An Antidote for Heartache

princess phone
     I woke up and almost called my Mom.  Sometimes this Advanced Grown-Up degree is so much harder than I expected.
     The list of worries are so much more critical that when the family was young and band aids, check-books, and a good talking too could fix most things.  But now the list of concerns seem vast.  There’s the grown children and their family’s worry.  The how do you keep a spark in a lonnnng term marriage worry.  The grandchildren worry.  The number of mom and daughterfriends now succumbing to deep, ugly, illness worry.  Our own health concerns.  Financial doom  about the distant future that looms decades ahead if we stay healthy.  Don’t get me started about this presidential election.
      The worst part about these worries is that there is very little I can do to help.  My job is becoming a listener; a source of quiet and consistent support.  Big change.  Hard change.
         I have a big mouth.

Everything felt hard this morning.

       My favorite song for the spirit has a line “We reach for you and we stand tall”, however the problem this morning was that I didn’t want to stand tall, I wanted to be small; small enough to be held and rocked.  Oh I know that doesn’t sound right coming from a 60 year old, grey maned woman who lives a blessed life, but there it is.   I wanted to talk it through with my Mom.  But she’s been gone for a long, long time.
       When we are lucky, the love of our Mother is the love of Grace.  It is our helpful companion as promised to us.  My Mom’s love for her little girl will echo within me until I am no more.  For today, without her I am turning to that same love, only larger, greater:
 Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you
    lying in the sun  I feel Her love and I spill my heart in prayer.   I sit in the morning sun and I feel solace.
      As for missing my Mom, all I have to do is look in the mirror and know she is still here.
Oh and if in case you are wondering what my favorite spiritual song is, it’s a song of Kermit the Frogs from Muppet’s Christmas Carol.
kermit

Best Belly Banishing Tip Ever

posture
I wish that I had a pooch but what I’ve had since menopause  is a spread the size of a Saint Bernard.   Muffin top, schmuffin top,  its a full cake.  It squishes and bounces.  Despite weight loss and exercise routines my bowl full of jelly belly might have gotten smaller but it is still round..
Then it happened, I started stumbling.  One of my new knees needed a physical therapy tune up -stick with me, this is about my core, and  my physical therapist, who was Torquemada in a previous life, was making me walk tall .  In order to do this correctly she taught me a silly little trick that is flattening my tummy.
Here’s the tip, walk as though you’ve just zipped up your tightest pair of jeans.   That’s it.  That action has done more to tighten my tummy than the  years of crunch variations and all the minutes  I’ve spent planking.  I have been whisked back to a time long ago and far away when I remember Charlton Heston talking about his fitness routine on Merv Griffin. Heheston_sheet_web (2) said that he never worked his stomach. He didn’t have to because of this  trick.  Such a simple old fashioned little trick with such outstanding results that even the movie Moses did it. Let’s not talk about a little girls crush on all things Charlton and why I was watching Merv Griffin.
You see in order to walk as though you’ve just zipped, my lower abs need to be question mark posturetaught indefinitely, my hips tuck under and my back gets longer, it’s not just sucking the tummy in..   My shoulders don’t round onto my hips creating the question mark posture of the older woman, and I am moving with purpose.  My whole core is working and strengthening.  Just from this one tip.
As my core strengthens naturally, I’m able to do different and more difficult ab routines, that are finally shaping my center. Additionally, my balance is sure again, like when I was younger and,  and ….kegels, which have been tough are possible.
So, that’s it.  Do this regularly and get read to really be able to zip up you tightest jeans with ease.

