There are some things in life that cost us our peace that we can't really avoid- and then there are the other things that we can. These are the things that are especially important to be aware of, and steer clear of, to take better care of ourselves.
I am sure that each one of us can think of at least one example.
Also this week, a very interesting article from the NY Times called Aging and My Beauty Dilemma, written by the female president of Barnard College.
With the new moon yesterday, my first grand-nephew has arrived and a friend's father passed away. It seems I grieve my own father once again every time this happens.
I've been thinking about the devine energy and love that resides within us all. Perhaps the biggest key in life is trust in our own higher power. Although I don't think my mom could articulate this, perhaps in simpler thinking, it is what she may believe. A widow for over 15 years, now 95-years-old and on the slippery slope of decline, she is alone in the night in nursing care and must be tapping into an energy for herself that is peaceful, trusting and grounding.
Thank you mama for your example of this, even though I know that you probably aren't even aware that you have set this and so many others for me.
My dear friend and inspiration Brenda Stanton (who walked with me in the Nestle ad) wrote a great piece recently about trusting our higher power that you might like to read if you have time, especially her Worthy Work at the end of the article.
I am still sorely missing my friend who died last week. First there was shock of her sudden death, then the celebration of her life and now, the reality that my memories with her are done being made.
Especially hard I think because she is the first friend I have ever lost, but perhaps this kind of thing gets harder as life goes along.
Out of I don't know where, I gathered the strength to speak at her funeral. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have spoken at my Dad's funeral and also my 101-year-old cousin's but this was harder. There were many people I didn't know there, she was my age and there was also a camera telecasting the service to another room for the overflow in the UU church.
I am so glad that I honored her though. I am always glad when I do things that scare the daylights out of me, but this time in particular, I had a story to tell. I honestly think she pulled me through it.
"I am Liz’s
passing, we have all lost a glowing light in our lives.
morning, like the flip of a light switch, she was gone.
For years Liz
has been my walking buddy.
Who knows how
many miles we treaded,
while trying to sort out the complexities of life.
were my nature girl.
The girl who
got me to see so many things that I would've missed had I not been with you.
A bird in a
A track in
sign of spring.
You were a
You were my
You radiated love.
Who willeverforget your smile?
massages provided my 95-year-old mother and so many others, the human warmth
that we all need.
I've been flattened this week with some very sad news. This past Thursday morning I lost my dear friend Liz, who was my longtime walking buddy. She died very suddenly from complications of the flu/asthma.
When I say that she was a very kind and loving person it doesn't come close to describing her fully.
Why is it that I opened my phone to text her the day before she died, actually put her name in, got interrupted with a phone call and never got back to it?
I would have known perhaps how sick she was. I could have helped.
Why is it that she drove herself to the emergency room on Wednesday night and it was too crowded, so she decided to try again in the morning?
Eight hours later, in the middle of the night, it was too late.
Why is that this human was so prominent in my life, and yet, I have not one selfie of us together?
As my one of my daughters said, maybe this is beautiful thing.
That maybe we were experiencing more important things together than capturing a moment.
As I prepare for her funeral tomorrow, I am writing a short tribute to share.
Hold your friends dearly. We never know when they are going to slip away.
In the wake of all the crazy things that are happening, such as the shootings in Fort Lauderdale recently, I'm finding it helpful to come back to what is right and what is working, and more than ever, to be very grateful for it all.
We can sometimes get so caught up in WHAT ISN'T can we not?
On the verge of the new presidency, I thought a bit of humor is in order for this week (see below).
I couldn't help posting this because it's so accurate and funny. The delicious coconut macaroons dipped in dark chocolate that I had a love affair with, not to mention the plentiful glasses of cheer, are now living not so peacefully on my thighs omgoddie. On this last day of the year I'm looking forward to a sugar detox to ring in the new year.
Well not a total sugar detox but just scaling back to my little bits of daily dark chocolate delights :-)
In the end, when all the hunting and gathering was done, love and my Christmas spirit arrived and I had a really nice time hosting. I think I just need to allow my pre-holiday frustrations to seep out sometimes, kind of like letting the air out of an overly full balloon.
On Christmas Eve my sister read a poem with a lovely message. It seemed especially poignant this year:
What is Christmas?
It is tenderness of the past,
courage for the future.
It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow
with blessings rich and eternal,
and that every path may lead to peace.
~ Agnes Pharo
I hope that this year, you felt some blessings eternal too.
Oh how I have missed writing but life has seemed too topsy-turvy lately while preparing to host Christmas.
Just between you and me, I hate the holiday hustle...frankly, besides the tree, sparkly white lights, yummy food and being together, I could just skip it. And even this I could skip. I know, I'm such a scrooge.
The best thing to me about December 25th is not having to do it again for 12 more months.
This year I vowed to keep it simple and not go near a mall. In fact, I vow to not go near a mall ever again if I can help it. I know this is stretching it however...although, we should get use to the concept as shopping malls are becoming a thing of the past, as they are slowly going extinct.
I'm enjoying buying from small independent shops and making things if I can and the rest is so easily done online with google images/google shopping. For instance, I wanted to get my 95-year-old mom some purple pajamas (her favorite color). They will go nicely with her purple glasses and her purple walker and her purple watch band :-) Had I gone out into the world on foot to search far and wide for a pair that I like, it may have taken forever. However by googling them they were instantly in front me. Like magic.
