All I Needed to Know I Learned from My Mother

Happy Mother’s Day from Sylvia & Erma!

https://overfiftyandfine.com/2016/08/07/all-i-needed-to-know-i-learned-from-my-mother/

The No-Nonsense Woman

“Erma, I’m always so damn emotional,” Sylvia concedes derisively.

“You are emotional because you feel deeply. All strong women do!” contends Erma.
***************

“A strong woman is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Her tears flow as abundantly as her laughter…”
(Native American saying)

Bathing in Self-care

A frigid Saturday in February provides the perfect opportunity for self-care, both indoors and outdoors.

“So, did you decide on a trip to the spa or a good book and a cup of tea by the fire today?” Erma inquires.

Sylvia, already peaceful and content from a day of walks on the snow-covered beach followed by a hot toddy and a nap, has a delicious thought as she prepares her reply.

“No spa today, Erma. No fire either. However, the day isn’t over, and I hear a long, hot bath calling my name,” Sylvia announces gleefully.

Weekend Wisdom from the gals: Self-care may not be planned or scheduled but that doesn’t mean it is accidental. Seize a moment, an hour, or a day to give yourself the attention you need and deserve. Be deliberately indulgent and guilt-free.
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The bath is one of the places I prefer, certainly not a place I leave readily, a place where one can close the door and remove oneself, put oneself in parentheses, as it were, from the rest of humanity. It is a place for reading and thinking, where one’s mind wanders easily, where time seems temporarily suspended.
~Sheila Kohler,
The Perfect Place
****************
#midlifeblogger #womenwriters #weekendwisdom #feedyoursoul #selfcare #livewithintention

Delicious Solitude

Sylvia spent most of the day purging. Dresser drawers of mismatched socks and threadbare pjs. Closets of dresses and outfits that no longer aligned with her body or attitude or both. And shoes. Ah, yes, more than a dozen pairs of shoes that were gently worn, overworked, or had never made it onto her feet. She made room in her physical space; and at the end of the day, she felt her mind might actually have some room for fresh thoughts and ideas, too.

Erma rejoiced at the news and praised her friend for finally shedding some weight. “Now that you’ve scaled back on things, scale back and free yourself from people. Reduce your tribe to those who feed your soul, those who accept you without condition, and those who don’t run from your tears and sorrow. You need to be more discerning when it comes to who knows your secrets,” Erma cautions.

Sylvia, priding herself on the headway she made today, sighs. She knows that Erma is right. She has allowed those with no true interest in who she is becoming to stay and weigh in. “Tomorrow. It begins tomorrow. A smaller inner circle and more attention to the person who deserves my attention the most. Me!”
**************

Solitude and loneliness are not related. The former celebrates the peace and contentment she gains from her own company. The latter reaps strength and rears its ugly head when she makes herself smaller for others.
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“Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one’s self. It is not about the absence of other people—it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others.” ~ Parker Palmer

What’s in a Look?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Is it though? I don’t know about you, but every single Christmas, though blanketed in tradition, has been markedly different. Not better or worse, but different.

I have done as much shopping and preparing as I am going to do this year. A lot less than last year, so Christmas is definitely looking different. I am not apologizing this year for feeling less than joyous; that’s a big change. I’m not taking blame for raining on anyone’s parade either. That’s a biggie, too. So, is it really looking like Christmas? Yep, I think it is. It finally is.

My gifts this year to you, to those whom I love and show up for each day, and to myself (for whom I’m only beginning to show up) are grace and forgiveness. They go hand-in-hand. I’m learning. Grace isn’t about being gracious or delicate. Grace is bold and tough as nails. In fact, this year, I’ve learned that grace often cloaks itself in armor – not an armor that protects me from others, but an armor that protects me from myself. Grace allows me to rise. Grace permits me the space I need mentally and physically to breathe and make it through the day. Grace empowers me. It restores my faith in a humanity that often seems to be disappearing before my very eyes. That’s a new look for Christmas, wouldn’t you say? Attempting to reconcile living in a world where our lens has become focused on self-interest and disrespect rather than tolerance, acceptance, and pursuit of the greater good? Now, that requires grace and invites forgiveness, wouldn’t you say?

The look of Christmas? Learning to forgive is a big part of it. Forgiveness changes the landscape.  Forgiveness for me this year means letting go. It is not for me to judge and absolve anyone else of egregious sins or hurtful behaviors. I’ve committed plenty of both, I’m sure. I’m human after all. What Christmas looks like in terms of forgiveness for me this year is completely different than it was last year, the year before, or even ten or fifty years ago. As we lose those who shaped us and gain others who help us find new ground, forgiveness changes. It moves from perfunctory to profound, in hindsight, of course.

At ten, I feared lumps of coal because of spats with my siblings or falling short in school or fleeting bad feelings about my parents. In my twenties, requests for forgiveness involved momentary lapses in judgment related to indiscretions, promiscuity,  and discovery as well as not measuring up to the community in which I was educated. Thirties? I didn’t forgive myself…ever. I never asked for absolution, cleansing, or forgiveness because I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t think I did anyway. I had a child and a husband and a home. Forgiveness was a luxury. I got exactly what I deserved, good or bad. Forties? Forgivable forties? Fuck that. I was too busy. I didn’t think about grace or forgiveness. Life in auto-pilot when your spouse decides his pursuits are more meaningful and you’ve a child to launch and parents to honor. My 40s gave me nothing and everything. They taught me the most, punished me the most, and rewarded me the most. Irony, indeed.

