It is already May and this is
the first newsletter I've had
time to prepare since last year. In the old days I would
probably have felt
guilty about that, but it eventually dawned on me that practically all
things I do these days are things I do because I want to and the
agendas I have
are mostly set by me so I am not actually answerable to anybody.
I have at last reached that happy stage of my life where I am no longer bound by anyone else's
schedules or expectations. And that is a good feeling. About time too,
77th birthday now looming, that I finally got the message! It's
though, isn't it, how many of our habits are formed by all those
decades of our
lives—at least six for most of us and even more for those who still
they need to care for on a daily basis—when we are governed by other
needs and requirements. Little wonder, really, that when we finally
all those obligations we have a hard time getting used to the freedom
autonomy of it.
We've had family
visiting from overseas too, and that has
been wonderful. Showing the grandchildren the sights of London has been
fun for all of us, not to mention what a wonderful thing it has been
Here in our rural
corner of England Spring is well and truly
happening, with flowers everywhere, birds singing and the trees all
beautifully. Mind you, the weather forecasters are predicting another
summer for us—which will be the third in a row. I sincerely hope they
But even if they are not, we shall be heading towards the Mediterranean
in the year for some guaranteed warmth and sunshine. Meanwhile,
are in the world and wherever the weather I send you blessings and good
and all good things for the rest of 2013.
survival to rediscovery, unfurling and blossoming
is a special time of year for me as on 12 May I was
called into my doctor's surgery to be told I had been diagnosed with
cancer. That was nineteen years ago and was the start of a journey of
growth for me, and the anniversary is now a time of celebration. Every
renew my commitment to living each day to the full.
the last few years I have been rediscovering my own
inner wisdom, and beginning to trust it again. I’ve been reading many
inspirational books, and – at last – realising that those authors are
messengers sent to enable me to rediscover my own message, to sing my
if you like. I am happily in my sixties now, and I like the sound and
that. This image I took this week in my garden, of our tree fern’s new
for me a feeling of
gentle expansion and growing into the real me.
image I have found inspiring, also my garden, taken
last summer. The Morning Glory plant produces new flowers each day:
the new buds open and share their inner glory with the world.
I saw the photograph on screen I was struck by the
internal light that appears to be shining from the centre of this
an inspiring metaphor for starting each day afresh, living in the
daring to blossom, sharing our light.
the work I do is about personal growth and spiritual
awareness (my own and others’): each of us, everyone, is already
can grow as we become aware that each of us has that seed within, like
Morning Glory. A seed has everything within it to develop into the full
of the plant, just needing the right conditions and nurturing.
does not mean that I need to be more than I am, or
do more or have more. Growth is becoming the fullest and most glorious
expression of who we are, living in our full glory. Awareness helps us
and to live in this knowledge, day by day.
personal journey of rediscovery is growing into something
that I am offering to others in the form of my writing, one to one
the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Cards. If this interests you, I am
weekly reflection on my blog about how using these cards is helping me
finish, a poem that has inspired me immensely is this
To Come Home To Yourself
May all that is unforgiven in you
May your fears yield
their deepest tranquilities.
May all that is unlived in you
Blossom into a future
Graced with love.
~ John O’Donohue
May you rediscover all that is unlived in you and blossom
into the future.
many other women of my era, I was thoroughly
convinced by the supposedly definitive argument by the medical
osteoporosis was an ever-increasing threat to a woman's health and
she grew older. And like many other writers on women's health issues, I
included this in my writing, along with what I thought was good advice
the importance of calcium supplements for post-menopausal women.
a few years, following my own advice and the
conventional wisdom of my day, I took high daily doses of calcium
confident that I was protecting my bones and my general health by doing
years ago, however, I became concerned that by
taking so much calcium I might actually be upsetting the all-important
balance in my body and I started to cut down the dosage. Not long after
began to see references here and there to a completely different theory
bone density—i.e. the theory that we are not really 'designed' to
high bone density to the end of our lives and that in fact taking all
calcium—especially in the form of calcium carbonate—might actually be
more harm than good.
been taking my calcium in a more expensive, bio-available
form, but nevertheless I stopped taking it altogether after I read this
advice to follow? As a lay person rather than a
scientist, all I can do is listen to all the arguments, read the
reports and try to make up my own mind about what is best for me. And
for me, a
great part of that is trusting my intuition and, ultimately, trusting
Nature itself is the ultimate source of wisdom when it comes to
anything to do
with my body. That stood me in good stead, after all, when it came to
childbirth, lactation and parenting. 'Doing what comes naturally'
to me like the right way—and it still does. I truly believe that as a
species we have far more animal wisdom available to us than we ever
So I need to tune into that when it comes to the health issues of old
when I first started going to an Ayurvedic medical
practitioner and was given the list of foods that were said to be
good for my physiological 'type' I was delighted to discovered that
happened' to be all my favourite things. Funny, that!! But it helped to
to me that my natural instincts were something I could—and should—trust.
