Tag Archives: womenover50

In Praise of Technology

 On the 7th of January, as we were driving my son to the airport in Charlotte, NC, already worried that we were going to miss his plane for Tel Aviv (where he is doing a six-month fellowship), he announced that he had left a vital sheet of information on the dining table back home.  This paper contained the name, address, and phone number for the person who was going to meet him in the airport at the other end of his trip, so you can imagine my reaction!  But, while his mother (and father) descended into panic, my son calmly called his sister, still at home, and asked her to find the paper, take a picture of it, up close enough for him to read it, and then text it to his phone.  The whole process took about five minutes.  Our car never even slowed down!

Another anachronism: the payphone line!
Another anachronism:
the payphone line!

As we drove on, I couldn’t help but describe to my son how that same set of events would have played out fifty years earlier.  I could see two possible scenarios:  1) a rapid turn-around and drive back home to pick up the paper, missing the plane or 2) a frantic search for a rest area with a payphone, followed by a desperate crawl all over the floor of the car looking for a quarter, followed by someone standing miserably in the freezing cold with a pencil and paper held awkwardly in hand while trying to hear the words and numbers being dictated over the phone, with no writing surface except someone else’s back!  (Not to mention–unless you were lucky enough to have little Wash ‘n Dry wipes in your purse–the lingering fear that you might have contracted something from the pay phone.)

The computer my husband used to write his dissertation!
The computer my husband used to write his dissertation!

And this got me to thinking about some of the scenes from my life that would never happen nowadays:

1) the common experience of being lost in a city, late for some event, and listening to my parents fret over whether they should stop and ask directions (my mother’s preference) or keep driving around looking (my father’s choice

2) the experience of being out somewhere, away from home or the library, and trying to win an argument about some basic historical, literary, or scientific fact and not being able to prove your point without driving back home and pulling out the Columbia Encyclopedia

A manual typewriter
A manual typewriter

3) being completely out of touch with your family, except for letters in your mail box or the collect call home from the “hall phone” in your college dorm, which was usually right out in the middle of people, with no privacy at all

4) typing my senior thesis in graduate school on a manual type writer with four carbon copies and having to correct all four every time I made a mistake

5) running out of “White Out” and panicking

6) shuffling through paper cards in the card catalogue of your college to find a book (I miss this one!)

7) even a more recent change:  calling and embarrassing your child at a party to make sure he/she is alive (texting provides such a better cover for parenting!)

So,  I suppose there are some wonderful things about technology!

My father's first car phone!
My father’s first car phone!

Coming Out: How to Heed Our Soul Callings

 

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

In 2009 I was ordained as a minister.  I was afraid to tell my dad, who’s a staunch Irish Catholic, fearing I’d lose his love by “coming out” and stating what I was – an Interfaith minister who honored all paths to the divine that are grounded in love.  However, there came a point when the need to be authentic and express my true self outweighed the fear of disharmony and potential loss of love. When we finally had the conversation, I was pleasantly surprised and greatly relieved to find he could respect my calling and still love me.

Staying in the closet isn’t just about sexual orientation, gender identification or vocation; it includes other aspects of our lives: staying in that relationship when you’re being called to leave; staying in a location when you’re called to relocate; working for an organization where you can’t express your full self.

We’re in the closet anytime we’re not fully disclosing or living the truth of who we are.  It seems easier to justify staying in the closet: “It would upset so and so too much”, “I would have to change my whole life”, “What will people think?” “I’m too old to start over.”

closet

These are excuses masking fears that come from the ego.  The soul knows what it’s called to.  Hopefully, at some point, the voice of your soul will trump that of your ego.

There’s a price for not heeding your soul’s callings: restlessness, resentment, depression, even illness.  When you follow your soul’s call, while you may go through a period of conflict, anxiety, and judgment from others, ultimately, you’ll experience true happiness, freedom, more aliveness and peace. It’s so worth it.

How do you come out?  Ask yourself: Where in my life am I not being or expressing my true self?  What is the payoff from staying in the closet?  What am I losing by staying here?  What’s the worst that could happen if I came out, and how would I deal with that?  What could be the best that would happen?  Imagine you’ve come out of the closet and it’s 5 years from now.  What does your life look like?  Imagine it. See it, hear it, feel it.  What’s the next step you can to come out now?

