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November 27, 2011

To The Morning




I am not a morning person by nature; I love the solitude of night, when everyone is sleeping, and no one needs me- leaving me to be the introvert that I sometimes am.

Even still, I have this image of myself later in life- nestled with a cup of tea, and birds chirping, looking out over the water in the early morning.

Night owls miss what I know are some of the best hours of the day.

On Mondays my alarm goes off at 4:55 AM now for swim practice. "Oh my Gawd!," is what I usually think.

Who the heck wants to get out of a warm bed, put on a bathing suit, and jump into a cold pool?

But I have to say that there are some nuggets of goodness in doing it, and one of them is that it has allowed me to begin to experience the beauty of the morning.

Today's clip is one of my favorite songs called To The Morning by Dan Fogelberg. Circa 1972.

Laying across my bed as a teenager in the 70's, I probably listened to it hundreds of times. Some of the photography is fabulous too, especially as you get further into it.

So if you have the time, sit back, and enjoy.


Watching the sun
Watching it come
Watching it come up over the rooftops.

Cloudy and warm
Maybe a storm
You can never quite tell
From the morning.

And it's going to be a day
There is really no way to say no
To the morning...

And maybe there are seasons
And maybe they change
And maybe to love is not so strange...


November 25, 2011

What We're Thinking

Like many of you, I imagine, it’s becoming more difficult to remember certain things. Such as people’s names, for instance, or trying to recall a word when writing a post, an email, or speaking. I’ve always been a poor speller, but it is getting even more difficult with age. I’m saved by word check for the most part, but not when sending a text. The other day I texted a friend and said that if he found himself bored this weekend that maybe he could begin writing an intro for an idea that we’re brewing. The problem is that when I went to write the word “bored” I wrote “bord” instead. I knew “bord” wasn’t correct, but in the moment, and in my haste, for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to spell it.

“I’m losing my mind,” I half-thought.

My brainwaves are definitely short-circuiting.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that in many ways I feel, like many of you probably do, that some of my thinking is clearer than it has ever been. Perhaps this is partly the wisdom of aging, but I also read recently that some areas of our brain aren’t fully developed until we are 45-50 years old. How great is this? So it’s not just that we have more life experiences to draw from as we age- but also that we’re able to access associations more quickly than ever before.

Amen.

In particular the brain’s prefrontal cortex doesn’t finish developing until mid-life. Among other things, this area of our brain is responsible for organizing thoughts, problem solving, considering the future, making predictions, as well as inhibiting inappropriate behavior, initiating appropriate behavior, controlling impulses, and delaying gratification.

Maybe because of this older people are more apt to grasp the big picture. Maybe this is partly why that at social occasions I am drawn to talking with them.

It is also why there is a group called The Elder Wisdom Circle. This network has more than 600 advisers, age 60-105 that offers free one-on-one advice online.

It’s great to know they are there- the next time any of us are in a bit of a quandary.


 Light bulb photo by Digitalart


November 19, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Diabetes


This week's beauty is 80-year-old actress, singer, teacher, author, and minister, Della Reese. Della is also a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association. She has type 2 diabetes but has been able to control it without insulin because she has slimmed down, exercises, and eats well. And because she feeds her mind good thoughts.

 Della has this to share about life:

  • My advice about diabetes? You can be stronger than it. This is not terminal cancer. You can be stronger than this; you just have to change your mind and change your life.

  •  My idea of forgiveness is letting go of resentment that does not serve your better interest, ridding yourself of negative thoughts. All they do is make you miserable. Believe me, you can fret and fume all you want, but whoever it was that wronged you is not suffering from your anguish whatsoever.

  • You get old when you stop being interested. You get old when you don't create any more.

  • If you're not getting the things you want, need or desire, it's because you have not accepted that you can have them.

  • So whatever it is you want, need or desire or just like to have, you better try to get it now, 'cause this is the only time there is.


Thank you Della. You are a wise woman.

November 15, 2011

Who We Are

"We are all aging everyday, that is the process of living. When we fight it and try to alter it, we lose out on the moments that teach us who we are and not what the outside world wants to see. We all need to age fearlessly so we can embrace... our entire existence of self through birth til death. The very young, young, and old, have their own unique beauty to share with the world. We just have to pay attention to what we are truly seeing."

~ By Maria Certo 


 Photo by Arvind Balaraman


November 12, 2011

Photojournalist Robbie Kaye

Photo Robbie Kaye

Former beauty of the week photojournalist Robbie Kaye's project Beauty and Wisdom is part of Exposure's photography competition. Two years ago Robbie began driving around the country to interview and photograph golden ladies in beauty parlors.


Photo by Robbie Kaye

It is Robbie's goal to not only preserve and highlight the rituals and roles of this overlooked generation in a culture that focuses so heavily on the beauty of youth, but also to demystify the aging stigma and show that older women are beautiful, vibrant and have very much to contribute to society.

Please take a minute to vote for Robbie's Beauty and Wisdom project here.

Muchas gracias!

November 09, 2011

Whatever We Say We Are Is What We Are




This past weekend I went to hear Wayne Dyer and Caroline Myss speak in Boston. I was familiar with Wayne from his seminars on PBS, but had never heard of Caroline. Unfortunately I felt that Caroline was all over the place in her presentation and I carried very little away with me that she had to say. Wayne however, being the master of self- development, had many insightful things to share.

At dinner on Monday Tom was curious to hear what I had learned. I immediately wanted to reach for my notes but he suggested that I skip them and tell him about what popped into my head, which turned out to be a better approach.

