Tag Archives: womengettingolder

A Retiring Mind: Part III by Amoke Kubat

If you recall, Amoke shared two posts with us last year about being a newly retiree.  Here she is with her latest episode of her Retiring Mind.

Amoke Kubat
Amoke Kubat

February first marked year one into my retirement years.  My initial days were filled with me grinning and chanting, “I don’t have to go to work no more” and “I can do anything I want” and “I was a teacher” – a lot.  Time was now my BFF.  I have a big imagination and the possibilities were like assorted valuables in a bank vault.

Here is the year in review.  On the eleventh day of my second emancipation, I woke up in a world of hurt.  I could not move without crippling pain.  Thigh and shin muscles visibly pulled away from leg bones in an effort to detach from unrelenting spasms.  My torso twisted into a chicken wing.  An alarming mix of shrieks and sobbing brought both adult daughters to my bedside.  They had never witnessed any medical emergency before.  They didn’t know me as a crying woman.  Agony painted sharp lines and pulsing circles that made my face a new kind of canvas.  Never had I been so scared or felt so vulnerable.  A trip to the ER informed me that I had bone on bone arthritis in my knees and sciatica.  I got medication that made me itch.  I was told I’d get better in time.

This misery lasted until late spring.  Chiropractors, massages, herbal remedies brought some relief, however I began to feel mentally fragile.  My shadowy thinking scared me. What if this was the beginning of my end?  Would I have this pain for the rest of my life?  Will I not be able take care of myself?  A small voice whispered, “You wanted time to write stories, books and screenplays,” yet all I could think about was PAIN!  I felt so helpless. God!  Take me dandelionamokenow!!!

I decided to make “last calls”.  I scavenged through years of old phone books and started calling old friends.  Most conversations picked up where the last one ended years ago.  Laughter, tears and sharing from the heart brought me unexpected joys.  I remembered simple pleasures of yesteryears.  Friends reminded me of who I used to be – way back when.  A Wild Woman!  Crazy cool! Always into something or doing something.  Unflappable, a friend said.  Then, a minister friend of mine invited me to Las Vegas where she was creating a Goddess Study Center.  I went for four days.  At the fundraiser, I met many women my age and older who were cavorting with the Feminine Divine, nature, oracles, music, dancing, and luscious food and drink.  God, I missed this energy!womens empowerment

I returned home, feeling empowered and reacquainted with my wild woman self.  I called my former health clinic and told them that I had no insurance but needed to be seen, as I was not going to live my life in pain.  If I fell down, I was going to keep getting back up.  The hospital social worker assisted me.  I was able to see a doctor and specialists who referred me for assessments that eventually led to better care and treatment.  I am regaining stamina, strength, ability, and hope.

In those 365 days, I grieved the loss of the teacher persona.  I grieved the changes in my body that are not related to physical illness but to inevitable aging.  I discovered I can no longer put coins or dollars in my bra. Not only have the sisters gone south, they have left their posts.  I grieved with friends who have lost their loved ones.  I offered a shoulder to those caring for elder parents or siblings.  I have neither.  I am claiming retirement.  I will keep calling for a purposeful and meaningful retirement just like I call on old friends.  And by the time you read this, I will be on my way to Florida to visit a friend I have not seen in 27 years.

To learn more about Amoke Kubat (writer, artist and community elder living and working in North Minneapolis) visit her website.

From Lynn: “Winter’s Bone”, being 50+, and Finding My Original Nature Again

Lynn
Lynn

Recently I read a book called Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Then I did something highly unusual for me: I picked up the book and re-read it the next day. Within a few weeks, I had repeated this for a third time.

Winter’s Bone is a beautifully written and riveting novel of the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. You may have seen the movie—it was an Indie nominated for an Academy Award in 2011. It tells the story of Ree Dolly, a 16 year-old girl, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who has prematurely become responsible for her two younger brothers and mentally ill mother in the remote rural area of the Ozark Mountains where they live. Her father, a meth “chef,” is in and out the family’s life. When Ree’s Dad is arrested, he puts the family home and land up as collateral for his bail and then disappears. If Ree cannot find him, she and her family will lose their ancestral home and land to the bail bondsman and will be virtually turned out to the bitter bone-cold winter. The novel follows Ree as she desperately scours the hollers for her Dad, putting her life in danger both from the harshness of the elements and the vitriol of her extended family, who perceive her as butting into a business where she does not belong.

Completing my third reading, I found myself becoming genuinely perplexed as to why I was so entranced with this book. I don’t generally like violent or dark novels. After Sadhvi invited me to write this review, I told her that I would do so, but that I did not think it had anything to do with the content of this site. As I started putting my thoughts on paper, however, I realized it has everything to do with my being 50 plus.

Winter’s Bone ignited a dark and primal part of myself that I don’t often experience anymore at this point in my life. It evokes a place that is not civilized, not polite, not people pleasing, not law abiding. Although it can be viewed as a hard-core story about the dark side of the human spirit, it is also about nature; her purity, her harshness, her ferocity, and her dispassion. Reading this book transported me 50 plus years back to when I spent most of my life outside. This was a time when I was often alone and didn’t have much on my mind—just the sights, smells, sounds, and feeling of my surroundings. It was a sensory time, a time to know myself and my environment.

