Turn Around

rainbow and old house

This is one of my most favorite pictures that I’ve ever taken. I’m not exactly sure why except for me it epitomizes a lot in my life: much of it has seemed kind of tattered and worn down. It has been beaten by the elements of time and I wear the scars to prove it. I’m rough around the edges, yet I’m still standing. I show many signs of age, but that’s because I’ve lived. To many, I look old and maybe not that beautiful, but I know inside I hold many secrets–only the ones really brave enough to enter will know. And although I’ve weathered many storms and darkness has followed me, there is always hope and beauty that seems to linger right near by. All I have to do is summon the courage, step away from the edge and turn around.


Lost In The Forest

There are times when it feels like it takes all my effort to keep the beast at bay. We each have our own beasts: financial burdens, relationship woes, weight issues, an illness, family problems, an addiction–the list is endless. My beast has been hiding in the bushes probably my whole life, blending in and camouflaged by the surrounding landscape. That landscape has been partly the creation of my own mind and parts of my life that simply lay hidden beneath the surface, like a creature that lives below the surface of the earth.


For many years I have lived my life with this beast only in my peripheral vision; it was often a silent marauder coming to me, slipping in and out of dreams and reality. But I was young, strong and mostly unaware. Life was a whirlwind of distractions: that carousel spinning, making me dizzy so I mostly didn’t notice this strange visitor who crossed my path.


When it did happen though, my heart became larger in my chest and I could feel it thudding in the front of my chest. My head felt heavy and my temples hurt…the room might tilt, if only for a moment, and reality would feel different. I knew something was closing in. It felt the air getting less and it was hard to breathe.

But the moment would pass. The world would return to normal (as normal is it can be) and I would forget, tuck it back into the recesses– the folds of my memory.

Now I am older and the habitat in which the beast dwells is thinning. Maybe climate change has effected that forest too, or maybe I am chopping the trees down myself? It seems I can sense this thing is coming closer; there is more clarity in which I feel its breath. I am familiar with the scent and know when it might be approaching at times. But there are still those unexpected moments when it creeps up on me and takes me by surprise, and I feel that weight again sitting on my chest. If I listen hard enough, then, I might hear the low growl of its voice telling me to beware…

It might be near, very near now, but what it wants, I still do not know. Why it hunts me is a mystery. And try as I may, ridding myself of it remains a secret lost within the darkness of the forest.


Being Human

“Being Human is more important than being full in the know.” Pico Iyer

I heard this on a TED talk the other day and thought it very poignant. One can interpret it many different ways I suppose. This gentleman was talking about what we will never know…that the older we get, the less we know.

Most people feel that with age comes wisdom, but maybe Mr. Iyer is correct. Maybe, instead we learn that as humans we really know very little. That with all our technology, science, predictions and machines–there is so much about the world around us, important stuff, that we simply just will never understand.


We might predict if someone has cardiac disease, but not the exact minute they might have a heart attack, or if they will at all. So in the end, even though I moved here to help my Mother, I was not with her the moment hers came, therefore the incident became bigger.

Humans have never been able to predict love: when love will strike, who will be blessed with its arrow or when it will be wrenched away. For the ages poets, writers, painters and almost all creative people have tackled love within their medium. But none can truly define it. It remains a sacred mystery, one that is cherished, sought after and defined abstractly depending who is creating the script. It just is and anyone who has felt it understands it. It’s part of being human. We ‘get’ it, but a Webster definition…? Good luck.


Is ignorance bliss? Maybe in many cases this saying is yes. With the onslaught of the internet and the overabundance of information, being in the know can be a dangerous thing. We have stopped being simply human and relying on those skills we once did that provided us the ability to survive. Our ‘gut’ told us what and who was safe or which way to go; we could sense when our body needed something or when something wasn’t right. Those subtle signals that made the hair stand up, or when we just knew someone was nearby even though we couldn’t see them. Now we ignore signals either about these invisible others (or we are overly sensitive about people different from us) and we are completely out of touch with our own bodies.


How do we begin to detach, then, our ever whirring minds, so filled with all the data, and get back to ‘just being human’? Can we relearn to trust our inner selves again to become at least partially instinctual in our decision-making? It would be hard for many who have become so co-dependent on digital information. They must be ‘in the know’ for everything. Trusting in themselves would be a hard thing. Especially the generation raised on computers–they have been breast-fed on them, so how do they know otherwise?

For me, tuning in more and more–over many years–to my inner voice, the nuances of my physical self and trying to quiet my chattering mind has been a challenge. But it has been one I take on gladly. Because I am human, this is the animal I was born to be, and getting back to the bare bones of this beast is where I belong.

When we truly quiet the mind, turn off the data stream and just be the beast, we become in tune with the Universe and all things sacred.


Natural Cycles

This may get a bit down and dirty–and also personal, so if you’re light of heart, read no further.

Recently I had my yearly physical. My doctor is great and does no more than she needs to do. She told me that there are new studies about PAP exams that they don’t need to be done as often as they used to think (once a year). Now the new science is saying more like every five years, if you’ve had clean ones in the past.

This has been the case with me, but there was some other factors so she and I both agreed that maybe it would still be prudent to do this particular exam. Oh joy! The one thing every woman loves, especially one at my advanced age.

Many of you in your late 50’s and through menopause, and all of you who have put your legs in those stirrups, know the drill. It’s not a pleasant experience. It’s not when you’re young, and it’s most definitely not when you’re older. But it particularly shocked me just HOW unpleasant it was for me.

Let’s back up. As many of you following my blog over the last years know, I’ve had my relationships ups and downs. And now, there is no such thing in my life anymore, and hasn’t been for some two years or so. I am single by choice now, and quite happy. It has left my mind, spirit AND body quite happily alone.

So when some strange object began boldly going where no man had gone before (well in a long time anyway), let’s just say, I knew I had reached the stage of crone. My doctor had to speak to me as though I was a child getting their first shot: it’s OK, I’m almost done, I’m sorry….I know it hurts… Why yes, it did indeed.

Needless to say, I was quite shocked and felt almost betrayed by my body–once so lush, open and giving. It made me think.

Most of the men I had dated in the last years had suffered their own ‘issues’ when it came to  sex, performance and their own bodies. They often too felt betrayed, upset and angry. Sometimes this would be turned toward me, often toward themselves, but always the relationships would end because of these debacles.

As much as I tried to embrace and accept these changes in our aging bodies, and try to find someone who could move onto the ‘next stage in life’–it never happened.

It struck me today that our natural cycles should allow us to embrace our metamorphosing selves. This should be a time of celebration and not anger and fear. While I am losing parts of my physical self, I am gaining so many wonderful parts like wisdom and a sense of self I never had before in life.

Such drive seems to overwhelm the men I have met so that they couldn’t move beyond it to the other significant and beautiful qualities that embodied the people they were inside. Instead it was that old sense of performance and need that drove them and hammered each relationship into dust.

I’m sure there are wonderful relationships and marriages where the two have been together for many years that  got them through these changes together. They adapt, accept and blossom together. It must be lovely. I was not that fortunate, but this is how it was meant to be.

So I continue to honor myself and my aging body. I take care of it the best I can and will gently pass through every stage with joy and grace, continuing to be grateful for each day I am here.