Friday, June 30, 2017

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection”
                                                                                                 Buddha*

'A rolling stone gathers no moss' has two contrasting meanings: (1)One who moves avoiding deep connections; and (2) One who moves embracing fresh ideas and creativity.

I experience myself as a rolling stone who has gathered no moss. Both definitions fit: no current deep commitments/connections and fresh ideas and creativity thrive as I break through more comfort zones.

Having been blessed to have a life partner/soul mate for 26 years until death parted us; I do miss that depth of connection in my life. With no siblings and no living extended family and no 'best friend/companion' wearing the label 'a rolling stone gathers no moss' fits. I may be living everyone's worst fear of being totally alone in the world. While some may mourn my death as I am mourning the recent death of a friend; it is somehow comforting to know no one will experience the seemingly unbearable grief I experienced with my partner's death.

While it is true there is no deep connection with another; I realize the deep connection I have cultivated and nurtured through blood, sweat and tears throughout my life is the deep connection with my Self. Today this deep connection has blossomed into a relationship of self-love beyond accomplishments, beyond talents, beyond financial resources, beyond life circumstances – it is the self-love of the Life Force that breathes each breath I take. It is a self-love of the essence of who I Am... and who each of us is. It is that “peace...which passeth understanding.”^

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*http://www.positivityblog.com/self-esteem-quotes/

^Philippians 4:7 (KJV)

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Self-Love...

"Well, I think everyone struggles with self-love."
                                                                                   Phillip Seymour Hoffman*


Inner voices of self-rejection are a stumbling block to self-love. We further self-reject ourselves by not honoring what we do well. Acknowledging what we do well is a vital ingredient of self love.

During the past three months each evening I list a minimum of five things I've done well that day. Sometimes there is something special (my open 5-minute mic at a comedy club) but mostly they are simple things in which I take pleasure. Some of mine include: making my morning cup of tea, my morning swim, smiling at a stranger, talking to a stranger.

As I reflect on this, it brings to my attention the miracle we each are. Each simple act – our very breath – is miraculous. Acknowledging and honoring ourselves is expressing our love for the Life Source that is our essence.

However, I have added something to my routine. It's going to sound crazy. I encourage you to try it at least three times throughout the day. For those living with others it may feel a little weird – living alone has its advantages.

So far today I have given myself three standing ovations. For what you ask – here they are
                                               Rising out of bed after a good night's sleep
                                               Driving myself to the YMCA
                                               Practicing my piano

I think there is something to the standing, clapping and cheering that awakens something in me – because each standing ovation brings a smile to my face.

Give it a shot – whacha got to lose??


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*http://po.st/YdvPvC via @BrainyQuote

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Customer Care???

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything
without losing your temper...."
                                                                                               Robert Frost*

Many of us have experienced talking with off-shore 'Customer Care' of a large corporation. After first talking to a robot and then to a scripted worker in a far away place, I find it doesn't take long for my 'evil twin' to emerge when what seems like a simple issue becomes increasingly complicated.

I like to look at all life experiences as lessons for us. Mary Baker Eddy who founded the Christian Science religion described this as 'Earth's preparatory school.' My belief is that each time I call an overseas call center I'm being given the opportunity to practice patience. To keep in mind, once I get through the robotic prompts, I'm talking with a real human being.

A being like each of us who may or may not like their job but are grateful to have one. A job providing them income to support themselves and their families. When I've traveled overseas I realize what an embryonic country America is. I'm never quite sure developmentally if we are in our terrible twos or tumultuous teen years – either way we are an entitled species here in the USA.

In this most recent encounter with an off-shore 'Customer Frustration' call center, I shamefully admit my total failure in practicing patience, kindness and compassion toward my fellow Earth travelers from another country. Though I know there will be more opportunities to try again...

I suppose one good thing that came from this is that I now have an on-shore number for AT&T's 'Customer Care' which I happily share with you – 585-498-2059.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Self-Rejection

“...every moment is created by the Universe
to ensure your highest growth.”
                                 Matt Kahn*

Conflict recently entered a five-year relationship. There had been an argument prior to what turned out to be the last time we met. While I wanted to process what had previously transpired between us; they did not. So it ended...with an informal handshake.

If we have eyes to see, I believe, each life experience brings bigger lessons to be learned. Shortly after the above experience, I was on a weekend retreat in Robbinsville. In my room I noticed a small book and opened it to a random page where there was a short paragraph entitled “Rejection.” In less than fifty words it stated that when we are hurt/triggered by someone's rejection, it reflects back to us how we reject ourselves.

I instantly recognized that the coldness/indifference I experienced from the other person was a mirror of exactly how I reject myself with statements like “I'm less than,” “I'm not good enough,” “I don't matter,” “I'm unloveable,” “I don't belong,” “I'm old, ugly and irrelevant,” to share a few.... I also recognized each time I fail to acknowledge what I've done well each day is another form of self-rejection.

I now give thanks to the person who provided the lesson. And express heartfelt gratitude to that short little paragraph that triggered healing and increased awareness...

This new awareness needs to be nurtured and recognition is the first step. So when self-rejection shows up, I'll remember how hurtful that cold/indifference felt to me – and cease from doing it and rather embrace myself with kindness and compassion... 


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Matt Kahn, Whatever Arises Love That, page 8,
Published by Sounds True, Boulder, CO.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Ultimate Letting Go

If you want to endure life,
prepare yourself for death.
                                  Sigmund Freud*

After signing the listing contract on my home, I experienced a mini-breakdown. Called a friend who reminded me life is a series of letting gos and as we age, the letting gos bring us closer to the ultimate letting go of our bodies.

