Tag: inspiration

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!

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.

Soul Expression

Soul Expression

Have you ever heard of hooping? Check this out!
Dance, rhythm, motion. This image that I found on Hooping.org expresses it so well, don't you think?

 

Last night my son and I went out together for ice cream. I never thought I’d see the day when I would blissfully hand my keys over to him and ask, “would you mind driving?” He’s an adult now and I’ve come to lean just a little on his competence. He’s a kind, gentle soul and I feel blessed to have him in my life. We share some important interests, like love, compassion, kindness…and rock ‘n roll. He, like me, adores music of all kinds and has a keen ear for the details. He once told me that he listens to a piece one instrument at a time before he listens to it altogether. He has a well trained ear.

It was a beautiful night. He put the roof down on my convertible, popped in his latest favorite CD (that I had told him I loved) and cranked up the volume. We drove in rhythmic bliss through the dusky night to our destination. I couldn’t help but close my eyes, tip my head back against the seat and soak in the moment. Poetry set to music moves me like nothing else and this particular CD has this combination in spades. Music has the power to inspire and transform at the soul level, eliciting tapping fingers and dancing feet.

So much of the joy in life comes from places we find difficult to name. Remote to the conscious mind, yet privy to the deep and visceral. I don’t know how it is so, or how it works but I know it is essential and important, at least to me. It is a soul expression and I can’t imagine life without it.

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
Living From Our Heart

Living From Our Heart

“My flame burns brightly. I live in integrity with myself and my God.                                                 I am not the sum of what you think of me.

I am who I was created to be and work daily to continue to be more                                                 and more of that wonderful creation called me.” 

Affirmation by Jill Davis

 

Living from our heart seems to be a difficult thing for most of us.  Our pure, honest voice, lost or muffled in infancy, has been replaced with a façade cobbled together to create someone who is acceptable to the world. We like to think the face we present to the world is real, but it rarely is. From the time we take our first breath we modify our behavior, our thoughts, and our reactions in an attempt to please and appease our care providers. We need them to stay alive and healthy, at least initially. Our natural survival instinct drives us to gain the attentions of those responsible for our care.

The lucky among us had care givers who not only recognized but were able to reflect to us the unique gifts and individual character traits with which we were born; care providers who fostered, nurtured and created a safe environment within which we could bloom and flourish and become ourselves. Real. Honest. Fearless.

Most of us were not so lucky. To one degree or another, those charged with our care hammered away at our uniqueness attempting to diminish traits not to their liking.  They could not see or ignored important gifts that make us who we truly are. In the process, we understandably lost sight of where we began, and forgotten who we truly are.  What remains is a pseudo-self that we present to the world and believe to be who in fact we are. We wonder why we feel out of step with ourselves.

Underneath the mask, the real, true and honest us still exists.  Waiting.  Ready. Willing to be freed, to live and breathe and find expression. It is our job, particularly as we age, to remove the mask we may have created to survive, piece by piece, bit by bit and to rediscover our birthright.

Too often we simply create a new mask to replace the old one, thinking that it will cure our dis-ease. We whittle away at our bodies, using diets, exercise, and plastic surgery to create a more perfect image of ourselves. We launch off on new careers, leave our spouses or significant others, sell our home and take to the road in search of better life, a better way, a better us. We look outward for the answers and find a temporary fix.

If we are not careful we can go on this way until our days on this earth are done and never have sung our song, for we are looking in the wrong place to find our truth.  Our truth lies within us, and will always be found in the recognition and acceptance of who we are inside of ourselves, in our souls. It is only when we find that place that we can begin to live in integrity with ourselves, with our God and with the world. Then, we will know the meaning of our lives. The, we will know peace.

Finding Our Story

Finding Our Story

We all have a story to tell.  It may be a short, sweet, simple story, an intricately woven esoteric story, or a fierce and volatile drama that plays out in the midst of mind numbing chaos. Nonetheless, it is our story and to truly live I believe we must tell it. Our journeys are powerful lessons for kindred spirits who are longing for a connection, or understanding, or compassion.  If we keep our story to ourselves, it will die and a thing of value will be lost.

Telling our story does not require us to be writers or speakers.  There are as many ways to tell our stories as there are people, but first we must find it. Then we can grab it by the tail and dance with it, allowing it to create us and us it.

Our stories come from the deepest yearnings of our hearts and souls ~ those rumblings and urgings that have yanked and pulled and pushed us through life even as we tried to ignore them. They are not the noises of our parent’s commands that may still meander through our conscious or unconscious thoughts ~ those are the echoes of their stories left untold that still reverberate in their offspring.  Our stories are unique to us, but they may likely rest beneath a protective shield, carefully held in place through years of denial. Now it is time to remove the cloak that hides our truth and discover its power.

I turned away from the telling of my story much of my life. I was taught not to value it, share or even recognize it by parents, teachers, and a society that valued different things. Consequently I shoved it out of sight and wandered aimlessly as I tried to live everyone else’s story.  There came a time when I could no longer push it aside. I could no longer find a reason to make the dictates of others more important than my own. I would tell my story or I knew I would wither and die. It took time to even begin to recognize its shape and texture and each day I choose to share it, it becomes more vivid.

Find your story by listening to any voice that you know is truly your own. Heed its advice, even if it is not clearly defined. Follow your inner directives whenever possible and you will chip away at the layer of protection that may be keeping it hidden. The still small voice that speaks to you in quiet moments, the intense passion evoked by a favorite song or a thing of beauty, these are the things that will lead you home.

When you discover a truth, write it down, even if it is only one or two words. These are building blocks for the  magnificent structure you will create.  If you can’t name it, draw a picture of it, sing a song about it, dance it. Let the creative director of your story shape it for you. Then, share your truth in any way that makes sense. The sharing is what will bring it to life.