Changes – It’s Still All About Acceptance and Self Love


“Evening Song” www.sfago.com

I always recoil when anyone says, “at your age ….”, “It’s expected at your age…” or a diagnosis of “age-related”. to which I respond, “OK, but what would be causing this if I were young?” And then I have been able to find a satisfactory solution, usually on my own. Until recently.

I have reached a time in my life that is bringing perhaps an inkling of changes that are probably pretty close and maybe even here now, if I choose to acknowledge them.

I have a paint buddy that I met in 2014. We were immediately best friends and we’ve rarely done plein air painting or travel relative to paint workshops or paint outs, art shows, gallery trips without each other. I’ve grown close to her and consider her one of of my two best (nonfamily) friends. She is several years younger than me, I’m in my 80s and she in her 70s. She is still traveling internationally and has a higher level of energy.

I don’t want to hold her back from doing painting events, because I’m unable, knowing we can modify what and where we do some things together. She’s a lesson in loyalty and I realized yesterday that I need to make her feel comfortable with looking for a new paint buddy but first I have to work through my own feelings about this and at this moment I’m having a difficult time facing that. I’ll miss the very special times and making memories, our painting relationship, experiences and the closeness that goes with creating memories and just the fun of painting with her in situations that are highly unlikely to happen again. I imagine dynamics will change, proximity, time together will probably change and will our wonderful friendship change? I expect it to continue to be meaningful in other ways. We have a lot of fun memories.

Choosing is sometimes a little easier than being forced to let go so am trying to use that perspective to face the end of an era, a change caused by some new limitations in my life, and probably not in the too-distant-future, hers as well. Painting is my passion and still consumes my thoughts and time but in my studio now.

I’d like to, in fact, plan to travel to paint again and need to find my own comfort level. I have now and have always had an abhorrence, even an inability of feel that I’m being a burden to anyone. Now I’m faced with needing to deal with that and find a way to accept that it’s ok to ask for help or, with forewarning to my buddy, friends and family, of my less energetic self. I know that it could sometimes hold someone else back and concerned that I would make them uncomfortable and impatient. I have to remind myself that these are more likely my feelings – not theirs. Yikes! Admitting that I’m not the person I want to be or used to be? That I’ve become less? Again I have to remind myself that I’m more than my energy level. I have the same issue no matter when, where or who – I’ve always pushed through as much as possible but can no longer stretch myself. When I’ve hit the wall, I’m done and it’s often inconvenient to me and have a difficult time involving others in that.

I’ve been isolating, partly because much of the time I don’t have the wherewithal to leave my home, but also waiting for a time when I would be able to keep up comfortably. I finally realize that I’m going to have to admit to myself and others the possibility, in fact reality, that I have a new pace. I’m hoping – and quite sure they’ll understand, and that they also have a choice and can opt out of anything, no harm, no foul. Giving that “out” to them is easy for me to do and accept. I also need to accept the possibility that I may have to opt out last minute – and that’s difficult for me to accept ! No harm, no foul for me? Yikes!

Is slowing down such a bad thing? I suppose not. I still walk briskly and have a pretty sharp mind. It’s subtle changes in desires, actions and staying power. Maybe that is part of aging? Maybe not? I have a feeling that I’ve been in denial and those close to me already get and accept it. After all, I do have a head of white hair and that is hopefully associated with wisdom, discrimination and maturity – and slowing down. I think I need to concentrate on that description of my changes. I have loving family and friends around me who are eager to be together. That’s all that really matters. So what am I concerned about? Nothing serious going on here! Isn’t part of life just acceptance of constant changes?

Other changes in my life that were monumental and real life-changers at the time are now, as part of my past, remembered mostly with very little, if any, emotion. This change has been more insidious, occurring rather slowly and somehow immense and accepted with more resistance; I think because I am equating it to moving toward the end of life as I know it and that I love so much. But other changes were really no different? Yes! Because now I’m closer to the end of my life. Period! And I love my life! But I’ve milked it and am still having a wonderful time and I’m past my expiration date.

So just another change – really nothing new. Only what I decide to attach to it. Perspectives?

Self love, acceptance. Remember, Sharon! Self love, acceptance. And then Joy and Gratefulness!

Carpe diem!

