The Gift Of Resolution-Happy New Year

The deep freeze is gradually letting up and I am luxuriating in a slow January thaw that gives me pause. As I sit by the fire, cup of tea in hand, and with a mere glance at last year’s calendar full of obligations that were not of my choosing, I feel its time to make some changes. Just as each age has its tasks, so each year has me living differently from before, especially now when I’ve come to the age of wisdom gathering.
 
I’ve been pondering what it means to be 70. No question that body, mind, and soul shifts, and with it, a new sense of being. It seems I am finally growing up in a new and resolute way—determined and unwavering to not only become new, but to exercise my right to BE new. Before now I wavered at making new year’s resolutions because I was still unsure if I could carry a pledge or expression of opinion forward. But now, well into my seventh decade, it is time.
 
Indeed, such a declaration has to do with legacy—no longer being on the fence but declaring my truth without hesitation, knowing it might not be someone else’s truth. I recall my father always complaining about his best friend who would never offer an opinion one way or the other. “Since I never knew where he stood,” my father concluded, “you couldn’t really know him.” I’m not so concerned that the ‘outer world’ know me but I do want to know myself and very much want my children to know me as well.
 
Although I’ve been hard pressed to even consider how I believe one should or could live out a lifetime, I’ve agree with a statement Meryl Streep made about the juncture she found herself at. “Reconciliation with your life when you’ve come to a point where you’ve lived most of it, seems the only comfortable way to age.”
 
And so, as I toss another log on the fire, take pen to hand to write down a few resolutions. I chuckle at the card sitting on the coffee table given to me by a friend who knows me all too well.
The inscription reads:
One day she woke up and decided to say NO and the whole world didn’t fall apart.
 
From that my resolutions became relatively apparent.
 
Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
(One of Tom Jefferson’s rules…most things I did grudgingly, but no more.)
 
Step away from the traffic of function.
(Function means performance. I prefer serendipity.)
 
Say yes to life and no to anything that bores you.
(No more thinking about doing what lights my fire.)
 
Avoid small talk. It is a painful duty.
(Not enough hours to engage in talk of weather, food, and people you don’t know.)
 
De-clutter.
(Make my house Zen..calm, music, candles, and cleared off tables.)
 
Reassess my values.
(Are they my values or learned values from outside myself.)
 
Enjoy ordinary events…let them take center stage.
(Anything to do with children, nature, and humanity.)
 
Noticing becomes a prime contemplative habit.
(Eye to eye contact with silence mixed in creates peace.)
 
Character is everything…be who you’ve become.
 
Well, there you have it. I am now making copies of my resolution and plastering them all over the house…bathroom mirror, computer, side door, car…perhaps by 2019 I will have mastered them or be ready to make a whole new list. In any case, I am taking my task seriously because as an old friend of mine wrote:
 
“I must learn to care for my life,” she said, nurture, relish and love it for no one else can live it for me. It is our life we want and we don’t
want to waste anymore of it. So we must begin to savor the blessedness of the ordinary. At our age we are free to do what we really
Believe is right and good.”
 
At our age we are free to do what we really “believe is right and good”.
Go for it!
Happy New Year.

Why Retreat? Day 1, Online Retreat

“May you sink into the seamless world of uninterrupted time where the endless hours allow something to grow from nothing.”

– Joan Anderson

I have a strong belief in the need for retreating no matter what age or stage you are in. “If it is a woman’s role to nurture,” as Anne Lindbergh suggested, “then she must nourish herself.” Indeed, I found as a result of my year by the sea that selfhood begins by taking oneself away.

In a desire for destiny and a call to the challenge of knowing oneself, a woman can move from chaos to clarity by walking the quiet roads of retreat. Going from being soulfully dead to spiritually alive, she takes up the work of a pilgrim. Often physically and emotionally taxing, a woman’s quest can result in a humbling and transformative rite of passage. It has been said that the making of a heroine commences when a woman seizes her life and becomes self-directed. Indeed, “in every life, no matter how dull or ineffectual, “says Celtic philosopher, John O’Donohue, “something eternal is happening.”

A retreat can breathe new life into a woman, for there is something in each of us that listens for the sound of the genuine within.

Think about where you might go each day or once a week—a quiet, soothing place where there is limited interruption. Would it be under a tree in your backyard, a bike or hiking trail, a church, a park bench, along the shoreline, beside a babbling brook, in a meadow, or on a hilltop. The object is to live wholly and not to reach for some otherness, but rather to penetrate deeply into each hour, moment, season, or place.

To retreat is to give yourself time for self reflection, a chance to honor who you were and who you could be, a time of self indulgence. As part of your retreat plan make sure to have fun—with a glass of fine wine, lunch with a friend, a massage, buying fresh flowers. It’s not just about self improvement—it’s about being complete.

During these next few weeks be prepared to take action, find time for contemplation, designate sacred space, and become attuned to senses. All will conspire to create a shift in who and what you are becoming.

The holiday weekend is over…

The Fourth of July holiday is behind us. I can already sense the sound of less traffic and a sense of calm in the air. So many tourists, intent upon squeezing every bit of seaside juice out of their time here, bring an element of intensity that feels like the city, stamping out the tranquil ambience those of us who live here, crave.

It is already hot and I am filled with heavy thoughts that make me not want to greet the day. Instead of pushing them away, I meander down to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, choose  carefully from my mug collection, and am now sipping coffee on the side porch where a breeze has miraculously found its way up to our house from the sea.

The house is still, making it easier to hear a symphony of birds tweeting from the bushes and  trees that dot our property. In an effort to clear my head and let the possibility of positive thought invade my being I hold onto a crystal given to me after a healing massage and begin to whisper…may I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I be free from suffering and then wishing the same for others that I know and love. A calm overtakes me and my early morning malaise begins to lift. The word DELIBERATE comes to mind…which to me means acting with a full consciousness…carefully considering how I CAN be rather than letting myself be pulled here or there by the whim of  another, the news, the mood of the times, whatever.

I have a favorite quote by T.S.Eliot that hangs in my office: “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.” I cannot bear the bad news coming from my children or the horror stories that permeate the media. I can however, be embellished by that which is in front of my face…the sea, the dunes, the flowers, the fresh air and revel in simple existence. It only takes being deliberate with my intentions to go from the dark to the light.

Here I am in the blogging world…

What, Joan Anderson is joining the world of blogs?  Could it be that someone who is electronically phobic could really be doing such a thing?

The truth is that I have had writer’s block for some time now.  My mind sort of went numb when my then new publisher signed me on with bells and cymbals and then mysteriously left me dangling…a feeling not unlike being dumped by a lover.  For sure my creative side went dead as I tried feverishly to fix it or figure it out.  Alas, there were no answers or explanations forth coming and besides, I was soon consumed with the gradual failing of my dear mother’s health.  As I hobbled around on a crutch as she slowly began leaving this earth there was hardly time ti fix my bad knee.  Holistic approaches did nothing to help and so, after she died I submitted to knee replacement.  The surgeon was great but the drugs further dulled by brain as well as my spirit.  In time, I surfaced, almost as good as new, until the news came that one of our children was getting a divorce.

Enough, already, I said to self.  I could continue reacting to life or get on top of it and once again become proactive.  Choosing the latter, I decided the only way to reach out and touch the positive forces in my life would be to start blogging…talking about what was on my chest and getting reaction.  And so beginning July 4th I will be at this site twice a week to begin again.  As Joan Erikson said to me: “The only person who will sponsor yourself is yourself.”