Category Archives: Spirituality

Remains To Be Seen

Adrienne Crowther
Adrienne Crowther

Let’s face it – no one likes to talk about death. Whether it’s our own, our parents, a spouse, or a friend, it hasn’t been a conversation topic of choice…..until now. Not surprisingly, we baby boomers are re-inventing our end of life practices and attitudes around death.

Here are the facts:

  • Cremation rates have soared to more than 40% of all deaths (close to 90% in some states)
  • Burial costs have reached high, sometimes unaffordable levels
  • Families are transient, and family members no longer live in close proximity to each other, nor to a family burial site
  • Religious tenets are more flexible regarding cremation as an option for disposition

Many recent articles, books, and other media point toward the growing number of cremations, both in the US and worldwide. Baby boomers especially, are breaking tradition in their spiritual beliefs, environmental convictions, and affinity toward individuality in all aspects of life. The funeral industry concedes to this rapid conversion to cremation, yet products for containment of cremation remains are limited, and are often mass-produced and outsourced.

Shine on Brightly
Shine on Brightly

Shine On Brightly is an online company that was launched in 2008 – the result of a lifelong passion for art, love for people and their stories, and lots of research on the changing trends around life and death rituals (especially among baby boomers). Fifteen months later, Founder and Owner, Adrienne Crowther lost her husband of 30 years. Nine months after that, his sister, who had been one of her dearest childhood friends, also died.  Adrienne’s work and business is truly unique and I thought it appropriate to address this subject for our oops50.blog.

Annice and dad
Annice and dad

What are your plans? When my own father died in 2011, I was grateful that he had taken care of all his burial plans.  Everything carefully outlined and paid for- in advance.  What a gift that was to all of us.  And what an alternative Adrienne has to offer to both the living  who want to plan their end of life rituals, or for those who will be making arrangement for their  loved ones.

A Hero for our Time: Joanna Macy

Jane in Africa 2012

This morning, while dealing with a crazy, incessantly barking dog,  I listened to “On Being” with Krista Tippett.  Her guest was an “environmental philosopher,” Joanna Macy.  I was only half listening at first, since I had never even heard of this woman before, but the interview ended up blowing me away.  Macy is an 85-year-old woman who sounds like a twenty-year-old in her wonderful, enlightened thinking.  Here’s a quick bio of Macy from Wikipedia:

Joanna Rogers Macy (born May 2, 1929), is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is the author of eight books. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1950 and received her Ph.D in Religious Studies in 1978 from Syracuse University.  She is an international spokesperson for anti-nuclear causes, peace, justice, and environmentalism, most renowned for her book Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World….She has created a theoretical framework for personal and social change, and a workshop methodology for its application. Her work addresses psychological and spiritual issues, Buddhist thought, and contemporary science.

And here is her picture:

Joanna Macy
Joanna Macy

But I wasn’t blown away by this woman because of her impressive resume or her open appearance.  I was blown away by the things she said.  First, she talked about how Buddhists don’t put much stock in trying to have hope, since it takes too much effort.  The important thing is just to be as aware as we can of what is going on around you.  She said that our earth is “not a supply house and a sewer” for humans, and that we have to stop treating it as if it is.

Here’s another great picture of her:

joanna macy laughing

All I can give you is a quick intro to Macy, but I urge our readers to check her out.  Here are two more quotes that I wrote down from when she was talking about her work in  translating Rainer Marie Rilke’s Book of Hours:  Love Poems to God:  “There is a song that wants to be sung through us, but we need to be present to it in order to sing it,” and “This moment you are alive, so you can just dial up the magic of that any time.” Continue reading A Hero for our Time: Joanna Macy

The Enlightened Poppy

Oriental Poppy Stand
Oriental Poppy Stand

 

I wait and watch every spring to see where the poppies will appear.  No, not the Oriental Poppies (pictured) because as we all know, they come up from the same basal root year after year. I must say that this year they are putting on a spectacular show, and as a poppy lover I am just thrilled!  I know this is not the first post I’ve written about my poppy joy, but I just can’t help it.  They don’t last long, and they are so beautiful.  It’s a good thing I didn’t have any children, because I am sure I would have named them “Poppy Joy”, “Oriental Poppy”, and/or “Opium”.

