Tag: wisdom

“Voices of Wisdom Series” – Coming Soon!

“Voices of Wisdom Series” – Coming Soon!

Voices of WisdomThe VOICES OF WISDOM SERIES will begin August 3rd!

I’m so excited! Things are falling into place for the Voices of Wisdom Series. I’m thrilled to have so many wise and courageous women offer to share a bit of their story with us here. I know we will all gain insight, perspective and inspiration from them. I can’t wait to get started!

If the stars hanging over my world stay in alignment, the series will begin next Wednesday, August 3rd. Each subsequent Wednesday we will hear from another wise woman. Occasionally, I will post a book review of a memoir written by a woman over fifty or a book that I found helpful in my own journey through midlife and beyond.

Let me introduce you to the first two women we will hear from:

Debby GiesVoices of Wisdom, author of Conflicted Hearts, A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt

Debby is a nonfiction writer who loves to write in memoir. She loves to write about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues — a woman after my own heart! Debby’s childhood challenges helped her to develop an inner strength and a zest for life. Her fighting spirit served her well until a health crises in her mid-forties turned things upside down. She shares what she has learned since then in our first post next week.

Voices of WisdomKathy Pooler, author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse

Kathy Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner.  She has also navigated her way through domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure. She has amazing courage and strength and we have much to learn from her journey and her writings. Kathy’s post will appear on August 10th.

 

 

I hope you’ll join in the fun! I’ve enjoyed meeting every one of the women who will be joining this series so far. I hope to meet many more wise women in the process.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Your voice matters! Be a part of the Voices of Wisdom Series – [/tweetthis]

Writers Guidelines

 

Shape-Shifters & Magical Reinventors – Voices of Wisdom

Shape-Shifters & Magical Reinventors – Voices of Wisdom

SHAPE-SHIFTERS & MAGICAL REINVENTORS

Voices of Wisdom in a Chaotic World

 

Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? …We are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves.” – Diane Ackerman

 

voices of wisdom
Dragonfly and Daffodils watercolor by Marilyn K. Jonas

How dull life would be if we always remained the same! Yet, day-to-day life in this crazy, mixed-up world has activated a visceral longing for peace and security. I’ve read numerous blogs in recent weeks written by friends who are trying to find a way to navigate the political and social morass that greets us each morning via the little black box that sits in the corner of our homes. I’m not talking about the TV. That is only one vehicle of transmission. No, it’s so much larger than that now. There are copious avenues of transmission, each vying for our mental and emotional attention with great bravado. An attempt to fight off the incoming feels about as successful as putting a finger in a hole of a sinking ship.

Joan Z. Rough, author of SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go, (September 2016) and a self-proclaimed news junkie wrote in this in her blog last week:

Managing my stress is an important part of my self-care. I do not want to live with constant anxiety which turns my gut into a churning cement mixer filled with rocks. I get jumpy, depressed and feel hopeless. At the ripe old age of seventy-three, I want a life of ease. I can’t afford the damage that stress causes to my mind, spirit and body.”

Joan goes on to explain just how she reacts to too much news and what she is doing about it. Like many women over fifty, Joan is a shape shifter, a magical reinventor. She finds her way through life’s endless treacheries, by building her wisdom bank account. She is not trouble-free. No one is, despite the impression many give on social media. Joan is simply bold, brave and courageous more often than she is not.  She is open to growing, changing and learning the deeper, richer truths of life. Follow her blog and see for yourself.

Daisy Hickman, whose memoir The Silence of Morning I recently reviewed here, also flies through life-like a dragonfly. She shares her wisdom for navigating this “brave new world” in her post Disconnect From Uncertainty and Chaos. I learn something new about shape-shifting and courage every time I enter the Sunny Rooms Studio, where Daisy shares her wisdom. Her cyber studio reflects her philosophy of life and her how she has come to avoid too much chaos:  “A sunny room isn’t about always being upbeat, energized, or falsely positive. Rather, it’s about exploring topics that take us beyond the contentious nature of the world — the noticeable penchant for conflict, negativity, acrimony, controversy, and drama. There is more to life than surface distractions.”  Ah…that is wisdom. 

