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Posts tagged ‘aging well’

A Lesson On Aging

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This beautiful woman named Rose has a lesson to teach all of us who find that we are slightly, or greatly, discouraged by the aging process.  Although Rose is no longer with us her story is below and I think will give you some inspiration as to the preciousness of each moment of this incredible life we have been given.

As I come to the turning of 65 this coming July I keep thinking (and feeling!) that I am so much younger.  What it seems to be to me is the timelessness of our indomitable spirit which is ageless and craves living full tilt, though the body at times fails to cooperate much to our dismay!  There is always another opportunity to live our passions!!  For Rose it was going to college and getting her degree…for me it is returning to doing energy bodywork, teaching, and starting a new book just for women!

These days I find all around me examples of “older women” stepping right into their passions and staunchly refusing to crumple 394078_422487367817367_1125191106_nunder the youth crazed culture.  They are real, aware, wise, healthy, courageous, creative, beautiful….and very, very sexy!  I will include myself in there,  as well as many women that I know!

As Rose so wisely said, “REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.”  What will you fill the “optional” with??  …in this one wild and precious life?!  Oh, so many things to choose from! Yummm!!

Roses Story:

An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.
I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.
“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.
She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”
“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine”
as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

534833_395426110514228_703915838_nAt the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was
introduced and stepped up to the podium.  As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell
you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop
playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.  You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.  We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.  If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.  If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.  Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.  Have no regrets.  The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those
with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”  She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out inbernice-bates-91-year-old-yogi our daily lives.  At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died  peacefully in her sleep.  Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s  never too late to be all you can possibly be .When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it!”

TIP:  Watch the wonderful film: My Afternoons With Margueritte (Available on Netflix)

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WEBSITE:  www.ResonanceWithLife.com

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

www.BreathingSpaces.net
www.NaturalWealthJournal.com

Breath-Book-coverW2(3)Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview, Reviews and purchase links can be found here:
http://resonancewithlife.com/daily-breath-book/

Realize Your Own Magnificence

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Many, many years ago now when I was a Neurosurgical Assistant and Neuroaugmentation Technician in Southern California I was privileged to go to a Conference on Laughter and Play on the Queen Mary docked in Long Beach.  We actually spent two entire days learning about all the ways that one can bring laughter and play into daily life moments.

I attended such events as learning to juggle with marshmellows, how to tell jokes, watching comedy in action on the stage and discovering how improv is created from within…..to the other end of the spectrum – a class on laughter in the death and dying process.  At one point I remember asking a man sitting next to me at the end of a simply hilarious comedy routine what he was writing about so seriously in his notebook.  He proceeded to tell me that he was a comedian and was taking notes on timing, jokes, etc.  Wow!  A seriously committed comedian.

I remember clearly how shifted I felt after bathing in laughter and play for two solid days.  Once I returned to my job at Scripps Clinic in San Diego, back in “real life” so to speak,  I was broadsided by the observation of the seriousness of everyone around me!   I placed joke books in my exam rooms for patients to bring some lightness into their visit, and found that they disappeared pretty quickly.  To this day I hope that it was patients taking off with them to lend some laughter medicine in dealing with a diagnosis of a brain tumor.

My point here is that we do take life way too seriously and our culture seems addicted to drama fed veraciously by our FEARS!  The fact that we are amazing and magnificent human beings housed in these beautiful (but very small compared to who we are) bodies seems often to take a back seat to our current fears or feelings of being less than.

Below you will find a video which I encourage you to watch in its entirety.  It is an interview with Anita Moorjani  who has written the book “Dying To Be Me”.  This is not only a story of a woman who discovers she has cancer and comes to death and back again….but a “resurrection” story of sorts as she recommits to a life lived fearlessly,  making choices from what brings her joy – and supported from a vast awareness of the magnificent, amazing and loving beings we truly are.

Remember who you are….live that…and watch your life and that of others around you shift and change.

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OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:
Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview, Reviews and purchase links can be found here:Breath-Book-coverW2(3)
http://resonancewithlife.com/daily-breath-book/

Celebrating Natural Beauty

This last Friday I was privileged to watch “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.   There are many reasons why I found this film delightful, but one of them was that these older actors and actresses were not changed to look younger than their years.  Instead there were lines on faces and bodies that showed age and a life lived.  Each person was a character study in where life had taken them up until the moment that they all found themselves together at the Magnolia Hotel….and by the end of the movie each person had come full circle into acceptance of who they were whether it was by death or by taking a good hard in the face look at life and what they wanted now.

