Tag: women

Mindfulness Mantles by Kay Moates

Mindfulness Mantles by Kay Moates

mindfulness mantles by kay moates

Kay Moates’ artistry is not about Kay and yet she is the essential ingredient in the making of her mindfulness mantles. Every stitch she takes is done in a state of mindfulness, her art is her meditation practice, and her very personal practice a very personal gift to her patrons. Kay, the artist and the woman embodies the spirit of acceptance, love and generosity. Her fundamental  and profound openness to the beauty of nature a blessing of connection to the world and all that’s in it.

In a previous life, Kay was a gifted dancer.  She did more than teach dance, she used it as a vehicle of healing for children. For twenty-seven years she created and directed Imagination in Motion, a creative movement dance company for young children, where dance was inspired by all forms of art and accompanied by improvisational music by a pianist. Through dance the children were taught to express the inexpressible.

There came a time when Kay realized lit was time to move away from dance.  She needed to care for and protect her aging body by reducing the stress that dance was placing on it. The desire for expression, however, was not yet ready to be silenced. She knew she would have to find a new medium to engage her creativity.

This is how Mindfulness Mantles, and her website On Slender Threads came into being. “From moving children through time and space to moving  fibers and stones into Mantles my work continues to focus on calling forth awareness to deepen life’s connections. Into the new I dance…” Fortunately for those of us whose lives she has touched and whose shoulders are now wrapped in the warmth and comfort of a beautiful handmade Mindfulness Mantle, her outreach continues.

Kay creates mantles that are both ornamental and practical. They are decorative, comforting and perfect for meditation and healing.  You will be warmed by her beautiful mantles, but more importantly you will be healed and uplifted.

Here’s how she describes them:

mindfulness mantle
Many include complimentary earth gems like this one.

Mindfulness Mantles ~ a gift for your Soul ~

companioning your journey,
celebrating your changes,
embracing your inner sanctuary,
ever gentling you deeper into being

many shapes, many fibers,
many stones, many colors,
many sizes
whoever you are,
whatever your pain,
there’s a Mantle for You

Created in silence with intention, Kay Motes offers healing and love to all those whose lives she touches.

See them for yourself by visiting her website On Slender Threads. 

Treat yourself to her healing touch by taking a tour

of her latest mindfulness mantels. 

[tweetthis]”Take care of you and there will be more to share with others.” DSander[/tweetthis]


Mindfulness Mantles kay moates 2
Follow Kay Moates’ Facebook page On Slender Threads where she posts her latest designs and positive, uplifting messages. 

Kay’s Mindfulness Mantles make wonderful gifts. They are beautifully wrapped and will be shipped directly to the recipient upon request; perfect for a friend or relative who is ill or going through a difficult transition, a bride to be, to honor a birthday, the possibilities are endless.

 

The Mask of Fear – International Women’s Day

The Mask of Fear – International Women’s Day

International Women's Day 2016International Women’s Day and the hashtag #OneDayIWill

I planned to write a blog on fear today, but the first thing to capture my attention was the header on the Google Home Page noting International Women’s Day. I know women in this country or more blessed than women in other parts of the world, but I couldn’t help but be struck by the tag they offered for sharing this important day: #OneDayIWill –  It bothered me instantly. It’s good to hope. It’s good to dream. In this country, our mindset, particularly as women, has been set too far in the distance. We’ve lived too much in the future and not enough in the present moment. Why?

I believe it’s because we struggle every minute of every day to face our fears. We live more in fear than we do in hope and faith. Fear locks us down, freezes us up, keeps the words stuck in our throat. It feels awful and so we get a lift when we plan, when we look to the future, when we dream that #onedayIwill. Today, on the other hand stymies us.

As a result we find ourselves trapped, stuck, immobile, only daring from time to time to dip our toe in the water of life. We dare not jump because what if? or, the words we’ve heard again and again from our families, our culture, our teachers – “now be reasonable dear”. Many women can’t find a reasonable bone in their bodies when they embrace who they are. Well, that’s an exaggeration, of course, but women are so much more than reason. They’re expressive, emotive, expansive, creative…oh, my Lord, they’re creative…they live in very wide circular motions that spread like ripples on a pond. They simply become afraid to drop the pebble in the pond.

