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Suddenly Sixty

August 20, 2014

Dorothy Sander:

I love this post! I have to admit turning fifty was harder for me than turning sixty, and everything Waiting for the Karma Truck says here I have felt and feel. How has turning sixty, or fifty, impacted you?

Originally posted on Waiting for the Karma Truck:

So here I sit, on the eve of celebrating my 20th anniversary of being 40 – or as most people would say – turning 60.  6-0.  S-i-x-t-y.

– Hello, how are you?

– Fine thanks, I’m 60.

How the hell did I get here already?  Even my sister acknowledges that it’s a big number.  She also assures me I’ll get over it.  I’m sure she’s right, even if I can’t fully articulate what it is I’ve got.  I understand that the alternative is untenable – so untenable in fact, that perhaps that’s my issue.  I’ve lost my sense of infallibility.  I’ve exited that period of my life (which lasted a very long time) where it feels that everything goes on forever – and I’m a part of that everything.  Tom Stoppard writes that one should “[l]ook at every exit as being an entrance somewhere else”.  Sounds right – I am…

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The Circle of Life

August 19, 2014

Disney's Lion KingFive days ago, I celebrated my 63rd birthday. Some days I think the internet and social media are just a fantasy world in which some of us choose to live from time to time – for me, birthdays are one of the best days to be alive and well and living on Facebook. Wow! I can pretend! It sure beats the many years when my kids were small and my husband was either out of work or laid out by work and birthday celebrations were pretty much all my doing. The day I broke down and bought myself a birthday cake simply because I wanted one was the second most liberating moment of my younger life. The first has to be the day my husband said to me, “Why are you cooking for me, honey, and why the heck are you making my lunch? Don’t you have better things to do?” Hell, yes!

Apart from the fact that everyone from President Obama to Mighty Mouse wished me a happy birthday (you know I’m just kidding, right?) and thank you to all of you who were so sweet and kind and made the day so very special, Robin Williams death at 63 was weighing heavily on my mind. I posted some of my thoughts on

He was born just a few short weeks before I entered the world. Life is short enough, Robin. It’s a gift and I think you should have yours back. I think you should have a second chance. I’d like to think you’d choose differently. I have to believe you would, because I always have to come back to hope.
– have to; have to keep trying, keep believing, keep opting in.

Sometimes it hurts too much.

I’ve suffered the debilitating pain of depression. Many times. I’m grateful that the one positive that is coming out of his suicide and death is more discussion around this topic. It’s a disease that does indeed kill. Sometimes slowly, sometimes with a leap. I wonder if it is also a leap of faith of a different sort.

I’ve heard that there’s some discussion that he was taking medication for Parkinson’s that worsened his depression, making him prone to suicidal thoughts. I don’t know if there’s any truth in that. I do know that I’ve taken medication that altered my mental state so severely that only one more notch might have ended in the same results. For a moment, this information took my mind away from the hopelessness of his actions and focused it on anger at the health and pharmaceutical industry. Too many medications are prescribed. Too many people are treated as if we are all the same person who will react to the drugs in the very same way. Some of us are highly sensitive to all medications. And then, there’s my mother-in-law who was treated for Parkinson’s for five years before they decided she did not have it after all. The drugs altered her personality and her life for five years.

Anger alleviates the pain, hurt and fear, temporarily.

Anger at the drug companies and/or physicians should not take our minds away from the issue of mental illness. It is a factor, but mental illness is real all on its own. It doesn’t need any help to maim, kill and destroy individuals, families and beyond. I’m grateful that research into the brain has been stepped up in recent years. It’s a new frontier that should bring much-needed information.

I also heard that suicides the day after Robin William’s skyrocketed. Again, I don’t know if it’s fact or fiction. Makes sense to me given the hopelessness I heard in the voices of so many people. “If he gave up, why should I have a prayer of finding my way clear of my pain”, they surely asked.

The last year has been a turning point for me.

It’s been a death in its own right. After death comes re-birth and I a ready to embrace it wholeheartedly. I can’t wait to see what Robin will do next time around – though I doubt I’ll know I knew him before, or that I knew me before, if there is an after. Confused? Me too!

I’m grieving and I’m celebrating. It’s a both, and. Always is. I have hope again. I’m hanging on to it, until I can’t and then I’ll turn inward and discover something I didn’t know, and die some more. The circle of life. Ah, one of my favorites movies. I think I’ll watch it again. It makes me cry and gives me hope.

What gives you hope?