The video below shows Cheryl -Ann Webster and what she is doing to open women and men’s minds to the acceptance of themselves just as they are.  Her Beautiful Women project focuses on what is natural and beautiful in this world versus a socially created image which is unattainable for most people.  She has found that 80% of women, when asked, would change several things about their bodies and appearance if they could and 50% of men.  Are you one of those 80%.  I know that I have been. Cheryl-Ann reminds us that body image is NOT black and white.

Aging, if done gracefully, brings us the wisdom to accept the changes that are inevitable.  It is almost a relief not to feel compelled to mold ourselves into a socially acceptable rendition of what society feels we should look and be like.  The characters in the Marigold Hotel movie are simply being themselves and at times struggling with the fact that they have aged.  Yet in the end, there is a celebration of the natural beauty and wisdom that has been seasoned over the years, and a deeper self acceptance and knowing.

When is it time to accept our bodies and our own natural beauty?  How about now….

WEBSITEwww.ResonanceWithLife.com

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

www.BreathingSpaces.net
www.NaturalWealthJournal.com

Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview and Reviews can be found here:
http://resonancewithlife.com/daily-breath-book/

Feminine Force Transforming Fear Into Love

Several years ago I was privileged to study with many curandera’s high in the hills above Mexico City.  Hardly knowing any Spanish at all I found at the end of 12 days spent there that I was dreaming in the language! This is a testament to the deep healing and opening that occurred as I sat, communed, ate, observed and learned from these very wise people.

I love the face of Grandmother Margarita here as it reminds me of the wisdom, love and passion that women grow into as they age.  Sometimes I don’t quite know how to take steps in this elder life of mine as it seems so different from what came before, but the words below remind me of what is so vitally important for women to remember.  Thank you to Awakening Women Institute for sharing this on Facebook!

Wise words from Grandmother Margarita Núñez García, Curandera and Wisdom Keeper, Mexico (Ingles y Español):

1. The awakening Feminine power corresponds to the heart and affects men and women equally. We are born with two possibilities, love and fear, and this feminine force is urging the transformation of fear into love.

2. Change will occur at the hands of women. For thousands of years (during pre-patriarchal times) woman was considered equal to man, and Earth was never poisoned, then both circumstances changed. The role of women is to honor and value herself and to teach men to love and respect the Earth.

3. Sex is sacred and it is being trivialized.

4. Older people are “like spun gold” for society — at that age it is an ideal time to share experiences and wisdom. According to the Mayan cycles of 13 years, when people turn 52 years of age [note: meaning 4 cycles of 13 years], they “open to universal fatherhood-motherhood,” so any feelings we have of victim-hood should stop and we should say “here I am.”

5. Death does not exist, our consciousness, our spirit, survives the physical body.

6. We are all sacred beings and we should honor ourselves.

7. Our thoughts have the power to create our reality.

8. Joy is an important ingredient in life. Shared with deep respect and prayers for the well being of Grandmothers and Wisdom Keepers of all traditions.

Translated from the Spanish, by Grace Alvarez Sesma.

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WEBSITE:  www.ResonanceWithLife.com

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

www.NaturalWealthJournal.com
www.WildlyFreeWoman.com

Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview and Reviews can be found here:
http://resonancewithlife.com/daily-breath-book/

Yoga Woman – Creating A Scared “Time In”

Did you know that in the early history of yoga, and up until recently,  it was meant as a practice only for men?  That is hard to believe as the majority of students and teachers globally these days are women.  What first attracted me to the practice so many years ago now was the freedom to explore my body, mind, emotions and breath in a “time out”  – or better “time in” –  without the pressures of everyday life intruding.  Something women historically have had precious little time for.

Just today a video movie trailer came across my inbox (thank you Lynn Walker!) called YogaWoman.  I post it here because it makes a statement about what women can create when they become passionate about something.  Women have changed the entire make up of this ancient practice creating an embodied and grounded pathway to moments of nourishment, strengthening, nurturing, flow, expanded awareness, increased fluidity and flexibility, a modality for health and well being for all ages, genders, and races –  and for simply being with the breath in each moment.

As a student and teacher for many years now I still feel a thrill every time I step on the yoga mat and know that this time, this practice, is just for me!  Deep gratitude goes to the many men that have helped bring yoga to the Western shores….and a standing ovation goes to the women that have consistently expanded and grounded the practice in a way only a woman can.

If we can support each other in stepping into our individual expressions, such as has been done with the practice of yoga,  instead of competing with each other (or ourselves!), then we have not only come closer to embodying the authentic and honest expression of who we are, but have joined other women in a collaboration of empowerment and joyous creation.

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT: 

www.BreathingSpaces.net
www.NaturalWealthJournal.com

Website:  www.ResonanceWithLife.com

Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Book: http://resonancewithlife.com/daily-breath-book/

Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath

ANNOUNCEMENT!!  I invite you to go to the Natural Wealth website to see a Sneak Preview of my upcoming book: Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath expected out in e-book and soft cover by 12/1/11!!  Go to the page Be Breathed – Our Daily Breath.

