Category Archives: feeling overwhelmed

Becoming a Grandmother: Part Two

Aven and grandma

As some of you may have noticed, I have been absent from the blog lately. I confess I have not had the energy or the life spirit to write. I wasn’t able to put my finger on the problem until a few nights ago, when I realized that I have been suffering  from the only downside of becoming a grandmother to Aven: an inability to stop thinking about the future and about the terrible world we are passing on to those coming after us.

I can see now that I  must have adjusted somewhere along the way, without even knowing it,  to the fact that my children will, at some point, be living without me in a world full of problems–or I’ve just been so busy being a parent that I didn’t have that much time to ponder! Or I have taken comfort from the fact that I have  at least had the privilege to watch our four grow into adults, and so I know they are strong and loving people and that they will, in any case, have the good sense to hold onto the ones they love  for strength during bad times.

But Aven is so little, so fresh, so vulnerable.  I look at her, and I remember what my Uncle Jack once said about another new baby in the family:  “Even her little insides are all bright and shining.”  I look at her, and I get angry.  I can’t help but wonder why in the world things are so damn difficult for people?  Why in the world can’t we stop all this mess and create together a world that is better and safer for children?

FullSizeRender

I can’t stand to listen to the news.  I try, every now and then, thinking I can handle it, but then I hear another story about young girls being stolen off into the woods of Nigeria or about some German guy deciding to fly a plane into the ground, killing a whole class full of students coming home from an exchange program abroad, and I have to switch off the dial.

I do not know how to come to terms with things like ISIS or climate change when I consider even the possibility that such things could, at any point, become real for Aven.  It was easier before because I could think, “well, at least my friends and my sisters and even my children will all die before the polar caps melt” or “well, we’ve all survived so far with terrorists in the world, so maybe we can hold out a little longer.”

But now, Aven is here, and so the time span for my worry has lengthened.  There is this precious little creature in the world with her mama’s eyes who, at the very least, will have to hear about all the future, unimaginably terrible things that will happen–that’s if she’s lucky and doesn’t have to experience them firsthand!

Lizzie and Aven
Lizzie and Aven

 

I haven’t had much luck turning to religion for comfort, so I turn to poetry.   I keep thinking about Yeats’ poem,  “The Second Coming.”  He was writing about a totally different time in history, but he could so easily be writing about today.  I won’t say this poem is uplifting, but it is strangely comforting to me because he wrote it so long ago, and yet he expresses the way I feel lately about the world we live in, especially about all the evil currently being carried out in the name of religion!  Forgive me if I quote the whole thing, but, when I read this poem, I think to myself two things:  1) maybe things aren’t as bad as I thought, since Yeats thought the world was going to hell in a hand basket, and yet we’ve muddled along for almost 100 years since then!  and 2) “I bet Yeats was worrying about his grandchildren when he wrote it!”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

 

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
yeats

 

 

Slow Down Your Life: Letting Go of Technology’s Grasp

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

Is it just us?  Women over fifty who feel like our life is speeding up each day, and it’s all we can do to keep our  head above water? Jogging in the woods this January, I felt that way, and thought if I could pretend it was 1970 something instead of 2014, then maybe I could slow my life down again to a pace more in keeping with my natural biorhythm. If it was 1970 something now, what would I still do, and what would be different? I would do what I did this morning – make coffee, meditate, say prayers/affirmations, and go running. I would be focused internally, connecting with and filling myself up first, before focusing on the expectations and demands of the external world. Then I may talk to people on mypushbutton phone landline or meet them in person. I certainly wouldn’t turn my cell phone and computer on first thing in the morning or leave them on until bedtime to check voicemails, texts and emails. When I have done that before, I’ve felt pulled from my center. Depletion and disconnection followed, along with the feeling of treading water to keep my head above it. What can you do to slow down and release technology’s hold on you?

