Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Aging, Authenticity, Family, Food and Drink, Gifts, Love, Self worth, Wholehearted | 1 comment

During the past decade and a half I have grown emotionally and spiritually in ways I never would have foreseen. An inextricable foundation for this blossoming has been practicing extreme self care. I shifted from a place of believing that taking care of myself was selfish and silly to a life affirming empowering practice of giving to me as a reflection of how deeply I love and approve of myself. The chasm I crossed was huge, Grand Canyonish. And so the summer days leading up to my birthday were planned around being unplugged from my purple 'puter, filled with family and friends and surrounded by delectable food, laughter, and joy. Celebrating my birthday is all about being loved, and I am blessed to be loved in so many ways by so many precious people. Then the rain started and didn't stop—it still hasn't stopped. And I learned again (wash, rinse, repeat) the grace of flexibility and spontaneity as I canceled some plans due to weather and created new ones on the spot. I experienced the truth of my coach's wise words, Whatever is good and right for you is almost always what is good and right for everyone involved. Every day Friday through Monday has been a unique celebration of my first breath and I am still reveling in the love. There are unfortunately no photos of Jeff and I at Crescent Beach huddled under our bent beach umbrella (the wind was that strong) waiting out the sudden downpours until we could sit back and read again. (I love you JS!) The ocean was wild and magnificent and my soul rose up in mirror image of nature as a force of action envisoining the endless possibilities awaiting me, in this, my forty-eighth year....

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who was I then?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Aging, Authenticity, Celebration, Family, Healing, Love, Wholehearted, Writing | 1 comment

Day 19 of Verb Tribe we were asked to choose a childhood photo and look at it and then write, Who was I then? I have always loved this photo of me and mom but I've only looked at 'her' for clues to what she was thinking, what that hidden smile meant, how she's holding me. The photo says 1967 making me three but I look younger. I thought this photo would trigger loss and sadness but I feel only joy and love looking at it now. Here are a few excerpts from my bag: "On my God! I was gorgeous—I look like a plump angelic cherubim—my eyes are wide with wonder and I am besotted with my mother—I love her with every iota of my being and she belongs to me." "My happiness bubbles up from a hidden well and this pure joy cannot be contained—I laugh, I spin, I run, I swim, I play; I am love in action. In my heart there is only me and my mother—I am safe." My mom knew how to love and dote on me as a child—I was her life (she'd been told not to have another child after my sister, eleven years my elder). But she was relationally and emotionally unavailable as I grew and in my adolescence I fought (as only a teenager can) for my freedom and left home at sixteen. We were still close after that but on my terms. When my daughter was born she transferred all the love and doting to her. Mom became ill with dementia about ten years ago and I was finally able to celebrate the independent spirit she gave me and the example of living as a non-conformist and always doing things her way as a business owner and optimist. I did not love mom like I did in this photo until the last few years of her life as her caretaker, our roles reversed. I would always tell her she was safe and loved as I tucked her in (exactly as she had done for me, I was terrified of the dark) and I gave her my lifelong Teddy to keep her safe and I would say I love you…and often she would parrot the words back and sometimes not respond at all. But one clear night after a particularly good day I said, Goodnight mom, I love you. And she said with emotion and joy, Oh, I love you more every day. That's what this photo means to me and who I was…and who I am still today.  Mom would have turned eighty-one today—happy birthday mom!...

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Posted by on Jun 11, 2011 in Aging, Challenges, Moving your body, Self worth, Wholehearted | 0 comments

A few weeks ago my daughter shared that she had found an exercise program she wanted to try. I asked her for the scoop. She said it was kinda intense and I may not like it. Now there’s a moment to savor: your child using child psychology on you to get you to do something you don’t want to do. LOL! She wasn’t pushy at all she suggested I look up CrossFit Pinnacle on Facebook and check out their website and mentioned there were lots of videos, too. I only looked briefly and I didn’t watch the videos as I thought intense might discourage me from what I thought I was capable of. I really am considered a wuss in our family, no upper body strength so don’t pass me a tight jar lid, but I am handy to have around if you need something light off a high shelf. LOL! Here’s the thing—my kid was inviting me to do something with her to get us both fit and healthy. All of her friends thought she was crazy as CrossFit has a reputation: way too hard. This was not only a chance to spend time with her but for us to share our goals and be there to encourage each other when it was tough. Plus she believed I could do it. This was a no-brainer—I was in. Here’s the portion of the website that resonated with me, and I was intrigued by a fitness program with these ideals: To us, fitness is a state of mind, way of being. It shows up in the way you talk, walk, sleep, eat, work, play, dress and relax. It is the physical embodiment of the character traits of honor, courage, confidence, discipline, integrity, responsibility, dedication, and joy. It is also instrumental in reducing the immediate and cumulative effects of stress and anxiety. We’ve found that the fitter a person is, the more he/she is physically able to do the things that bring joy and fun to life – everything from feeling strong, confident and energetic through your normal work day, running around with your kids, being physically active and playing sports, to traveling to remote corners of the earth. Being physically fit is inspiring, feels good, enriches your life, and adds both years to your life, and life to your years. People that are fit seem to have a clearer, more optimistic view of life. For us, the bottom line is this: Fitness allows you to live your best. Brin and I signed up for a women’s summer boot camp three mornings a week for three months. We survived completed week one yesterday. 😉 Is it intense? Hell yes. Is it hard? OMG. Am I sore? LOL! On the flip side am I energized, amazed, and confident after a workout? Yup! Here’s what I’ve learned about myself this week: when I decide to go for something I give it 110%, I don’t back down from a challenge, I like knowing someone’s got my back, I thrive on camaraderie and encouragement, my body can do waaaaay more than I believed, my thoughts limit me or set me free, I can do anything in sets of five! (Thanks LouBell & Nick!) Have you ever placed physical, mental, or spiritual limitations on yourself? I definitely had due to my age; I’ll be 47 this month; my physical make-up as weaker than most people; I’ve also had an achy hip for the last year. I’ve thrown these stories about myself out the window, wanna join me!? I will take this challenge one day at a time, one...