Would love your feedback as the book is not quite finished yet…and your comments would be most welcome!  Also check out the video that took me so many takes….and laugh along with me.

REMEMBER –  Laughter is a series of exhales expressed with uninhibited joy!

Thank you for taking the time to take a peak at the Sneak!

Gaye Abbott           Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath

The “Crazy” Ones

Martha Graham

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”Steve Jobs

On the verge of becoming one of the “crazy ones” is a very ripe place to be.  “Crazy” is being defined here as one who steps way out of any self or culturally imposed boxes and makes the decision to take action on behalf of the heart informed inner voice.  That voice of courage, passion and strength that has never know conformity.

Amelia Earhart

What makes us decide that we can no longer hide out in complacency or fear of being all that we are?  Confidence and determination are certainly a part of it.  Yet I believe that it is deeper than that.  There is a place inside of each of us that has known since the day we were born the purpose we came here to serve.

This may be a quiet purpose out of the public eye, or it could be a completely visible one where there is no hiding at all.  Whatever it is, knowing your purpose with clarity is the starting block on this journey of coming out.

As women this knowing can be delayed a bit.  Sometimes we wait in quiet expectation until

Indira Gandhi

our 50”s, 60’s or even 70’s before we take the time to listen to the heart and intuition driven inner voice that Steve Jobs speaks of above.  It is never too late to become what is your hearts desire!

Take me for example.  I turned 63 this year and I laughingly said to a friend of mine recently “I keep calling myself midlife.  Am I really deluded?  If I am at midlife now then I will be living vibrantly until age 126!!  Now that is possible I suspect, but a more likely explanation is that I find life so irresistible right now that every day is like an art piece to be explored.

Jean Houston

My friend wants to redefine midlife to include the years when we are vibrantly choosing to make a difference and passionately following that inner guidance with heart directed action.  I agree with her.  Midlife is whatever we define it no matter what age we are.

Are you playing it safe?  Or have you decided to be one of the ‘Crazy Ones”?

Those crazy ones – make a difference.  Narrated by Steve Jobs

…and then there is Alice Walker

So in the end you can’t even really regret your misfortunes,” explains the beloved author Alice Walker, “because they led you somewhere.”

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:
www.BreathingSpaces.net
www.NaturalWealthJournal.com
WEBSITE:
www.IgniteWealthNow.com

Becoming The Art

Martha Graham

When we are in the midst of making something,
in the actual creative act,
we know we are who and what we are

because we forget our public reception for a minute.

We become the art itself instead of
the artist who makes it.

-Julia Cameron

This past week I took 3 days of being “unplugged” to work on a draft of a book that I had set aside for almost a year.  There was a relief in not connecting to internet, making or receiving phone calls, or in my case blogging or doing social networking.  There was no need to unplug from T.V. as I haven’t watched or owned  one for over 15 years.

While I was in this time period the phrase kept coming up – do you really want to spend precious life moments living virtually?  Instead how about dropping down into the spaciousness of creating from a place that cannot be found on the internet, but inside of a moment to moment sense oriented life experience.

Now mind you, there is an amazingly powerful use for the internet and other electronic media.  However the creative muse would not have been so spontaneously present I suspect if I would have been hooked in to anything other than allowing the writing to come through me, taking breaks out in nature, and making certain that I was nourished by healthy food and movement/exercise breaks.

This sustained and planned creative process is new to me.  I am used to hit and run creative ideas coming in during unsuspecting moments driving me to run for a pad of paper, or the back of a grocery store receipt, to write it down.  Invariably it is as I am driving that something blazes into my consciousness, and then just try to scribble something down while watching that light about to change….and even more trying to decipher what you wrote or sketched for that latest painting idea later on. Hand held recorders are looking better and better these days!

I suspect that room for spontaneous creativity is always there for each and every one of us, but often it is buried amongst what seems like millions of bits of stimulus input that hit us everyday.  As Julia Cameron says in the quote that was given at the beginning of this post, we become the art itself as we immerse ourselves in the creative process and await direction.  Sometimes it is immediate and at other times we are asked to take a break and change our surroundings – which then will inspire us of course to capture the next creative spark.

12,000 words later in the 3 days I set aside I am now happy to say that I have reintroduced myself to the creative muse that has so wanted to come out and play with the me that feels incredibly alive when she is in the act of creation!  We are having a great time together, and yes this book is well on its’ way to birthing itself.

