“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing…not healing, not curing…that is a friend who cares.”
Friendship is an art. We are born into families but we must cultivate our friends. A true friend is priceless- someone you can call when you are confused, have a problem, or when you are excited and want to celebrate. Sometimes we need a friend to listen and not fix our problems or advise us with the best solution. Yet, how many people have someone in their life who will listen and love unconditionally without an ulterior motive; without asking for anything in return; someone whose own spirit is lifted by allowing you to share your dreams, worries, fears, confusion, anger, and other emotions.
This is rare in today’s society because we are in a hurry and listening takes time. It is also difficult these days because much of our communication is lost in texting, e-mail, facebook, and lack of self-awareness and mindfulness. How can we understand what someone else is feeling if we never take the time to understand our own inner world? Make friends with yourself first and you will be able to open your heart to others.
Like doctors, we want to give our friend a solution. Often we don’t want a solution; we just want to talk it out. A true healer will listen until they don’t exist so the other person can come up with their own solution, but this takes time.
There was a time when I went to a doctor and I said to him, “You know, Doctor, I think there is an emotional component to this and I really want to heal at a deeper level.” He looked at me with a sense of helplessness, and said, “Well, get up on the table and let me listen to your heart.” After putting the cold stethoscope on my chest, he proclaimed, “You are just fine.” Isn’t that funny? Would he really take the time to listen to my heart and soul and mind? No, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he doesn’t have time. Listening to someone’s feelings and emotions is difficult. We quickly want to solve the problem, hurry the pain away, and heal the person. We can’t expect our doctors to be our friends, but if we had more friends we might not need as many doctors.
You may have a “ton of friends,” but how many of your friendships are open and unreserved allowing you both to expose your soul and unleash your feelings and emotions without fear. You are fortunate if among the multitudes of people you know, you have one or two trusting friends who will be there for you even when they don’t understand you.
Cultivating friendship takes time and thought and the ability to give and to forgive. It is the desire to want to be in a relationship with another human being for no other reason than the healing energy of knowing you can count on that person and they can count on you in life when it is challenging or when it is exciting. This kind of friendship is the best medicine.
I’ve Been Busy with Retirement
“A well planned retirement does not give you more time, but allows you to use the time you’re given to do what you truly want to be doing without a lot of planning.” Me
First, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to all of my readers who look forward to my writing and blogs. Second I want to apologize for the long wait between musings. Third, I want to tell you how busy retirement can be.
I have so many things I could write about and ideas come to me throughout the day –When I am watering my flowers. My potted flowers look quite colorful and beautiful, and my beds still wait for the pansies to completely dry up and be replaced with something more interesting.
When I work out. I am great about getting my 10,000 steps and still love walking with my friends, but found walking does not do much for the flab under my arms that shakes when I talk with my hands. Nor does walking flatten the belly, which seems to extend a bit over my belt line these days. I now go regularly to the Mason Community Center to take advantage of my Silver Sneakers membership of 13.00/month and unlimited fitness classes. At first, I was a little too aggressive and lacked the humility that would wisely guide me to build up to the harder workouts.
I got right into a TRX class, not having any idea what it was. I walked in and asked what class was going on next, and the kind ladies at the front desk said, “TRX.” “Oh, where is the class?” I asked. “Over by the apparatus that looks like swings.” the front desk lady pointed. “That sounds good to me.” I naively stated. TRX is a workout done with straps that you adjust according to the exercise for a whole body workout –upper and then lower body. I was okay with the arm routine, but when I was instructed to place my feet into the straps, I got all twisted, my feet fell out of the straps, and when I finally got my feet positioned correctly, my leg started cramping. I think I was a big distraction for the group, of much younger women, I might add. I finally said, “Well, is anyone else here a Grandma? I am Silver Sneakers.” They laughed and continued with the workout. I did too! However, I did the work without the straps and decided I best try something else next time.
After three weeks of attending five classes a week including several yoga classes, I woke up one morning and while shaving my legs, put my back out of alignment. I had to back off the workouts and upon returning work out at a more “senior” or “silver” pace. Nevertheless, my body does seem to be transforming.
