Here’s to aging with adventure!

“It happens fast for some people and slow for some, accidents or gravity, but we all end up mutilated. Most women know this feeling of being more and more invisible everyday.”

– Chuck Palahniuk


I have to admit, it always surprises me a bit when people comment on my blog, or when people who know me and read my blog, stop me on the street to comment. I guess sitting here typing feels a bit like I’m in a vacuum, and then getting the affirmation that there are actually people out there reading this – well it’s a bit startling.

At any rate, my last post on aging seemed to have resonated with quite a few people, so I decided to continue my research.  And I was glad I did, because I came upon this wonderfully inspirational talk by Jane Fonda, entitled Life’s Third Act.  In this talk, Ms. Fonda uses the analogy of life as a staircase:

“I have come to find that a more appropriate metaphor for aging is a staircase – the upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness and authenticity.  Age not at all as pathology; age as potential.”

I love that – Age not as pathology, but as potential.  
That was what I heard from the women and men who commented on my last post, either in person or on the site. That people, as they are aging, are tending toward emabracing life even more.

I also loved her reference to neuroplasticity:

“Perhaps the central purpose of the third actis to go back and to try, if appropriate,to change our relationship to the past. It turns out that cognitive research shows when we are able to do this, it manifests neurologically – neural pathways are created in the brain. You see, if you have, over time, reacted negatively to past events and people, neural pathways are laid down by chemical and electrical signals that are sent through the brain. And over time, these neural pathways become hardwired, they become the norm – even if it’s bad for us because it causes us stress and anxiety.

If however, we can go back and alter our relationship, re-vision our relationship to past people and events, neural pathways can change. And if we can maintain the more positive feelings about the past, that becomes the new norm. It’s like resetting a thermostat. It’s not having experiences that make us wise, it’s reflecting on the experiences that we’ve had that makes us wise – and that helps us become whole, brings wisdom and authenticity. It helps us become what we might have been.”

I circle back now to Chuck Palahniuk’s quote: Most women know this feeling of being more and more invisible everyday. This feeling is deeply explored in my book: A Woman’s Guite to Transformation- perhaps it’s central theme.  So that quote resonates deeply for me.  But if as we age, we can redefine ourselves and our relationships, imagine the liberation!

“Women start off whole, don’t we? We are the subjects of our own lives. But very often, many, if not most of us, when we hit puberty, we start worrying about fitting in and being popular. And we become the subjects and objects of other people’s lives. But now, in our third acts, it may be possible for us to circle back to where we started and know it for the first time. And if we can do that, it will not just be for ourselves. Older women are the largest demographic in the world. If we can go back and redefine ourselves and become whole, this will create a cultural shift in the world, and it will give an example to younger generations so that they can reconceive their own lifespan.”

So this reclaiming of self, this changing of our relationship to the past, can have a wider impact than simply rewiring our own brain, it can perhaps create a cultural shift in the world!  Wow.  How cool is that!

So to quote my old high school friend Doug Haussler: Here’s to aging with adventure!

 

 

I hope you enjoy Jane Fonda’s Ted Talk, especially for those women out there over 50. Such a hopefull message!

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

Happy Aging?

“When grace is joined with wrinkles it is adorable.
There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”

– Victor Hugo


Happy aging?  Isn’t that an oxymoron?!

I was at a birthday party this weekend, a nice group of people, good food and music. But often I’ve found that at birthday parties for people around 50, conversations start to gravitate toward aging.  Sigh.  People see people at the party that they haven’t seen in awhile, there are hugs and then often those embarrassing moments when one of the folks has to ask for a reminder of name and/or affiliation; after dances, people come off the dance floor complaining about aches and pains in knees and joints, and the consumption of too much alcohol is no longer quite as cute or funny.

When I got home from the party, I wanted to do a bit of homework about happiness and aging.  I’ve read quite a bit about older people being happy – but wanted some empiracle evidence.  The first thing we have to acknowledge is that we are all living longer, across the board.  And this is a good thing, right?  Well I want to think so, but I can’t help wondering what I’ll be like at 80 . . . hopefully wearing purple with a red hat that doesn’t match!

One of the things from the research that made a lot of sense to me was that as we grow older and we realize that we won’t live forever, we change our perspectives on life in positive ways; our goals change and we realize we don’t have all the time in the world, we see our priorities clearer, and we don’t worry as much about what constitutes trivial matters – essentially we don’t sweat the small stuff.

Basically it seems that older people are happier in themselves and with others because they choose to be.

Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, Laura Carstensen has researched this topic extensively.  In the following TED talk, she discusses happy aging, and pretty much empiracally proves that, on the whole, older people are happier!  Yay!  This is good news for those of us that are attending more and more birthday parties for people over 50!

 

I hope you take the time to watch Professor Carstensen, especially for those of you over 50! I found it uplifting and hopeful.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Follow Your Dreams!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

Henry David Thoreau


I am usually the one in the group that says:

Dare to dream! Believe in your dreams! Visualize what you want!

It’s true, I have been accused of being a Pollyanna more times than I can count (usually by someone who doesn’t really like the aforementioned book nor the movie with Hailey Mills.)

Amy Purdy affirms my beliefs better than anything I could write:

“Our imaginations can be used as tools for breaking through borders, because in our minds we can do anything and we can be anything. It’s believing in those dreams, and facing our fears head on that allows us to live our lives beyond our limits.”

 

Please take the time to watch this inspirational TED talk.  It is well worth ten minutes of your life.

 

 

I hope you take the time to watch this.  Amy Purdy is an inspirational young woman! I’d love to hear about what you are going to use your imagination for today.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

How to Resist Hate

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

– Maya Angelou


Listening to the news, reading the papers, I am often overcome with grief, and wonder how the human race has sunk so low?  How can we possibly begin to repair the damage we have created. How do we deal with a bully without becoming a thug? How do we resist hatred? One thing is for sure, as Maya Angelou proclaims hate has not solved one problem yet!

Scilla Elworthy is the founder and director of Peace Direct.  She discusses this idea eloquently in her talk Fighting with Non-Violence.  She believes that there are a few methods that do work to resist hate:

  1. The change that has to take place, must take place inside me first.  My own response is the only thing I can do anything about. And I must develop self-knowledge to do that. Elworthy believes that meditation is one of the best ways to develop that self-knowledge.
  2. Mastery of Fear – her mantra: “My Fear grows fat on the energy I feed it.”
  3. Using Anger as an effective fuel – If we can use our anger to fuel us, to empower us instead of control us, we can make real change. It is ok to be angry with the thing that is happening, but hopeless to be angry at the people.
  4. Change now happens bottom up, or “grassroots” – Working together and cooperating with others
  5. Using violence to change things is not only less humane, but less effective.  Methods that connect people work.  We need connection and unity.
  6. Courage and Committment

I think Elworthy’s Ted talk is hopeful and inspirational.  I encourage you to take time to watch it.

 

I hope you enjoy listening to Scilla Elworthy.  And I’d love to hear about how you resist hate.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

Transformational Relationships

“What I need is perspective . . . perspective is necessary.”

– Margaret Atwood


I was honored to contribute a post to a blog that I follow,  The League of Champions It is a wonderful blog and well worth your time to explore.  In their blog, Kevin and Leanna help people reach their optimum creativity through finding inner peace and loving themselves.  Leanna and I agreed to do guest contributions, so I am very happy to share with you their post on Transformational Relationships.

In an age where we can have information as fast as we can type, communication seems to slipping further and further from our grasp.  When it’s easier to face a computer screen, we often neglect to tell other people our needs – and we forget to listen to what they’re trying to say to us.  Have you ever wondered, “Why isn’t this person getting it?  Why don’t they understand me?”

There is a solution – by communicating and looking from a different perspective, you’ll not only transform your relationships with others, but also experience a transformation within yourself.

Sometimes we’re so loud in asking to be heard that we drown out the requests others are making of us.  This is nothing to feel bad about; we’re not doing it intentionally.  We all desire acceptance, and ultimately, love.  And we deserve it, too – so it’s not uncommon to become more and more adamant about getting it.  We just go about it in the wrong way, sometimes.

The solution is simply to communicate.  Easier said than done, right?  However, remember that there is strength in revealing your feelings, not in hiding them.  This is where the self-transformation comes in.  You owe it to yourself to act as the real you, and let your outside world reflect who you really are and what truly makes you happy.  More of yourself is revealed in your interactions with other people.  Meditating and soul-searching is important, but to avoid including others is like watering seeds and never setting them out in the sun.  Put that soul you’ve cultivated to use by involving yourself with other people – touch them, and share your love.  A way to share your love is through communication.  Your relationships will blossom as a result.

Tell someone how you interpret their actions and words: “When you say this, I hear…” and then be truthful about how they are coming across to you.  This allows them to either confirm or clarify their perspective.  You’ll get the chance to look through their eyes and see that, the majority of the time, they’re not trying to hurt you.  They’ll see how you feel and understand why you’re acting the way you are, and vice versa.  Again, you’ll experience a self-transformation by opening yourself to other viewpoints and possibilities of looking at the world.