When I began Aging Abundantly, what seems now like a lifetime ago, I was consumed with what I often refer to as my “midlife transformation”. The quote, “Just when a caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly” became my personal mantra and the focus of my understanding of the aging process.  I entered midlife thinking it was the end, only to discover that it was the beginning. I was being melted down into viscous matter, as was my life, in order to be re-born into a more meaningful way of living and being.  I’ve come to believe that while our deepest transformation, or “dark night of the soul”, may occur in one fell swoop, the process of transformation, never ends as we are in the game. We don’t ever “arrive” unless we turn our backs on the process, and even then it has away of coming after us.

A decade later as I approach sixty-five, I am no less enchanted by the women of wisdom I continue to meet through Aging Abundantly and beyond. I feel blessed and privileged to have a little black box in my house that allows me to reach out and touch so many of them, to learn from them and with them, to walk beside them as together we grow, change, evolve, transform, and search for the gifts not only of the aging process, but of life itself.

As I move on in my journey, I find myself longing to focus in on the completion of several books I have started, in-between trauma and transformation, and keeping up with this and other endeavors. I long to put everything aside and sink into the writing of a memoir. I’ve always had more ideas than I could ever complete, now I have to accept that condition and work within its limitations.

I am not abandoning Aging Abundantly, I will just be shifting its focus from only my words to the voice of many. There is such beauty and wisdom in the collective vision of our generation. Together we are creating a tapestry of wisdom, unique to this time and place and I hope to be able to pick up a strand or two here to share with you as I launch The Voices of Wisdom Series™. Each Wednesday, I will introduce you to a woman whose wisdom I have come to value, and together we can listen to her voice. Sometimes the post will be written by others, sometimes I will post interviews and book reviews. always with an eye toward gleaning wisdom from voices of wisdom.

Wisdom, as defined in the Free Dictionary is, “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right and lasting; insight.” Each guest post  ill offer a slice of wisdom as it pertains to aging abundantly in a chaotic world. Be sure to tune in as they sprinkle a little of their magic on these pages and inspire and assist us in becoming more ardent shape-shifters and magical-reinvetors.

If you are interested in participating as a guest in The Voices of Wisdom Series™, please send a query and brief bio to me at DSander@AgingAbundantly.com. For more information visit Guest Post Guidelines.

 

Soul Encounter – An Encounter that Goes Right to Our Soul

Soul Encounter – An Encounter that Goes Right to Our Soul

A soul encounter
A Soul Encounter

A soul encounter often comes when we least expect it.

My grand-dog Rowdy and I have done our fair share of walking in the rain lately! Like many on the east AND west coast, we’ve had one of the rainiest (and warmest) early winters on record.  I often walk to settle my nerves and with the holidays fast approaching Rowdy and I headed out for a “calming” walk up our blessed hill.  I live in a hilly, wooded area and as often as I curse the incline I am compelled to climb each day, I am grateful for its health providing benefits and its beauty.

As we rounded the corner and relaxed into the straightaway that takes us past a beautiful wooded stream, I happened to spy a pert, colorful leaf in the gutter. It jumped right out of the drab and dreary landscape, a splash of color on the soggy terrain. Despite its small stature and seeming insignificance, it drew my attention away from everything around it…and took my breath away. It was a soul encounter of the first order.

I moved in closer to snap the picture you see to your right, hoping beyond hope, that it would  convey the feeling it evoked in me. (It didn’t and doesn’t.) I stood a moment, trying to hold on to that something,  then continued on deep in thought.

Why did that seemingly insignificant encounter go right to my soul?

Did I only imagine it? Why did it draw me in? What did it symbolize to me? I thought about how often we must all pass just such incredible moments, never noticing. Would someone else passing this way see what I saw? Or would they be oblivious to it.  I wanted to understand the texture, the meaning, the emotion beneath this brief encounter.