And here I am, on the cusp of my 58th Christmas (actually 59th) “celebrating” the look of Christmas and I’m talking about and reconciling everything, particularly grace and forgiveness. They go hand-in-hand, I think. This year they do anyway. Next year, who knows?

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Christmas is the life we celebrate on one day and should fete all year long!

Grace & Forgiveness look differently on everyone!

Proud Antlers

Sylvia is feeling vulnerable, emotional, and overwhelmed this weekend as she considers all that has to be accomplished before Christmas and the new year, much of which has absolutely nothing to do with the holidays. Erma, in her infinite wisdom after years of agonizing to produce the perfect celebration and realizing there is no such thing, shares a newly acquired tidbit that leaves Sylvia feeling more empowered, not like with the force or toughness of a superwoman or wonder woman but perhaps with the mightiness of one of Santa’s reindeer.

Did you know that male reindeer lose their antlers after the fall mating season? Female reindeer keep theirs.

“All of those guiding the sleigh, Syl? A group of badass women with a sense of purpose and direction!”

Sylvia, amused and enchanted, thanks her friend and knows now that “she’s got this” whatever this may be.
🌲🎄❄🎄🌲❄🎄🌲❄🌲🎄❄
Male reindeer lose their antlers in winter and females don’t. Therefore Santa’s sleigh is actually pulled by a team of strong, powerful, underrated women!!!!! YOU GO, GIRLS!! I SEE YOU!!! (@catreynoldsnyc)

www-livescience-com.cdn.ampproject.org

Purpose & Direction

In the Patch

“A pumpkin spice latte, Erma?” Sylvia asks.

Erma, with furrowed brow, looks at her friend, and rejects the idea unequivocally. “God, never. You know better than to even think that I’d adulterate my first brew of the day in such a way.”

“It’s National Pumpkin Day though. You’ve got to celebrate the famous fruit of the season! Come on. Pumpkin bread? Pumpkin cheesecake? Pumpkin ale? There is a plethora of the orange autumn fruit’s offerings out there. Choose something.”

Erma, with her hands wrapped around her stoneware mug of choice, puts forward her intention of the day, “I’ll fete the fruit in my favorite way – with memories I’ve made and shared in patches over the years.”
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What’s not to love about autumn in full bloom? The sounds, the fragrances, the colors… Oh, the glory of it all.

How will you celebrate National Pumpkin Day? Do what makes your heart happy and your soul dance.
~k.morgan
🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁
Come said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o’re the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.”
– A Children’s Song of the 1880’s

Memories fresh from the patch

Don’t Live on the Periphery

Some days, most if truth be told and we are truly committed to appreciating and living in the present, we should only pay attention to what is right in front of us. It is what can bring us the most peace and comfort. It is okay to put on blinders once in a while; they allow us to keep our eyes open and focused on what is important. And more often than not, we discover, Sylvia & Erma discover, the what is a who. Who is most important in your life? You.

A bit worn this midweek but in the best way – from multiple days of self-care, a change of scenery, and a bounty of unconditional love – the “blinders” are helping. Twenty-four hours of worrying, lamenting, and second-guessing herself gets wearisome each day, so Sylvia opts for the here and now. The blinders can be eye-opening and restorative.
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Some days, 24 hours is too much to stay put in, so I take the day hour by hour, moment by moment. I break the task, the challenge, the fear into small, bite-size pieces. I can handle a piece of fear, depression, anger, pain, sadness, loneliness, illness. I actually put my hands up to my face, one next to each eye, like blinders on a horse.
~Regina Brett

#nowplaying
#overfiftyandfine #womensupportingwomen
#midlifeblogger #wednesdaywisdom

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The Voice Inside

“Smiling so profusely on a Sunday?” Erma  asks her friend with a tone of disbelief.

“Don’t seem so surprised, Erma. That is a genuine grin of satisfaction,” Sylvia counters.

Erma, still a bit perplexed but bringing herself to delight in her friend’s newfound countenance, replies with an equally broad smile, “Isn’t it a peaceful feeling when you can finally stand and listen to your own voice?”

Indeed. Be your own person, and be the person you listen to first!”
****************

The Voice”
by Shel Silverstein

There is a voice inside of you
that whispers all day long,
‘I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.’
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
or wise man can decide
what’s right for you – just listen to
the voice that speaks inside.

The Bridge to Me

As she crossed the bridge, she removed all of the fluff, all of the extra. She got rid of the fillers. The sugar-coating melted away. She stripped down and began to bare her soul.

“Now, you are ready to begin, my friend.”

“Begin what?”

Everything. Anything.”

And with that, what she considered both friendly recommendation and cautious admonition, she noticed the view from the bridge. Wider. Vaster. She looked ahead not down.

The Crossing
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