December 02, 2023

Take The Plunge

 

As many of you may know, when covid hit and the pools closed, much to my own shock, I became a cold water swimmer. My very dear friend CYNTHIA BRENNEN has written this great post on her experience and the benefits of cold water:

"I’ve discovered something new and exciting in my life. After many years of resistance, I finally dipped my toe (well, my whole body actually), and experienced the most exhilarating feeling I’ve had in a very long time. It’s hard to describe that “hurts so good” feeling but I will do my best to portray the paradoxical exchange of emotions mixed with the physical effects. But first, a little background..

I practically grew up in the water. Being born a Pisces I suppose I was destined to at least test the fluidity in my life and see if it aligned with one of the many reasons I showed up here. I quite liked swimming and especially attached to the camaraderie and excitement of swimming competitively, but the one thing I absolutely abhorred was that first plunge into the pool. The shock of cold water against every cell of my body sent me swimming as fast as I could just to warm up. Early morning swims were always the worst, still feeling half asleep and wanting to crawl back into bed with my warm blankets encasing me. I sometimes struggled with the reason I chose to take this path, and then I would see my teammates and feel the connection between us as we journeyed those waves side by side. The physical pain we endured to reach the thrill was worth every stroke.

It was during this journey I met my swim sister, Louise. We met in the pool in fifth grade and developed a bond not only through swimming, but through the twists and turns of life. We’ve encouraged and listened, cried and sang with joy, felt the agony of defeat and celebrated our wins, all while testing the waters of life. Louise has been such an inspiration in so many ways, but when it comes to H2O inspiration we become totally synchronized. If it wasn’t for Louise, I likely wouldn’t have plunged back into Masters swimming after 30 years, and I certainly would never have even entertained my latest plunge.

It’s been a few years now that Louise has talked about her year-round cold water swims in Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. I’ve always admired her bravery in doing so, but in my mind, it was the worst torture anyone could experience. She would then express how it’s the best natural high she’s ever experienced, and I would smile politely and say, “That’s great, Lou, I’m so happy for you, but that’s something I could never do.” Remember my trauma of jumping into cold pools my whole life? Well that little mini trauma swam around in my head and never left. And then, Louise sent me an article on stimulating your vagus nerve for better mental health, and lo and behold, the very first thing on the list was cold exposure. It talked about researchers finding that exposing yourself to cold on a regular basis can lower your sympathetic “fight or flight” response and increase your parasympathetic “rest and digest” activity through the vagus nerve. Now it was starting to sink in. This was something that could not only benefit my physical health but my mental health as well. I decided to dig a little deeper and read many articles on Cold Water Immersion Therapy. The benefits of taking cold dips were eye opening; decreases depression and anxiety, decreases inflammation, boosts immune system, manages pain, increases energy, soothes muscle soreness, to name a few. That was enough for me. I called Louise and told her I was filling my bath tub with cold water and ice and taking the plunge! She was ecstatic for me. My first try, the temperature was 72 degrees and I lasted about three minutes, and it was challenging! It’s been two months now and I’ve moved down to 59 degrees for six minutes. It sure is cold when I first get in but I’ve learned to accept the pain to enjoy the gain. The funny thing is, it’s still the first few seconds getting in that hurts, but then a calm sets in and I feel as though I’m enveloped in polar bear skin. It is the most peaceful feeling as I focus on my breathing and move into a meditative mode. And then, I can’t even express the exhilaration I feel when I emerge from the water! My endorphins are so happy afterward that I actually caught myself giggling yesterday as I was drying off. Now I get it, Lou. You’ve got a swim sister on another level now, and I can’t thank you enough for lightly nudging me when my ice wall was up. Your patience and warmth always turns it into a pool of peace.

Over the past two months, I must say that my inflammation has decreased and my mood has elevated to a more positive level. Of course, it is only one piece of the balance wheel. Diet, exercise, meditation/relaxation, and adequate sleep are all pieces of the health puzzle. For me, if I don’t pay attention to the amount of sugar I put into my body my cells scream inflammation, and it won’t matter how many plunges I take. Balance in everything we do is the key of life. I’m just grateful I found another healthy opening for that key to fit into.

*If you’re considering taking the plunge please do your own research and talk to a health care professional you trust to be sure this endeavor is for you.

If you give yourself the green light, welcome to the world of exciting exhilaration and hop aboard the Polar Bear Express!"