I groped and reached and leaned into the moment, searching for its message. The first words that jumped into my mind were lone leaf. The singularity of the leaf was important. It stood alone. We usually think of a leaf as part of a collection of leaves. We don’t often see a tree with just one leaf, standing erect in full sight.  We usually take them in en masse. Of course, we may collect a few, wax and display them, but in their natural setting they are seldom seen alone. The juxtaposition of the solitary leaf, elevated on the twig that held it, against a backdrop devoid of color, turned the ordinary into extraordinary…for me at least. This lone leaf, in spite of being at the end of its life, made a statement, beautiful, strong and compelling.

As we add years to our lives, aren’t we very much like this lone leaf?  We are no longer green, yet we are colorful!  We are often set apart and alone, no longer a part of the main stream. We are weathered and scarred, but our strength and beauty shines forth in a different way than when we were young, but every bit as beautiful. Our uniqueness, our resilience, our ability to stand apart, impacts the landscape. Just as this lone leaf lit up the dreary, dark ground as I walked, we too have something to add to our surroundings. We are worn and scarred,  but the beauty that gathers in our veins, oozes through our pores and overshadows all else. We are also prone to soul encounters, and that is a gift, a gift of years lived and of wisdom gathered. It is ours for the taking should we be willing to open ourselves to it.

A soul encounter is a gift of age.

When we stand strong, resilient and grounded in all that has gone before, acknowledging and letting in what life has taught us,  we are able to cast a light upon the path of those who follow us. Each soul encounter we experience serves to ground us further.

We cannot, nor should we, deny the passing of time or the wounds we have suffered. As women of wisdom we are gifted with the responsibility to rise out of the ashes and like the Phoenix soar;  prove to all who follow that the journey is worth every bit of the pain and struggle.  It is our job to share what we have learned while staying focused on rising from the ashes.  Let’s cease wasting our energy trying to turn back the hands of time. Rowdy Resting

REFLECT ON PEACE – A Selection of Quotes on Peace

A COURAGEOUS OLD WOMAN

A COURAGEOUS OLD WOMAN

Dogwood BlossomsWhen we moved into our home nearly twenty years ago I was delighted to discover that we had a beautiful dogwood tree right outside the living room window.  Healthy, strong and stately — in a delicate dogwood kind of way – our tree has delighted us year after year. Unlike the wild dogwoods one sees along the Carolina back roads, with spindly limbs and small white blossoms, this tree provides a showy display of large white blossoms, and has the distinct feature of a whole branch of pink blossoms!  While this is not altogether uncommon in cultivated dogwoods, I have always felt fortunate to have such a beautiful tree growing and healthy in my front yard.

The tree was probably at least as old as the house was when we bought it, if not a bit older.  That would have made her twenty-five plus years then.  Now, she’s much, much older, and like me, she has gathered a hitch or two in her get-a-long.  Sadly, she’s less and less showy each year and I was heartbroken to discover her pink branch was lost last winter in an ice storm. There were no pink blossoms this year.

She has been battered and bruised over the years; neglected during a long dry spell in our business when we could not afford to give her the extra care she needed. She weathered another dry spell when nature held back necessary sustenance, a drought that brought an end to the life of our beautiful big maple, and it took its toll. I study her weathered bark and broken limbs, the scaly lichens that finds her a delightful host. I bear witness to her crooked starts and stops and feel aches and pains as if they were my own. I often wish we’d treated her better and taken her less for granted.

I sit beside the window and drink my morning coffee each day and still feel blessed to have her here with me. She holds a different sort of delicate beauty and like an old woman who has more inner determination than physical strength to keep on keeping on, her vulnerabilities are overshadowed by her strength to live on.

I can’t help but wonder about her vulnerability to disease and weather extremes. When her leaves fall in recent years one can see her scars more plainly. I wonder if I should fertilize her, prune away the dead bark, or leave her be.  I wonder if there are things that are weakening her that I can’t even see. I fear not doing enough for her, and I fear doing too much. I felt very much the same way when my mother lay close to death. Should I force her to eat? Should I just let her be. No one wants to be responsible for neglecting a loved one; for not doing something one should to sustain them; but I learned then that there is a time for letting go and letting God.