And Namaste,

Welcome!


Morning Glory

Hi Everyone!

I still occasionally get notes and requests for the Chopra meditation transcriptions, in fact today I got one and although they still will not allow me to do that, I’ve found new doors that are open and generously appreciate all of us sharing their works.

When I read todays note from a subscriber, I suddenly feel excited about writing again, and staying in touch with you all. It will probably be more of a journaling, but if anything is useful to you – Hooray! I welcome conversation, in fact that’s what I’m hoping for, to get other perspectives and dialogue about navigating through our lives. I’ll keep remarks public so that all who wish to participate can. I think it could be very interesting and enlightening.

The subscriber ask about how I’m doing since my son transitioned with glioblastoma in December of 2015. My life changed forever and I’m discovering more about life, physical and nonphysical, and have gradually arrived at a more peaceful and joyful place.

I had early and very supportive help, especially from Father Tom at a nearby Episcopal Church. I had only attended the Church a very few times after discovering it on Christmas Eve in 2014, invited by a good friend and retired Catholic Priest who was also a more recently retired Lutheran minister. Hilary is husband of one of my best friends and although I rarely attended church services in more recent years, somehow was drawn to this particular Episcopal, very friendly church after that Christmas Eve Candle Light Service.

My father was a minister with the First Church of God and I grew up with quite restrictive religoius guidelines, both because of beliefs and maybe a little more intense being a preacher’s kid. I had a lot of fear of God and not feeling the love and acceptance that was the other side of that – my conclusions of what I was hearing and seeing as a child.

Skipping to my journey since Rich transitioned, I discovered Abraham – Esther Hicks on YouTube. The love and acceptance of myself and others intrigue me as I listen. For many years, I had heard about meditation, mainly through Oprah and one of my sisters, and the benefits, but I could never reach what I heard others talk about – quieting my mind and disconnecting from my physical self. I’ve always had a strong inner guidance and “knowing” gut that I’ve relied on and since listening to Abraham, am learning to trust and rely even more confidently on my Inner Guidance, my Source guidance.

I’m still learning and practicing the meditation but am gradually finding it more centering and aligning, resulting in experiencing a sense of well-being more often. I’m thrilled with that! Sometimes it’s just a matter of lying still and connecting deeply with the many wonderful things that I appreciate and love in my life – my two remaining children, my grandchildren, great grandchildren, sisters and other family at the top of the list. And then there is my art, my good health and mobility, a living situation that is peaceful and beautiful, interesting and loyal friends, music, good reads….I have a long long list.

I want to offer a free link to “Ask and It is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks, the free full audiobook available on YouTube. Esther and Jerry are generous and offer thousands of topics free on YouTube about any subject I can think of. We are all free to share these as we wish.

Another free meditation series on YouTube that I often enjoy is by Rising Higher. This is one of my favorites, Gratitude Affirmations but there are several that I rotate.

Namaste

First Visit to OHSU 11/3/15


Rich has been here a week now.  Things have fallen into place.  Divine guidance!

We got his insurance changed to Oregon from Nevada with about two hours to spare.  I was so grateful to reach our insurance agent on a Saturday afternoon late, and she was kind enough to come to our home – from southwest Portland to Northwest Vancouver, during one of the rainiest evenings I’ve witness in the Pacific Northwest.  Streets and freeways were flooded.  It was a mess.  Grateful! Grateful! Grateful!

We learned by accident about 1/2 hour before I reached her, that if it wasn’t faxed to the company by the last day of the month, it wouldn’t start until the first the next month.  His visits at OHSU would not have been covered and these were urgents visits because of the aggressive tumor.  Grateful! Grateful! Grateful!

My naturopath referred us to another ND who specializes in Oncology.  She was compassionate and managed to make our appointment  in less than a week!!  She also has called and advised us about diet and her protocol by phone prior to our visit.  And she referred us to a nutritionist in Texas whose specialty is treating brain cancer with surprising results.  Grateful again.  We are so blessed!

Today we are emotionally raw and exhausted again after a long trip through the normal traffic mess in Portland to OHSU.  We didn’t really care – just wanted to get some kind of contact started.

