likely we are to have lost our connection to our treasured self, as life’s rubble piles up upon us despite our best intentions.

We may begin to feel as though we might smother, or die without meaning or purpose for having lived. We fear we may wither away into nothingness. We might feel emptiness, an overwhelming sense of loss, or confusion or an aimless uncertainty.  It is precisely these uncomfortable stirrings that are our reminders. They are prompting us to return to the treasure that was born in us so many years ago, to dig down deep inside and uncover that precious someone who still lives and holds a pure and loving heart; who knows the value of trust and forgiveness. She understands the meaning of life and the purpose of her living.

The unearthing process can be approached alone or with the assistance of a friend, a mentor, a spiritual guide, a life coach, a therapist or any of a number of other guides.  There are as many methods of personal and spiritual growth as there are individuals. Here are some of the methods I have used and found helpful:

  1. Guided imagery meditation – A guided meditation by a trained practitioner using imagery and imagination to bypass thought and ego
  2. Solitary meditation – I recommend reading Full Catastrophe Living or any of a number of Wayne Dyer’s books and audios for more information on common meditation practices.
  3. Contemplation and mindfulness
  4. Journaling
  5. Reading or listening to the writings of spiritual teachers
  6. Work with a therapist or life coach to gather some movement if you are stuck
  7. Body work – massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, deep tissue massage, exercise
  8. Self-care – Learn listen to and follow the directives of your body, mind and spirit. If you feel tired, sleep. If you feel restless, go for a walk. If you feel stressed, meditate or make an appointment for a massage. Say no to demands that are being placed on you that cause your body to constrict.

Rediscover the treasure of your heart. It is waiting.