It is no accident that I came across the perfect video to share with you this week.  This couple who have been married for 62 years are a beautiful example of becoming the art spontaneously.   Enjoy and take into consideration what Katharine Hepburn once said,  “I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun”!!

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

www.BreathingSpaces.net
www.NaturalWealthJournal.com

Looking Past Limits

I turn 63 years old in just a matter of a couple of weeks.  Two days before this day of my birth celebration I am taking flight by heading off down the road to visit family, friends, and new places all on the way to my new home in Austin, Texas.

Unhooking from a “conventional job” with all the trimmings, leaving my little cottage in the Oregon countryside, saying farewell to friends, and generally being aware of letting go of perceived limitations there is an excitement that is building inside.

There is no “job” to greet me on the other side, home to put my belongings in,  man to greet me with open arms, family to be closer to, or known territory to feel “safe” in….yet there is possibility, mystery, and new territory to open to and explore.  Is this what looking past limits is made of?

Mary Oliver said it in her poem, A Summer Day, with the line – “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  I love this line!  Do you know?  Well, it is never too late to breathe wildness into that precious life and find out!  We may not know how, but believing in the innate gifts we hold inside is essential.

Whether a woman knows it or not, she is a vessel of great magnitude born capable of reshaping humanities destiny if she only knew the true depths of her innate gifts. Be prepared now to see the fierce face of the feminine rock as her inner geographies of volcanic strength erupt from a love she has held in her belly for life all of her days. This is not a gasp of her last breath. It is her birthing cry into her wise leadership on our planet.” ~ Alisa Starkweather

Each of us as women need to hear of others that are doing this same thing as we leap off into the passionate expression of our deepest longings.  Below is a very powerful TED video with Caroline Casey which is well worth the time spent to listen to it in its entirety.

How will you spend the next days/months/years of this one wild and precious life?

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

www.BreathingSpaces.net
www.NaturalWealthJournal.com

Will I Be Pretty?…or Will I Be Pretty Amazing?

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty
and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and
kiss the ground.

~ Rumi

I start with this Rumi poem for several reasons.  First it reminds me of what to remember as I wake up each morning with new possibility arising within a very big shift in my life.   It also speaks to me of the beauty that resides within and without each of us, and the myriad of ways that we can express this within our own uniqueness.

As women we have often listened to others dictates about what is right or wrong with us – especially our appearance –  and followed the voices of others whims and desires.   If you are like me, you have also wanted to fit in within the “appearance” that you were blessed to have been born with…but may have been continuously displeased with – attempting to change somehow to fit in with what “beauty” or “acceptable” appearance is in your particular culture.

This not only speaks to external appearance, but the “beauty” that we share inside of us offered as gifts of full expression.  This beauty that we seek to understand our entire lives may have been held back from full expression by fear of being misunderstood, not being accepted in the constraints of cultural bias, or perhaps even punished in some form.

In my global travels I have found this to be true universally.  What is it that has us judge our appearance, inside and out,  set apart from recognition of our heart and souls dream for who we are to become this lifetime?

This past week I was blessed to make contact with a woman at the gym after my swim.  She approached me, and what resulted was a short but very profound sharing between two older women that are committed to bringing the fullness of who they are out into the world.

Martha is an artist -a full time one at that.  The glow that radiated from her as she talked about her art gave me encouragement and inspiration to bring my own without the hesitation that has self sabotaged me in the past.

Yet, I learned that it was not until she was in college that she dove into the potential of the art within her.  Her mother did not want her to be an artist when she was growing up.  It was OK for her sister to be one, but mom wanted Martha to be an dancer.  With the freedom that comes from leaving home, Martha started to explore her own beauty within the world of visual art.  She now gives herself permission to bring this to the world as her gift.

This week I also bought a new bathing suit as the old one had such thin material from frequent use that it was bordering on embarrassingly revealing.  When I got it home I tried it on for the first time and realized that it was a tad too small – but not much.

As I gazed at the reflection in the mirror and turned and twisted to see all angles of my aging voluptuous (I love that word!) body I decided to see the beauty of having a body – a body that can swim, lift weights, hike, walk, ride bikes, make love, sit in meditation, run on the beach, play, laugh and breathe.  A body and ageless “beauty” that can be expressed until the last breath is taken….full and complete acceptance of what is now.

Is it time for you to explore that inner and outer beauty……  to simply be the pretty amazing woman that you are? !  There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the fullness of our expressions….

Here is a powerful video by Katie Makkai filmed at the 2002 National Poetry Slam.  She brings a lot of emotion and wisdom to the question – Will I Be Pretty?  Thank you to Karri Ingerson for this video!!

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

www.BreathingSpaces.net

www.DivineWealthJournal.com – Conversations between The Brit and The American

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