Tag: midlife women

And What is your Truth….

And What is your Truth….

by Nicky Perryman ~ Textile Artist

Words float in my head, unbidden, wandering trying to go somewhere. Like me. Phrases lurk in the shadows looking for a home, a purpose, a connection to something, somewhere. Like me. Beauty rests somewhere unfamiliar, somewhere in yet to be charted territory. Peace and tranquility. Joy. Meaning. Purpose.

The truths of life are the same, from one to another. The real truth crosses all boundaries of time, space, creed, nationality, age and utters its whisper softly and gently to all who listen. I raise my head from a pillow of tears just long enough to look into the eyes of truth and then turn away. Frightened of what, I do not know.

Our truth connects to a bigger whole should we be fortunate enough to find it. When removing the gauze of indifference, or fear, from our eyes we may look upon the face of God…of truth…of that which gives life and takes it when it is ready. Truth is etched upon the hearts of women throughout history, before, during, now, and future times. A string runs through our lives connecting one to another drawing us in, weaving us carefully into a patchwork quilt that is life.  There is no beginning, no end, only now and eternity.

Our lives are our own and yet they are not. Our lives belong to the universe, to the whole, to the patchwork quilt. What we give of our truth will find its way into the pattern, into the beautiful, kaleidoscopic tapestry of eternity, bright with colors, shapes, sounds and above all else, love. What we love will be our legacy. How we love will be our truth.

Its written across the pages of history that as mere mortals we are called to speak the truth and to love. They cannot be divided. One without the other is incomplete. Find your truth and live it in love and your legacy will unfold bit by bit to find its place in the tapestry of eternity.

A Note about photo: I stumbled across the photo of the quilt and loved it. I have discovered it was designed and made by Nicky Perryman, a textile artist in the UK.  You will find more about her and her work on her website Nicky Perryman Textile Artist.  She also has a fan page on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicky-Perryman-Textile-Artist/176159875736012.

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.

Mining the Past

Mining the Past

The past holds many treasures that can serve us well as seek to discover what we are supposed to be doing now that we’re almost old. Not only does it contain the wisdom born of hardship and pain, but it also holds the key to the joy and meaning that has enriched our lives. When we mine these multifaceted jewels, they will lead us on a path of self-discovery that promises to provide us with an instructive map to age abundantly.

I don’t know about you, but I have spent most of my life running from my past mistakes and running toward the future where I believed a better path could be charted. It was an effective method in that it kept me moving, trying new things, and gathering experience, because boy, did I make a lot of mistakes! When I recognized a wrong turn, I chalked it up to experience, buried it as best I could and vowed never to do it again, and kept moving.

Now, however, looking toward the future has lost its appeal as the end of life becomes more palpable.   But there is more to the past than the debris of failure and now is the perfect time to mine it for all the gems it can provide our todays. Setting aside the running to and running from way of living, allows us the opportunity to take a deep breath and begin our search for the joy and richness that only living can bring.

Our past holds treasures personally crafted just for us. They are personal, rich and substantial. They hold the key to hope, gratitude and as yet undiscovered benefits. As we sift through our memory banks in search of these golden nuggets we will find our own personal map to meaning and purpose.

Begin by picking a period of time — a decade, a year or a day — during which you felt particularly in tune with yourself and life. Close your eyes and sink into the memory. Feel it, absorb it, and allow it to fill your mind and senses with all the good things it has to offer. Then ask yourself what was it about that moment that was so special? What were you feeling, doing, experiencing? Can you repeat it in some way today? Can you use it to live happier today?

I spent so many years looking at the negatives of the past and not enough time holding on to its treasures. Today when I closed my eyes and did this little exercise I thought of a time when I was in college. It was summer. Two of my best friends from high school (twin guys*) and my roommate joined up for a series of adventures. We went to watch the Thunderbirds fly over the Long Island Sound, took in a number of rock concerts and had a blast. We just enjoyed each other and had fun ~ no strings attached kind of fun. We laughed. We lived. We soaked up the excitement of the moment.

What I felt during those days was the excitement of doing something new, the warmth of being with people I enjoyed, a sense of freedom, and time in the great outdoors. I had no expectations of myself or my companions other than to enjoy the moment, taking it in, absorbing life and love.

By living for a few moments in that recollection I am able to absorb its teachings for my life today. The experience helped me to realize four things. First, I have forgotten how to live in the moment and to absorb all the pleasure and knowledge it has to offer.  Second, it revealed to me that I place entirely too many unnecessary expectations on myself. Third, I haven’t done anything new and exciting in a very long time and lastly, I realize I don’t spend near enough time laughing with people I enjoy. Just that brief moment of reflection provided me with all the information I need today to make my life more comfortable. Here’s what I can do now:

  1. Learn something new.
  2.  Focus on doing those things I enjoy doing and aside the uncomfortable and unnecessary expectations I have placed on myself.
  3. Call a friend and get together for coffee or a phone conversation.
  4. Share laughter with someone I love.