For further reading on my own experience of cold water click HERE.

And have a nice holiday season!

xo, 

Louise



October 27, 2023

The Importance of Connection

Everyday it seems the world is getting harder, far less connected and less loving. David Brooks, author of How To Know A Person, was recently interviewed on PBS and he has a wonderful message to share:



September 28, 2023

To Live a Full Life Requires Courage



The river stairs to my childhood home

To live a full life requires courage.

And being courageous requires doing and saying things that make us feel vulnerable. Things that are scary, emotionally risky and uncomfortable.

True intimacy with others, at it's core, is our single hardest task on earth.

Telling our truth and allowing & accepting who we truly are in our hearts, to reveal itself.

without worrying about the judgements of others.


And noticing where our truths resonate for us, and land, and wander,

and come back to us sometimes again 

and again, 

and again

for clarification,


It's good to ask ourselves in times of struggle why something is hard for us.

What keeps happening, that gets in our way?

What part of ourselves are we abandoning that needs to be revealed?

And what have we been tolerating in our life that it is time to let go of?


It's helpful to also remember that there isn't any losing in life, only learning.

So often we are afraid to fuck-up in life but it is there in the wake of what we

perceive to be a fuck-up, to be our greatest learning.

And the gift of a new internal compass for moving forward.


Chose faith, over fear, that things are going to work out,

and be curious and get excited to embrace the unknown.


Living a full life requires courage.

Being courageous means doing and saying things that make us feel vulnerable.


And honestly, being scared is one of the most alive and exciting places to be.

What new thing do you want to usher into your life that you need courage for?

What just whispered to you?


Sending love and courage,

๐Ÿงก Louise

August 19, 2023

The Let Them Theory

 

If you haven't yet listened to Mel Robbin's podcast titled "THE LET THEM THEORY", seriously don't miss it, the next time you are cleaning up the house or out for a walk etc.

I have thought about it so many times and use it to redirect my thoughts to a better space always, as it has for the people that I coach as well.

There is a reason 15 million people can't stop talking about it.

Also, if you know anyone struggling with ADHD, the documentary called THE DISRUPTORS is fabulous too. It is a strengths based piece on ADHD and people of all ages and different walks of life, chime in on the gems of living with it. Dr Hallowell, whom I coach for is in it, as well as many other knowledgeable people in the field of ADHD.

If you aren't familiar with ADHD, it is a neurological imbalance, where the brain doesn't have enough dopamine. One of the secrets to managing it, is to do things we love to do, because the dopamine fuels our brain with what it is lacking. Exercise and sleep is also hugely important.

Hope y'all are having a nice summer, even amidst the rain and global chaos.

My heart goes out to so many people & places right now,

xo, Louise

Garden bouquet and photo by Caroline Fernandes.



May 21, 2023

Fear Existed Before Our Faces Started Changing

 


I'm loving Justine Bateman's message at age 57:



Also my quote of the decade: 

What


We


Believe,


We 


Become.


This is truer than true.


Sending love out into the world today,

Louise

March 30, 2023

Lately




Mount Cook, New Zealand

I've been working hard to unravel as issue with MailChimp about my posts not being delivered to Lines of Beauty subscribers. Endlessly frustrating but my posts must go on without their help for now. I've really missed writing. 

My thoughts as of late:

A is for Always: Always be your own best friend first.  What is it that we need, not what someone else needs?  As my favorite astrologer ARIFA says, “ Do not abandon yourself for the needs of others.”

B is for Bed:  Getting in bed by 11 is heaven for me and anyone with ADHD traits especially. A perennial night owl I can be, and it always screws me up the next day.C is for Careful: Working on being careful in whatever I say or do, especially not tripping down a flight of stairs etc. Being more careful, except for dancing and romps in the hay, of course. ๐Ÿ™ƒ
D is for Depends: “Care for yourself like you life depends on it, because it does." ~SoulSisterCoachingE is for Energetic Intelligence:  Realizing this is my superpower. I see and feel energy that many other people do not and all my senses are highly alert. I love this ability in myself.F is for Too Fast: I am working on slowing down and not being in such a rush. Sometimes I run through life in lightening speed and I am desiring to walk it, more like a toddler. But man is this hard for my brain.G is for Getting on the mat: About 5 years ago I started doing a little stretching and yoga routine that only takes 12 minutes. I do it religiously 3 times a week and I have hardly been to the chiropractor since.

