Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Library Heaven

When I got my e-mail saying Amazon was shipping 3 more books, I realized that I have been on a book buying frenzy all summer. My book budget is so shot! Thanks goodness our library will re-open in November.

Yes, you heard me, our library has been closed for months. It's been humiliating, as well as personally expensive, not to have a library open in our very liberal and well read town of Ashland, Oregon (home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Loss of federal revenue plus a twice defeated levy left us high and dry. Finally the Jackson Country Commissioners came up with a scheme to open all county libraries for 15 hours a week. How did they do it? Hire a private company on the opposite coast, non-union, to operate them. Some of us are not taking this peacefully.

I've heard people say, "Big deal. Libraries are passe. People just use the internet now." In our town people who don't own a computer use the computers in the library! Rather, they did.

The City of Ashland, with the backing of a wonderful band of library loving volunteers, had already stepped in to be sure Ashland's library re-opened. We were able to pass a levy that required a 50% voter turnout. This makes it possible for the Ashland branch of the Jackson County Library System to be open 40 hours a week. Hallelujah!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Slowing it down

Wow! The book I ordered called Ten Zen Seconds (another by Eric Maisel ) arrived in today's mail. Great timing, since I'm determined to become more centered even as I swerve from one project to another.

Here is a quick summary of Maisel's centering technique. Breathe. A deep inhale lasting five seconds. Pause. A slow exhale lasting five seconds. While doing this, you think one of his 12 incantations. They are really affirmations, but he wants to emphasize the magical effect they'll have. The first one is (on the inhale)"I am completely" pause (on the exhale) "stopping". So simple. The book gives the details of each incantation and lots of examples of their use.

This afternoon I was Focusing, an inner awareness process, with my friend Nancy. She came up with her own affirmation. "Slowing it down" (on the inhale) pause "taking it in" (on the exhale). You can use Maisel's words, Nancy's words, or make up your own.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mediated Mania

I woke at 4:30 am, my mind full of Great Ideas. A bad sign. I got up, fixed coffee, and settled down with one of my favorite books: Eric Maisel’s Coaching the Artist Within. He has a chapter on Mental Energy that describes both the benefits and the dangers of a pre-dawn flight of ideas.

Maisel says that to be creative we must be passionate. So far so good. He concedes, however, that passion can morph from a divine spark into an up-canyon wild fire. To mediate our mania he suggests we temper our enthusiasm with something that brings our feet back to earth. For me, that starts with awareness of what's happening in my body--what my hands and feet are touching, the pace of my breathing, the drum beat of my heart. Gardening works too.

The real value of having lived more that six decades is that I've been here before. Hypomania, that state just short of mania, can’t hijack me as easily as when I was 20. Here is my plan for today: meditate, pick raspberries, skip chocolate, and get to work on one of those great ideas.

The pictures above are SoulCollage cards I've made for the energetic and over-energetic parts of myself. One is called the Go-Getter. She operates full throttle, but with controled energy and power. The other is Alice, towed by the Red Queen. She's at the mercy of all that energy! Perhaps I'd better switch to decaf.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wise Women

This is my SoulCollage card depicting the Crone or Spiritual Elder. I imagine this archetype as a force for wisdom, something like Yoda in Star Wars. She sees the big picture. She thinks of the good of the next seven generations, not whether her hair should be gray or nay. She knows the road to peace or health or creativity (anything of importance) requires work, patience, acceptance, and humor. I invite her to be my Guide.

See more of the archetypal SoulCollage images of the Wise Woman, Crone, or Elder at Walking Toward Wisdom.

Note: For PC's to open a link a new window, hold down the shift key while you click on the link. Or "right click" on the link and select "open in a new window".

On a Mac, you can hold the control key while you click on the link. Or use your right mouse button. Either way will offer you the opportunity to "open in a new window." Home page

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gray or Nay?

Here is a great read about letting hair gray or coloring it. Writer Anne Kreamer does an interesting experiment by posting her photo with brown hair on and then with gray hair and the same profile. Results? Read for on....

Sex and the Gray-Haired Woman in More.

Edit: Since writing this I found a very complete review of Anne Kreamer's book Going Gray over at Time Goes By. It's is definitely worth checking out before you rush out to buy the book.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Seniors Rule!

Seniors. I like this word. I remember the seniors from my high school in Texas: Patty Powers, Sara Brewster. They were like movie stars! I taught/counseled at Grants Pass High School for 23 years, and seniors were a big deal there as well. Beyond life as a senior? Graduation. Commencement.

I also relate to Crone and Elder but not everyone does. Perhaps Boomers will become the new term for us folks over 55. That works for me. I'm a Pre-Boomer with a bit of Boomer Wanna Be. I watched, with awe, from the sidelines as the 50's became something I would never have imagined.

PS Some thoughts since my original post
I am of a generation squeezed in between the Great Ones and the Baby Boomers. It's as if those of us born between about 1939 and 1945 are a mini generation with no real handle. Obviously I'm a bit of a wordsmith, so I chafe at being nameless. Playing with labels gave me a few more, somewhat silly, ideas.

Seniors and Boomers. (I will always be in high school)
The BB's and the BBB's (Baby Boomers and Before Baby Boomers or Beyond Baby Boomers)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Italian view

My friend, Alberta, came for a visit this afternoon. She brought along this wonderful photo which hung in her Great Aunt's home when A. was a child. Most serendipitous! It seemed perfect for my musings about life's journey.

Friday, September 7, 2007

It's not too late!

Naturally I want to keep my memory intact, but since puzzles are out—never could do them—I’ve turned to memorizing poetry. My memory has definitely improved. Tuck one in your pocket for something to do in the post office line. Added bonus: pick the right poem and your attitude improves along with your mind!

It’s not too late to memorize this poem by Mary Oliver, The Summer Day.
Don’t let Labor Day fool you. It’s still summer!

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Who am eye?

I'm on the track of something--something very mysterious and important. My teacher, Russell Delman, calls it Awakening.

My guides are:
Books (of course)
Embodied Life Mentorship Program

And blogging! Journals are good.

This blog is to chronicle my aging up and downs. I'm sure I must surrender some things. Smooth skin is already gone. But I'm equally sure that there are possibilities to be discovered, new adventures to undertake, and a sense of perspective that will make this journey a joy. I've recently memorized the poem The Way It Is found on the sidebar. It speaks to me of that deeper Presence that is there for us at all times. Home Page