Tag: soul

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.

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.

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.

Laughter ~ Balm for the Soul

Laughter ~ Balm for the Soul

Click on photo for article about humor and children.
You don’t stop laughing because you grow old.
You grow old because you stop laughing.  ~ Michael Pritchard
~~~

What would life be like without laughter? One of the many gifts of aging is acquiring the ability to take ourselves a bit less seriously. While some people are just born with the ability to laugh many are not. Most of us, however, can learn. My brother-in-law (my husband’s twin) happens to be one of the funniest men alive. I think of him and I laugh. I replay stories he told in my head or with my husband and we just giggle until tears run down our cheeks.  The facts of his stories are not unlike our own. It’s his perspective that is different and he’s honed his delivery to the level of an art form.  One by one he turns life’s little displeasures into anecdotes that make his listeners roar with side-splitting laughter.  I have learned so much from his ability to look at the humor in a situation and subsequently “lighten up”!

My family of origin was deadly serious. They had very little sense of humor, nor did they seem to get comedy in general. Some people are just like that. Have you ever tried to casually joke with a cashier that just stared back at you blankly? It’s not easy to feel as if you were the one with the problem. It could, however, that your wit  just fell on deaf ears and the next person may laugh right along with you.  Humor is a slippery animal, so much of what is funny depends on a mutual point of reference. But, it is oh so important. In fact, researchers tell us that laughter is right up there with tears for cleansing the body, mind and soul. It will lift your spirits and heal your body like magic.

Fortunately, I married into a family with a great sense of humor and I have gained so much from spending time with them over the years. They have had no small part in helping me to laugh at myself and hone my sense of humor and story telling skills.  I’m happy to say that my husband and I, and our two sons, laugh a lot. Life has been hard, but laughter has become a balm for our souls and a way of making each day a little brighter.

Some of you may be familiar with Perrie Meno-Pudge. I have been following them for a couple of years now and I love that they are seeking to find humor in midlife angst. If you need a laugh now and again, you might want to follow them on Facebook or Twitter or visit their website now and again.  Here’s their Facebook post from yesterday:

‎”MIDLIFE TEXTING CODES EXPLAINED:

ATD ~ at the doctor

BFF ~ best friend fell

BTW ~ bring the wheelchair

BYOT ~ bring your own teeth

FWIW ~ forgot where I was

GHA ~ got heartburn again

LMDO ~ laughing my dentures off

OMMR ~ on my massage recliner

ROFL&CGU ~ rolling on floor laughing and can’t get up

TTYL ~ talk to you louder!

                                                        ~ Perrie Meno-Pudge

“Symptoms of Inner Peace”

“Symptoms of Inner Peace”

photo by D Sander

Sometimes, particularly when life seems full of challenges, we become so focused on what we’ve yet to achieve both in our personal growth and  in our life accomplishments, that we forget to acknowledge or even take the time to consider what already has come to pass by effort or circumstance.

Last week I wrote about the importance of finding a few moments each day for Quiet. I have capitalized the word “Quiet” here because the kind of quiet I’m talking about, and that we are looking for, is more than just the lack of external sound, though that is important, it is a deeper quiet; the kind of quiet that we find when we learn to turn down the volume on our inner noise, on the loud cacophony of self-doubt, recriminations, banter and barter that too often produces a non-stop assault upon our sense of peace and security. What we are really searching for is inner peace.

But would we know what inner peace looks like if we encountered it? Might it already exist but we simply don’t recognize it? The next time you take a few moments to dwell in a “Quiet” place consider the following items. Do you already possess a bit of inner peace?

THE SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE

  • Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.Loss of interest in judging self.
  • Loss of interest in judging other people.
  • Loss of interest in conflict.Loss of interest in interpreting actions of others.
  • Loss of ability to worry.
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.
  • Increasing susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
  • Increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen.

Saskia Davis copyright 1984

For more information on the author and the complete copy of “The Symptoms of Inner Peace” visit Symptoms of Inner Peace.com (A poster can be purchased on the website as well).