So, no, I don’t think that #OneDayIWill is an appropriate tag today. I prefer… #IAm … or how about, #Iamwomanhearmeroar.

I’m flying out the door because if I don’t I will be late for an appointment.  I haven’t proofed this, or read through, or planned it in advance. I, quite simply dropped my pebble in the pond. I hope you will too!

A Post Went Viral – What It Says About Women Over Fifty

A Post Went Viral – What It Says About Women Over Fifty

A post went viralNo one was more surprised than I….

when I looked at my stats on the Aging Abundantly Facebook page a couple of weeks ago and saw that a post went viral.  I thought I was seeing things. What I was seeing was what going viral looks like in numbers! It made me giggle because I absolutely never advertise on Facebook and I bet if the powers that be happened to notice they’d be really bugged!

Historically I have gained on average 10 followers, give or take, a week since starting my page in 2010.  On February 2nd the page had 7,199 followers, all gathered like a rolling stone gathers moss. Today, a month later the number has nearly doubled.   One single post that I casually posted like every other post made that happen.

Reflecting on the nature of the post and the Aging Abundantly follower’s reactions to it, I began to reflect on what it meant. The post hit a nerve for a reason. It said something about the mindset and self-perception of women over fifty.

This is the post: Be sure to like it! 🙂 AND PLEASE COME BACK and let me know why you think the post went viral. 

WHAT IT REALLY MEANS THAT A POST WENT VIRAL

As of this moment, the post has reached 8,362,751 people. It has been shared 124,542 times. It has received 13 K Likes. I have read every single comment, and with maybe two or three exceptions the sentiment has been a variation of “what mirror, I avoid them!”, or “every day”, or “I hate mirrors”, or “How awful, I look just like my mother!”… or father…or great Aunt Betty. For some there is laughter, for many, many more there is sadness and disappointment, a feeling that they fear they are no longer of value because of the image there mirror reflects.

Mirrors appears in many ancient stories and tales. They symbolize a universal concept – an archetype. Think of the story of Snow White and the wicked witch who was obsessed with the magic mirror – “mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all”?  A mirror shows us something about ourselves that we are not paying attention to, or are not able to accept. A mirror, in this context, reflects to us our shadow selves.

This post went viral because women are experiencing great discomfort with the aging process, despite what the media is saying about us.  We do not like what is happening not only to our bodies or how we appear to the world.  No matter how much we try to make these feelings go away we just can’t seem to find a place of acceptance and love. We go about life either hating what we see in the mirror, not looking at all, or laughing it off hoping against hope that we will morph back to a younger age, the person we used to be.

I believe this is a symptom of both our victimization by a youth obsessed culture and our inability to see the truth about the gifts we now possess.  We continue to have distorted expectations, warped values that all translate into self-loathing and shame. Many of us have been talking about this for a decade or more, but it would seem that there is much work still to be done. I’d like to imagine that one day we could see the aging body as a beautiful symbol of a fully lived life – a body richly decorated with the beauty of life itself and the courage it has taken to survive. I would like to look into the eyes of an old woman and see strength and character, not fear and self-loathing.

Today I saw an article on Huffington Post – 11 Middle-Aged Women Strip Down to Reclaim Sexy On Their Own Terms.  Something about it really bothered me. I admire the women in the article who participated for trying to make sense of it all and for being willing to put themselves out there to do so. However, their unresolved issues around their sexuality caught my attention. The very context and approach of the article and photo shoot was ego-based. Nothing about it spoke to the deeper, more valuable beauty of women over fifty.  It’s as if we’re trying to mix apples and oranges. Why does sexy matter? Why do we talk about it endlessly? Why are we obsessed with sex at every age? Sex, like aging is a natural part of life. Beauty is an inside job at every age. Aging is an inside job as well. Physical beauty is an inside job most especially as we age. We keep talking about this, but keep being drawn back to the mirror provided by the culture.

