Tag: personal growth

THE GRAMMYS 2016 and ROLLING IN THE DEEP

THE GRAMMYS 2016 and ROLLING IN THE DEEP

Grammys 2016I tried to watch the Grammys last night. I was hopeful. I like all kinds of music and there are many young up and comings that I listen to on a regular basis. My youngest son keeps me in the loop. He lives in Kansas City which you may or may not know has a happening music scene. It’s a hot spot for Indy bands and my son was born with music running through his veins.

I looked forward to the Grammys this year because I love Adele

and even though I knew she wouldn’t sing Rolling In the Deep, I was looking forward to her performance of her latest hit. I also wanted to hear Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie, and the Eagles of course. It was a disappointment, and I lost all patience when Adele’s performance went south. I felt for her. I was very sure it wasn’t her fault. I just kept wishing they’d stop and start over instead of muddling through. It was painful.

Her response? “Sh… happens!” I wondered if she was just taking the high road, or was really that nonplussed about it. Not a bad attitude to have of course, because she’s absolutely right. How difficult that must have been for her, probably as difficult as it was for us to listen to it…not to mention disappointing. All I could think of was, “do-over, please”. For both of us.

Yet, life goes on, even when it comes to the Grammys. We don’t get do-overs. Rarely at least, and even if we do get a second chance of some sort, previous failures and disappointments rumble in the background of our psyche and we feel tentative and uncertain when we try again or we compensate by striving for perfection.

Like a rock carried along by a river’s current,  we too are carried through life by the force of time. Sometimes it’s a fast, smooth ride. At other times we encounter obstacles that push us to one side or crack us wide open. We find ourselves in pieces or stuck, unable to get back in the flow.

It takes help to get rolling again when this happens. We need a friend to pick us up and help us find our way again, or a new understanding, a new awareness, an epiphany.  It takes courage and decision to find the rock solid core of who we are so that we can get back into the stream of life.

When we’ve been in the stream for a while, rolling along, we become like the rocks I found in Monument Valley last September, all round and soft.  The movement through time smooths our surfaces and rounds our edges and in this state we are more resistant to breakage, more resilient and at ease rolling in the deeper waters of life. Adele knows something of this process. Even though she is young, much younger than you or I, she’s an old soul who is growing up fast…faster than most of us have had to do. Her flip response may be real, or it may be a mask to protect herself. Either way, her response was a good one. She’s developed some resilience. She has a sense of humor about herself and is willing not to take things that are out of one’s control too seriously.

smooth rocksWhat’s the take away? What can we learn from Adelle’s experience with the Grammys this year? For me, it’s learning the value in taking a step back when life throws us a curve, and to  remember that nothing is perfect…as Wayne Dyer liked to remind us “no thing” is perfect.  There is also value in making it a practice to interact with life, like we are a rock rolling down with a river. It’s not always possible to grab on to the shore, to something solid in life, but it is possible to learn to trust the journey and understand the process – to see life as a process, one that smooths our edges and strengthens our core self. We may not be able to see ahead through the muddy waters, but we can trust that we are a part of something bigger and grander and most assuredly an essential part of the whole.

[tweetthis]It is time to stop wishing, worrying, planning, hoping and dreaming our lives away.[/tweetthis]

 

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

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

Lovers
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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.

A Father’s Day Gift for the UnFathered

A Father’s Day Gift for the UnFathered

Father's DayFather’s Day is a day, created by a culture whose moral, ethical and spiritual foundation is a times questionable, and yet we are sucked in by it. How many of us are feeling guilt today because we don’t feel a generosity of spirit towards our fathers? Or, sad because our fathers were taken from us too soon? Or, a hole in our hearts because we did not have a father? Not everyone has a Hallmark Father’s Day. I would guess most do not, and yet, we feel somehow that there is something wrong with us when we experience negative feelings on this contrived holiday.

My father died fifteen years ago, but our relationship never got off the ground. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t experience discomfort from the lack of love in my early life. This emptiness, however, has been a gift to me. It has driven me deeper and deeper over the years into an exploration of the inner life; to a richer understanding of psychological and spiritual growth. I have more compassion for those in pain than I might otherwise have had, and a powerful desire to walk with those who suffer through their pain and toward the light.

Our discomfort in life is our signal to take a deeper look inside of ourselves. When we feel the nudge of anxiety, fear, sorrow, or depression, it is our cue that something needs attention. Although we are not meant to dwell in our discomfort, I do believe it is a useful tool for opening our wounds to the light of truth, and in doing so heal the past so that we might live more fully in the present. Our journey in life is to learn from our pain and discomfort and to set it free, in order to create space in our hearts for something better.