Living with Mental Illness and Surviving Suicide: One Mother’s Story

Midlife Transformation – My Recommended Reading List

The What’s Underneath Project: Jacky O’Shaughnessy

August 1, 2014

Dorothy Sander:

We all hurt the same way underneath. I am so grateful that women everywhere are starting to see the truth…see beneath the facade of marketing/advertising. I only hope that in time we will find the love and acceptance for ourselves that we long to feel and overcome the damage that has been done. Thank you Sophie for sharing this incredible video.

Originally posted on Feed the Beauty:

Thank you Jacky, for taking your clothes off with such grace and aplomb. But God bless you even more for baring your soul.

I cried when she cried-little tears of empathy, big tears of relief. We’ve been caught up in the advertising industry’s messages of ageism and skinny-ism for decades…waaay too long. This video shares what we need to see more of-images that will help move women forward and rattle us free from the steely grip of the decades-long promotion of contemporary media’s version of beauty.

Just watch.

Kudos and thanks to for this timely project.

More about Jacky:

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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

July 25, 2014

Dorothy Sander:

Desire is a precarious guide.

Originally posted on Spiritual Awakening:

What Do We Want? And why is desire such a tricky guide?

Much of what we experience as desire is actually a yearning for connection, and the only connection that truly satisfies is spiritual connection. We desire something we already have: oneness.

As in the line from the country song goes, we’re looking for love in all the wrong places. We look outside ourselves for that which is inside. The connection we seek has always been inside, and it will always be inside.

Our passions and desires can go off the track so easily. Mine have. I’ve followed passion and desire off many cliffs – bad relationships, substance abuse, overeating. It’s not surprising that 12 step programs insist that the connection to a higher power is essential to overcoming the negative effects of desire gone haywire.

Passion is a powerful human force. Desire keeps us moving when all seems lost…

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A Grateful Heart

July 15, 2014

IMG_0679For some reason I stumbled across and read the post I wrote at the beginning of the new year. I think a little fairy dust was sprinkled over  me, or perhaps it was my muddy angel swinging by to get me back on track.

We’re half way through 2014, almost to the day since I wrote Miracles Await Us Every Day. I’ve been settling down and settling in this week, recovering from some of life’s rattles, shakes and tiny tremors that keep us moving and growing in spite of ourselves. So I suppose it’s appropriate to assess the path I’ve traveled and the one I’m traveling. I so want to live my remaining hours, days or years, whatever time I am given, in a way that is worthy of the gift of life that I’ve been given; not to squander, whine or wander too much or too far away from the life I was meant to live.

In my post I wrote, “I could walk into 2014 with a million plans and expectations for what I’d like to see come to pass, but instead,  I am choosing to start this new year with the continued commitment to follow where my heart and soul leads, and with the deep and abiding conviction that many more miracles await. I’ve come to expect them.”  I wonder today, have I been following this path?

The last six months have taken me to unexpected places and many miracles have occurred. I no longer carry the heaviness of despair and sorrow that I did, or the terror and anguish that stopped me in my tracks after the accident. This is indeed a miracle. I followed my heart and it led me to a path of healing. Still I wonder about the expectation part. Do I really expect miracles? Not so much. Expectation requires a level of trust that does not come easily to me.

As time goes by I am more aware of the regular occurrence of miracles in my life. While I have come to be less than surprised by them, I forget to look for them, to anticipate them, to expect them. I believe we have to feel worthy of miracles to expect them and I still do not.

I believe without question, for others, that a miracle is not about worthiness. It’s about love, about a benevolent universe, a loving force that dwells in and around all of us. This I know. This I can feel and sense and depend upon from somewhere deep inside of me. But accepting that this benevolence extends to me? Again, not so easy. A miracle is a gift and I’ve never been very good at receiving gifts.  And when it comes to miracles, so many need so much more than I.

I think it may become easier to expect miracles to occur when we begin each day with a grateful heart, to consciously acknowledge the gifts that come to us every day, and to be fully present to them. A practice of gratitude carves into our conscious awareness a confidence in a benevolent universe that often only lives deep within us in a place we only turn to in our hour of need.

Today I am content with the surprise bloom on a new plant, an unexpected message from my son, a few sweet, connected moments in a chaotic whirlwind of activity with my husband, a heart to heart conversation with a friend. Today I will not only be content with my new-found joy, but I will practice a grateful heart. I will acknowledge each blessing consciously. I will boldly celebrate it, not fear it, for I am learning to expect miracles.

© Dorothy Sander 2014




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