So I explained to him that when something new presents itself in our lives, oftentimes our conditioned response is to think that we aren't capable of being successful with it. This conditioned response of course keeps us from achieving what we want.

Wayne Dyer explained that before going to bed at night it is very important to make a statement about what we are trying to be successful with as it will marinate in our sub-conscience all night like a meditation (whatever we say we are is what we are).  He said the last thought we have before we turn out the light is very important- as in "I am_____ " (fill in the blank).

So I explained to Tom, and our younger daughter, that I think my last unconscious thought recently is usually "I am scattered."  He asked what I would like to replace it with and without thinking I said I'd like to switch it to "I am magnificent." I know. Really! This immediately brought me to tears because one of the things that I've been working on is to be more humble. And how does the fact that I want to be the fastest 50-year-old sprinter in the US go hand in hand with humbleness? So you can see that I am having a conflict here.

As Wayne explained- we are all magnificent. After some thought, however, I've decided that my last thought before drifting off into sleep- at least for right now- is going to be "I am focused."

Wayne said that we manifest into our life who we are and that when we change our thoughts, we change our life.

I will say it again because it is so profound:

When we change our thoughts, we change our life.

~Kind of like what we think, we become.

November 05, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Photography




This week's beauty is Terry Lee Cafferty who is a new friend of mine, but already a dear one. We met through The Revelation Project. Terry Lee is 53-years-old and is a fine art portrait photographer specializing in babies and children. She owns the photography studio Lovesome Images which creates family artwork with natural style images that have been described as intimate, heartwarming and timeless. Terry Lee is married to singer John Cafferty of The Beaver Brown Band.

Terry Lee has this to share about growing older:

I am a children's portrait artist and I love what I do. I am fascinated by human nature and consistently strive to capture and document the elements of life that connect each and every one of us. I photograph children because I so love their pure precious light, energy and the way they help us remember to see the world with a sense of awe while reminding us to live in the present moment.

As I grow (older) I've noticed an "ease" and freedom that feels natural to me. I believe that my human task here (on earth) is to learn, and stretch to be the best "me" I can be. With each passing year I get closer to understanding what really matters: family & friendships, faith, kindness, passion, puppies, honest work, saying “i'm sorry”, saying "i love you”, flowers, gratitude, imagination, home, charity, curiosity, the sounds of music & laughter, a good book, wisdom, memories, hope, courage, summer nights, family dinners & a good cup of coffee...just to name a few!

The more I learn and know myself the more I can embrace each aspect of myself (positive and negative) while realizing that those pesky things outside myself bothering me are my teachers -and I use these moments as opportunities to look within. Acceptance of myself and others has taught me that we are all connected in our human search for purpose and meaning. I've found that surrender, letting go & willingness to fail is a fine art - and each challenge teaches me and moves me toward fulfilling my life's divine purpose.

Life is magical- and each experience is so necessary. If we are open to learning and looking at life through the eyes of a student we can experience joy, heartache, milestones, struggles, birth & death all as deeply fulfilling experiences interwoven in the beautiful tapestry of life. I feel awake and alive now- which I have discovered are the gifts of age and wisdom.

The most difficult part of getting older is facing the mortality of ourselves and others.  Missing loved ones who have passed on and then learning how to live and adapt without them in the world has been most challenging for me. Secondarily, I've watched my body change, my facial lines soften but with each "stage" of life, I too, am experiencing a certain level of freedom with myself that was not available before. Focusing on my exterior has become less important and I find joy and peace with who I am inside instead. Don't get me wrong- I do care what I look like!  But, I am so much more at peace with who I am inside- and as the years pass.

Before I turned 50 I spent far too much time worrying about what other people thought. I took on pain and challenges that were not necessarily mine and would try to "fix" things, thinking that I was helping people. It was a huge relief when I finally learned that I can only control and change myself…and that sometimes loving someone and helping them means letting them figure it out for themselves. 
I've learned that I have the power to choose my thoughts and change my thoughts - and that this has provided a path that helps me to interpret and perceive life and it's happenings in more positive and fulfilling ways.  

When I envision myself as an older woman I see someone who is conscious, enlightened, graceful, and kind, and strives daily to love- unconditionally- toward myself and others. I am content to live up to my ideals without stretching to meet anyone else's standards now and this in itself is so freeing. 
I am not interested in growing "old" simply by living a certain quota of years. I feel that the most instantaneous threat of age is when we desert our dreams and ideals. I strive to trust, grow, believe, and flourish rather than to worry, doubt, and distrust…to me, this would be way worse than the years that wrinkle my skin. 

I don't ever want to lose my sense of joy & wonder.

And so it goes....I'm just getting started.
xo


~Thank you Terry Lee for being this week's beauty. Louise

November 01, 2011

The Annex

My Dad named his second to last sailboat The Annex. It was only big enough to sleep two, but he considered it the annex to our home.

He would simply go down to the dock under the old willow tree, row out to her, push off into the current, and contently sail away with the wind.

A friend of mine once said that it's best to have two places for each of us to go. Her annex was a studio on the other side of the island from her home.

For me lately, my annex is in the pool. I no longer struggle to keep up. I no longer feel possessed to keep track of how far I’ve gone. I become a dolphin there. free. unencumbered. playful. streamlined. usually graceful.

For some of you

your annex might be a trail in the woods.

Or a friendship.

A church, or a temple.

Or simply sitting under a tree.

A place where you can sing or yell from the roof tops.

Where you do not have to be good.

And where,

most importantly

you can find yourself

amidst this crazy

mixed-up

wonderful world.