Tag Archives: women baby boomers

Reflections on Ahimsa from our friend in Alaska

Monica Devine

Monica Devine is an author, photographer, therapist, and baby boomer who lives in Eagle River, Alaska. She also studies and practices yoga – one of the most beneficial practices (spiritual and physical) for women over 50. Today, Monica reminds us of what yoga teaches us about Ahimsa.

Ahimsa means to do no harm; to practice non-violence. When non-violence in speech, thought and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished, and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.

This is one of the teachings in the Yoga Sutras that I’ve given a great deal of thought to lately. Have you ever noticed how angry speech begets defensive behavior? How violent behavior begets retaliation? We see this on the world stage, between nations and cultures at war with one another. And we also see it on a smaller scale at home with the people we love most.

Explosive anger and negative speech towards another creates a climate of defensiveness and hurt that can last for years. Sticks and stones may break your bones? Sure, but violent and aggressive speech toward another is just as damaging. I remember my sons resorting to shouting matches and highly charged fighting when they were younger, the days when sibling rivalry was intense. This was a highly stressful time for me as a parent; I’d immediately get sucked into their disagreements and feel I had to diffuse the argument with an even louder voice; I had to take control, offer a quick solution, make everything okay again. But in doing so, I was trying to bring about peace in a way that wasn’t, in and of itself, peaceful. So I began to examine these behaviors by practicing staying in the midst of an argument and remaining peaceful inside. By pulling myself aside mentally, breathing deep and slow, and staying consciously aware of the encounter, a neutral ground was established where emotions were not allowed to run amok. Over time, I learned to shape the encounter, rather than control it, and to calmly shift the responsibility for a resolution back on them rather than carry it myself. When I spoke softer, so did they. When I offered and modeled an alternative way to communicate, they responded. This was a huge accomplishment for all of us and took years to hone.

Monica & Mt. Drum

Kind speech begets kind speech. Carrying the thought of peace in our hearts naturally invites a more loving and clearer expression from others. We would do well to remember that families are microcosms of nations. The knowledge and courage required to lay down our sticks and stones and practice daily the essential and vital energy of peace, starts at home, with ourselves.

If you want to hear more about Monica and her life in Alaska where she writes about about art, nature, travel, and more, visit her at her very own blog.

Multi-media piece of my Mom by Monica Devine

“Happy Mother’s Day,” A Poem

My sister, Pattie Bosman Schlabs, submitted this poem to us for Mother’s Day.  I realize it’s a little late, but I want to post it anyway, since it speaks to any mother of grown or nearly-grown children.  Pattie is a wonderfully creative visual artist who teaches art and art history at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland.  She is also the mother of 3 incredible, now grown kids.  Here’s a picture of her with her first grand-baby, Ophelia Mae Baker.


My sister Pattie








Happy this day to accept
Problems beyond comprehension,
Beyond solving,
Beyond changing,
To sit home at night,
Because they’re out and might
Have to call,
Though they don’t call as promised
When they get there,
If they get there.
Most likely they did,
Chances are they’re there,
Concerned with their own unsolvable problems,
The ones you just guess at,
Of which you are one–
You hope the biggest one,
Happy if you’re the only one.

Sadhvi Sez: The Beauty and Pure Joy of Flowers


I don’t watch TV.  I just don’t have the time.  Sorry Oprah!  Sorry Dr. Oz!  I realize I am in the minority, and to tell you the truth, that is where I have felt the most comfortable my whole life.  Under the wire, so to say.  I don’t go to the gym.  I don’t go shopping and I don’t belong to many clubs.  Really, I am not that social and am somewhat of a hermit when I am not working.

I would even say that I need a lot of down time these days in order to survive and stay somewhat sane in a world that I find increasingly fast and intense.


I am a big fan of all the flowers that open in my garden.  That wonderful progression starts in late winter, and doesn’t stop until late fall.  And to think that leaving Cleveland, Ohio back in 1976 made this all possible!