The Book: Winter’s Bone

 

Ree’s perceptions of snow clouds gathering over the mountains, of the different ways a snowfall can be experienced, of the way ice looks and feels on the ground—these are all things I too knew. When danger arises, it is immediately followed by fear and instinctual action. Life for Ree is not a state of constant anxiety or a series of perseverations over things that cannot be controlled. It is moment to moment experience. When her best friend comes to stay with her, she is filled with joy, pure and simple. No planning of how to spend the day or what to do—just unadulterated happiness at the presence of a loved one. When she is badly injured, she surrenders to the pain, accepting it as it is and then allowing healing to occur. Sadly, these are things that feel lost to me as my busy and overly conditioned mind gets in the way—always wanting to analyze, plan, control, or worry about my life.

Anyway, at age 58, I realize how much I miss my original nature. As a child, the rules of society could be suspended and I was able to be free and at ease out in nature. But now this state seems more and more distant as I end this decade; almost unattainable. I think this is part of why I often experience depression and anxiety. I am missing something intrinsic to my spirit, sustenance to my life I cannot find. An antidote to death, which will be coming sooner or later. So now I realize why I wanted to keep reading Winter’s Bone. It is a great reminder that somewhere in my consciousness, the freedom of my childhood still exists and can perhaps even be found once again.

On Modern, Wonderful Things

I am feeling my age lately.  I know I’m over 50–and, in fact, approaching 60–because I’m starting to sound like an older person sometimes.  Here are some good examples (said to my children): “Can’t you turn that music down?  It’s really hard on my ears!” or “Do you all have to stay up so late?  You’ll just sleep the day away tomorrow!”  Or, even better:  “No, I am really not interested in watching that movie.  It’s incredibly vulgar.”  (I don’t think  I even used the word “vulgar” until about the last 5 years!)

That’s the less pleasant side of my little-old-lady-ness.  But there’s also a better side to it:  I take extreme pleasure sometimes in things that we didn’t have “when I was growing up.”  For instance, I still get a little bit of a thrill every time I use my cell phone in the car when I’m traveling.  I think that’s because I remember the days when I would be in some kind of difficulty and would have to search and search and search for a pay phone to get help!  And I get excited every time we use the GPS to find our way somewhere, especially when I think back on the innumerable times we used to get lost in a new town or city–and when I remember my father’s reluctance to stop and ask anyone for directions or my own inability ever to remember the directions that someone gave me from the side of the road!

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One of my favorite modern things is the animated birthday card you can send to someone you love from a site like Blue Mountain Cards!  I found one the other day that had dogs barking out “Happy Birthday,” with a little Pomeranian throwing things for a loop at the last minute.  It was perfect for one of my older sisters, who just had a birthday–and has a Pomeranian herself–and I had to stop myself from playing it over and over and over again, just for the fun of it!  I have to confess:  I still have trouble believing that people can really make such amazing things happen on the computer.  Check out their site:  they have some great Valentine’s Day cards, too.  Here’s the link for those cards:

http://www.bluemountain.com/ecards/valentines-day

One of my Favorite Card Images

I guess I’ll adjust at some point in the future–at least to the stuff that is around now.  By the time I get that old, however, there are bound to be some new miracles to celebrate.  I heard the other day that they already have fridges that tell you when you’re out of butter and robots that can clean your toilets.  I could get used to that!

 

 

Sadhvi Sez: Yup, it’s Summer!

Today is the official first day of Summer, so I thought I would take you on a little flower trip through my Spring garden.

The Osho News site has done a nice job of taking my pictures and making them into a slide show.

This past Spring was truly more like summer, but since it is my favorite season, I really savor it, no matter how it’s served up by Mother Nature.  It’s kind of like life: I am starting to get into it more, enjoying the ride, really.  Maybe it’s the nice thing about getting older? You start to realize that it’s all about squeezing the juice out of life.  Just click on the picture of the flowers below and enjoy!

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Sadhvi Sez: Being Grateful is Getting Easier

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I know I am not the oldest living woman in the world, but I’ve started to notice a lot of people are dying. Like: Bee Gee Robin Gibb, Donna Summer, Ray Bradbury, Bob Welch from the original Fleetwood Mac, Doc Watson, and someone I didn’t know much about, the beloved Hawaiian elder, Kumu Raylene Kawaiaea, who recently passed away. She was not very well-known and doesn’t have a wiki page and probably never had a FB, linkedin, pinterest, or Google+ account either. But when I saw this clip of her (below) I enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d share.

Kumu talks about “being love”, and sings a chant for the appreciation of life.

Getting older and still being alive and healthy makes me want to smile, and, well, be love!

Take a look and listen to her words and voice and I bet you a dollar that you will feel the same after you do.

Heck, let’s start a new movement and call it “Be Love”.  Starting now…