Sunday, May 19, 2019

Directionally Challenged

With technology, there is so much isolation with people now,
that there are very few places where you can connect.
                                                                                       *Mireille Guiliano 

I am directionally challenged.  Recently, I drove to Boone, NC, for darshan with Mother Meera using printed Mapquest directions.  That’s right, no IPhone and no car GPS.

Mapquest easily got me to Boone proper.  However, as I headed up the multiple winding mountain roads, I knew I was lost.  As a car passed me in the other direction I honked and waved -- she stopped, backed up, had me turn around and lead me to where I was headed…  I made it – though 20 minutes late.

As I left darshan, I knew my directional challenges would still be in play.  I asked the man walking next to me if he was headed back to Boone if I could follow him – he was and I did.

Once back in civilization, B. pulled into a strip mall, parked and I parked next to him.  We stopped for coffee in a cafe where B. and I shared our personal experiences of being caregivers for our loved ones as they died.  I shared about a recent visit to Oak Park, IL, to visit my father’s gravesite after sixty years.  He shared how he was now happily married for six years.

While I do love being greeted upon arrival home by Grace, my ten-year old Tortoiseshell cat, having the heartfelt connection B. and I experienced was well worth the delay -- all thanks to no GPS.


*author French Women Don't Get Facelifts:
The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Looking Good -- Period!!

If I can challenge old ideas about aging, I will feel more and more invigorated.
I want to represent this new way. I want to be a new version of the 70-year-old woman.
                                                                                                       *Jamie Lee Curtis

Finally, I have had the 21st Century experience of Videotelephony…

While L., residing in LA, and I frequently speak, this is the first time in 20-plus years that we see one another through Facetime on my IPod Touch.   L. tells me:  “You look good – you’re marriage material.”  My response:  “Yes, I look good for a 72 year old woman.”  Fu_k that!!!

How is it as we age and receive such a compliment we qualify it because of age?  Receiving such compliments at 40, 50 – even 60, my response “thank you” -- no qualifier.

Recently, I read two mysteries each referring to the "old woman witness."  In one mystery she remained nameless.  While in the other, she had a name but as the detective is struggling to remember what she looks like, the narrator states: “…no one pays much attention to old women.”  (Both mysteries written by women...)

At 72, I am an old woman and identify with these descriptives.   Despite having lots of energy, feeling I have more to contribute than ever, feeling I look good -- once out in the world I take on the negative imaging of the 'old woman' and my internalized ageism continues to fester.

I recently purchased red eyeglass frames that get noticed daily:  “Love your glasses and how your  lipstick matches.” While many may find this shallow – I once again love being noticed -- even if just for my glasses. 

Back to the beginning, should I ever receive another compliment on my appearance –  I hope to respond with “thank you” -- with no qualifier about age!



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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bullets for Healing?

I love firing guns. It's an amazing feeling – so sexy and powerful.
                                                          *Hayley Atwell (actress)

I surprise myself and opt for the private lesson at an indoor shooting range. I journey 40 miles outside of Asheville to Mountain Range.  S. is my teacher.  He is white haired with a Santa Claus beard, soft soothing voice and lovely smile.  He spends the first 15 minutes of my 30-minute lesson on gun safety before he guides me into the shooting range to begin the process of loading, aiming and firing at a target.

As S. prepares me for my first shot he instructs me to  “…breathe in, breathe out -- we need to get the Zen thing going.”  Of the 36 bullets I shoot, all but 7 hit the target area:  My target – the voices of self-criticism, self-loathing, anger, grief, depression that have flooded me since the car break-in and theft (see blog 1/26/19).  Each time I pull the trigger I internally shout: “Goodbye self-criticism, goodbye self-loathing, goodbye anger, goodbye grief, goodbye depression!!!

I leave Mountain Range Indoor Shooting Range with a sense of renewal.  First of all, I did something outside of my liberal-progressive mindset and comfort zone – I crossed a divide and thoroughly enjoyed all those I met on the other side – staff and customers.

As I drive back to Asheville, I experience freedom and empowerment from the heaviness that has been smothering me.  Ironically, I feel a return of inner peace.  I believe, that the physical sensations of shooting released built-up tension in my body and, more importantly, S.'s  kindness, patience and  message of  “we need to get the Zen thing going” all contributed to getting me back to center -- for now.



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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Unexpected Events in Life's Journey

There are wounds that never show on the body that are
deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.
                                                              *Laurell K. Hamilton

The Saturday before Christmas, I returned to my car, put my swim gear in the trunk and then saw the shattered glass from the broken driver’s window.  My eyes glanced over to the passenger seat floor where I had foolishly left my new hand-made leather shoulder bag that was now gone.  The purse contained the necessities of living in the 21st Century:  cell phone, driver’s license, credit cards; extravagant little pleasures -- a beautiful red Visconti fountain pen, an elegant leather checkbook cover; and, most precious, my deceased partner's key ring and her Mona-Lisa mesh make-up bag.

The concrete stuff has mostly been taken care of -- banking stuff, credit cards, driver’s license, etc.  Now there is the time and space for the emotional trauma to settle in – the intensity of which has surprised me.

Through their loving empathy and compassion, I am grateful to those friends who made me feel held and supported.  But in essence the journey has been a solo one -- no partner by my side to soothe and comfort.  And sadly, I, also, have been unable to soothe and comfort myself...  The feelings are multiple: grief, anger,  depression, loneliness, isolation.

It is five weeks since the break-in and theft.  As I write this, I ponder whether to attend the Qigong mini-retreat starting in 30 minutes at a local yoga center to gain some inner peace or a private lesson at an indoor target range in the hopes to release some inner grief and anger -- both at the same reasonable price of $35.  I'm undecided.  Which might you choose?

 ( be continued 1/27/19)


*author Mistral’s Kiss