As for the dogwood,  I learned too late that trimming her branches in an effort to help her grow into her fullness actually created openings for insects and disease.

Many days I feel much like this old dogwood tree. Once innocent and resplendent as only the young can be, I have no doubt that an oddity or gift or two escaped my notice.  I believed myself strong and capable of weathering most any storm that might come my way. Like our lady, I was assailed on many sides, but it was the ones that I did not anticipate or perceive that created the most harm. I’ve lost a branch or two along the way. I’m not as physically strong as I would like to be, and yet my will to live and be and continue to become grows stronger with each passing day. I know it will be a race to the finish. I also know which will win!

No matter how things turn out for the dogwood, or for me, we’ve had a hell of a run and put up a hell of a fight to blossom and share what beauty we can. I hope she out lives me. I would hate to see her go.

THE MASKS WE WEAR

WOMEN STYLIN’ AT EVERY AGE

Simplify Your Life

Simplify Your Life

By Jim Daly Americana Artist
By Jim Daly
Americana Artist

Windows to Wisdom: “Simplify your life. Make room wherever and whenever you can for new ideas, new experiences, new friends, and new experiences.”

Have you ever asked yourself, “What do I really need to be happy?” Most of us live wrapped in a cocoon of material abundance. Even if, and maybe especially if, we think we do not have enough, most of us have everything we need. Perhaps it is our propensity to keep looking and striving for more that makes it impossible for us to appreciate what is right in front of us. The noise in our head blocks the path to our heart.

Many over fifty, particularly women, have fallen on hard times financially. Choices and happenstance, divorce, job loss, medical expenses can pile up to the point where we feel as though we are living in a vice. If we’re not careful, self-pity and despair will become our outlook on life. We may become so focused on what we do not have, on our lack, that we forget to be grateful for all that remains.

Simplifying one’s life in all areas creates space for the “enough” to filter through.  Eliminating the longing, the self-pity, the demand we place on ourselves to keep up with our own expectations,  opens a window and allows the fresh breezes of a new perspective, a new appreciation for what is right in front of us, to blow in and wash away the debris of the past. Contentment may just be right in front of us, right within reach. We simply need to make room for it.

Simplifying is a process and a practice, not an exercise we do once.  To carry the expectation that we can sweep through our lives, strip everything away and walk away free and at peace is an illusion. You see the process of simplifying is both internal and external and one depends on, and supports, the other.  It requires changing many thought patterns, habits and behaviors, each one a valuable step in the process. If we do not walk through the process we may find ourselves back where we started in no time.

Wherever you are in the process of simplifying begin there. Even if you’ve already eliminated all the extraneous things in your life that you think you can, take another look. Is there a habit of thought that does not serve you? Is there a book on your book shelf that someone else might benefit from? Push the edges of your comfort zone. It keeps us on our toes, it keeps the air moving within us, it keeps some space for the voice of our hearts to emerge.

A Grateful Heart

A Grateful Heart

Jim Daly  (66)I am grateful for the loving force that comes into the hearts of men and women around the globe inspiring them to reach out to the broken hearted, the poor, the hungry, and all who suffer; for humble servants of truth and compassion who break down walls and free those in bondage; for knowledge and wisdom that opens minds and lays to rest the fears of ignorance; for the abundant grace of nature and the winnowing force it sometimes brings to bear upon our arrogance, taming and teaching us the lessons of humility and strength. I am grateful for the sacred beauty and magnificence of music and art and the souls that create it; for the gift of hearing, for sight and physical sensation that allows us to take it in and to be transformed by it;  for the gift of grace and understanding extended by loved ones; for mothers and fathers who do their best to embody unconditional love and provide a safe and secure environment for children; for the innocence of children who do not yet know the constraints, restrictions and taboos of the adult and who embody joy and freedom, play and unbridled expression; for sweet smelling babies and their warm, cuddly soft bodies; for faithful pets who sometimes take better care of us than we of them. Most of all, I am grateful for life and love, for the rich and varied experiences they have given me, and the opportunity to share what has been born within me with others. I have been truly blessed.Happy Thanksgiving,

Dorothy