Thursday, February 22, 2018

My gift to the world – my amazing family

This gift is being posted on my three blogs – this one, plus All Ages, All Stages ~ Rx for Caregivers.  It’s the first of many posts on the wonders of being the youngest in a family of often troubled but always wondrous souls.
The nudge for the share came – separately yet on parallel tracks – from Shad Helmstetter & Jen Sincero, from What Do You Say When You Talk To Yourself You Are A Badass.  Both spotlight the power of  self-talk, the importance of  taking out endlessly looped negative messages that lessened & replacing them with constructive ones of ability, determination, accomplishment.
I chalk up my ability to see my parents & older sibs as amazing to a) my from-birth curiosity about what makes people tick; b) the power of the spoken word; c) the power of the written word; and d) an older sister who taught me from an early age to save essential documents  & resources.
While we know what others have done, can come up with theories on why they did it, what they might have thought or felt, most of the time it’s just a lot of guess work.  Luckily, my family were great letter writers, so I have a lovely trail of bread crumbs leading to a sense of their thinking & certainly how they felt.  Praise be!
There is no doubt that my birth family led to my work as a life expansionist.  It was not easy being their daughter, their sister, but the experience enriched energized empowered.  The word that keeps coming to mind is plasticity – my family interactions helped me understand how life constantly calls on us to modify & re-wire our connections with each other & even with ourself.
Thank you, Shad & Jen, for opening up to me this opportunity to share how family experiences taught me the importance of developing an inner reel of constructive self-talk, that important lessons can be learned from the most ghastly situations, that nuggets of golden wisdom can be mined from even the worst ick.
This intro post is on all my blogs, but future family shares will be posted on Rx for Caregivers.  It’s essential for them – whether caring for clients or family – to look for the lessons in challenging moments, to remember that at best we know just a sliver of what’s behind what others think feel do, to cut them – and ourselves – a break instead of stressing out.
It’s my belief that our families are meant to serve as our first lab experiment, our very own petri dish of living organisms & we’re meant to see how they/we interact AND LEARN FROM IT.  Whether our experiences are wretched or wonderful, they’re all instructive.  But only if we choose lessons over lessening.
Hey, if I could come to a positive, empowered place through a hard-won appreciation of my astonishing family then ANYONE can!
To the greater world & especially caregivers, and with thanks to Shad & Jen, I share one of my most treasured possessions & the source of some of my most important learning – – my family!

Monday, February 19, 2018

CLARITY QUESTIONS - week of 02/11/18

Best memory of the week - finding out that I'm a presenter at April's Positive Age Conference!  
Runner up - Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia with John, scooping up energies to use toward A Creative Jam for Age Justice, going to More Than Just Ice Cream to see a young friend's artwork, ending up the Reading Terminal Market's Dutch Eating Place for an early supper, pointing out the Marriott (across the street from the RTM) which we'll get to know thanks to it being the location of both April's Positive Aging Conference & November's National Center for Creative Aging Leadership Exchange & Conference 
2nd Runner Up - Facebook pictures of Angie & John's wedding! 

What I'm most grateful for this week - someone (not John) saying something that he totally should never have said which led me to feeling sad & distressed which ended up in an aha comment from a wise friend which evolved into a key discovery about my relationship with John.

Accomplishments this week that make me smile - choosing to not make a stink that the submitted abstract for the Positive Aging Conference workshop doesn't reflect anything in my original;  experience & pragmatism triumphing over desire & ego! 

A challenge I faced this week: not making a stink that the submitted abstract for the Positive Aging Conference workshop doesn't reflect anything in my original.

Strengths that got me through the week:  My predisposition to look for the lesson, no matter what.  Strong on connecting, communicating - what ended up giving me fresh insights into myself, my husband, us.  Remembering to not negotiate with myself.  

Sunday, February 18, 2018

I prefer "constructive" to "positive"

My O Best Beloved gave me a kitty calendar with quotes in very small print.  The pictures are cute, but the calendar left me felling pretty "meh..."  Until I really read the the quotes.  What a treasure!  And unexpectedly thought provoking.

Like the 02/12/18 quote - "Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive."  (Matt Cameron)

I'd change "positive" to "constructive."

Chalk it up to having a mother who invariably looked at the positive, to the point of screening OUT anything that wasn't.  There is great power in negatives - they give life its depth, balance, richness. A car with all positive charge spark plugs is going nowhere.

It's my belief that people say "youth" when they mean "fit,"  "positive" when they mean "constructive."  

My mother did her best to live a smiley face life, tucking into the farthest reaches of her mind the heartbreaks that happened over her life.  It took letting herself see the negatives for her to get a grounded sense of her self.  She learned that she could see the tough, hard, heartbreaking things & not crumple.  Facing that having negatives in her life was NOT an aberration but a natural part of being alive was one of the most positive things that happened to her.  