H is for Hurt: It doesn’t hurt to ask. So many desires in life are left on the sidelines when we don’t have the courage to ask for what we want or need help with. 
I is for If:  If not now, when? J is for Joy: The clock is ticking and I'm paying acute attention to what does and doesn't bring me joy and letting go of the things that I can, that do not.K if for Kissing: I can’t live life without it. It’s more intimate than anything I know.L is Listening: Listening to our internal voice and honoring what it is saying and what we need.M is for Motion: I cannot stress how good movement is for our minds, bodies and spirits. Get your shoes on and get moving, especially when life seems rocky. It is hugely therapeutic. 
N: In the spiritual world, the letter N represents always being on alert, like a magnet, picking up new ideas, concepts and vibrations. A mercurial nature that loves to seek out change and excitement and endows the mind with the spark of divine imagination. So heavenly. This is how I like to live the most.O Oh My Gosh: I can't come up with anything for O. Okay, yes I can, see Z below :-)
P is for Procrastination:  People think they need motivation in order to not procrastinate, and what we really need is just to start doing whatever needs to be done and the motion will turn into momentum, which brings motivation.  The joy of getting shit done is HUMONGOUS. 
Q is for Questioning:   Questioning more, as CADY BYRON encourages. Is what I am thinking true? Sometimes it’s just a story we’re making up.R is for Romance:  I don’t ever want to live without it.  S is for Saying: Stop saying yes when we mean no. If this is hard for you to do, ask the person if you can get back to them after you think about it.
T is for There: "There are good days and there are bad days and this is one of them."  ~Lawrence Welk.U  is for Uncover:  Uncover what fear(s) are holding you back from doing or saying, and say "fuck it", and do it anyway. We don't need to be confident to have courage. Courage breeds confidence.V  is for  Vitamin C:   For the first time in my life this year my nails began to chip and peal without reason. Until I started taking a hefty dose of vitamin C each day and realized I was just deficient.W is for Wrinkles:  The aging process has seemed to suddenly speeded up and I am finding wrinkles (or rather “lines of beauty”) everywhere on my body. On good days I am amazed and grateful for this work of art. On bad days I say “Who is this woman? Where did I go? After age 60 the skin really starts to change  I look at my legs sometimes and think what the heck is going on, I’m an athlete?  The truth is I am an aging goddess and a continual form of art, that is as normal as getting our baby teeth. X is for Exactly:  Exactly, what do we want to do with the rest of our short time on this earth? I want to have fun, lots of joy and support people in their growth.Y is for Yesterday: Yesterday is over.  If we are ruminating on anything, it’s time to close the door on sad thoughts and move on to more love and lightness in our lives.  Remember to change the channel when it’s time. Kind of like turning off CNN.Z is for Zipper: Don’t forget to unzip.  Orgasms are the best elixir for so many things, especially stress and worry.  They keep us young and vibrant.  Have at least one a week ๐Ÿ”ฅ

January 01, 2023

The Joys ( and challenges) of Sex After 70




Happy New Year my dears. Life has been crazy but I at least wanted to hop on and share this GREAT ARTICLE. If interested, it's available on audio as well. Appropriate and helpful for all ages. In my experience, orgasms and and exercise are a true gateway to more happiness. 

Not a bad thing to begin a new year!

Louise

October 31, 2022

The Best Years of His Life

I swam the 50-yard-freestyle this past weekend and was beat by a 73-year-old very inspirational man. Not as inspirational, however, as 100-year-old marathoner, Mike Freemont, who shares his story below.  If interested to hear more of his tale about beating cancer 30 years ago, when he was given only 3 months to live, CLICK HERE.

September 21, 2022

Worrying About Our Bodies

 



If you haven't seen Good Luck to You, Leo Grande with Emma Thompson it is a very interesting movie about a widowed woman who has never had an orgasm. This is interesting in itself of course, but in her interview with Stephen Colbert, she discusses how critical all women are about their bodies. 

She poses an interesting question- 

How many women can stand naked in front of a mirror, without trying to improve the way we look?

I certainly can't.

I wonder how often men stand and inspect themselves when they are naked? 

I bet it's a lot less often then we do, and I imagine that when it does happen, not nearly the amount of negative thoughts run through their minds, as they do for us.


