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when the table turns: old age

by Judy
June 23, 2013 

I recently came across a quote by the late poet May Sarton about old age. It read: “The trouble is, old age is not interesting until one gets there. It’s a foreign country with an unknown language to the young and even to the middle-aged.”

I find this quote so strikingly true. Of course even the concept of “when one is old” has changed so much. Not that long ago, someone in their sixties or seventies would be considered very old and certainly depending upon who is looking, one still...

another small victory for love

by Andrea
June 19, 2013

Letting go of control is a big topic of conversation amongst so many of us who are striving to live a more balanced and conscious life. We live in a world with so much going on, so much change, and so much uncertainty, that letting go of control may not only become a requirement in order for us to stay sane and grow, but we might find that it’s one of the hardest demands confronting us. 

This is easy to understand. We have spent our whole lives establishing the controls that we live by. The structure of our daily lives, the agreements...

looking back ...whenthetableturns

by Judy 
June 12, 2013 

Yesterday was a year since my mom had a stroke. Dates like that stick in your consciousness. For awhile, it was very intense. It was like an earthquake that shook my mom’s whole being – months when she could not settle down – not sleeping through the night and in a lot of agitation, physically and emotionally. For me also there was the fast learning curve about strokes, rehabilitation centers, endless contacts with occupational, physical and speech therapists and all the ups and downs one inevitably goes...

seeing beyond filters

by Andrea
June 7, 2013

What does it mean to really see each other? To see not just the surface of who we are, but to see more deeply into the interior of who we truly are? And what does this mean when it comes to our elderly and loved ones with memory loss? To see beyond the cultural filter of ageism? The question of who we are has interested me since as long as I can remember. Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? I feel these are truly important questions if we want to live a full and deep life. I’m not talking about a self-centered narcissism, but rather a...

by Judy
June 1, 2013

I recently re-read “Fireweed” a political autobiography by the late Dr. Gerda Lerner, who was a pioneer in women’s history. She was also a courageous woman, a refugee from Nazi Austria who in her life and writings “fought” discrimination and fascism in all its forms. At the end of the book, she writes; “We know we must die; we know the world is bad; we know we are corruptible, and yet we act as if it were not so. And as we act, we actually are in the process of changing ourselves and those around us. We are making a future.”

...
power of touch

by Andrea
May 27, 2013

Some say that touch is the most powerful of all the senses. I’m not sure if that’s always true, but it probably depends on the context. Our senses seem to work together in concert, and certain senses come to the fore depending on what is needed. As I reflect on my elderly mother and one of my sisters who has Alzheimer’s, I am aware of how important the sense of touch has become in my relationship with each of them. It seems that touching in whatever form, whether it is holding hands, combing hair, stroking the forehead, rubbing the back—when...

striving to take in the whole picture/when the table turns

by Judy
May 23, 2013 

At one time in my life I was a Buddhist practitioner and loved hearing stories about the Buddha, the fully enlightened one. One of the stories I loved hearing was how the Buddha taught his students by what is called skillful means which meant that he would use different practices and techniques for different students depending upon their temperament, background and particular weaknesses. I thought of that recently after reading...

when hearts collide/when the table turns

by Judy
May 15, 2013 

Each week after I’ve written an essay I have no idea what I will write about next and every time something emerges. I begin to think that when the intention and interest are there, material comes – sometimes out of the smallest stimuli. The stimuli this time was a simple trip taken to Loehmann’s department store. A very ordinary event which involved, in this case, four people going shopping. Yet it not only left such a sweet aftertaste but led to an appreciation for how much life is enhanced when all the parts...

by Andrea Hurley:  a pure love, but not an easy path

by Andrea
May 8, 2013

In my last post, listening between the words, I shared some of my experiences with my mother, my daughter and my sister, and how when we listen very closely it's as if we're listening between the words. Sometimes with my mother if I didn't listen this way, I'd probably feel boxed in to a world which has gotten small. But by listening in this other way, I never feel boxed in. Even though my mother does not have the same repertoire of experiences to share with me, it doesn't matter. What does...

the force that moves her being

by Judy
May 3, 2013

This past week has been quite momentous as my mom reached the ripe age of 97. Given that she had a stroke almost ten months ago, in some ways it is quite miraculous that she is still here. So much has happened since the stroke and I have much to be grateful for. I have a small crew of caregivers - all from Jamaica; loving, caring and really good people. Having passed through the storm of the stroke, my mom now is fundamentally doing alright. She has at times difficult “moments,” but basically she is fine. She is well cared for and she still has this...

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