"Live life to the fullest, and focus on the constructive"  - yep, a pretty good credo, if I rewrite it myself!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Variety IS the spice of life

On Tuesday, I will be breaking fast in beautiful, bosky Bucks County, at the Lumberville General Store on the banks of the Delaware, discussing writing with a friend.  At 3:00 a.m., will be in Manhattan for the monthly meeting of The Radical Age Movement.

Life is sweet.

"great & safe community"

It's long been a worry to me that Donald Trump has a cog loose - based on his use of the English language.  He struggles to be coherent & makes the most astonishingly incongruous statements.  Like describing Parkland, FL as a "great & safe community" on the day after a shooting that left 17 people dead, slain in a high school, and many more injured, some fighting for their lives.  

The problem I have with 45 & the use of language is that he doesn't seem to understand what even the most basic words - like "safe" - mean.  You don't?

Shredded core

Len Rose wrote the most amazing thing about John - that at his core, my Keet is all about marriage.  Wow...  Could feel the rightness of that observation, especially powerful from such a deeply aware spiritual leader.  What a remarkable companion for my core, which is relationships.  It came up because my beloved hasn't a clue what is meant by core, so can't tap in & figure out for himself the quality of his.  I'd sensed it was love & kindness - Len is more spot on with marriage.  

John, at his core, is marriage, is love & kindness. Except on those moments when he has no concept of marriage anywhere in his being, when love & kindness have vanished. Those moments when some deep, unknown therefore unrecognizable part of his being feels threatened & John goes into emotional lock-down, like the USS Enterprise (Kirk era), with impenetrable force fields up.  I can do all the things he's said he wants me to do - point out "It's one of those times," attempt to lead him back to the moments before gremlins in his brain erased his memory base & rewrote events.  Doesn't get through.

I've gotten to the place where I get irked & agitated rather than freaked out, interested by what's happening instead of emotionally gutted, launching into bad language instead of wanting to get into the car & drive into a tree going 45 miles an hour.  And I get why I felt that way for so many years - it's because Len is right.  John, at his core, is all about marriage.  Always has been.  Except when he's not, when it has no residence in his being, when I have no residence in his heart.  

Can totally understand why someone with relationship at her core would come unhinged - his shredded core shreds mine & when the emotionally threatening moment has passed, his force fields are down, and he wants to know when WE are going to head into Philadelphia to research gallery space for the 05/15 A Creative Jam for Age Justice event, marriage restored to his core, not the slightest awareness that mine is still in tatters.  Interesting...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Midge Maisel & the Creativity Jam for Age Justice

Could not decide whether to publish this under Rx for Caregivers or All Ages All Stages or here so am including it on all three!
If Midge Maisel was an actual person instead of a fiction character on an Amazon Prime show, she’d be 86 & still killin’ it.  And just the sort of talent I’m hoping to include in the 05/15/18 Creativity Jam for Age Justice, the Philly event in support of the same day, same time Radical Age Movement rally in Central Park.
The Jam will have multi-layers & be multi-purpose, featuring pieces by 65+ (55+?) artists, musicians, singers, dancers – – and hopefully stand-up.  The focus goes beyond artists of a certain age to include dream catchers – creatives who have longed to have their work seen by others & are just now being given the opportunity, not in spite of their age but because of it.  The Jam will feature artists who’ve shown or performed before ~ so, yes – Midge could have made the cut -  but 1st timers will get special consideration by the (tba) selection committee.  
When I posted thoughts about this event on Facebook, the very first comment was, “Great idea. Sounds like a lot of work and money to get it going.”   Reminded me of the acquaintance who, on hearing about the Rx for Caregivers page-a-day calendar, said  “How will you fund it?  How will you monetarize it?” in a tone of inspiration-killing skepticism instead of the gee-whiz “Tell me more” response that  respects baby ideas, encourages them to take a next step, to grow.  Disappointments might come…  but, then again, they might just as easily take wings & fly into the stratosphere, leaving only fabulous, fully realized wonderful.
I’ve had four art shows over the past twelve years, two solo, two creativity jams with John  – one in Bryn Athyn, one in Princeton, two in Huntingdon Valley.  The HV photography show was such a smash, they held it over for the entire summer.  The only cost I had for any of them was for the opening reception’s delectable spread.
It will be a lot of work, but a lot less than the efforts of my Radical Age Movement colleagues up in NYC putting together the Central Park rally for Age Justice.  I won’t have the big names featured up yonder, but will have a power beyond what happens in Manhattan  – – fulfilling the heart’s desire of creatives who’ve dreamed of having their work seen by others.  Pretty cool.
Imagining some 73-year old finally getting the chance to kill it as a stand-up, getting his first taste of an audience’s laughter, their applause.  When it happens – whichever creatives jam with us – will see Midge looking on, hearing her say, “Yeah, he loves it.”
Yes, it will be a lot of work – but the joy hallmarking the Creativity Jam for Age Justice will be worth every moment!