Tag: Dorothy Sander

Let Go and Let Love

Let Go and Let Love

 

Simple words. Not always a simple matter. Letting go. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do. We seem to have been born to want to change things, to improve them, make them better. We are driven to fix the broken within ourselves and within others. We can conceive of perfection and so we think it’s possible to achieve it. We can imagine something better and it compels us forward. We love and long to make others love us similarly. Letting go. Is it possible when we are so driven? Should we let go? If we let go would we no longer care? Would we fall into some careless abyss?

I think not. To let go most often means, beneath everything else, to let go of fear. To trust life. To trust this moment. To trust the outcome. Letting go means letting go of our need to control, our need to make something happen, including love, and let life take care of itself, let love take care of itself. There is no room for love to work when we are a constant, demanding presence in the equation. Love needs space to live and breathe and work it’s magic. It will not be controlled or demanded upon. Let go and let love. Let go of your expectations, your demands, your needs, your fears and make room for love in your life. It’s there. Waiting.

What Does Abundance Mean to You?

What Does Abundance Mean to You?

Lavender Treasure by Artist L. Diane Johnson, a painter, instructor, author and juror, serving art collectors and artists since 1981. She was the Founding Editor and designer of the of the award-winning monthly, Plein Air Magazine, and travels the U.S. and Europe to paint live on locaton. She has authored many art articles, artist training demonstrations, and books. Visit her website by clicking on the hphoto.

What signifies abundance is unique for each individual. It depends on circumstances, frame of mind, our history, our openness to receiving and so much more.  This was brought home to me last week when I participated in a guided imagery session. It was a very interesting meditation!

As we relaxed and breathed deeply, we were invited to close our eyes and imagine ourselves walking along a path beside an ocean. It was a beautiful, relaxing, and peaceful place. As we walked along the path breathing in the salt air and listening to the sea gulls overhead we came upon a cave, hidden away in the brush. It was inviting and our curiosity drew us in. As we explored the cave we turned a corner and there, hidden out of the way was a room filled with treasure. Suddenly, surrounded by incredible abundance, our guide invited us to really take in what was there; to pick things up, look at them, feel them, etc.

Initially I saw big, beautiful treasures, gold, jewels, sports cars, and quickly I moved on to adorable little puppies, fuzzy kittens, beautiful flowers and so much more. After a time of looking and exploring and enjoying what we had discovered, we were told that all of the treasure was ours. We could take whatever we wanted with us when we left. I searched to see what treasures I could carry with me and what I chose surprised me.

First, I chose a Cocker Spaniel puppy, a happy, joyful, energetic little creature that smiled at me. Next, I chose a cute pair of shoes. Then, a beautiful shawl, a big pot of blooming hydrangeas and a needlepoint kit. I was worried that I could’t carry everything until I realized I could put on the shoes and the shawl and the puppy would follow me, running along happily beside me. When the session was over and I reflected on these items I began to understand that what I had chosen made sense. At this particular point in my life these are the things that represent abundance to me.

Reflecting on how each item made me feel pointed the way. The Cocker Spaniel puppy loved me exuberantly and freely and accepted my love with out hesitation. He represented unconditional love, something we all need. The shawl  wrapped me in its arms and filled me with feelings of warmth, comfort and security. The cute shoes made me giggle and feel happy. They represent fun and enjoyment. The beautiful, huge hydrangea blossoms inspired me. They embody inspiration. The needlepoint is structured creativity. All of these things together are what abundance means to me.

When I allow these things in my life: love, warmth, comfort, security, fun, inspiration, beauty, and creativity, I need nothing more. I am full to the brim with everything I need and more. I have more than enough. I have abundance.

I expect that at some future time, the things I choose might be quite different and I plan to visit my treasure chest now and again to see what’s there waiting for me. I invite you to do this little mediation and see you what you find in your cave of wonder. It’s a magical place. I hope you’ll pay it a visit. You don’t necessarily need a guide, just close your eyes, breathe deeply and follow your imagination where it leads.

The Gift of Age

The Gift of Age

Living just for today can be a real challenge for those of us who have lived our lives immersed in western culture. Every where we turn we hear messages, reminders, and indicators that unless we are moving forward at break neck speed we are not really living. Buddha, and others, understood the disservice we do to ourselves, and our lives, when we do not see and appreciate what is ours in the present moment, the gifts that are right in front of us.

One of the greatest awakenings I have experienced in my lifetime has been to finally see with great clarity how much I was losing today while worrying about tomorrow and fretting about the past. It took reaching midlife and fifty years of beating my head against a wall to finally get it. As a good “hippie”, I read years ago, and understood at some level the value of living in the moment, but I could only sustain it in moments when I was feeling particularly carefree. But living it in my soul? Ah, that would take years, and many, many hours and days of living mentally in the future, encountering road blocks to my best laid plans, and then reaching midlife and immersing myself in the heartbreak of the past.

Midlife presents an enormous opportunity to make great soul strides, to learn from fifty years of living that we can shed our misconceptions and get back to the basics of who we really are. We can choose to ignore the messages of our culture and hang on to what we know to be true in our hears.  Therein, lies one of the true wonders of aging… to at last not only be able, but willing, to see things more clearly…see things as they were meant to be…to see things as they are for us and to accept life with all its ups and downs, as good, and right and true. It’s a gift of aging. Embrace it.

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.