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Family face-to-face

Posted by on Jun 4, 2011 in Aging, Authenticity, Celebration, Family, Healing, Love, Wholehearted | 0 comments

My trip to Canada was timed for my aunt's eighty-second birthday so I could be there to celebrate her along with some of our family. My Auntie Betty died in October last year, she was the youngest sister, my mom was the middle sis. Auntie Margaret is the eldest and feels survivors guilt for out living both her sisters. I did my best to help her let go of this feeling and focus on the love they shared. She is healthy and quite sharp for her age and still mobile and walks her little Yorkie daily. She was moving into a suite at an upscale assited living facility so she'd no longer have the upkeep of her house. Smart decision. She has a gentleman friend moving there as well, I think the company and activities will be stimulating and engaging—and comforting to know a nurse is only a call away if needed. My aunt and I talked for hours I didn't miss a moment to ask for childhood stories and for her to tell me about her life. Margaret was married for almost fifty years she and Uncle Jack never had children but she has nieces and nephews from mom and Betty. I remembered my aunt telling me stories when I would visit about a mouse family that simply fascinated me. I asked Betty about the stories once and she smiled and said that wasn't me that was Margaret! Really I insisited, are you sure? Yes, she made them up and told them to all the kids at one time or another; weren't they great!?  This trip I made sure to tell Margaret how dearly I loved those stories and how she helped instill the seed of storytelling in me when I was ripe and ready. Being with her since both Betty and mom have left us made our time especially dear to me. And so often I would see a mannerism that was mom's or a laugh or expression that was Betty's and it was a comfort to see how we live on in our family. At my cousin's house we all told as many Betty and Dorothy stories as we could recall and shared ones others hadn't heard and got a kick out of. This was a healing, rejuvenating, memory making time for me and I am so thankful I gave myself this gift and listened to my wise self when she said, I think I'd like to visit Aunt Margaret for her birhtday this year. She sent me home with these treasures, here's my lovely aunt on her wedding day:       Margaret with bridesmaids: that's my mom on the left!   The Clarke girls with their mum apx 1943: Tallest is Margaret, mom is middle, Betty on right in front of their...

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Aging with Gr-Attitude

Posted by on Nov 27, 2010 in Aging, Books, Inspiration | 4 comments

There’s so much to be thankful for…to love and be loved; being alive and healthy—the miraculous precision of my body’s mechanisms most of which I’m merely an awed witness not the ‘man behind the curtain’. I pulled something in my back a few days ago and it opened my eyes to how much I take my body for granted. I move at fast pace in everything I do, so who knows where the over-doing it occurred; pushing mom in her wheelchair uphill at the park; sitting on the edge of my office chair because I’ll only be two minutes and I’ll be ready to jump up and complete another task; raking leaves; getting in or out of my low to the ground compact Honda?  I couldn’t bend or lift at all so I sat resignedly on the couch with a heating pad and took it easy for a day. I had time to reflect how I expect my body to do what it did twenty years ago and it hit me how unhealthy my attitude was. It made me resent the aches and pains I have now and then.  That never used to happen; it made me push my body harder instead of giving myself a break. I was unconsciously resisting aging and it surprised me. Why do I have to lose something to learn to appreciate and value it and treat that ability with respect? I have friends who cannot see, or hear, or smell (thankfully not all the same person) and they have learned to adapt but also to ‘see the gift inside’, to turn what could be devastating into possibility. I want to do that with aging. I want to age differently than my parents; they have both been victims of disease and negativity. What would aging look like with a mentality and belief system that supported vitality, flexibility, mental acuity and longevity? What might the Universe return to us if we focused on only the positive aspects of a healthy aging process? I can’t really imagine living to be one hundred and healthy but it’s possible. If so, I’m not even halfway there yet. If I can create such a blessed life in barely two and half decades as an adult, imagine the possibilities that lie in fifty more years. It’s mind boggling isn’t it!? Here’s where I begin my shift—I am radiating waves of gratitude for another year on this planet with my loved ones. I am thankful that I am a year older and perhaps wiser. I am blessed by every day that passes and the opportunity to age with gr-attitude. Aging inspirations: Betty White, Dick Van Dyke, my friend Kathy A.! Who are yours?;) Resource: Young at Heart: Aging Gracefully with Attitude ; Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today...

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