I don’t think our obsession with mirrors and self-loathing has anything at all to do with our appearance. What it has to do with is what’s behind the eyes that are looking in the mirror – what we see when we look in the mirror tells us how we really feel about ourselves, our life, our value as human beings. It does not reflect the reality of who we are and it’s not about external appearances. I know there have been days I look in the mirror and I like what I see. There are days when I don’t. This can take place when in 24 hours of each other. Did I suddenly undergo an external transformation? I don’t think so. What’s changed is my outlook on myself and my life. It’s about my level of self-esteem. It’s whether I am feeling comfortable in my own skin from the inside out.

The fact that this post  went viral tells me that, ladies, we have work to do! There are masks to be removed, hurts to be healed, and a heavy dose of self-love to be swallowed.

 

THE MOST COMFORTABLE PJs I’VE EVER WORN! COOL-jams!

THE MOST COMFORTABLE PJs I’VE EVER WORN! COOL-jams!

I was recently invited to try Cool-Jams – wicking sleepwear – ideal for our up and down body temperature. Perfect not only for the menopausal years but also before and after! Little did I know that I would fall in love with these jammies. I don’t know about you, but I have to feel “just right” in my pjs.  In fact, I have a drawer full of sleep apparel of all varieties that I keep just because I spent money on them, but almost never wear. They’re either too hot, too cold, too tight, too itchy, too something! I have one or two favorites at any given time. NOW, I have a new favorite!

wicking jams for menopausal womenI suffered through night sweats before I even knew they were night sweats – in my forties. Menopause came around and I had other issues, mostly I never slept! The post menopause years I find I’m not one minute, ice-cold the next. That’s what I like about Cool-Jams. They work to keep your body temperature even. I can tell you what I read on their website about how this works, but you might want to explore yourself. Suffice it to say they have developed some miracle fabric that is incredibly comfortable. I’m not just saying that. When I finish this post I’m going to order a second pair.

To make matters even better Cool-jams has an amazing selection. They even have menswear! I just noticed today that they now have bedding! (Trust me there are men who suffer from hot flashes as they age when their hormone levels go wacky for various reasons. They just don’t talk about things the way we do. So you may want to buy your guy some for Xmas.)

I’m not going to model mine for you. 🙂 But, here’s the one I have. Trust me she looks much better than I do! But, I seriously don’t care because I feel just as attractive in mine!Cool Jams wicking pajamas

 

 

SOFTEST, MOST EFFECTIVE WICKING SLEEP WEAR ON THE PLANET

A Life Review

A Life Review

Fleurs - Jean Claude Papeix
Fleurs – Jean Claude Papeix

When my mother was in her nineties, she became obsessed with telling me stories of her life. I heard about people, places and experiences that she had never shared with me, or perhaps anyone, before. I understood her need to go back and revisit her life in light of Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development. The last stage, “Ego Integrity vs. Despair”, he considered the stage when an individual developed the virtue of wisdom. He contended that during this stage an individual reflects on his or her life and makes a determination as to whether or not it was of value. Their conclusion leads them either to despair and to the belief that their life was wasted or to the conclusion that life was meaningful and of value to society. 

Mom often repeated the same story again and again, almost word for word, as if she had been rehearsing it for a lifetime, but needed to share it one more time, to make it “right”, or make sense of it somehow. It was clear to me that she was struggling to reach a place of acceptance and affirmation. Many times she ended her stories with the wrap up, “It’s been a good life”.  I worried whether or not she actually believed this affirmation as she was so prone to despair throughout her life. 

Now, as the years add up for me, I have already begun to see this process taking place. I am thirty years younger than she was at the time. Had she been thinking about these things for some time, but had never been able to quite resolve the conflict?  Or did I start the process early? Or perhaps, is there another way to look at it.

Carl Jung’s second task in his Seven Tasks of Aging is a “Life Review”. Life tasks seem to arise on cue in most individuals, but we still have the choice as to whether or not we accept the challenge. We decided when and how to step into, and engage, the process in order to be prepared for the next step the task must be taken on.  We learn from a life review as we wrestle with our mistakes, our regrets and disappointments and realign ourselves with our beliefs and our values. Perhaps that is why memoirs are such a popular genre these days. People have more time and freedom to take on this lengthy review process.

we all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves

More by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

It is in the process of a life review that we find our answers. Through participation in the tasks of aging we grow in wisdom and become increasingly congruent. it is important to remember that though we are called to undertake these tasks, it might be better to think of them as on-going processes.  We learn and grow when we embrace them, but they ebb and flow, sometimes urgently calling us, sometimes slipping out of sight for a time. Rising to greet the urging when it appears rather than shying away from it will enrich our lives as we age. 