there is the argument that Nature didn't 'design'
us to live to the ages we are living now. Maybe, just as we need
glasses and dental crowns and hearing aids we also need 'artificial'
staying healthy in advanced old age. It is tricky, trying to figure out
the above article convinced me. I have decided not
to resume taking calcium supplements routinely. But I am no longer
advise anyone else on this point and I only wish I had not so blithely
in my books and articles. My only excuse is that I was echoing what all
highly-qualified 'experts' of that time appeared to agree on.
though, advice is only ever someone's opinion. Each
of us has to figure out her own responses to this bone density argument
make her own decisions. It is your body, after all.
German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before
long, discovers that she's lost. Wandering about, she notices a panther
heading rapidly in her direction with the intention of having lunch.
German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in trouble now!"
some bones on the ground close by, she immediately settles down to chew
on the bones with her back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther
is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that
was one delicious panther! I wonder if there are any more around here?"
Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look
of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!,"
says the panther, "That was close! That old German
Shepherd nearly had me!"
Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a
nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it
for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.
The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and
strikes a deal for himself with the panther.
The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here,
squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that
Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel
on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?," but instead of
running, the dog sits down with her back to her attackers, pretending
she hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear,
the old German Shepherd says, "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an
hour ago to bring me another panther!"
Moral of this story:
Don't mess with the old dogs.
Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery
Bullshit and brilliance only come with age and experience.
I haven't had time to look through all of these
yet, but at a glance it looks as though the law-related sites, at
least, are specific only to US law though the anti-ageism ones, at
least, will surely have universal relevance.
And here is a truly awesome video
that took my breath away...
FOR SUBMISSIONS Contributions
for this newsletter are
eagerly sought. Please send in your writings, your thoughts, your
poetry, a book or website you have found, an announcement or news item
that you think would be interesting to others, a comment on one of
these articles, a subject you'd like to see, an anecdote, something
that moved you - whatever snippet you want to share. Don't be
shy. You do NOT have to be a professional writer, artist or
photographer to send pictures or pieces of your writing to this
newsletter. I look forward to hearing from you.
Nancy, a wonderfully feisty
elder, currently living in a hogan
on a Navajo reservation in NM, describes herself as "a crone of some
knowledge and interest" who finds power in not being too conventional.
is—and always has been—a passionate worker for many causes but finds
grow things in her spare time. Pictured above is the outhouse which has
to match the hogan. She says "I call it my fecund potting shed! Inside
tiny potting table, pots, tools and an array of seeds."
all My Selves
out names known
talents, gifts, or by
the new names
trusting, loving, courageous
go of grudge memories
of shameful vignettes
of old regrets
of new old selves
all the selves deeply
points of stand
pardon of perspective
love and absolution
events with acquit-ment
full of self unhappiness
the joy inward
happiness in service
the heart as it empties
pleasure and delight
love in every cell, atom
here's a wonderful poem by Laurie Lewis that I found on the internet
called 'Late Bloomer'
A 65 year
old woman had a heart attack and was taken to the
While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing
asked "Is my time up?"
God said, "No, you have another 33 years, 2 months and 8 days to
Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a
liposuction, breast implants and a tummy tuck.
She even had someone come in and change her hair color and brighten her
Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well
most of it.
After her last operation, she was released from the hospital. While
the street on her way home, she was killed by an ambulance.
Arriving in front of God, she demanded, "I thought you said I had
33 years? Why didn't you pull me from out of the path of the ambulance?"
God replied: "Shit! I didn't recognize you."
were five houses of religion in a small town:
The Baptist Church ,
The Methodist Church ,
The Catholic Church and
The Jewish Synagogue.
Each church and Synagogue was overrun with pesky squirrels.
One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do
the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that
squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere
In The Baptist Church the squirrels had taken up habitation in the
The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown
squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as
there the next week
The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a
to harm any of God's creation. So, they humanely trapped the Squirrels
them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels
But -- The Catholic Church came up with quite an effective solution.
baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church.
Now they only see them on Christmas , Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and
Not much was heard about the Jewish Synagogue, but they took one
had a short service with him called circumcision and they haven't seen
squirrel on the property since.
... Oh and by the way, while we are on the subject of squirrels: for
all who appreciate
the outdoors, here's a picture of the rarely photographed South Florida
Elderwoman Newsletter by Marian Van Eyk McCain, May 2013
The Elderwoman website:
NB: replace 'at' with the @
sign, and please
insert OKEM in the subject line to make sure you get through my three
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the filters are a necessity to stop
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write to me, please remember that my name
is spelt MARIANwith an 'A' (the same as Robin Hood's