It’s funny, but I’ve planted things only to find them in completely different places the next year.  Like the hundred or so larkspur’s coming up in a corner completely different from where they were originally planted; and they were originally maybe a couple of dozen from a seed pack!  Oh I know, those are from the many seeds that were blown there in a strong wind.  But I find that magical!

Then there’s the 3 butterfly bushes which have now multiplied into a dozen thriving plants in different parts of the yard!  It’s like: “Where did those come from?”

I like to let the garden do what it wants, because it simply thrills me to know that I am not in charge!  And it really feels like it has a life by itself, and will continue long after I am gone.


These are the pictures of what I saw this morning.  I hope you are finding beauty and joy in the flowers and fragrances that you see in your world.












Turning the Corner with Books, Recipes, and a Lesson in Patience


I hope this is the last post I write about taking care of my husband and all my tsores (yiddish for troubles).  As expected, Len turned the corner from being in pain all the time and taking lots of drugs to moving about more, going up and down the stairs, and reducing his pain meds.

Better Days

Like him, Gus  also turned the corner so we are all doing better.   I’m even back at work part-time.  Being home-bound with Len has been a true learning experience, and, as a woman over 50, I feel liberated enough to say, I didn’t like it.  It made me feel isolated and anxious, and considering I am a 7 (Enthusiast) on the Enneagram that was tough.  By the way,  if you’re not familiar with the Enneagram personality profiles, check it out!  Seven’s are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous.  At their best, they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.  At their worst, well, let’s just say that nursing would not be good for a 7, as being patient often feels like being stuck.  Needless to say, I have work to do on that one.

Continue reading Turning the Corner with Books, Recipes, and a Lesson in Patience

Women over 50: Arianna Huffington friended me on FaceBook!


I don’t have to tell you that there’s a lot going on these days – everyone knows. The price of gas went up about 40 cents this past week.  Genetically modified food will be introduced to our food system and it will not have to be labeled.  It’s getting more difficult to buy a house and keep one.  Food prices will continue to go up.  The US Government is going broke.  The bee population is rapidly dwindling.  A computer is now smarter than humans.  And as much as I try to keep it simple, avoiding the news, it just seems to be everywhere!

Huffington Post got bought out by AOL recently for something like $350 million.  It used to be my homepage, but since the AOL buyout, the picture of the latest newsworthy item stays the same for a day or even longer.  It’s almost like it’s broken now.  I found some site that has soothing beach music to replace it, but its like listening to elevator muzak playing, “Feeling Groovy”.  Don’t worry, I’ll get used to it.  I mean, this is the start of the Brave New World; I just need a little more time.

By the way, I am happy for Arianna Huffington, the site’s innovative founder.  She created something totally unique, and the site felt alive and captured the pulse of  worldwide news minute by minute.  In my opinion, she deserves every million that she got for it.  It’s just too bad that AOL couldn’t keep it alive for more than a twitter second.


I had a dream the other night that Arianna “friended” me on FaceBook and asked me and the Oops50 girls to be part of a new site.  I told her we had a vision to create a new show called “The Other View”, and Arianna said, “Yes, that’s exactly my vision, too.”

Instead of talking about things that hold no interest for me or other women over 50, (which just so happens to be the biggest population of women on the planet) we talked about what we wanted to talk about, and everything we shared was acknowledged and appreciated.  And, we didn’t change as we got famous.  I still wore the same monochromatic clothes and black pants with an elastic waist, I did not start dyeing my hair, and I still wore the same Chanel lipstick that I have worn for years.

I am proud of our baby boomer generation of women over 50.  We were revolutionary in many ways: we went braless, we wore pants (!), blue jeans even!  We were into being ourselves, and that meant being free.  So why would we want to look or be anything other than who we are right now?  That’s what “The Other View” would be about. Hmmm…Arianna, look us up on Facebook ‘cuz we’d love to share the Other View with you!

To get into a mellow space, click below to take a trip back in time with Simon and Garfunkel…it’s the real thing and it’s time to feel groovy!