I have no real reason to feel sorry for myself because my father was emotionally absent. I know that now. If you feel uncomfortable with Father’s Day, and the memory or thoughts around your relationship with your father, be compassionate with yourself. Use your discomfort as an opportunity to go deeper, to grow in your understanding and acceptance of what was, and most importantly to find the real you, the ember of truth and wholeness that lives within you still. Each of us carries an ember within us of love and truth. It may be buried beneath years of hurt and despair, many of us have built walls a mile thick around it in an effort to protect ourselves from the pain, but it is still there. It will always be there. It is just waiting for us to remove the debris that covers it and blow on it gently until it erupts into a flame.

Replace your pain today with a prayer of gratitude because even in the midst of pain and sorrow there is eternal hope. It is our birthright.

Manifest Me – One Year Later

Manifest Me – One Year Later

writer, freelance writer, poetI began this blog a little over a year ago. It’s hard for me to fathom how far a person can travel on the inner journey in such a short period of time. When going through change and upheaval it seems, at times, interminable. The thing I’ve noticed over the years, however, is that real change takes time, not to mention serious commitment and focused attention. When we dabble in change nothing really happens. On the other hand, if we dive in hook, line and sinker with plenty of support and guidance, deep, lasting change can occur.

When I decided to start this blog, I only had a vague idea of what I was meant to do here. I knew intuitively that I needed to be more honest in my writing – to write more from my heart and less from my head, but beyond that I didn’t have a clue what that would look like.  I lived my life in the shadow of so many things that were not me. It was time to dig deep and find the courage to excavate and express the real me. The universe, or God, or whatever exists to see us through these things, always shows up to meet such desires and yearnings with exactly the thing we need. Crystal was the angel that delivered the goods in this regard. She knew where to lead me and what to do to give me the support and direction I needed.

If you’ve read my posts here over the last year you know some of what has transpired and some of what I’ve learned along the way. For me, it’s been an experience that continues to spin in ever-widening circles and there is still work to be done – but there will always be work to be done – always a deeper level of awareness that we can attain – a higher consciousness we can continue to aspire toward. That is the true joy of living. Knowing there is always a richer, deeper, fuller life experience ahead of us – and as time goes on, I have found it is most often an inner experience that we crave.

Over the last year, on a practical level, with Crystal’s guidance I have been able to change my eating habits. I have been gluten, dairy, sugar-free much of the time, striving always for better than 80% free. I’ve increased my level of exercise and as a by-product lost 20 lbs. Crystal insisted that I not focus on my weight, and I didn’t. It’s always been a lost cause for me. She repeated again and again, that when we are aligned physically, mentally and emotionally with our true selves, the weight will come off.

More importantly, my brain is clear, I’m managing my PTSD better and better all the time.  I feel centered, anchored and happier more often and I have made great strides in developing resiliency.  I’m learning to ask for support, to allow myself to have support when it’s offered, and to give myself what I need when I need it.  In turn I have more to give to others.  I’ve learned to listen to myself more carefully, to follow my intuition more often and to trust that I know who I am. Is life perfect? No, and that’s okay. It’s not supposed to be. I do believe, however, that we can feel better than most of us do, most of the time.

It’s time once again to raise the ante. Manifesting Me requires reaching just beyond our comfort level as often as we can. Manifesting Me requires owning who we are as clearly as possible, lining up our insides with our outsides, not hiding behind masks, facades, or mental constructs. It requires being fully present within and without.

The next step on my journey is to raise the ante on my outward expression of true self. I am taking on this challenge by continuing this conversation more openly on my website: DorothySander.com. It will be me owning my experience in body, mind and spirit – in the world. It will be me saying what I think and feel without hiding behind an artifice or an idea. There, if you follow me, and I hope you will, you will find more of what you found here, more about what I have learned and am learning as time goes on. You will find guidance as I discover it on things such as overcoming trauma, the body/mind/spirit connection, developing deeper levels of self-awareness, and more on my own spiritual journey as it unfolds.

I hope you’ll join me there and/or add your name to my mailing list below to keep apprised of new posts, workshops, book reviews, and more. I value your presence in my life. Your experience informs mine as much as mine may inform yours. We have so much to learn from one another and so much love and support to offer one another. Please join me and thank you for being with me here throughout the last year.

