Monthly Archives: January 2019

Reflections On Turning A Year Older

Given the topic, this poem of mine seemed to be a fitting opening…

      The seeker within

     yearns for enlightenment;

     longs to soldier on

     and see the face of God.

     Reverse is not an option,

    but if it were,

     I might tarry a bit…

     postpone my appointment

     with the infinite

     to deck myself in finery once again,

     drink champagne from crystal flutes,

     share slick and salty tastes

     with handsome men who call me “Sugar.”

     I would reclaim taut skin, firm arms and thighs.

     Truck drivers could leer and whistle.

     This time I would simply laugh,

     glad to be back again, young and juicy.

     I would not sell my soul to make it so,

     but I would think on it.

I celebrated my birthday last week. I don’t feel a year older. In fact, I don’t feel old at all, but since I qualify for senior discounts, I am—in the minds of many—old. Vanity being what it is
(or denial), I never ask for the senior discount. It’s rarely offered, When it is, I’m miffed. Hey, if I want it, I’ll ask. I know—crazy!

On the bright side, I am feeling very “loved up.” Over the course of three days I received congratulatory phone calls,  birthday cards, and ecards. I’ve been feted at two lunches and a dinner. A gorgeous bouquet of roses still resides in my living room—the gift of a good friend. I  spent quality time with my youngest son over a cocktail at a local bistro. Having one-on-one time with him is a rare treat. Later, my daughter-in-law prepared us a wonderful meal. The cherry on top—my granddaughter. She called on my birthday to sing a truly rousing version of Happy Birthday to You. Four is a wonderful age. Maybe every age is wonderful, in some way, as long as you have your health. I am grateful for mine.

Being celebrated on my birthday is great. Nevertheless, once one reaches a certain age, intimations of mortality begin to creep in. I have so much I still want to do. I ask myself, “Do I have enough time to do it all?” The answer is, “Probably not.” I will always have one more item on my “to do” list. I’m thinking that’s probably a good thing. Engagement with the things we love keeps us young at heart.

My grandmother lived to be one-hundred. Shortly before that momentous birthday I asked her, “Nana, what’s it like to live to be one-hundred?”

“Well, I’ll tell you,” she replied, “it’s kind of like living on death row.”

Wow! I wasn’t expecting that, but I understood. You never know when they’re coming for you. However, isn’t that true at any age? Nana did, however, have a more upbeat follow-up. ”I’m grateful for the extra time I’ve had to read and do my writing.”

My grandmother was an avid reading and an aspiring writer. I have notebooks full of her poems, a few yellowing newspaper pages containing a prize-winning Christmas story, and several magazines containing her published stories. I’m sure Nana’s passion for writing helped fuel mine.

Last night, over dinner with friends, we got into a discussion about ghosts (believe or not), psychic phenomena, and what becomes of the soul after death. Light dinner conversation! While postulating that reincarnation was a lot fairer than “you’ve got one shot at getting it right,” I was rebuffed with the statement that,  “Life is not fair, and humans build a lot of constructs to make them feel more important than they really are”—a sobering viewpoint. After discussing quantum physics, energy beings, karma and more, we were left with no definitive answers and, roughly, the same viewpoints we arrived with—from my agnostic friend  who believes in little, to my psychic friend who believes in almost everything. I tend to lean in the latter direction. I remain open to possibilities. I am like the man who decided to believe in angels because he knew that was the only way he would ever have a chance of seeing one.

We posed a lot of interesting questions over that dinner. I’m OK not having conclusive answers. Here’s what I do know: I am aging. One day I will die. I am here now. I am blessed in so many ways. Carpe diem! Happy birthday!

 

 

Setting Intentions vs. Resolutions

Three days into the new year, I woke up contemplating the difference between making resolutions versus setting intentions. Intuitively, I felt there was a difference between the two. Making a resolution seemed harsher, somehow—a set-up for failure. After all, I just read that the success rate for resolutions is only 8%. A 92% failure rate is bound to generate a lot of guilt and self-loathing. Setting an intention seemed like a gentler route, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. So, I typed in “Intention vs. Resolution” on old Google, and quickly learned that I am not the first person to explore the topic. There are a slew of excellent articles asserting that setting intentions is a gentler, more successful route to reaching one’s goals. After reading three or four, I decided there was no need for me to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I invite you to check out the following articles, all of which make compelling arguments regarding the power of intention.

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/rethinking-resolutions-one-powerful-intention-year-ahead/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201501/ditch-resolutions-make-intentions-instead?amp

https://hanfordsentinel.com/features/health_and_fitness/intentions-vs-resolutions/article_ae90a079-2bda-5ac4-a11b-080685ddbec3.amp.html

If you took the time to explore any of these sites, you are probably ready to join me in setting a new year’s intention or two. Before you do, give it some thought. Rest with it. Meditate on it. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?”

One of the most common (and least successful) resolutions involves losing weight. Instead of resolving to lose ten pounds, set an intention to live a healthier life style. Think about what that means to you. For example, making healthier food choices or finding time to incorporate regular walking into your schedule.

Intentions simply ask that we go through our day, hour-by-hour, being as mindful, conscious, aware and awake as we are able to be in any given moment.

Here are my intentions for 2019…

 • I intend to live a kinder, more compassionate life. Reminding myself of this intention every day, I am guided to treat everyone I meet with kindness and respect.

• I intend to nurture my creativity. By setting aside time to write and paint I find joy in the creative process, and in sharing my creativity with others.

 I’m not aware of my highest intentions in every moment. So, I’ve posted mine in my home as gentle reminders. The first intention is posted on my back door. It’s a reminder, every time I leave the house, to spread more joy through kindness.

Since I’ve identified television as my greatest “time-suck,” I’ve posted my intention to be more creative right next to my TV screen, a reminder that my time might be better spent elsewhere.

What are your intentions for the new year? Comments?

WISHING YOU A HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

Just picked up my email and received a message from the de Young and Legion of Honor museums titled New Year’s Resolution: See More Art. That’s one resolution I’m happy to support. Check out what’s happening at both museums in the new year. Set an intention to support the arts in 2019: visual arts, literature, music, dance, theater.

 “The arts are what makes life worth living. You’ve got food, you’ve got shelter, yeah. But the things that make you laugh, make you cry, make you connect—make you love— are communicated through the arts. They aren’t extras.” —Barack Obama