June 29, 2010

Do What You're Afraid To Do

Just like this past week’s Aging Beauty, 80 year-old Janey Cutler, likes to take leaps as well.

Janey Cutler, a Glasgow, Scotland mother of seven, recently auditioned for the TV show Britain’s Got Talent. She says that she always loved singing, but initially thought she was much too old for the show.

Then a friend put her up to the audition saying, “Janey, go for it. Better late than never dear.”

So she did.

Above she sings No Regrets.

I love the reactions of the judges. And hers.

Turn up your volume & enjoy.

Thanks to Ellen for sending this in.

June 24, 2010

Aging Gracefully by Taking Leaps

This week's Aging Beauty is Jules Pieri who is 50 years old. Jules is the founder of Daily Grommet- a cool marketplace for inventive consumer products. Daily Grommet finds really fresh, creative products and tells a story about them, and the person behind them, with a short video clip.  The video gets delivered by email, every weekday around noon. Genius! I always look forward to seeing what great new ideas they have discovered.

I first met Jules when she stopped by The Hole Thing booth at a holiday craft market I was at. I looked at her and said, "Where do I know you from? Wait don't tell me..." After a minute I realized that I had seen her smiling face many times when the Daily Grommet product video arrives in my inbox every weekday at lunchtime. Soon after meeting Jules, the wonderful Daily Grommet team came to visit my studio to film a Grommet about my felted wool line.

Here are Jules's secrets to aging:
  • Delusion. I discovered this by accident. Here's what I mean: I happened to put in frosted hand blown Italian sconces in my home bath when I was 33, and never gave a thought to their flattering light. Now I think I look great every morning! But it does make the harsh light in our office bathroom very hard to take.

  • Take care of your teeth, skin, muscles, and heart. I use a Grommet on my skin--Elizabeth Coburn Gentle Enzyme Peel--every Sunday night. I've also always been a flosser. For heart and muscles I love the 6AM Boot Camp out on the public soccer field I've been doing for a couple years.

  • Taking Leaps. I am not winding down at age 50, I am winding up. Mainly professionally, but I like learning new things like rock climbing and trying things that scare me. Adrenaline must have some anti-aging properties, no?

Thanks Jules, and I hope for continued success with Daily Grommet.

June 21, 2010

Welcome to the Summer Solstice

Photo by Thiago Martins, Brazil
 On the summer solstice ...whatever is dreamed on this night,
           will come to pass ~ William Shakespeare

   The summer night is like a perfection
     of thought. ~Wallace Stevens

 Deep summer is when laziness
 finds respectability. ~Sam Keen

   In summer, the song sings itself.
   ~William Carlos Williams

      Summertime...and the living is easy...
       written in 1935 by George Gershwin.
      Sung by Sam Cooke.

       Happy 1st day of summer everyone :-)

June 18, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Nurturing

This week’s beauty is Rhonda O’Shea who is 51 years old. Rhonda has five grandchildren, and one on the way, and is the wife of one of my most favorite friends from high school. Rhonda has a quiet, humble, and very kind presence. She radiates love & nurturing. Often I have had the thought that we would be very good friends if we only lived closer and saw each other more. I feel like we are cut from a similar cookie cutter if you know what I mean.

Here is what Rhonda has to say about aging gracefully:

"To be honest I'm finally feeling comfortable in my skin. I had my first child when I was 17, which made me different from my peers. It made me feel isolated in a way. It took me almost half my life to realize that a mom is who I was meant to be and love it. In this second half of my life I'm feeling comfortable and proud with who I am, the mother of four grown sons. I do feel my faith, exercise, and meditation pulled me through. I also feel you have to value who you are, before the world can value what you do.

This is a great motto that a friend sent to me:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Great quote. Thank you so much Rhonda.

June 14, 2010

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

Ever since I first saw Dr. Christiane Northrup on PBS many years ago I have been an admirer of hers. Next to my bed is what I consider to be my bible: Dr. Northrup’s first book titled Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom- Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing. The book is about achieving optimal health and fulfillment through a mind-body connection. I bought it for my 40th birthday and reference it frequently as a source of sound medical advice about the body, and the mind.

Along with Northrup’s vibrant personality, she first stole my heart when I heard her say that PMS is a time each month when what needs adjustment in our life gets highlighted. Kind of like the things that we need to work on get put under a magnifying glass. PMS, I learned, is actually a gift, when all along I had been thinking of it as a time each month that I needed to disregard!

Dr. Northrup says many very wise things. Another great line of hers (among several) that caught my attention in the above video is  “All healing, all flourishing, comes from the story we continually tell ourselves.”

We are what we eat, but we are also what we think about. Or as Cindy said, “What we think is what we become.”

So true.

When you have a minute click on the above clip of Dr. Northrup. It might be one of the most informative and reassuring ten minutes you’ll spend this week, or maybe even all month.

Have a good few days everyone.

June 11, 2010

Aging Gracefully by Down-Shifting

This week's Aging Beauty is Ellen Ross ( Ellen Louise Ross) who is 62 years old. Ellen’s 99-year mom and my mom are first cousins. Ellen is also the niece of Arthur who lived to be almost 102. When I was in 3rd grade I very excitedly was Ellen’s flower girl. Ellen is a loving mom to two almost-out-of-the–house boys. She is also a picture of naturalness and wholesomeness, and is an all around wonderful person who I have enjoyed spending time with over the years. I wish I saw her more.

When I first told Ellen about Lines of Beauty she wrote back and said that she is aging gracefully with wrinkles and gray hair- accentuated by putting out teenage fires at the age of 62.

I can relate!