Dorothy

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Aging Abundantly Blogs in a Book

Aging Abundantly Blogs in a Book

Best of Aging Abundantly BookBlog posts can pile up and get lost online. I’ve had many requests for an ebook version of the blogs I’ve been posting since 2010 anReleasedd I’ve finally managed to put one together. It’s the first of two volumes. At some point, depending on the length, I plan to make it available as one volume on Kindle and if there is a demand in paperback as well.

It feels as though I’ve come to the end of an era. It’s not that I’ve written everything there is for me to write on the topic of aging, but I’ve gotten past the shock and awe of the midlife adjustments. I’m pretty sure I will never stop questioning and evaluating the process of getting old, but that something significant that happens at midlife, when you change from being young and looking toward the future with hope and anticipation, to someone who values congruence, wisdom and depth in all things seems to be complete, insofar as anything like that is ever complete. My thoughts and writings on the process between then and now are contained in these blogs. Now, I will be leaning into the process of what is next to learn on this part of my journey.

If you are entering midlife, or anywhere along the continuum of becoming a bearer of wisdom, you may enjoy reading this book blogs. Perhaps it will give you food for thought for your own journey, or at the very least, provide you with a companion along the way. I always welcome feedback and alternate perspectives. These things are a work in progress, always.

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Do You Really Know What You Believe?

Do You Really Know What You Believe?

 “Not all those who wander are lost.”  ― J.R.R. Tolkien
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

One belief, wrongly held, can cast a shadow over one’s entire life.
What do you believe? Do you know what’s driving you?

Over the last decade in my work with women over fifty, I have heard said countless times, “I don’t feel that way anymore”, and “I don’t worry about that anymore. It’s just not important.” The process of self-evaluation seems to begin in earnest as we begin to feel our bodies entering the “maturing woman” phase of life. There is a clear moment in time when we are forced to accept that we are no longer “young” and in our youth driven society that can come as quite a shock! I see it as a gift.

A shock of any kind can be just what we need to shake us out of our complacency. It forces us to ask the hard questions, to look at what we believe to be true at the most fundamental level. When we ask these questions, when we look deep inside of ourselves and ask, “who am I?” and “what do I believe” we set in motion a tidal wave of change.

Our lives cannot change unless we change…on the inside. This does not always appear to be the easiest option! We think it’s so much easier to just tolerate our discomfort, or change externals to alleviate our dis-ease. We imagine that if we get a new job, a new house, a new spouse, a new blouse all will be well. Has that ever worked for you in the long run? It hasn’t for me.

The bottom line is that to live a congruent, energy filled life as we age it is necessary to line up our insides with our outsides. In other words, we have to get in touch with our fundamental beliefs and values and start living them. I believe we are all challenged to do this, if by nothing else than our pain and suffering, for when we are living and acting in contrast to our fundamental values, we will suffer.

What questions need asking?

Knowing what questions to ask often comes along with whatever difficulty we are facing. When my mother was in the last years of her life a conflict arose in my family as to where she should live. I wanted to bring her home to live with my husband and me. My four siblings wanted her to stay put in the retirement home. My mother gave me every indication that she wanted to live with us, was, in fact, desperate to get out of the retirement home and get back into a more comfortable home environment, but, it was very clear she would not ask directly for this, nor would she advocate for herself. It was left to me to decide whether or not I should act counter to the rest of the family. It was a touch place to be as I hurt deeply for my mother. I understood her sense of isolation and loneliness. I wanted nothing more than to ease her pain, but there would be serious consequences. It was time for me to dig deep and wrestle with what I believed at the deepest level. Here are some of the questions I asked myself:

  • Is it worth creating a rift with my siblings that could cause long after my mother was gone?
  • Was my perspective of the situation of any more value and importance than my siblings?
  • Am I responsible for my mother’s happiness?
  • Is her happiness more important than my own?

I came to recognize that while I value family and doing what we can for those we love to ease their pain, they alone are responsible for their happiness, as am I for my own. Happiness is an inside job. Contentment is an inside job. As harsh as it sometimes sounds, even now, the seeds of my mother’s despair were sowed throughout her lifetime. I could never fix that, nor did I want the responsibility for it anymore.

Asking the question is the first and most important step.

When we look closer at an area of our lives that is causing us distress and pose a question that does not contain the word “do” (i.e. what should I do), or have person’s name attached to it, (i.e. what is Johnny’s real issue), then we are getting closer to the question that needs to be asked. You may want to begin by asking, “what do I believe to be true for me in this situation” and what are my underlying beliefs and values about this situation. Formulating the deepest, richest question you can find will take you in the direction of your answer and your resolution.