Your past will undoubtedly reveal something different, something that is uniquely yours, a personal message from your heart. As we begin to use our past as a teacher, rather than a litany of what not to do, we will allow it to blow the breath of life into our todays.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.

* I married the other twin ten years later.

Think Time

Think Time

Today is one of those wonderful rainy days that invite rest and reflection. For the half-cup empty kind person like myself, such a day is a rare occurrence and one to be embraced. On occasion, a rainy day and I co-exist happily together, feeding on our similar contemplative, brooding natures and snuggling under the covers of introspection. But, not often enough.

It is also the kind of rainy day that called for a walk through the puddles, albeit a walk resulting from the endless prodding of a relentlessly pacing, determined dog whose urgings could not be ignored. I was grateful to him in the end.

You might enjoy a visit to 1950's Atomic Ranch House offering antique, vintage, retro items, photos, links and topics daily, where I found this photo. Click on the photo.

So I sweatshirt-ed and hooded and leashed my furry companion venturing out into the pouring spring rain with eager determination. It was not long before I felt invigorated by the cool moist air and my mind began to race uninhibited, sorting through the clutter that always finds a home on the desktop of my brain. My step quickened trying and keep up. Gradually we came into rhythm with one another, my brain and I, and it occurred to me that I don’t often give myself permission to let off the controls.  Usually I force myself to “focus” on one problem or another. This was something different and it felt good. Necessary. Liberating.

Last week I wrote about the benefits of “quiet time”. While quiet in a fashion, this was really “think time”, a time of disconnection from purposeful, guided brain activity, even self-imposed quiet time.

I can’t help but wonder how children, who usually suffer through an enforced “quiet time”, might react to the concept of “think time”. Might they be more cooperative and less resistant to stopping the usual activities when given something  to focus their attention on, even if it is their own thoughts? Wouldn’t this be preferable to the arduous task of shutting down their eager little minds and bodies entirely, a task inordinately difficult for most?  Might teachers instruct them in how to listen to their thoughts, thereby teaching them to listen to their own inner voice,  thereby instilling a beneficial life lesson as well as a restful break in activity?  Children might see it as a wonderful game of discovery, finding  it amusing and engaging and achieving the same results of quiet rest.

For us weary adults, a long walk in the rain, without electronic attachments, is a perfect way to create an opportunity for “think time”. We cannot always break away from the worry and planning and active thinking that our minds too often latch on to, but we can create space and time in our days for the possibility that our thoughts might enjoy an opportunity to find their own path. What might we discover? Today, I discovered a sense of my brain’s own ability to shuffle and sort and integrate without me, freeing up new space and energy for creativity without even trying.

Finding the Place of Thinner Peace

Finding the Place of Thinner Peace

I suspect most post-menopausal women confront body image issues regardless of whether we’re thin or fat or somewhere in between. In spite of our best efforts, the hormonal changes that take place during and after menopause change the way our body works and ultimately looks. Our skin is no longer supple and everything loses its shape. Hence, baggy arm flesh, saggy boobs, weight around the middle, and the rest. We’ve lost all control over that stuff and we don’t like it one bit. Most of us spend a lot of time and energy fighting it and trying to change fate.

The fact remains, we will never be young again, at least in this life! But, we do have a choice. We can resist and struggle to change the things we cannot change and be miserable or embrace who and what we are and make peace with the aging process. Even when we can’t change a thing in life, we can change our thinking about the thing.

In the book The Four Day Win, Martha Beck describes the different thought processes that we have when we are trying to lose weight (or change anything about ourselves). Our self talk consists of  a “dictator”, which is the voice in our heads that tells us what we should do and yells at us when we don’t do it. We have the “wild child” that is rebellious and just wants to feel good and have fun. The dictator brings the wild child out in most of us sooner or later. When we’re dieting and trying to lose weight we oscillate between the two. Our dictator beats us into submission for a while and then our wild child gets fed up and leads us on a romp of carefree indulgence. When we’re finished romping, we come home to a dictator that scolds us. Hence the yo- yo diet plan!

There is another option. We can mentally step away from these two voices.  Each voice is trying its best to help us with our problem. Each cares, in its own way about our health and happiness. Beck suggests offering these parts of ourselves our appreciation and love giving each a blessing such as:  “May you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering.”

This voice, the one that speaks to the dictator and to the wild child is the place of thinner peace. Martha Beck calls it the “Watcher” . It is the voice that will effectively lead us along our path toward health and happiness, not only in our attempts to lose weight but in  learning to accept the wise and wonderful women that we are.