For better than ten years I have been reading, researching, thinking, writing, talking, listening and sharing on issues of interest to women at midlife and beyond. I have personally felt, and heard from those I’ve talked to, a sense of urgency, of deep and earnest interest in finding that “something more” in life that can guide and inspire us to live authentically and creatively in our remaining years. There is a desire to set aside the day-to-day ordinariness, the worries and cares, the striving toward something and learn instead to embrace the abundance that is right within our reach, to discover our gifts and use them and to live in gratitude for what we have right now in our lives.
This is what I have come to call the “aging abundantly” life style and it is one that often requires major changes in our understanding of ourselves and our relationships, an altering of our expectations and focus, the implementation of daily practices and the on-going effort to create subtle shifts in our behavior and surrounding world. What we discover in the process is an authentic lifestyle that resonates with who we are at our deepest core selves; we develop a connection to what one might call our spiritual/soul selves — that part of us that is and always has been with us, a constant, ever-present, though sometimes silent witness and influence in our lives. Each day we deepen our connection to our soul selves and a deeper awareness of our purpose for being here.
It is a process, of course, and we are all at various stages in this process. What I would like to hear more about from you is this: If you are following this path, what have you found to be your stumbling blocks? What trips you up? What issues/questions are you struggling with now? What have you struggled with in the past? Where do you look for answers and direction? What type of help and support have you found most beneficial in the past, what support would you like to have now? Is there a question you would like to ask me, personally or professionally? I am here for you, let’s talk.
(If you are not comfortably leaving a public comment, please feel free to send me an email to AgingAbundantly@gmail.com. I am the only one who reads the emails sent to this address.)
Money is a funny thing. Just the thought of its absence can send us into a tailspin of fear and anxiety. The what ifs of life can keep us awake at night and shake our confidence in tomorrow. I have had so many sleepless nights and anxiety ridden days worrying about money. Would there be enough for the needs of my children, from school projects, to clothes, to college tuition? Would I be able to give them the experiences that I believed would make them well-rounded adults? Trips, concerts, art and history museums, time spent in different parts of the country, or world? Everything seemed to cost money, and often more than we had. My children’s well-being was always at the top of my worry list but so many other things followed behind.
My child raising days are over and in spite of all my worries, my children had “enough”. They might have had a little more of me had I not been so wrapped up in my worries! I’ve come to accept, however, that we all do the best we can as parents and the rest is up to them. And darn, if they aren’t doing a pretty good job of making a life for themselves. They are good, kind and caring people…in an often less than kind world.
When money stresses ease, and I begin to dream, I find that I don’t dream about expensive jewelry or a bigger house. I don’t think about new furniture, a new wardrobe, or a new car. I do think about taking a class, visiting a friend or buying a book. I’ve recently re-discovered a few things that I used to take for granted, before I went for so long without them and I am struck by how much comfort the little things can bring. They symbolism something much more than the having of a possession. They symbolize security, warmth and comfort.
Here is a short list of a few of those things:
I love socks! Wigwams are my favorite, but anything colorful makes me smile.
A Good book.
It doesn’t take money…at least not much…to make us rich.
What are the little things that make you feel as though you are living an abundant life?
OTHER POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
A lovely blog I feel certain you will enjoy as much as I did.
Originally posted on A Heart's Whispers:
We keep wanting ‘it’ to be ‘something.’ We go in search of ‘it’ hoping ‘it’ will reveal itself to us. Our minds tell us ‘it’ will be tangible, touchable, definable. And yet, when we go into the space of our hearts all those words and the need for definitions fall away.
Love. Purpose. Calling. Longing.
What’s the ‘it’ they are leading us to?
I met Carol for the first time a little over a year ago. I didn’t notice at the time that she was a small woman, so large was her interest in me and all that was going on in my world. I admired, immediately, her ability to know her own mind and state it clearly. It made being with her a breeze. No second guessing. No accommodating. She seems to have worked out all the kinks about herself in the little areas of life that can take up so much of us, like what to order at Starbucks when we go for coffee… “I’ll have a Venti Extra Hot 2 Pump Peppermint Cafe Mocha please,” and she’ll turn to me for me to order, and…I’m not so clear. Never have been. So, I follow her lead and order the same, only I request a Tall instead of a Venti. She knows I’m counting my pennies and turns back to the counter and says, “She’ll have the Venti” and turns back to me and says, “My treat.” It’s taken some time, but I’ve learned not to argue with her.
She’s a single woman about my age, with beautiful, long, full, silver-gray locks that she sweeps up in a scrunchy at the back of her head with great ease…another thing I will ask her to teach me one day when I can afford to buy a scrunchy. I know it can’t be as easy as it looks.