August 18, 2022

Allowing Our Piles to Grow

 


I've missed writing but life has felt as of late, as it often does, like a bit of whirlwind.

Woven into the chaos of all the crazy things that are happening in the world and in our country, not to mention environment, I have been discovering a new chapter and renewed happiness for myself.

I spent time tonight reading through some old posts here on Lines of Beauty, reflecting back over more than a handful of tumultuous years.

I guess what I want to share the most is that I have found new life & lightness for myself, after all the turmoil. 

I was pretty certain that I would reach this clearing although I remember being so afraid to make the JUMP, now almost 3 years ago.

I am here to say, that if you are in a rocky relationship, that you've worked hard to save and simply cannot, trust yourself to find a better place for yourself.

Find the courage. It won't be easy but you will be ok!


Today, I was telling one of my kids that I wanted to go to the movies alone but that it felt kind of scary.

She said, "Mom you always use to love going to the movies alone, what's underneath this?

I stopped and thought. Going to the movies alone never use to make me feel lonely, but I was afraid that it might or retrigger the feelings of loneliness that naturally came with divorce.

So I jumped in the car and WENT TO THE MOVIES ALONE and it was so nice!

Especially having not been in a theatre since covid hit.

Anyway, I love the above quote. It's so true! Let's keep piling on good things. We don't have to solve our whole life, nor can we.

Be organic, let life flow. There is no need to define anything, except for what makes us happy and unhappy.

Life is short, especially now.

Let's get on with doing what we love to do and don't let anyone rock our joy!

If something costs us our peace, it's too expensive.

(and we know if something is right, when it feels good in our bodies).

So stay away from the news, most of the time.

notice beauty, 

notice honor

and keep letting our piles of good things grow.


Here's to love!

Spread it everywhere, 

like sunshine,

Louise


June 10, 2022

The Untethered Soul




I've been directing some of my coaching clients to a really good interview with Michael Singer, who is the author of the above quote from The Untethered Soul and also the author of The Surrender Experiment. He speaks in part about noticing our negative thoughts and allowing them to drift by, instead of ruminating on them, as the brain likes to do, which is such a waste of both time and energy. 

Our thoughts are not us, they are just thoughts. A hard concept to grasp but it’s true!

When we boil it all down, negative thoughts and worrying are simply stories that we tell ourselves. 

I love what LOUISE HAY (author of You Can Heal Your Life) has to say about this as well:

"The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives."

If you'd like to listen to an interview with Michael Singer while you drive, walk or fold laundry etc,  you can enjoy it HERE

Also 52 of Michael Singer's quotes and his interviews with Oprah are HERE.

And lastly, I highly recommend The Untethered Soul Guided Journal, which is very quick, readable and full of great spiritual support and advice.

The quote below isn't Michael Singer's but from the Course in Miracles. Also a very good one.

A special thank you to Lines of Beauty readers who send me lots of good things to post.

Sending love & hope out into the world,
Louise





May 25, 2022

The Beauty of Touch

I've been meaning to write this post for forever and here I finally am.

My goodness is our world in a precarious place however, on so many levels, but maybe what I have to share will help lighten the heaviness, if only in some small way. 

Like many people, I've been a very sensuous being from a young age (reports my much older sister) and this piece of me only continues to blossom and nourish me, as I continue to grow older.

Physical touch, whether through handholding, hugging, massage, dance or through a deeper sexual connection with another soul, or just alone, is my very favorite thing in life. Nothing beats it for me- it's healthy, full of great chemical releases, it's free and what our bodies were naturally born to do.

And it's a great stress releaser.

I credit my comfort with physical touch partly to my parents who showed their love for my siblings and me, and with each other, partly through touch. 

So what follows is a hodge-podge of things that I have learned:

  • The first is from the book The 5 Languages of Love. Author Gary Chapman's test HERE is what confirmed for me, several years ago, that my top language of love is physical touch. It's interesting to learn what our top languages of love are.

  • If you haven't seen Netflix's 3-part series, THE PRINCIPLES OF PLEASURE, it is very good. Our Bodies- Our Minds- Our Relationships

  • The art of Slow Sex. There is lots of great info on the web about this very sensuous, gourmet form of slow sexual connection but this VIDEO explains how wonderful it is to slow things way, way down.

  • The Sexual Enhancement of taking a toke of weed. If you don't already know, it's great for dancing too.

