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  Perhaps, it had all happened in reverse, I have been changlingtaken to live among the old folk, and my real self had been replaced by an enchanted log somewhere.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.

Four Women We All Should Know. (Part 1)

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     I love the idea of mentorship, being and having.  The problem is that as I’ve grown older finding a mentor is tough, so I’ve begun reading biographies – lots of them.There’s something wonderful about listening to the words of women who have been where I’ve been or want to go.   Recently there are four lives, four women whose stories I just can’t shake.  Each woman has had a wildly different life and background, but each woman’s tale is about defining  beauty and purpose during our later years.
       Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea is a classic in gracious hope, so I eagerly swept up Against the Wind, her letters and journals about transitioning into later years. During the first half of the book, I bored everyone near me reading  out loud the passages that could have been written by me.  She was questioning her new life, now that the kids were gone and her husband was off doing what ever America’s Aviator  did.  Her struggle was in  finding a purpose after having been her family’s glue.
       Then there was a dark turn.  Her entries started with resolve and ended with wondering how her husband would react and whether he’d approve of her thoughts and dreams. What began as an uplifting quest ended as a decision to do the same ole’, same ole’.  She began by looking for her own purpose and a shared life with her husband, and ended with adultery (on both sides) – a victimanne lindbergh of a self-imposed prison sentence of resentment and jealousy.   Her later journals show that she was never able to find the beauty and peace that she found expressed in the Gift from the Sea. Lindbergh is like my daffodils right now, growing up during the warm spurt in January.  She knew she needed to grow and change but chose to do it in a fashion that stunted her.
       Another woman, Emma Gatewood (Grandma Gatewood), also had a miserable marriage. Her husband physically abused her for decades.  Living during the same time as Lindbergh, she also lived her life for her children (11).  Finally, neighbors helped her be able to leave after a particularly  brutal beating.  At 65, Emma, needed purpose and repair.  She quietly, secretly bought a bus ticket to  Georgia where she began to walk the Appalachian Trail, alone – with only a pair of keds and a rucksack packed with a blanket and some light provisions.  She was the first woman to walk it alone and she did it two more times.
       She didn’t rant against her husband or her life of hardship, with each step she grew stronger.  She loved the peace and challenge of the trail and found both in equal kind.  Her “walks” weren’t totally alone, human kindness always found her when she was in need. gatewood She found her voice and sang during the trail hours.  Like Lindbergh, she was a poet.  Her worksmithing didn’t match her 8th grade education.  She had been a voracious reader throughout her adult life, preferring the epics of Homer.  Her poetry uplifted me the same way Lindbergh’s did in my 30’s. She wrote about nature, her children, the post office and her abuse. She sorted out her life.
       Gatewood found her purpose in an old National Geographic, which first  got her dreaming.  Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s dream broke down with age.  One let disappointment become an anchor and the other a springboard.  One had everything money could buy and the other had enough money for multiple pairs of keds.  One lost the eyes to see beauty and the other’s eyes saw it everywhere. One stopped moving, while the other kept onward.
       Lindbergh’s mentorship taught me the danger of self-knowledge without action, while Grandma Gatewood taught me that there is no reason to stop ever. She “wanted to see what was beyond the hill, and beyond that”, so do I.
        Diane Keaton and Corrie ten Boom  continue mentoring me in growing old, but I’ll write about them next week.  These four women … Anne, Emma, Diane, and Corrie are women we all should know.
Until next time,
Beth

No, No Not Resolutions but Goals

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I’ve been down…no that’s not it.  I’ve been bored and it’s not because I’m not busy.  I’m slammin’ busy.  It’s not because my life isn’t interesting- it is.  It’s not because I’m not loved or loving – my arms are filled with hugs.  So what has been my whiny problem?
 I’ve retired.  bored
Since retirement my life has been filled with multiple health recoveries followed by becoming the “Best Wife, Step-Mom, Grandma” my family wanted.  Oh and my husband and I started a new business, so I was busy being the “best business owner”  for a business that I didn’t like. I left myself out.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you might be thinking that this is old news.  And there is the problem.  I know I need more purpose, more personal delight but I haven’t been able to get traction on it.
Have you every felt that way?  You know what you could do, should do to make yourself a lighter, more purposeful person but your car just won’t start?
Change of subject- sort of.   A fellow blogger, Kimberly Mongomery, recently came out with a new planner, .  There are a lot of those on the market right now.  However, out of bloggingchoices courtesy I took a look.  And then a second look.  And then a slow deeper look.  Then the Kimbery put out a You-Tube video to walk the viewed through the new planner.  
It was great.  It seemed like the planner I’d always wanted and was trying to create on my own.  It had a section for Gratitude, a method to track what I like and what I didn’t, pages for doodles, and so much more.  And it will fit in my purse!
I ordered it.
One problem – it  used goals.
I’ve never been good at goals.  Oh I must be doing something right because I have a good life – but when it came down to those core things to give new life to my retired life, I just could stick with a goal.
Back to Kimberly’s blog, FiftyJewels.  She has a video course on goals setting.  Now I’ve 50Jewelstaken the Tony Robbin’s gold standard course.  Didn’t work for me.  I’ve created hundreds of workable goals for special education students and their families, but I couldn’t move on my own (picture me with shame face emoticon right now).  However, there was something different about Kimberly’s view— set goals based on the “feeling” you want to achieve. The light bulb went on;  it’s not the weight, the blog, the marriage I want to improve, it’s a feeling of control, that I lost when I got sick and had to retire.
I took her you tube course.  I defined what I know I really wanted.  I defined the problems and identified the solutions.   I planned.  I took my time.  The goals don’t feel self-imposed.  They feel like “Choices” I can make for me.  They feel like “Choices” that I can make, each building on another.
The Choices Planner turned into a guide, my guide.
Get it.  Try it.

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