We were met by a radiologist who showed us the images.  I can’t even explain the emotions of seeing this lesion on my son’s brain.  I was nauseous.  He was breathless.  We all had our questions answered to the best of their information.  We found that the brain biopsy done in Las Vegas was very inferior and didn’t provide information needed to start treatment.  We learned about in depth examinations and inferior and simple examinations that are useless for a definitive diagnosis and initiating treatment.  So we wait…

OHSU is still waiting the arrival of actual tissue to do their own lab studies.  If it is inadequate in any way, Rich will need to go through another brain biopsy.   Beyond words, the look on his face…

He is so brave.  He had a few moments of anger that turned into gratefulness very quickly.  The doctors clearly are top rate – know their business, listened to us, were open and supportive of our decisions.

We are very hopeful for the very best in treatment, for a good outcome for Rich.

Who Am I?


This morning, my sister sent a blog link, http://aleafinspringtime.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/a-guide-to-the-dark-side/

I know I meander in my thinking and writing a lot of the time but I’m really a bottom-line and short-attention-span kind-of-person so clear, concise messages appeal to me.   After reading the blog, a question resurfaced.  I’ve pondered it recently while reading Tolle and The Untethered Soul…if I’m not my emotions and mind voices, then who am I?  All of my life I had determined who I was by what now I understand were egoic standards, what I do – not who I am.   That identity  has changed over my lifetime.  I also unconsciously sensed that I was more than my self-description but never put conscious thought to it until recently.

I’ve known most of my life that my gut is my guide.  It is how I understand my life.  I have so far been able to consistently depend on God speaking to me this way.  It’s about the only constant in my life.  And I am a good listener.   Also, without much thought,  I’ve known that my gut is  always right and I’ve felt very certain of my decisions when I had that gut knowing.   But I don’t always get it when I think I need it and that is when I’ve started, in the past, to question if what I’m hearing in my mind voice is God speaking – or not.  Well, now I know it is not.   I will question no more.  I will quiet myself and wait for my gut knowing.

I didn’t understand the role of the mind chatter and have spent untold hours of emotional pain and anguish, endured many sleepless nights because I engaged and listened and tried to make decisions from there.   Until recently, I didn’t know I had a choice!

I don’t have a problem with all of this when things are going well.  My mind voice gives me some useful information.  It’s when I feel anger, fear, distrust – all of the negative stuff…that’s when the negative mind voices kick in.  And they are scolding, accusing, bring up the worst case scenario – every time – just plain negative thoughts.    They intensify feelings of regret and insecurity… and on and on…

I’m sure I heard or read this somewhere but I’ve found that if I try to watch my thoughts – ask myself, “What are my thoughts right now, what am I thinking?”,  I realize I have no thoughts when I’m doing that.  It helps clear my mind.  Sounds confusing maybe, but try it and see if it works for you.   Deepak Choprah says to concentrate attention on our hands, sensations, tingling.   It breaks the mind cycle.  That works for me as well.

After reading several books and listening to many “messengers”… Oprah, Iyanla, Michael Singer, Maya Angelou, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra..and others, learning to observe  the chatter patterns – I was finally able to put it all together today.   I know that life unfolds and goes on, the sun comes up and goes down, seasons pass…   Life doesn’t cause problems for me.  Challenges, yes.   I’ll bet my problems could almost always be traced back to the negative, dark side  mind voices that are full of misinformation and making problems from my inner issues!  I’m becoming more and more aware of that.

Back to who I really am, while talking about it with my sister this morning, I chuckled to myself.  Funny!  I suddenly remembered  that I had already figured out who I really am.  I had just forgotten for a moment.  In the last month, after Deepak Choprah ask Oprah who she really is, I decided to define myself.   Here I am, 72 years old and I finally figured out that my name (label) is Sharon, and none of my accomplishments define who I am.   They’re a part of what I do, not who I am.

God put me here, in human form,  to express who He is in spiritual form.  I’m a spiritual being, an expression of God. I’m here to express His love, service, grace, peace, comfort, mercy, encouragement – all good things that He is.    A reminder of how I want – and need – to respond, initiate, live my life in a more purposeful way.   I’m a student and a listener living in abundance, passion and love.  Yes!

My spiritual identity, who I really am, is one that that doesn’t change.   Describing what I do is so different from how I do the things I do.     My challenge is to remember why and how I choose to “do” my life.   I have clear guidelines.

