April 25, 2012

Window To The Soul

How is it that I have found my favorite time in life but I am so busy that I don't know where to begin first some mornings?

The changing of the tides-

-of our youngest getting ready to set sail, and my mother suddenly becoming my neighbor.

-of setting one small business aside to scarily launch another.

Remember those circular playground rides that we used to play on when we were small at the park? We'd hold on to them and run and run along next to them -until they got going so fast that when we finally jumped on board we'd hold on for dear life, and have quite a ride, but nearly got spun off of them altogether?

That's me these days. Spinning. Spinning like a top suddenly, as I try to make sense of all the options and duties before me. It's an exciting time, but also an overwhelming time. I know that exercise is even more important right now, so that I can continue to keep my center.

I just don't want to spin off my axis.

It's like there's a party going on and I want to shut the door and have a minute to myself.

And to top it off-

like so many women probably at mid-life, I am craving more intimacy.

I just want to wrap myself up in a warm cocoon,

and soak in the rising sun,

and slow down,

And be one.

Photo by Janelle West
Redlands, CA

April 16, 2012

Second Act

I've been busy this week settling my 90 year old mom into her new life at a retirement community just 3 miles from my house. It is a huge change for her to cast away not only her home of 41 years, but also all her friends. Leaving her in her new apartment the first night I kind of felt like I did when I dropped my kids at kindergarten and college for the first time. Are they going to be okay? Will they be lonely? Will they connect with someone that they like? Pleeeease?

I have a lump in my throat as I write this- as my mom is very much still in the process of making her way in her new life here and will for several months to come no doubt. Like going off to college, everything is so new around her. Plus, she is still recuperating from getting knocked over just a month ago and gumptioning up the immense energy that it takes to move and reorganize one's life. The good news is that we are having fun together styling her new digs with all her treasures. I can see that it is very freeing to take only our very favorite possessions with us and leave all the other riff-raft in life behind.

It makes me want to do it.

Anyway, many thanks to Aldra at Consciously Frugal for alerting me to this great Yahoo award winning video series called Second Act, which highlights women and men over the age of 50 who have reinvented themselves. The videos are all so good I didn't know which one to pick, but I ended up choosing this one because what Cindy Joseph has to say so closely supports my intention here on Lines of Beauty.

Another great clip is of 85 year old Louise Hay, spiritual writer, lecturer, and publisher of Hay House (and a high school dropout). She is an amazing women.

She says that how we start our day, is how we are going to live our day, and how we live our day, is the way we live our life.

A cancer survivor, she also shares that "Sometimes the things we think of as the biggest tragedies, turn out to be the best things that could possibly happen."

Have a good week everyone.


April 12, 2012

Aging Gracefully with Wellness

This week's beauty is Carol Mossa who is 57 years old. Carol participated in The Revelation Project, which I am also a part of.

Carol is the director of  The Well Healing Arts Center in Rhode Island and has this to share about growing older:

"A few Mondays ago, I was having dinner with a group of eight women friends. We have been meeting weekly like this for nearly a year.  My point in mentioning the frequency and duration of our get-togethers is to indicate that these are women who know me well. These friends have heard me share intimate details about my life, struggles, and triumphs as a mother, daughter, ex-wife, friend, and business woman. This particular night, we were discussing a recent car accident that had claimed the lives of several local young people.  We began speculating about the cause of the crash, and inevitably, the conversation turned to underage drinking, texting, and the inherent dangers in both of those practices. While I no longer drink alcohol, I am occasionally guilty of texting while driving.

I was willing to rat myself out for the meaningful dialogue that I was sure would follow, so I spoke up, "I'm 57 years old.  I get it; I know better, but I am guilty of texting while driving."

Voices around the table erupted! My friends were astonished. However, they were not dismayed over my deadly habit. "You're 57 years old???" one longtime friend asked in disbelief. Another said, "Shut up! No, you're not. Seriously?" And still another, "Oh, my God---you don't look that old."
I took a moment to thank my friends, to graciously accept their resounding surprise and glee over the fact that I had somehow managed to cheat the aging calendar and appear more youthful. One friend actually said, "I wouldn't put you a day past 45."
So it got me thinking.....

What does 57 feel like?  What should it feel like?  Honestly, I wouldn't trade 45 for 57 anytime soon. At 45, though chronologically younger, I was aging fast. I was 15 years into a marriage that was destined to fail 5 years later.  I was about to enter a dark period of self-destruction and addiction that I thankfully survived thanks to the grace of God and those women (and others) present there that night. 

I feel, at 57, better emotionally, physically, and spiritually than I have in my entire life. I have healthy, loving relationships with my 3 children today.  I smile. I laugh. Loud. I have faith.  As the Director of The Well Healing Arts Center, I am privileged to offer women a safe place to heal their bodies, minds, and spirits.  I have a profound sense of purpose, and for that, I am grateful.

 If I don't text and drive, I have a good chance of making it to 58."

Thank you Carol for being this week's beauty and for your wonderful contribution.

April 03, 2012

Once There Was a Way

When I was growing up, my Dad was fond of The Beatle's song Golden Slumbers. I remember it making him pause and listen when it came on. He'd say things like "Gee, this sure is a beautiful song."

When I headed off to college, I bought Abby Road for him so that he could listen to Golden Slumbers when I was away.

This past weekend, for the first time in awhile,  I listened to Golden Slumbers on the long drive back from my mom's house. It suddenly had new meaning for me.

"Once there was a way,
To get back homeward.

Once there was a way
To get back home.

Sleep, pretty darling,
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby"

My folks bought their house on the river, where my mom still lives, when I was ten. My mom was my age then, and my four older siblings had gone off to college, or off into the world. I was the only one to grow up there.

My parents loved the house, as did I, but it took years for me to truly see its beauty.

Now 41 years have passed and it's time to move my mom to the Boston area. She was born here, and will now live just 4 miles from my house.

This is the good news.

The bad news is that we all have to say good-bye to an amazing home. For me, it's not just where I grew up and where we sailed, it's where I got married, and where our kids, as babies, crawled around in the grass.

It's where our families came together, where my folks grew older, and where, almost eleven years ago, we tossed my dad's ashes off the end of the dock to rest.

The river house, I see now, was the way for us "to get back homeward" and my parents, perhaps especially my dad, knew this.
The sad thing is that very soon, just like the song, there will no longer be a way to get back home.

The blessing is that this house on the Niagara has almost always been in my life. 

Now I just need to make peace with letting it go.