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- What really matters is....
- Flirting, coffee, and us.
- Connecting with our feminine.
- The real you, the real me.
- Holiday Blessings
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It's the time of year for our annual Thanksgiving ritual, a time to remember and share something special we gained or learned or experienced this year. Something that has changed us, made us more appreciative of our lives, something we recognize as a blessing.
So we enjoyed a spirited time over potluck dinner, lots of sharing and laughing. It was a smaller than usual group, which seemed to allow us to be more real, more open, and more vulnerable.
This surely carried over to our time of describing the one thing we gained this year. These are the ladies' revelations, to finish the sentence, "This year, I am grateful....."
* for good friends.
* for good health, am thankful every day I get up, that she is able to talk to my family often, that I
choose to come tonight to be with all of you even though I'm catching a cold.
* that my grandson in the military is in the States and has not been sent anywhere.
* that my life is so even, that I've chosen to step away from family to avoid stress, that I am taking a
theater arts class which makes my heart feel good, that I am able to memorize and perform plays.
* that since I have to continue to work, I am able to do it.
* to learn new lessons in life, that when challenges come my ways I now consider them a growth
opportunity, and that I appreciate more and more what life brings me.
* that I seem to take adversity so much better than I used to, and now I'm physically stronger and
can walk at a clip.
* that I can work despite my age, that I am able to do what I do, that my mom is still kickin' at 98
and that my son is getting married this year.
* that I made a decision last year that I would not be stressed this year and it's working, and
I am getting things done and I can sleep and I am not pressuring myself.
* that I don't have to settle and that I went to Niagara Falls, one of the last things on my bucket list.
It's obvious that we didn't express our pleasure at having a new car or taking a European vacation or having a new boyfriend. We all expressed our gratitude at having the things in life that are priceless, things that feed the soul, things that make our life richer in a meaningful way.
I'll add to the list, as I write this, that I am grateful for the friendship of such amazing women.
Ah, dating. When we were young, did we ever imagine that we’d be dating in our 50s and 60s? Lucky Wowettes, we had the honor of meeting Dr. Sue Mandel, the speaker at our recent meeting, who specializes in dating over 50, with groups and seminars and private coaching, and dinner with us!
Dr. Sue is a lovely woman, very wise and clever, with a huge fund of knowledge, both personal and professional, about the issue of dating at our age. Sue reminded us that we were really “marketing” ourselves when we put up a profile and picture on dating sites. She gave us cards to write a list of what we want and don’t want in a partner and then asked the important questions, “Am I the kind of person I would want to meet? What do I bring to the table?”
Sue said that we need a plan for success, starting with making outward improvements, such as make-overs, losing weight, getting fit. And then on to taking a look inside to our baggage (yes, everyone has some!). Do we have issues with intimacy and trust that would hinder a healthy relationship? Do we think we should play games with those we date, such as waiting a certain amount of time to return calls? Do we try too hard to become what the other might want us to be, losing ourselves in the process? Do we end up with someone we choose or who we want?
She reminded us about something so simple yet so easy to forget – flirting! To Sue, it’s a way to engage others, a playful stance that uplifts, a way to be engaged in the moment, and, surprise, can be learned! Sue teaches flirting! She reminded us that flirting, not just at the beginning of a relationship, increases the physical and emotional health of a relationship. Did I mention that she teaches flirting?
Ah, the dreaded coffee date! That first meeting, so full of hope and worry. Sue teaches that it’s a time to assess our dates, but reminds us that we often are so intent on making the guy like us that we often miss out on a valuable time to get to know who is this guy we are meeting, what are his values, does he respect his mother, does he talk bitterly or pleasantly about past loves, does he have friends, is he stable financially and emotionally, is he a gentleman. Love, love, love that Sue shared some personal stories of her past dating experiences, yikes how we can all relate! But she does suggest that, unless there is a definite red flag raised during our meeting, it might be valuable to give the guy a second date, just to make sure if he might be a good fit. And how well she knows us daters! That we come home after a first meeting, while we wait to see if he will call again, and worry if we did or said something that he didn’t like or did he find us his type and on and on. When really? We should be assessing him, whether he is what we want, whether he fits our list or not.