To practice communicating more effectively, start with low-stakes situations.  Ease into it.  Or just take the plunge.  Sometimes you’ve pent up your emotions so much that a release is the only way to deal with them.  Remember, feelings don’t make you weak – they just make you human.  And you deserve to say how you feel.  Remember, it’s not so much what you’re saying, as how you say it.  Keep the goal in mind – sharing, love, and communication – and emotions like fear or anger won’t get the better of you and cloud the message.

When has effective communication helped you?

The League of Champions was founded by Leanna Dindal and Kevin Rae, with the mission of empowering people to achieve their own, personal definitions of success.  Developed with artists in mind, The League focuses on unlocking your creativity and finding the inner strength to make your life anything you want it to be.  Leanna and Kevin strive to live as Champions: excellent individuals with lives of independence, boundless creativity, and their own, unique self-expression.  Find out more at http://www.theleagueofchampions.com.

Inspired Action!

“Inspired Action is any action you take based on an inside nudge.”

– Dr. Joe Vitale


I just spent four wonderful days with my son Lukas in Dunedin.  On a walk around the gorgeous Dunedin Botanical Gardens, Lukas was saying he is enjoying university so much and is so busy, that he hasn’t set aside time to think about his goals in a long time. So, we started talking about the old conundrum: can one stay present in the moment and really enjoy everything that is happening now, but still have an eye on the future? And then today, I had a similar conversation with my friend Victoria, about keeping the faith and staying present, even in the face of an uncertain future. And all of this reminded me of my last post A Fine Balance. Leanna, one of the authors of the blog The League of Champions, and I were discussing trying to live in the moment and at the same time keep one’s goals in mind. And in response I wrote the post about keeping a balance between going with the flow and directing your own life; about the peace in acceptance of what is, but the empowerment in knowing what you want and being willing to go after it.  And of course the importance of Paying Attention and Being Present in the moment.  I think that we can be present as well as focus on what we want in the future.  And as I discussed in that last post, Heart-Centered Goal Setting is one of the keys to the balancing act.

But there is another equally important key. So I decided to write a follow-up post that describes the next step in the process – Inspired Action.  As Joe Vitale explains, inspired action is an action taken based on an inside nudge, based on our intuition. The 7th Tool described in my book, A Woman’s Guide to Transformation is: Uploading and Downloading from the ‘Source.’

 I send up information that I want to attract to me.

I am open to inspiration from the Source that flows back to me.

We need both steps.  We need to know what we want to move toward, to attract to us; and we need to be in the moment and open to the inspiration that flows back to us, urging us to take inspired action.  If we pay attention throughout the day, our intuition often nudges us. And it is only by being present and paying attention to those nudges that we can then take inspired action.  However, if we are not present, in the moment, we can easily miss those soft whispers from our intuition.

Here is a short clip by Esther Hicks (Abraham) about Inspired Action:

 

I hope you enjoy listening to Abraham.  And I’d love to hear about your experience with Inspired Action.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

A Fine Balance

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

– Yogi Berra


I am honored to have been invited to contribute a post to a blog that I follow.  The League of Champions is a wonderful blog and well worth your time to explore.  In their blog, Kevin and Leanna help people reach their optimum creativity through finding inner peace and loving themselves.  Leanna and I have been discussing trying to live in the moment and at the same time keep one’s goals in mind.

There is a fine balance between going with the flow and directing your own life.  There is a certain peace in acceptance of what is, but there is empowerment in knowing what you want and being willing to go after it.  And then there is the all important need to Pay Attention and Be Present in the moment.

But does being present preclude goal-setting and focusing on what one wants in the future?  I don’t think so.  I think that we can have both, but I believe we have to practice a fine balancing act.

In my 7 Tools,  I discuss Heart-Centered Goal Setting.  And I believe that this is one of the keys to the balancing act.  In order to really focus on true goals, you have to find out the deepest WHY of the goal, the emotion behind it. Work to discover WHY you want that particular goal, journal about it, question it. When you understand the deeper emotion of why your want that particular goal, the emotional need behind it, then you have hit the WHY.  You can FEEL the why in heart-centered goal setting.  And in order to feel it, you have to be paying attention and be present to the moment.  That ability to stay present actually helps to define a direction for the future.  But indeed, it is a fine balancing act.

Zig Ziglar is one of the greats – an iconic motivational speaker.  In the clip below, Ziglar talks about setting goals.

 

I hope you enjoy listening to Zig Ziglar.  I always find him inspirational. I’d love to hear about how you balance staying present and setting goals for your future.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.