  1. Claim one day a week to be completely unplugged from the internet or email.turnoffpcoops50
  2. Set boundaries around technology each day. Create a self-connection routine first thing in the morning and at the end of your day. This could include prayer, meditation, walking in the woods or on the beach, exercising, journaling, painting, etc. It’s very empowering to do this, because you’re telling yourself and the universe that you value yourself and your time, choosing to be proactive and creative vs. reactive and  programmed.
  3. Turn your computer off by 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. and don’t check email after this. Spend your evening connecting with friends in person or by phone. Read, create, play.
  4. Put your cell phone away when with other people and mute it. Honor who you’re with.
  5. Pay attention to your time spent on social media. Is it really adding to or subtracting from your life?“A 2013 study published by the Public Library of Science showed that more use of Facebook meant less sense of well-being and more feelings of envy.”

Yogaoops50Finally if you were to die tomorrow, would you wish you’d spent more time on email or the web? Or would you wish you’d spent more face to face time with loved ones or seeing the world?     Barbara Brady, Coach & Trainer Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition www.mycoachbarbara.com

Am I Becoming More Tolerant or Less?

Annice
Annice

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asking myself the same question over and over again, so I decided to just write about it hoping the answer will come to me.  As I age, and as a woman over fifty, am I becoming more tolerant or less?” That is the question.

I‘ve always considered myself a tolerant person, even compassionate at times. However, I’ve noticed a change in my being when confronted with people (friends, family, colleagues, strangers, cashiers, waiters, etc.) who try my patience.  I just don’t want to be terribly inconvenienced any more, and don’t like people wasting my time – or insulting my soul, because both are precious.

For example, if I have a doctor’s appointment at 3:30, I have to leave work early and basically hurry so I’m not late.  Then, I end up sitting there for over an hour before anyone acknowledges I’m next.  My response?  I’m angry (even though I’ve brought a great book to read) because on that particular day, I’ve got tons of work to complete and a major deadline.  The doctor and his staff do not seem to care at all.  I get annoyed and become intolerant. doctors office

Or, I get a call from a friend or client and have to inform them I can’t talk because I’m running off to an appointment and I’ll call them later.  And, guess what?  They keep talking as if they didn’t’ hear me.  So, I get annoyed and become intolerant.

Or, I’m waiting for a plumber at 8 a.m. and at 10:00 I’m still waiting.  I call the plumber and get no response.  I become intolerant.

It seems to me that I used to be more tolerant.  For example, I used to feel compassion for perpetrators of heinous crimes, because after all, aren’t they sick?  But, for example, after hearing about that hideous case in Cleveland where one man tortured, abused, and chained several young girls for almost a decade, I no longer feel the least bit of compassion for such criminals.  I just feel like they deserve to die.  So when that criminal was found dead in his cell, I felt it was a perfect ending for him.

So, I guess I’m just becoming less tolerant after all?  What about you?

The Power of NO!

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

A few weeks ago at the Jubilee Community Church in Asheville, George Fleming,  “The Breakthrough Coach™”, inspired the congregation with a message about when a No is necessary to lead us to a bigger Yes.

Over the years coaching clients, (including many women over fifty) have often asked for my permission to say No.  For example, a No to the belligerent boss or rancorous relative; a NO to others when you are feeling overwhelmed may be necessary to clear the way to the bigger Yes to self-care and self-love.

Many of us would love to say No more often than we do, but deny ourselves because we’re afraid of what others will think.

“I can’t say no! If I said no, it would mean I’m not a good person, I’m selfish, not a team player”, etc.  But these are limiting beliefs that keep us feeling trapped and resentful, which in the long term will cause more harm to ourselves and others.

No-Button-Buffalo-NY-thumb

Saying No also creates space for something bigger and grandeur to enter our life, for nature abhors a vacuum.  Saying No is taking a stand.  We’re drawing the line in the sand. It’s empowering.

“No, I won’t tolerate that treatment any longer”.

“No, I won’t work overtime without compensation anymore”.

“No, it’s your turn to watch the kids while I take a bubble bath”.

To start the shift to more No’s, imagine the possibilities with the Yes’s  that will surely follow.  Imagine you’ve said No to whatever situation or person you want to.  What’s your bigger Yes?  Imagine that Yes.  Speak that Yes.  Really allow yourself to feel the feeling of Yes that would be possible because of your prior No.

Make a list of everything you get to say Yes to because you said No. Things like fun activities, more R&R, new and healthier relationships; happier feelings, like freedom, peace, or empowerment; improved health, more energy, etc.

Take some time out to listen to No.  Practice.  Get to your bigger “Yes” sooner versus later.