I could go on and on about Dr. Sue’s presentation, how witty and wise and personable she is, what an inspiring speaker she is, and how impressed we all were by her.....so I’ll just let you know that she is reachable at http://www.suemandelphd.com/
and that I’m sure looking forward to attending her upcoming 8 week group meetings about this very subject. And I’ll leave you with the words she spoke that I’m not likely to ever forget, that rather than wondering if we’re good enough for that next guy, it’s time to re-connect with what is wonderful in us. We might be 50+, Dr. Sue reminds us, but we're at our best!
Sometimes, things are beyond description, just needing to be experienced and felt. Such was the speaker at our recent Wow meeting. After a lovely and unusually healthy potluck meal, we gathered to listen to Tarnie Fulloon, our speaker. Lucky us.
Tarnie has an interesting story that many of us can identify with. Raised on a farm in Australia, she learned at an early age to be strong and responsible, often taking on what would be called “manly” tasks of heavy physical work, even at her petite size. She decided early on that she would not need a man to take care of her, that she would be able to do so herself, and thus began the limiting of her access to her feminine side in favor of the masculine.
How does this connect to her presentation? Tarnie teaches that we women are over-committed and over-responsible because of our abiding so heavily in the masculine part of ourselves. We plan, we push too hard, we over-achieve, we give too much, and we people-please. We end up feeling that we are never enough, we feel shame, and we become critical and judgmental. We live someone else’s idea of what our life should be and we allow the voices of others to drown out our own. We feel disconnected, resentful, anxious, numb, dead inside, and tired of living like this. Sound familiar?
The key is to reconnect with our feminine side, which allows us to live a more creative life, choosing what we enjoy and what nurtures us. Instead of listening to the voice that says others are more important, we learn to access who we really are, who we are meant to be. We must let go of our inner critic, live more in the moment, and let go of the “what-ifs”.
Tarnie teaches that, to accomplish this, we need to reconnect with our body through movement and meditation. Losing our connection to our body causes us to lose ourselves. We resist going from our mind to our body out of fear because the mind requires the status quo to feel safe. Through movement and meditation, it is so much easier to be in the moment, to feel our bodies, to access the “real” us.
Tarnie led us in a body meditation by having us stand, close our eyes, and start to move our bodies. First our shoulders, then our arms, hips, and feet. Meditation isn’t easy, meditating for more than two breaths is success, but this movement meditation allowed me to be in the moment, stop my thinking, and be free of concerns and worries instantly. After our exercise, Tarnie asked us how we felt and the ladies answers were: calm, confident, strong, joyful, happy, loose. Imagine that, a few minutes of such a simple exercise and our sense of ourselves became more peaceful and more centered.
Feeling out of sorts or wondering what exactly is your place in life? Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted? Wishing you could have more joy in life? Contact Tarnie and learn to find yourself and become the woman who is strong and creative, can master a job and still feel joy in relationships and life. We were all quite changed by our limited time with Tarnie. It can happen for you, too! You can reach this magical and delightful woman through her website at http://www.tarniefulloon.com/
Transitions can be tough. Change can be grueling; it’s what our subconscious fights hardest against. Yet every minute, every second, we are different people. Every second we become older and everything we do and everyone we encounter in those moments affects who we are in some way. Casual relationships change us, show us something about ourselves. Intimate relationships change us more, holding up a mirror for us to see our innermost selves, often forcing us to face things about us that we find unpleasant and that we haven’t seen or allowed ourselves to realize before. Even watching a movie or reading a book, feeling the emotions from the experience of what we see and hear, all makes us be something different, something changed. Even the act of choosing one thing over another causes us to pick a fork in the road, a road that we keep traveling, leading us to more changes, all based on our initial decision of which way to go.
I’m older. Maybe I’m wiser. Most of all I’m facing who I really am. I learned as a child to hide, to be who someone else wanted me to be, learned that being the real me wasn’t acceptable. And going down that road of being someone less-than-authentic caused me to make other changes. I picked men who didn’t encourage or nurture me. I picked friends who didn’t care if they saw the real me or not, just wanted me to be someone who would listen to them, agree with them, do what they wanted.