While I don't know how many years I have ahead, the end journey – yes, the dreaded 'D' word 'Death' – draws nearer with each passing year. While we're encouraged to prepare for retirement, rarely do we hear about preparing for our deaths – other than the legal stuff of wills, trusts, etc. True, it is essential legal documents be in order; specifics are also important. Specifics such as – do we want to be cremated or buried, who should be notified of our death, perhaps stickies on art and other valuable items as to who gets what. Whatever things come to your mind while you are living.

I'm currently working with a death doula about specifics about my death assuming my death is of an illness and not a sudden happening: what music, if any, would I want played, where do I want to be, who might I want present, what comforts might I want, etc.

Conversations about death and dying are important to have. It's hard, I actually believe impossible, to imagine our own non-existence. I like to believe this is because that piece of us that can't envision our non-existence is the piece that lives on. But I don't know and won't know until that sacred passing occurs.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Change: Heartfelt or Headfelt

They always say time changes things,
but you actually have to change them yourself.
                                           Andy Warhol*

Have you ever been in a place where you know you need a change?  You have no idea what the change should be but are certain something needs to shift and soon.

When optional change has appeared in my life it has often been as a result of a heartfelt desire that comes to fruition. Twenty years ago the heartfelt desire brought my partner and I to Asheville from Santa Barbara. We wanted to move – Asheville came to our attention – and within three months we found ourselves living and thriving in Asheville.

Currently, there is no heartfelt desire brewing within my psyche. I ask myself how to bring about a shift. What comes to mind that makes the most sense is to sell my house and move to the condo I own. Pure headfelt decision – not heartfelt – thus there is little enthusiasm as I begin to implement this plan.

This is a work in progress. The house goes on the market 6/15/17 and if not sold by 9/15/17 will be taken off the market. I've already planted my upside down St. Joseph to help find buyers who love the house as my partner and I have. Should it sell – the next step will be a major remodeling of the condo.

The big question for me is to see if this headfelt decision to put the house on the market, will trickle into a heartfelt desire where enthusiasm for what's ahead can blossom.  Time will tell...

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Feelings

Feelings are what is most real about us...
                                           Barbara Muhl (Infinite Way Teacher)


Discouragement comes easily to my psyche. I welcome it with open arms. Once it enters it takes on a life all its own – and every success, every hope, every vision is diminished for the moment.

As I reflect on my life, there have been many disappointments. I remember reading a quote that disappointment brings discouragement and discouragement makes room for depression. This is something to which I thoroughly relate.

It's also something we don't easily embrace or acknowledge in our culture. Happiness is the commodity most pushed on us. Images in the mass media – happy, smiling faces. Perhaps there are some of us who fit that model. During my work as a child therapist I recall having a group of children make a collage of feelings using magazine photos. One little boy wisely commented: “Gosh, all the people in these magazines are happy.” That was my last use of magazines for collages.

Hopefully, we have each experienced moments of happy, and I add, hopefully, we have also experienced moments of sadness, discouragement, hurt. We are a canvas of multiple feelings – and embracing each with the honor and validation they deserve is what makes us not only whole --- but paves the way for empathy toward others.

My goal has never been one of happiness but one of gentle peace, comfort and satisfaction with each moment and the ability to welcome all feelings that visit me. Today, it happens to be discouragement...and it's okay as I welcome it with kindness and compassion.

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Rumi says the above best in his poem:

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Jellaludin Rumi,

translation by Coleman Barks

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Play on...

Life must be lived as play.
           Plato*

Have you ever had the experience of having a person in your life who triggers you. Perhaps you take an instant dislike to them, a resentment toward them. They are not part of your community of friends yet they are a part of your peripheral existence.

Recently, I encountered such an individual. When I am in their presence, I feel myself shutting down. This person's appearance is so serious that I'm thinking perhaps they do not have the appropriate muscles in their face to smile or laugh. So how is it I get so easily triggered? I'm seeing that serious, unlaughing, unsmiling part of me in them – and not liking it.

I do believe much of what happens in life is a lesson for us. This recent teacher who has triggered me, I see as a messenger who has come to remind me that:
*my inner playful being has retreated back into my psyche, and
*it's my job to create the environment where she can once again emerge.

I'm not an easy laugh but there are a couple comics who make me laugh: Wanda Sykes and Dave Chappelle. Playing board games with friends often brings laughs – an email invite to neighbors for a game night – something we used to do and laughed plenty. Once a day – a look in the mirror and a big laugh (even if fake, it gets the laugh muscles moving).

What tools do you have to bring more play and laughter into your day?


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*https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/plato.html

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Just Do It...

It always seems impossible
until it is done.
                                      Nelson Mandala*


Today's blog is the 50th since the birth of OldBoldandBeautiful.Life. WOW! Have to say I'm impressed and feel great about that. Each blog has been a challenge and a joy to write.

OldBoldandBeautiful.Life has been the vehicle that has gotten me to sit down and write with the goal of posting a blog each Tuesday and Friday. Often I don't know what I'm going to write but something always comes. What is most remarkable and pleases me is that I now thoroughly trust the process.

In the past each time I sat down to write something I heard the voice say “I can't do this.” Or as I got into the throes of writing I'd hear: “this stinks.”

That little voice has simmered in that the trust I have for the process takes precedence over any of those voices of self-doubt, self-criticism, self-loathing... Once again it appears the lesson is in the doing.  Just doing what we set out to do – the voices will be heard until they are not.

Not an easy journey...but a definite lesson to behold when the next struggle comes along and the voices of self-doubt, self-criticism, self-loathing arise. Let them be – and simply do the doing of what needs or wants to be done. Can't remember the name of the book about setting goals and accomplishing them but I do remember a little mantra in that book: Do It Right; Do It Wrong – But Just Do It!

Happy Doing...
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*https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_motivational.html

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