That sense of excitement of not-knowing is only attributed to the “Breadseed Poppy”, because those are the ones that come up from seed…here, there, or someplace else.  And they are all about to open!  I always find them coming up in my garden beds someplace different every year, and I like that because it is kind of crazy and not expected.  I can remember back in 1994 (hey that’s 20 years ago) when I made my first garden in Switzerland, it was so very neat and lovely with flowers all around the edges.  Along with getting older and letting-go of so many things in my life (including that perfect order in my beds), I kind of let the garden have its own life, with me just giving water, some food, and some tilling (oh, I almost forgot the weeding part, which I call “yoga”).  I just planted some blue bachelor button seeds in one of the beds, just because I love the color “blue”.

There is one poppy coming up and about to open in the next day or so right under the chicken run.  I don’t know what color it will be, but how I love surprises!  I saw it coming up under the flowering quince bush a few weeks ago and had to clip back some of the branches so that that one poppy will be able to get the sun it needs to open.  I hope I can get a good shot of it with my camera, because I am sure you will want to see it as much as I do.

Oriental Poppy
Oriental Poppy

 

Already we are around 15 inches or so under the amount of rain of what we had last year at this time – so far so good.  After last year’s sad 70+ inches of rain, my gardener’s heart almost broke in two, but once you have the experience of smelling the witch hazel, the lilac, the rose-scented daffodils, and the calycanthus after winter, and just seeing the flowers, the roses, the peonies, and then tasting the basil, the lettuces, the cucumbers, the parsley, the cilantro, the gooseberries, the raspberries, the swiss chard, the beets, the mints, the carrots, the roses, the peonies, and of course, the beloved tomato right off the vine, well, how could there not be a garden in my life, even if I get old and can’t move very well.  It is absolutely essential for me to anticipate joy in my daily life, and that is what a garden brings to me.

In Love,

Sadhvi

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit. Using the word ‘enlightenment’ in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.  — “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

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Red Poppy
Red Poppy

Making Choices from that Higher Place

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

I’m feeling called to write about spiritual wisdom, and how it can be applied practically to what life dishes up for us, resulting in more happiness and peace of mind.

What do I mean by spiritual wisdom? Universal spiritual truths that transcend any particular religion which come from the world’s great religious & spiritual traditions and teachers. Of course they’re not the only ones privy to spiritual truth. We ALL have the ability to access that spiritual or soul wisdom, which resides within each of us, since each of us are, at our core, divine.

More and more I’ve been reminded that when faced with a life challenge, being able to view that challenge and its possible purpose(s) through a spiritual lens (love and spirit) vs. the more human lens (fear and ego), and make choices from that higher place, has made a huge difference in my experience of peace, freedom and empowerment.

To that end, I invite our oops50 readers to tell me about a challenge you’re currently facing in the comments area of this blog, including what you’ve already tried to do to solve this, and I’ll do my best to guide you to hear your highest truth; one that’s aligned with love and peace, and to give you specific ideas of how to apply spiritual wisdom to your situation for a better outcome.

eisntein

Einstein once said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Most of us have been taught to operate from a linear consciousness based in ego, competition and “being right”. We’ve been taught to “take care of your own” and that there’s not enough_______________ to go around, (love, money, time), so you better not waste it, spend too much of it, lose it, etc.

The truth is, these outdated paradigms gear us to lead limited lives, based on fear, ego and scarcity. They constrict us and keep us playing small, and feed blaming, complaining:. “My husband left me. He did this to me….(e.g. “I’m a victim”). But what if he did this FOR you? For your soul’s growth and expansion? For your higher good in the long haul? Things do happen in our lives that can feel crappy and unfair. And it’s okay to be angry, sad, and discouraged. But we don’t have to get stuck there. We can’t always see the grand design, which reveals why these things happen in our lives. What if they’re happening for your soul’s evolution and growth? If you choose to think of your life as a beautiful tapestry, then all the colors are there for a purpose. Each is needed to create the whole. tapestry

 I look forward to hearing from you, Barbara Brady Coach & Trainer

 Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition

 

 

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