Have you begun the task of a “Life Review”? What have you discovered?

Depression – Fighting the Battle

Depression – Fighting the Battle

depression
Cineraria

There is no way to measure the pain of depression. There are no blood tests, x-rays, or questionnaires to determine beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or not an individual is suffering from depression. There are educated guesses. There are circumstances suggesting the possibility and likelihood of its presence. How much suffering can be endured is relative to the individual in all illnesses, but depression has a way of going unnoticed, of being looked upon as a behavioral or character flaw, not only by outsiders looking in but by the sufferer as well.

Depression is a nebulous disease. It creeps on us going undetected and managed through force of will and determination. Those with long-term depression often have not known anything other than a dark state of mind. They don’t know they’re suffering unless, or until, it becomes too hard to handle or their lives are turned upside down by poor decisions made by a depressed mind. It’s a tragic disease. It’s a disease that significantly alters the course of an individual’s life. And yet, there is no effective diagnosis and no guaranteed treatment or prevention.

Depression is widely treated with medication and therapy.  Almost anyone can walk into their doctor’s office, tell their physician they’re feeling blue and can’t seem to snap out of it, and be given a prescription for antidepressants — especially women — especially those over fifty. I have a problem with this. We’re a quick fix society that loves a fast, easy solution to problems. I’m pretty sure there is no such thing when it comes to treating depression. There are too many variables. There are too many physical, emotional and experiential dynamics at play.

Popping a pill doesn’t address unresolved issues. Therapy doesn’t address diet and exercise. Like most things, I’m a fan of addressing the whole person when it comes to most things. We’re way too complex creatures to toss a pill at a problem and call it a day.

TREATMENTS FOR DEPRESSION

  • Prescription Drugs – use is on the rise and prices are getting cheaper. Effectiveness is always up for discussion. They work great for some, not so much for others and not at all for a few.
  • Therapy – a valuable addition to the arsenal. Finding the right therapist is crucial. I always recommend interviewing potential therapists and choosing one with whom you feel comfortable and understood; someone who speaks the same language. This takes work, but it’s worth the effort and saves time and money in the long run. Researching types of therapy can be an added plus. More on that later.
  • Exercise – Research has shown repeatedly that exercise boosts endorphins and energy and effectively fights depression. It also combats stress which also can be a factor in depression.
  • Diet – Food allergies and sensitivities can create a physiological environment for depression or worsen an existing depression. Working with someone who understands and knows how the body reacts to a variety foods and circumstances can be very beneficial, a Naturopath for instance. Research has begun to show the ill effects sugar has on our bodies in general and it may in fact, exacerbate depression.
  • Body Work – Everything and anything we do to improve our health and well-being can help counteract depression. Massage therapy, chiropractic treatments, sauna, etc.
  • Spiritual Practices – Meditation, guided imagery meditation, prayer, mindfulness, reflective reading, etc.
  • Education – Learning something new opens the mind to new ways of thinking and re-directs our thoughts along more constructive pathways. Habits of thought are insidious and take a concerted effort to change. Therapy is one avenue, but reading and studying can also be helpful.
  • New Experiences – Depression tends to cause us to shut down and close the doors to our lives. A new experience  may be like a breath of fresh air that lifts the spirits. This, of course, would depend on the depth and nature of the depression.

SEEK HELP AND SUPPORT FOR DEPRESSION

The bottom line is that if you suffer from depression, chances are good that your quality of life suffers. Seeking treatment and support is absolutely a must. It is not something one can manage on ones’ own. It just isn’t. The sooner this is accepted, the sooner relief can be found. That being said, trusting your instincts and being your own advocate is important. If something feels right or works, do it. If it doesn’t, leave it alone and go on to another option. Do consider a variety of simultaneous treatments. We are, after all, very complex creatures!

filigree-motif_3_md

HOW TO RECOGNIZE DEPRESSION IN THE ELDERLY