I haven’t dated or sought an intimate relationship in a very long time. Just didn’t feel the need or the drive or the desire. I was never sure why but it didn’t seem like anything was missing. I have been occasionally lonely and sometimes sad, but I never felt the need to fill that void with a lover or partner.
Now it seems to be making sense. It’s like I’m coming out of a fog, coming into the light, finally seeing things as they really are. Yes, I know that perception is reality, reality is different for each of us, but my reality lately tells me that all these years without an intimate connection has allowed me to learn who I am, to realize that I am a good person, loveable, worthy of happiness, deserving of happy moments. It’s also made me realize that it’s OK and right, for me and maybe for many others, to weed out those in my life with whom we can’t be our authentic selves, be real, be honest…..and to nurture the relationships with those who truly care about us, listen and really hear what we are saying to them, encourage us to be our best, love us no matter what.
I’m certainly not sure what will happen next, how I will change, what choices I will make. But I do know that I am learning to value me, to appreciate the uniqueness of who I am, love the qualities that make me special. I truly believe that each of us is just like that, that there is no one just like us and who we are is a gift to the world. We share the gift of who we are just by putting one foot in front of another, going about our daily lives, being friendly to clerks in stores, people we encounter at work, our families, and our friends. The world and what we do in it, every day, makes us who we are and changes us constantly. We, just by being ourselves, our unique selves, change the world, hopefully in ways that make others happier. One of my favorite friends said recently that we are here to live and work and survive, but our biggest and best reason to be alive is to spread love, just by being our real selves. Pretty simple. And pretty magnificent.
The Holidays are fun for some, sad for others, both for many of us. I grew up without much in the way of celebrations and having my birthday at the end of December when people were out of town or out of money or getting ready for New Year’s Eve parties only made me feel more lonely. So move ahead many years and I learned to create my own celebrations, invite my favorite people, and create traditions that were warm and happy and fun.
And that certainly describes our Wow Holiday Potluck, always at the end of the year in the midst of the Holidays and usually held at the home of one of our founding Wowettes, a lovely and candle-filled home brimming with warmth and a cheerful host. It was hard to plan this year, with holidays being in the middle of the week, and I wasn’t surprised at a smaller than usual group attending. But wow, did they make up for it in silliness, great stories, and generally being happy that we were together.
The tradition that we created many years ago was to enjoy our yummy potluck and then gather our chairs in a circle to share our hopes and wishes for the New Year. But we do it in a special way by expressing ourselves by starting with “I am”, instead of “I will…” or “I hope to be…”. We say it in the now, making it real, as if we are already experiencing what we wish will come in the future.
Here is what the ladies shared:
“I’m thin and happy and my cousin is doing well and I’m healthy.”
“I am exercising more, taking care of myself, happy as a single woman, continuing to enjoy the company of these wonderful women.”
“I am traveling and winning the lottery.”
“I am no longer worried about my mom or daughter. I am continuing to be content in my own life and wish it for my friends.”
“I am content and serene and know that I am enough.”
“I am happy and joyful and in love with myself unconditionally.”
“I am eating healthier, following healthier routines, de-cluttering my life, and getting organized.”
“I am the best mother, sister, girlfriend, and friend…and I am my own best friend.”
“I am very happy to be invited to this home, to be the mother of two beautiful children, happy to be what I am, and continue to enjoy my volunteer work.”
“I am continuing to life in confidence, continuing to walk through my fears and no longer let them run my life, and continuing to think of myself as a loveable and precious person.”
I was surprised, and pleasantly so, that the predominant thread was of self-acceptance, inner peace, and enjoying what we have and who we are. I’ve spent most of my life learning to recognize my inner demons, repair damage from my early years and troubled family, and create a peaceful life for myself. Each of us, in our own way, has our own demons that threaten our happiness, whether we recognize them or not. Having a safe and warm and nurturing place to share these dark places in our lives and how we have grown past them and how we finally feel peace is priceless. We are an eclectic group of women, yet coming together to love and laugh and share our hearts is a great gift we give each other. Your openness and courage give me strength to continue on my path of healing and happiness and for that I am very grateful.
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