  • This TOY is the bomb.

“If we can let go of our traditional notions of what does and doesn’t ‘count’ as sex we might discover something altogether more fulfilling. I like to grab parts of a partner’s body, to really worship the texture and feel of a leg or a stomach. “



  • And lastly, I leave you with FOR HER, that I wrote several years ago.

I hope you all are enjoying these first breaths of summer,

xo, Louise

February 27, 2022

January 28, 2022

Serenity in the Storm


Hopi Indian Chief White Eagle commented on our current situation:

′′ This moment humanity is experiencing can be seen as a door or a hole. The decision to fall in the hole or walk through the door is up to you.

If you consume the news 24 hours a day, with negative energy, constantly nervous, with pessimism, you will fall into this hole.

But if you take the opportunity to look at yourself, to rethink life and death, to take care of yourself and others, then you will walk through the portal.
Take care of your home, take care of your body. 

Connect with your spiritual home. 

When you take care of yourself, you take care of everyone at the same time.
Do not underestimate the spiritual dimension of this crisis. 

Take the perspective of an eagle that sees everything from above with a broader view. 

There is a social question in this crisis, but also a spiritual question. 

The two go hand in hand.
Without the social dimension we fall into fanaticism. 

Without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and futility.
Are you ready to face this crisis? 

Grab your toolbox and use all the tools at your disposal.
Learn resistance from the example of Indian and African peoples: we have been and are exterminated.

But we never stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire and rejoicing.

Don't feel guilty for feeling blessed in these troubled times. Being sad or angry doesn't help at all.

Resistance is resistance through joy!
You have the right to be strong and positive. And there's no other way to do it than to maintain a beautiful, happy, bright posture.
Has nothing to do with alienation (ignorance of the world). It's a resistance strategy.
When we cross the threshold, we have a new worldview because we faced our fears and difficulties.

This is all you can do now:
- Serenity in the storm- Keep calm, pray everyday- Make a habit of meeting the sacred everyday.
Show resistance through art, joy, trust and love.'

January 08, 2022

The Silver Linings

 


I've been scanning for the silver linings of Covid, like an inspectress.

What have I learned?

What do I want to share?

I've certainly learned to live more in the moment and I'm letting go of the need for security, with greater ease.

Now 2 years divorced, I see, with ever-growing clarity, that I have chosen the right path forward for myself.

I am so very grateful for my health

and for my children, who inspire me, endlessly.

I am grateful for my female friends whom I hiked with in Iceland and Utah last summer.

Thank HEAVEN for women friends, that's all I have to say.

The ease of intimacy, the nurturing.

And for my 4, much older siblings, who all remain well.

I'm grateful for a magical, two-year romance that has come to a close, but healed me in a profound way, as I hope, in some way, it did for him as well. 

In time, may we carry on as friends.

I am grateful for my old running route, that I have circled back around to in the neighborhood, where the kids were raised. For so long it was too painful to return there, but it remains my favorite running route ever, and it's good to be back.

I am grateful that coaching, and learning more about ADHD traits, has helped me better manage my own butterfly ADHD. But between you and me...sometimes I just don’t want to mange it. It makes me feel like I am in straight jacket and I just want to blurt out my thoughts, like jumping beans, or be lost in my own thoughts socially, where I sometimes go :-)

On another note however, I have learned that timing, wording, body language and compassion, is everything in communication.

I am grateful that my coaching practice has blossomed into helping other people manage their ADHD.

I'm grateful to have discovered the healing properties of cold water swimming and that behind the fear of cold water, is such pleasure.

If you are scratching your head about this, just know, that I use to scratch mine as well. 

I am grateful that I have a livelihood where I don’t have to wear a mask very often.
And I am sooooo very grateful for the great outdoors and nature, as it makes me happy to be in it.

Happiness that spreads, everywhere, 

like sunshine.

I am grateful for the ability to connect with people on Zoom.

I am grateful for dating apps and for being able to be curious carefully, in Covid, 

as the world turns.

And I am also grateful, for this time in my life, to comfortably spend more time alone.

This has been the biggest silver lining.

And lastly, 

I am grateful for Betty White....who once said:

"I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple."

Usher in simplicity!

And love.

Because the more we love, 

the more we live. 

Here's to 2022,

whatever it may be, 

may we find the peace, 

to just be in it. ๐Ÿ’—