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key. – “Already Gone” – The Eagles

 

 

Barbara’s experience includes more than 12 years coaching individuals and groups on transition issues in life and work, along with helping people release grief that can arise through loss due to any change.

She is the author of “Make the Right Move Now: Your Personal Relocation Guide”; is an abstract painter: www.barbarasabstracts.com, and interfaith minister: http://barbarasceremonies.com

Visit her website at www.mycoachbarbara.com and contact her to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Ten Ways to Overcome Tragedy

Nancy K. Hayes
Nancy K. Hayes

You think the 50’s and 60’s will be a time for us women over fifty to refocus on our own hopes and dreams.  As baby boomers, the children are raised, and hopefully, financially independent.  It’s time to question the need of the big house with the big yard, a time to reassess, revamp everything from daily life to long-term plans.

But, for so many of us, tragedy shows up and wrenches our lives apart — heart attacks, breast cancer, the stark realization that your finances are not in the state they should be for pending retirement, or worse:  an out-of-the- blue death or divorce.

We’ve read much about recovering from a death, or divorce or cancer, but when it strikes in the 50-60’s, you’re more vulnerable, for you are no longer young, and less flexible because you are no longer young, but neither are you old enough to expect death and, divorce after thirty years of marriage seems as unlikely as losing an arm. It’s hard to go home to Mom and Dad at this age, although I’ve seen it done under the guise of caring for them. personal crisis

There are paths back to wholeness and life. The following techniques will vary in appeal depending on your beliefs and personality, but those who have traversed a personal crisis successfully have utilized them, not necessarily in this order, not really in any order, and sometimes, all in the same day.  And, remember — time is the ultimate healer.

meditation
meditation

1 .)  Meditation-  People who don’t meditate often say it’s because they don’t have time.  But when you go through a trauma, time seems to lag unbearably.  This is a good opportunity to start or build your practice.  Start with five or ten minutes and work up to half an hour.  Sit up comfortably (if you lie down you may fall asleep) and watch your breath go in and out.  If thoughts intrude, gently push them away and continue watching your breath.  Sounds too simple to matter, but this practice will center and calm you.  For more about meditation, Google Deepak Chopra.  Also, pilates and yoga offer a moving form of meditation.

2.)  Spiritual –  There is nothing like a trauma to make you wonder about God.  If you open yourself at this time, you will likely find God in whatever guise you perceive him.  Suffering seems to open the channel in a way that being happy or content just doesn’t.

3.)  Nothing – There seems to be a whole lot of what feels like “unproductive” time, time that you can’t account for.  Daydreaming? Crying? Moping? Whatever — do it.  Allow yourself to be unproductive.

daffodils

4.)  Gardening There is something about promoting life in any form that gives a primitive knock on the soul and mind that not only yes, life goes on but that life is a magnificent, driving force that will not be thwarted.  For me, the visual for this is the daffodil or tulip that forces through the asphalt.

5.)  Walking – Exercise and endorphins, yes, but walking offers a means to wake up to the world, the neighborhood and what’s going on, the beauty of nature, the feeling of the breeze on your cheek.

6.)  Reading – The self-help books do help, so do spiritual ones, but the best are probably the laugh-out-loud ones.  For me, that’s Carl Hiaasen.

7.)  Be with Friends and Family– You’ll think they don’t understand what you’re going through even though they try, and you’ll be right.  But they want to be there for you.  When I went through my particular trauma, my closest friends started Sunday Supper, a time where we all got together for a couple of hours, to sip wine, cook and chat.  It turned out to be a comfort to them as well.

8.)  Change of Scenery – Get out of town.  Go somewhere far from your usual haunts, somewhere out of your comfort zone. Everything will feel so unfamiliar that your pain will take a break due to shock.

9.)  Routine – And, conversely, find solace in your daily routine.  Filling the bird feeder, sweeping the front porch, feeding the dog, and, if you don’t have a job, volunteer somewhere where you can leave your own troubles behind.

10.)  Moving forward – Without realizing it, you’ll eventually begin to feel some forward movement.  You may continue to relapse into sadness or dismay from time to time, but the push forward towards life is a natural given, if you just let it happen.

From the forthcoming book, Breakdown in Swannanoa, available as an e-book in June of 2014.