Aging Abundantly’s ~ A Little Book of Hope

Aging Abundantly’s ~ A Little Book of Hope

“Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly.Book of Quotes and Inspiration

“A Little Book of Hope” is a pocketful of inspiration for the woman at midlife and beyond. Filled with quotes and powerful vignettes, it is designed to inspire and uplift the reader and provides the perfect  companion for the weary life traveler.

“I keep my copy by my bed and the pages are already dogeared from reading it so much. Whenever I pick it up I seem to find something that gives me hope and lifts my spirits!”  says fifty-two year old Cindy L. “My kids left home in September and I’m still trying to adjust, to find myself again and Dorothy’s book has been just what I needed.”

“I’ve been taking care of my elderly mother full time for the last several months. I don’t have time to sit down and read a book but I can grab a few minutes here and there to read one of Dorothy’s little stories or reflect on a quote.  The book has saved my life. I even read bits and pieces to Mom when she is having a bad day and it really seems to help her.”   Martha L. (62)

The attractive cover and perfect size makes it an ideal gift for a friend or loved one. Give a copy to someone in your life who needs a little extra hope.

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

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What people are saying:
“Time after time, Dorothy Sander of Aging Abundantly articulates in a way I only wish I could what I’ve been thinking, feeling, and experiencing. “ ~Bonnie McFarland, Savoring Your Sixties
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“Dorothy, you have taken the words right out of my heart! Thank you so much for writing what I am feeling but could not put into words!”  ~Wendy Ellicott
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“You’ve taken a muddled, confusing issue and made it crystal clear! You’ve given me a terrific and wonderful gift.” ~Caroline“
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I could read your writing for ever. As a person over 60, I can relate with so much of what you write.”  ~Anne Hearn, Working Boomer
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“Your words ring true to me as I am struggling to find my place and legacy in this world.” ~Dede***“Dorothy ~ Your thoughts never cease to amaze me and they always touch something deep inside. You make me think a little harder than I normally might and I love that about you.” ~ Diane
Mom’s 100th Birthday

Mom’s 100th Birthday

Mom's 95th Birthday Celebration
Mom's 95th Birthday Celebration

Today is my mother’s 100th Birthday. Though she did not live to blow out the conflagration on her birthday cake, I think she would have liked to. All things being equal, the world conspired against that eventuality. My mother was a woman who saw little in her life’s accomplishments, though they were many. She did not celebrate the number of meals she cooked in her life time, the number of loads of laundry she completed, or the number of times she came to the aid of someone in need. She did not keep track of how many batches of cookies she baked for her children, her neighbor’s children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and the church bizarre, while rarely eating sweets herself. My mother did not indulge in back patting. To the modern way of thinking, her perspective was flawed.

To her credit, she was able to brag about one thing and that was her age, once it advanced to the point where it surprised even her. In her last years, which numbered ninety-seven, whenever I took her shopping she would, without fail, start a conversation with a clerk in each store we visited. Often dispensing with all formalities she would get right to the point. Leaning into the individual conspiratorially (all five feet and ninety-eight pounds), with a decided twinkle in her eye, she’d pose her question, “I bet you can’t guess how old I am”. Then, stepping back she waited until they selected and announced a number that was invariably, by intention or design, lower than the actual one.  My mother would cherish her secret a moment, and then, as conspiratorially as before, divulge the truth. The clerk invariably responded to the truth with astonishment (by intention or design) and Mom beamed with the pride of accomplishment.

My mother was proud of this one accomplishment in her life, although it was easy to sense that she knew she was not entirely responsible for it. The pride of the moment was far more complex than she probably even knew herself. Though all she had done was to manage to survive, she had survived an exceptionally long life, very little of it of her own choosing. She had made the best of it and that truly was a feat. She survived and survived fairly well. Her kids grown and more or less happily married, her husband exceptionally cared for until the day she buried him, her house clean, her cookies baked, she could rest on her laurels long enough to be proud of her age.

It was not hard to see that beneath all of this false bravado was a woman who had done very few of the things she could have done, and had the times been different, would have done. Although I could not quite understand or name her actions at the time, now, three years after her death, I understand completely.  I face my own advancing age and I am much more bothered by what I have not done than what I have.  My mother’s restlessness was incomprehensible to me at the time when I could have made a difference and yet, I feel quite certain that she was locked too tightly within society’s boundaries to have broken free even with assistance.

I continue to wrestle with my family’s choices about her end of life care. She had no health problems that would have prevented her from making it to one hundred. I believed then, and I believe now, that she could have and would have if things had been different. But we chose her end of life care because she would not choose her own and as a result she was unhappy (on the inside), tragically, deeply, beneath the surface unhappy, much as she had been and tried to deny throughout her life.  Sequestered in a “retirement community” she felt cut off from her family, not because we didn’t “visit” but because we were “visitors” and in some sense no longer family. Her apartment was not “home” despite her valiant efforts to make it so. Surrounded by the feeble, the sick and the dying, sequestered within the walls of a commercially designed and decorated building, she felt deeply cut off ~ as much from the earth as the family. Nature had sustained her when nothing else did.

She did not have it within her vocabulary to ask for, or if necessary demand, what she wanted, alas needed,  to end her life properly. She had spent a lifetime denying her needs, how could her dying have been any different?  She chose to relinquish her preferred choice and take the path of least resistance. She chose to die instead and give up on reaching her goal of making it to one hundred. After all, did she really have a choice?

Would it have made any difference to anyone if she had lived another three years? Would her days have counted for more? I don’t know for sure, but I believe that to her it might have been among her greatest achievements, to have lived to be one hundred and to receive a letter from the President, recognition for a race well run, she might have died in peace. I know it would have made a difference to me.