I get ideas when I am painting. Yes-I am now unleashing the creative artist in me. I had never tried my hand at painting or drawing except for a couple of those classes where everyone paints the same picture with step by step instructions from a teacher. My art always came out as a bit more original. I did enjoy allowing myself to play with the colors and use my intuition to guide the brush on the canvas.
Having no idea how to get started, I looked for some used art supplies and was able to purchase all of the supplies from a fine arts graduate who no longer had time to paint. For $100 I bought all of her supplies that included acrylics, water colors, charcoals, pastels, canvases, sketch pads, pencils, art cases, paint boxes and more. All I had to do was get some good brushes and some books on art instruction, and I was ready. I now attend an art class through the Community Center, free with my Silver Sneakers membership.
When I Travel -Travel is great for unleashing ideas for my next blog post, but I seldom bring my computer, preferring my paper journals and pen to digital writing. Since retirement, Steve and I have traveled to Chicago several times; spent two weeks throughout the state of Florida, and just returned from a two-week road trip through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and West Virginia. We love staying with friends but also are regular Air B and B users. It’s been fun to be able to go away without having to get back to a working schedule.
On these trips we have enjoyed family and friends, two weddings and historical visits to Montpelier, James Madison’s home and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
Ideas often come when I am with my grandchildren. They are inspiring and love to be inspired. Having my grandchildren close and being retired affords us lots of time to be together.
And when I am visiting my Godmother, who is now in a nursing home in Centerville, Ohio, a long way away from her Chicago roots. She and I have had inspiring conversations about aging, dreams, spirituality and more.
So you can see that while I would like to sit at my computer and compose an inspiring blog or even share excerpts from the memoir I wish I had more time to write, I am busy-good busy. I love letting the universe plan my days and allowing for spontaneity.
Steve just turned 70 after I turned 65 and we are both seniors and retired. Those words are sometimes hard to say, but we are embracing our time together and the time for new adventures.
In the meantime, I continue to teach A Course in Miracles, and I have been open to offer my service of wellness and life coaching for those who are ready for a change.
Life is good! Retirement is good! Hope all is well with you!
I understand now more than ever when people tell me they work all day and have no time to exercise. I have been tired lately. Yes, in spite of all of my energy, I lose it like all normal human beings.
Here are some of the things I hear.
“By the time I get home I am so tired and still have to cook dinner and help the kids with homework.”
“ I would have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to make time for my workout.” And some do. I remember hearing Arnold Schwarzenegger works out every day beginning at 5:00 AM giving him enough time to run the state of California.
“I joined a gym but don’t get there as often as I would like.”
We live in an age of being Tired and Wired as Marcelle Pick’s new book Are You Tired and Wired spells out so aptly with 30 days to help you get back to balance.
So what do we do to make sure our body gets proper rest and proper exercise while living the high-wired life…?
Here are five tips to fit in fitness.
1. Get a pedometer. I can’t say enough about these little gadgets that you can buy for $20.00 or less. Just put it on in the morning after brushing your teeth. Keep it next to your toothbrush so you remember. Go for 10,000 steps a day. See what you get doing your normal activities then work on the remaining steps by taking a nice long walk during the day.
2. Today it’s about functional fitness. You don’t have to go to the gym and use fancy equipment to get a proper work out. Recently I worked with a personal trainer who gave me a variety of 20-minute workouts that incorporated resistance training using bands and lightweights along with high intensity body movements that raise my heart rate and work my muscles in a way that supports everyday movement and life.
3. Park your car far away from your destination when you are shopping. Enjoy shopping at SUPER markets and stores. You can walk miles just enjoying all the stuff that you can buy nowadays at Super Wal-Mart, Target, and Super Kroger etc.
4. Dance, dance, dance like no one is watching. It’s true. Many people wake up to music on their radio, I-phones, or stereos. Use this time to dance before you take your shower and then dance again at night. We all know Jane Fonda gets her exercise, but what impressed me was the fact that every night she and her husband dance together alone at night. What a great way to stay fit and nurture your relationship.
5. Do what you can and don’t beat yourself up because you are not working out at your target heart rate for 30 minutes five days a week. Those are the old rules. The new way of thinking is to move all through the day, stay active, garden, play actively with your children, take an early morning or evening walk, or at work go out for 20 minutes before you sit down to eat your lunch.
Most of all enjoy your life, move your body, laugh out loud, sing and dance.