She also wrote: “Things shift at mid-life if we can slow down enough to listen to that small voice within. Slowing down helps to enable us to listen to ourselves, and others as you so aptly referred to in your article about eating. Secondly, look for the positive in any situation and realize that every decade gets better!”

What every decade gets better?

I love this and so far I've found it’s true as well.

Lastly, Ellen recommends Dr. Christiane Northrup’s talk on Hayhouse Radio about the mid-life transition. “Apparently, our real selves and real voices begin to emerge to take care of ourselves", said Ellen.

Our real selves and real voices begin to emerge to take care of ourselves.

This is very important thing to remember and listen to I’d say.

It’s very comforting actually.

Thank you Ellen for sharing your great insights. XO

June 08, 2010

What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change

A few months ago Meredith Vieira from the The Today Show did a great interview with two former models-turned-therapists named Vivian Diller and Jill Muir-Sukenick who have written a wonderful book called Face It- What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change. The book is also about aging with grace and switching our internal dialogue about aging from one of fear, to one of optimism.

Face It coaches us to accept growing older and be happy about it. The challenge the authors put forth is: “Can we keep youthful optimism in our hearts and minds while letting our faces follow their natural course?”

What do you all think?

I think we can.

Forbes has an interesting & very useful excerpt from Face It on their site about the six steps to resolving the beauty and age paradox.

I think one of the important things to mention about our generation is that we can’t look to our mothers as role models in one sense because they didn’t age during a time when society was asking them to try and be eternally young. For one thing our mothers didn’t have to an option to use botox and all the other face freshening options that are available to us now. For another, many of our mothers didn’t have careers and have to worry about how aging was going to affect their place in the work force. The authors of Face It say that we owe it to ourselves, and our daughters & nieces etc, to provide a better role model for growing older.

I couldn’t agree more.

Thank you doctors Vivian Diller and Jill Muir-Sukenick for your wisdom, and for writing such a thought provoking and optimistic book. Thank you for jumping on the bandwagon to help change the conversation.

June 04, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Forgiveness

This week's Aging Beauty is my friend Adrian Leone who is 44 years old, or young, as she says. Adrian is down-to-earth, smart, sweet, and a beauty. Her perspective, and the thoughtful questions she asks, always intrigue me. When I first emailed Adrian to tell her about Lines of Beauty she wrote back and said, “I am totally with you (with my veiny, dry and cracked hands – which I sort of love). Bring on the aging – I welcome it, aspire to it and hope for it.”

Here are more of Adrian’s words of wisdom for aging gracefully:

  • I strive for forgiveness – of myself and others – every day. Yes, it is super challenging some days.
  • I am a firm believer in outdoor time – walking or biking on the bike path. I never listen to music because I love to experience the early morning quiet and listen to the sounds of nature.
  • I love to cook nourishing, vegetable rich meals.
Adrian has been laid up recently on crutches with a broken ankle and unable of course to do many of the things she loves. She says that she could definitely be handling it more gracefully but the good news is that it will pass!

A good thing to keep in mind for all of us when we encounter hard times don’t you think?

Thanks so much Adrian for your contribution.

June 01, 2010

Feeding Ourselves

In my research on aging gracefully I have, not surprisingly, come across some statistics about the growing connection between eating disorders and women’s desire for cosmetic surgery. I imagine, for some women, there must also be a connection between yo-yo dieting and the fear of growing older as well.

When I was nineteen I had been struggling with emotional eating for several years. I was obsessed with food, had a poor body image, and wasn't able to listen to my body for it's hunger/full signals. As you probably know, using food to self-medicate is not unlike an addiction to alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, etc. I was eating not just when I was hungry but also frequently when I was bored, tired, mad, sad, frustrated, anxious, lonely, or feeling fat.Thankfully though, when I was a sophomore at Boston University, I enrolled in a workshop in Cambridge, MA called Feeding Ourselves that transformed the way I think about food and the way I continue to nourish myself to this day.

Feeding Ourselves was created by psychologist Dr. Emily Fox Kale’s in 1975 and is luckily still going strong today for anyone over the age of 18. If you don’t live near Boston, they also have a CD of the program that you can purchase on their site that is very helpful. Plus they do weekend workshops now which allows the program to be more accessible to people who come from a distance.

Feeding Ourselves taught me, among other things, to eat consciously. It taught me to eat what I am craving and not eat what I think I should eat. It taught me be very aware of my hunger/full signals. It also gave me some very useful tools for coping. Our hunger/full signals are not unlike the other signals our body gives us when we are thirsty, have to pee, are overheated, or tired etc. Over time the skills I learned in Feeding Ourselves became second nature to me and I was able to shed twenty-five pounds, which I’ve kept off effortlessly for 30 years.

So I say next time you’re hungry don’t reach for the salad if it’s not what you are craving. Reach for a piece of cake if it’s what you really want. The goal is to satisfy your hunger with what will really satisfy you, not with what your head is telling you to eat. Listen to yourself. Trust yourself. Believe me, it is so liberating.

Here’s a little experiment some of you might like to try:

For one week, every time you are truly hungry eat just what you are craving and stop eating when you are full. The next time you are hungry again do the same thing. I graze all day long like this- eating lots of little meals and snacks- allowing, and trusting, my body to nourish itself. I know this sounds scary just trusting yourself to eat whatever you want but you’ll lose weight if you eat small amounts of what you love when you are truly hungry, and stop eating when you are full. You have to get quiet to be able to listen to yourself like this. Conscious eating is not something that is easily done when you’re at a party!  I think conscious eating is partly about being your own best friend.

Also, keeping a journal is a very helpful thing to do when trying to change any personal behavior that we are “fed up” with.

Self-reflection is a very useful tool :-)