I’ve Entered a Twilight Zone

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  “There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the”* Grey Zone and I have found myself there.
      At first, I noticed subtle changes while on vacation in Yellowstone at dinner.  Looking around the dining room in the lodge  I realized that almost half of the people had grey hair, and those who didn’t were dying theirs. It seemed jarring, that moment memorable but not enough to dwell.
      Then the changes were more and more frequent and by last fall at a Sunday afternoon dance on the Long Island Sound, I had to admit it was permanent.
I had somehow been thrust into this weird dimension and I couldn’t get out.
      However, now that I’ve retired I’ve notices that these grey hair folk are everywhere all the time. They travel in packs, at certain times and days.old in store  For example, when I go grocery shopping during Tuesday’s (because it’s emptier then), the aisles are clotted with them.  It’s hard to watch a film during Senior Day at the movies because the blue light of the screen shines onto all of their heads and creates a glare.
      When I was young, I had heard the threat that if I was bad, the fairies would take me and replace me with a log. The “Changling” would grow as a child in my parents house and  I’d grow up in the service of the fey.  Perhaps, it had all happened in reverse, I have been changlingtaken to live among the old folk, and my real self had been replaced by an enchanted log somewhere.  Unless?
     What if?
      How did this happen?  Why am I traveling with all these old people when I’m so young?  I feel younger and healthier than I have in decades.  I go more places, laugh louder, live more daringly than I ever have . Never mind that my own mane is a luscious shade of silver and I have two new knees, I can’t be one of them?
      Can I?
       Rod Serling is whispering in my ear.
*Introduction to season 1 of the Twilight Zone.

Did You Know that February 1 -2 is a Big Deal?

candleWell it is.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s Christian or Pagan, the time from sunset on February 1 to sunset on February 2 is a big deal.  It’s the official start of Spring – I know the East Coast is still waiting for Winter and the Midwest is still buried under the white stuff, but according to the ancient calendar this is the beginning.  Like all beginnings, it’s slow going.

During this month the ancients prepared for planting and we aren’t so different- think of the seed catalogs that are lining our mailboxes right now.  Also during this month the ancients began to plan for livestock births (it was too expensive to feed baby animals during the cold months, so February was the time to let your livestock hook-up for spring summer births)….hence the earliest beginnings of Valentines Day.Lets-Smooch-2-300x287  No, really.  In expectation of a fertile future the Pagan holiday was referred to as Imbolc (or Im-Bolg, meaning around the belly)
A crossover between Pagan and Christian tradition is St. Brigid.  Brigid was a fire and stbrigidfertility goddess and her celebration was February 2.  St. Brigid founded the first Convent in Ireland.  The church crossed the two and St. Brigid’s day is February 2. Her celebration is a nod to the ancients by lighting candles.  The candle ritual is also known as Candlemas, in order to honor the Christ as the “Light of the World” (John 8:12) the churches were filled with light from ….candles.
According to Jewish tradition, women go through a purification ceremony 40 days after giving birth to a son.  Once Christianity adopted December 25 as the official birth day of Christ,  and 40 days later is February 2, hence the Feast of Purification.  To honor the Purification, Lent was often started February 4, as a symbolic rite of personal purification.
No matter how you slice it, February, especially the first and second, is a big spiritual and action month.
How it applies for us today is that by February we know which New Year’s Resolutions are possible and which should be trashed.  This is the month to set those serious resolutions in motion. Start working on your garden, be it metaphorical or in the ground. If your weight loss goals can’t be done on your own but you are really serious, now is the time to join a gym, go to Weight-Watchers, or get a Beachbody coach.  If you want to get organized but just haven’t been able to get traction, now is the time to take stock and make a plan.   The seasonal Juju doesn’t happen on New Years – that’s the time for dreaming and wishing.  The seasonal Juju is February!!!
Oh yeah, and a word about Lent.  In the world of balance, we need to give up something to get something.  Whether you are Catholic or not, this year think of what you can give up.  If you’re trying to get healthy, give up watching TV for 30 minutes in the evening and take alent walk.   Give up sugar,to gain a smaller waist line.  Give up buying stuff. Give up a bag of  stuff everyday and give that stuff to charities.  Your Lenten sacrifice could be in line with the seeds of desire that you’re planting. Maybe even good for the World.
Yup, this month is a big deal.  Start by celebrating today.

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