For a bit of humor this week, I bring you this funny, over-the-top clip made by Naya, a breast pump company:
Just a quickie today as I am knee deep in a freelance knitwear project.
A few weeks ago we updated our Iphones to ios 10.0.2 and very soon were curiously out of data.
What the heck is going on, I wondered...
It turns out that in that little agreement that we say yes to, before updating our phones (and never read), there is a clause that if wifi is weak, our phones will automatically use cellular data to improve the connection.
The cell phone companies must be loving this one.
Anyway should you like to turn it off, just go into "Settings" and then into "Cellular" and down at the bottom slide "Wi-fi Assist" to off.
This morning while it poured outside my kitchen window, I did the dishes while listening to Pandora. Burt Bacharach's 1964 ballad, "Anyone Who Had a Heart", sung by Dionne Warwick came on. The words are kind of co-dependent but the melody and her voice...are like sweet butter.
Thank you Burt & Dionne for inspiring me to spin across the kitchen
Last weekend I took a solo journey to Kripalu, while Mr. Fix-It was away. I had never been to Kripalu and was curious to spend some time there, especially since I've been doing more yoga lately.
It had been a long time since I ventured off on my own like this. I don't think I've ever been alone for 3 days, even though there were plenty of other people there. It was a bit scary heading out, but also exciting to be doing it.
What was it going to be like to just be with myself for 3 days?
Who am I when everything else is not there?
Frequently lately, I've been craving more time alone. I've needed to cut the engine and stop taking care of what sometimes seems like a gazillion things and too many people.
I bet this rings a bell with many of you, nurturers that we are.
It turned out that I really liked the solitude, as I thought I would.
I stayed in a non-snoring dorm room with about 20 other women and decided to eat all my meals in the silent dining room. It was actually a relief not to speak with anyone unless I chose to.
One of my favorite things that I did all weekend was take a two hour paddle boarding class, where 12 of us paddled out into the lake, laid down on our boards and mediated among the lily pads and geese, while drifting back to shore. It was divine.
Sitting here beyond mid-life now, it's apparent to me finally what the gifts are that I was given.
Here is the question however, what gifts have we all been given that we aren't aware of because we haven't yet discovered them?
Like the things that we don't know that we don't know.
Maybe one of the best things about aging is discovering parts of ourselves that we have yet to uncover.
If we will only step out and allow ourselves to reach for them.
Perhaps I am a good pastel artist and I don't even know it because I haven't picked up a pastel since I was in grammar school.
For all of us, one of the gifts that we were given is our voice. The ability to speak the truth for ourselves. To say what it is that we are yearning for. To tell it like it is and not mask who we really are and what we want.
Our voice however takes practice as we are sometimes afraid to speak up and share our truths and opinions with others.
The energy to speak is located in our 5th chakra of self-expression.
It is where my energy gets blocked the most I know. When my voice changes pitch it is a warning that I am stressed about what it is I need to say or do.
Or not do.
Sometimes what I really need to do is stop doing.
I know you know what I'm talking about.
Sometimes we need to turn off our phones and shut out the world so we can slip away from the all the pings, and dings, and rings and see what else might happen.
Like the things that we don't even know that we don't know.
This is my dear friend Chris who I have known for ages. She took this photo of herself after getting out of the shower the other day and sent it to me.
She is sixty-seven and without make-up.
Chris has always been a beauty and still very much is, especially with a smile that lights up her eyes.
Along with the photo, she sent this message:
"After decades of attention towards my genetic good fortune, baffled because my looks were no accomplishment of mine, my beauty began to change and my social value did too. It wasn't my turn anymore. I was always more important than my looks AND unprepared for life under a dimmer spotlight. Life in America as a woman was confusing on that count. Now I know the deal and recognize aging as a source of wisdom and grounding.
I've stopped lamenting about visible aging. One of my teachers also a
former stunner, taught me "I was beautiful then and I'm beautiful now."
It has occurred to me in last few years that one of the keys to feeling well, healthy and staying fit is increasing and maintaining muscle mass.
After the age of 40, each year we lose 1/3 of a pound of muscle to fat.
The other truth is this:
Muscle burns 2.5 times as many calories as fat.
I know, I know...
So you can see what a slippery slope it is when we don't continue to build and maintain muscle.
When we don't build muscle, we usually put on more weight as we grow older. The worst thing is that the added weight causes all sorts of issues like knee, hip and back problems, not to mention diabetes. When we stop moving, because we are in pain or because we are unable to move, the slope unfortunately gets even slipperier.
Even at rest, muscle burns 2.5 times as many calories as fat.
There are many ways to build muscle but swimming is excellent because water is 12 times as dense as air. It's great resistance training. This makes swimming a far more effective way to tone muscles than any other cardio exercise on land.
Once we get over having to put on a bathing suit, and bear the 10 seconds it takes to adjust to the water temperature after plunging in, we can gradually add on more lengths each time we swim, until you start feeling like THIS.
Thank you to Sam at Team Sam Fitness for this week's inspiration.
( Sam is a cancer survivor and was hired along with me, to launch Nestle's new Boost product, Simply Complete.)
Thank you also to my mama for her inspiration. At 94 she is still strong enough to not sit on the toilet seat in public restrooms.