Carol came into my life on a wing and prayer. Right after she moved into our neighborhood, she nabbed my husband in the driveway on her way home from work. She wanted his expertise on some home renovations she had undertaken. The house was a foreclosure and in desperate need of work. A week later she invited us out for pizza for our feedback on her paint color choices for the exterior of her house. It wasn’t long before we started connecting by text at the end of the day, and over dinner at one or the other’s home.
Carol is a survivor. Uprooted when a job change was forced upon her, she left behind a beautiful old home, one she had renovated with her own two hands. It ultimately went into foreclosure when it would not sell (compliments of the miss-steps of the banking industry), and carrying two mortgages no longer made sense to her. In the process, she lost her credit worthiness, and a significant amount of money that she had invested in the restoration.
Carol doesn’t let life get her down. “It’s all about Freecell” she told me not long ago. “Freecell?”, I asked. “Yeah, the game. Have you ever played it.” Sure I have. I became a master at it before I realized needlepoint was more productive and just as much fun.
“Life is like Freecell. You just have to look for the next move. There’s always another move.”
She’s so right! I immediately took her “Freecell” concept, because it is so visual and visual works for me, and applied it to my own “problems”. It’s so freeing. It’s so hope-full. It’s so life affirming, and my problems are no longer problems. They are secondary. It’s the “next move” that is my focus now. Thank you, Carol.
Dorothy Sander © 2014
Life rarely goes according to plans. My plans that is. Again, and again, I am reminded of this.
My husband and I have been in a financial fix for about six weeks. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years. Opting to work as self-employed business owners, we did a whole lot of learning through our mistakes. Adding to the mix, our home improvement business is the kind of business that takes a nose dive every time the economy hiccups. And, it’s been doing a whole lot of hiccupping in the last decade!
I can’t tell you the number of times we walked around scratching our heads wondering why the business phone wasn’t ringing, asking ourselves over and over, “What are we doing wrong? What do we need to do differently?” Perplexed and frantic, we inevitably discovered that economic indicators were down. We’d hunker down, cut back on our expenses and ride it out. We actually became so confident in the consistent inconsistency of our business that we became great predictors for our friends and relatives (not that predicting bad news was anything any of them wanted to hear!).
The most recent downturn was not altogether unexpected. The holiday season is always slow. But this year, the cold weather seemed to freeze people’s dialing finger. In addition, a re-fi from hell tied up our money and our nerves; the legal machinations relative to my accident kicked into high gear; my youngest son, who worked with my husband for the last five years, moved to Missouri; and my oldest son, who also worked with us, will be joining him the first of February. Do I need to say “chaos” with a capital “C”? In the midst of all of this I’m trying to finish up my book and get some freelance writing work done. (Not easy when everyone else is at loose ends!)
The other day, in a particularly low moment, hubby and I sat eating P&J sandwiches at the kitchen table, trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do to survive. After all, we’re not getting any younger, and every time this happens gets harder and harder to find the energy for a comeback. It’s so hard not to feel defeated when the deck seems stacked against you.
I suggested we go somewhere quiet, hold hands and meditate. I would bring a notebook (do I go anywhere without one?) and jot down any ideas that came to us as we did. I wish you knew my husband. You’d be as surprised, and as proud as I was, when he agreed. He’s come a long way baby!
So we washed down our lunch with coffee, went to our bedroom and sat side by side on the bed, comfortably propped up by pillows. Holding hands, we each took several slow, deep breaths. Slowly, we began to let go of our worrisome thoughts and let in the quiet; to relinquish control and allow the energy needed for that to expanded our awareness and move outward. In this way we opened ourselves to the best of our ability, to anything…to possibility…to the universe. We spoke our thoughts when they seemed important. I jotted them down. A few of them seemed interesting, but not immediate solutions. So we continued on.
At last when the quiet meditation seemed to run its course, and there were no brilliant ideas forthcoming, hubby said, “Maybe we just need to do nothing.” Counter-intuitive to our do-do-do mindset, it felt like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. Yes. That was our answer today. We both just relaxed, heaved a sigh of relief and went about the rest of our day with a calm, trusting attitude that we had not had in weeks.
The next day, we both received new and fresh ideas for our future, new business came in for both of us, and there was movement on both the re-fi and the legal stuff. Unexpected solutions to long-term problems seemed to just appear. My instinct was not to trust any of it.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. If I’m going to believe the stuff I always write and talk about, and I do, I had darn well better believe it when it hits me upside the head. I am passionate about the concept of positive energy, of hope and faith and the benevolence of the universe. I am doubtless that what we see and believe with clarity will come to be in some way. I believe it without question, that is, for everyone else. But, for me? Not so much. I’m on a learning curve. I am learning to trust that what I believe to be true for everyone else, is also true for me. So I remind myself now, on a regular basis, to keep an open and trusting heart, and to accept what comes my way with gratitude. For I am truly blessed.
Dorothy Sander © 2014