I know all you women over 50 will appreciate this song, so just click and sing along.      I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross   

Come on Out
Come on Out

Warmly,

Barbara

Barbara Brady
Coach & Trainer
Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition
barbara@mycoachbarbara.com
www.mycoachbarbara.com
828-350-9300

Remembering Lou Reed

SADHVI
Sadhvi

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, where music ruled my life.  Singing along to Lou Reed’s, “Hey Babe, Take a Walk on the Wild Side” back in Novemeber of 1972 when I was 14 years old, I remember feeling like I was as cool as Lou Reed sounded.  Lou Reed died on October 27th, almost 41 years to the date of the release of the Transformer album that had that song on it His wife, Laurie Anderson, wrote a piece for the Rolling Stones that touched me.  Click here to read it.

Aile Shebar, a wonderful writer and friend, allowed me to share what she remembers about Lou Reed.  It touched me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. 

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Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Screen Test by Andy Warhol (1966)

Lou Reed was a few years ahead of me in school when we were kids in Freeport, NY, and I was in 7th grade.

He gave me my first smoke, a Camel cigarette, one day when we both ditched classes, an innocent moment that was so memorable… smoking became an addiction of mine for 30 years!

He was always in trouble – walking on the wild side in junior high, given to mood swings… a rebel and an iconoclast – but he was very bright, and was accepted at Syracuse University in spite of ‘behavior problems’ that became the cause of being ‘treated’ by ECT as a teenager, and the subsequent song, “Kill Your Sons”.

At the time, Syracuse was a prestigious university for a Long Island Jewish boy to attend.  Although he considered himself Jewish, he said, “My God is rock’n’roll.  It’s an obscure power that can change your life.  The most important part of my religion is to play guitar.”

I went to all his party gigs with his first (local) band, the Jades, and even a couple of bar gigs, well before I was of legal age to get in – Lou got me false iD – and with enough make-up, and high heels I passed for 18.

In those days, my nickname was ‘Hershey Bar’.

In more recent years, according to my cousin, who was one of Lou’s friends in high school and who had kept in touch, Lou had been seriously ill after years of drug addiction and alcohol, and as a result required and underwent a liver transplant. The cause of death is presumed to be a result of complications connected to the transplant.

Lou was always unusual… of course that was more noticeable in school, because he dared to be himself, regardless of the times we grew up in and his conditioning. His bi-sexuality was something he explored and celebrated, even though he was ‘tortured’ for being himself in his teens.  He was always someone who defied all conventional labels and by being himself, which included horrific behavior at times, and soft, tender behavior at others, he gave permission to others to explore their shadow sides too.

I often felt his pain, as a young person, when kids mocked him or worse, but he had enormous creative power to express himself in spite of, or sometimes because of, the pain he was in… and to transform it into art.  In the end he had the last laugh on our schoolmates, most of whom found another form of oblivion in which to live.

May he RIP, in Rock and Roll heaven, bringing the dark side to light.. and may he continue to Walk on the Wild Side with us all.

Aile Shebar is the founder of “Writing from the Heart”; A gifted Facilitator of Creative Writing, Coaching Writers, and Compassionate Editing.  She is also the event producer at One Heart Productions, bringing wonderfully gifted and enlightened ones to the public.

Aile Shebar
Aile Shebar

 

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.

Play: It’s Not Just For Kids

Oops50:BarbaraWe usually associate play with children.

But why did we, the adults, stop playing?  What is at the heart of playing, and why is it good?  How can we do it more?
Most of us in the States grew up with the Puritan work ethic, which values hard work and frugality.  As Americans, we have a reputation for living to work.  Many of us are perfectionists and tend to deny ourselves permission to do something unless we can do it perfectly, or it’s “productive”.  We feel guilty if we’re just having fun.
 play1
Thanks to Stuart Brown, psychiatrist and founder of “The National Institute of Play,” there’s now ample scientific evidence showing the benefits of play in the animal kingdom.  A neurologist discovered humans develop more emotional maturity and better decision-making skills when they play more.
Brown says, “Play energizes us and enlivens us.  It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.”
Play is pleasurable.  It’s purposeless and fun. When we’re truly playing, we lose all sense of time and enter that flow state. Our spirit will always urge us to play, as our spirit is always seeking the highest feeling of joy and aliveness.  It’s our mind that puts the brakes on: “Play is frivolous” “I don’t have time”…
play2
So how do we get back to play?: There are five key ways:
1.    Get into your heart energy and let-go of play saboteurs that come from the mind.
2.    Remember back to when you were a kid having the most fun – what were you doing? How did you feel when you were playing? What would feel like fun now?
3.    Look at role models to inspire you. Movies like “Harold and Maude” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” are wonderful for inspiring play. The author SARK is another one.
4.    Give yourself permission. Let go of perfection and productivity and enjoy the process. Your only gauge should be how you’re feeling.
5.    Invite your friends to play.
Chew quietly your sweet sugarcane God-Love, and stay playfully childish. – Rumi