What a difference a day makes!  And as usual, I need to write my new AHA moment down so that I don’t forget who I am again… Chuckle.

The Sounds of Freedom


Our weeks in San Clemente  – our winter get-away from the Pacific Northwest rain – have again been the wonderful!  We’ve done all of our favorite things, eaten at our favorite restaurants, spent time on the beach, visited with friends and relatives.

Courtesy of Military.com

Tradition is that every year,  we ride through Camp Pendleton.  It’s an emotional experience for me.   We pass about 40-50 young soldiers in uniform and with huge backpacks, running.   Obviously they’re training for what is in their future.  I know they’ll be as well-trained as possible for what they will possibly encounter, but I wonder –  how can anyone ever be prepared…or comprehend?

I experience so many feelings that it’s almost impossible to identify all of them.

I feel pride – these young men and women are dedicated and committed.

I’m fearful.  For them.  I want to protect them.  They are so young and they have put their lives in the hands of total strangers who will rule their lives, their minds,  for this period of time in the Military.   They have agreed…no, committed themselves to a cause.   Did they think it over carefully?  Did they have good counsel?   I look at them and wonder what motivated them to sign the dotted line.  I wonder if they’re at peace with their decision.

We watched a program on TV last night about the Military, a documentary.  Statistics indicate that over 10,000 men and women in the Military have committed suicide!   This loss of life is higher than combat casualties at this point.  That is beyond tragic.   My heart aches for all of these young people who felt so trapped, unhappy, fearful….whatever their feelings of hopelessness…so intensely that they would end their life!  My heart aches for the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, wives…all who loved them.

In the weeks that we’ve been here in San Clemente, three marines were killed in an auto accident a few miles away in Dana Point.  The fourth man is in critical condition.  Seven marines were killed in a mid air collision, some from the Camp.  Another marine was shot by the police in San Clemente.  That is under investigation.   There is sadness and a pall over many here.  These men and women are felt to be part of this community.

I feel excitement for the men and women who feel that this is their true calling…those who are happy with their decision…I’m happy for their adventure.  I’m happy if they’re fulfilled in some deep way.   And I know of some who feel that way.

Camp Pendleton is an enormous area.  Enormous!  It’s a city.   A busy city.   It includes 17 miles of coastline and extends inland for miles.  We are in San Clemente, across the street from the north boundary of the Camp.   The view across the road is beautiful, a panoramic view of hills, almost the size of mountains.  It appears to be just another beautiful view.  Until we hear, faintly and in the distance, revelry.  During the day – and at night – we  occasionally hear the whirring sound of helicopters on maneuver.  We hear planes.  And cannons.  Sometimes so loud that they can be felt.

When I notice those sounds – the sounds of freedom, and the sights, I feel compassion for those that are caught in the actual, the reality.  War.  I just hate it!  But I love these men and women.

I’m so grateful to them.  And grateful to all who love them.  I’m praying…

Let me be the change I want to see.  Let peace begin with me.

I’m A Winner! And I’m Passing It On….


What a fun and unexpected surprise… I’m honored! I was passed this award, my first,  from Mother at alettertomychildren.wordpress.com.   Thank You!

Rules say that I need to list 7 things about myself so…

1.  I recently discovered blogging and am enjoying it almost daily – both reading and writing.    My blog was started as a journal but blogging has become so much more than that to me.  So many amazing gifts from so many of you…Thanks!

2.  Quotes – the thoughts and succinct expression of profundity intrigues me.

3.  Always want to know “the rest of the story”…how, why?…about the people in and behind the story

4.  A “Wannabe” decorator.. that’s me.  Enjoy making everything look it’s best – and be it’s best…especially houses, with whatever is available rather than acquiring new.

5.  Music is like air, food and water to me…

6.  Believe in Kiva – check it out!

7.  I’ve flown a small plane but have always wanted to solo.   That will probably happen in my dreams at this point but who know?

I have so many favorite blogs and find more everyday.  If  LoveNotesToSelf and YearStruck had not been named when I received my award, I would certainly pass this to them as well as those listed below.  Check them out.

I do want to pass this award on to

Backonmyown  Talk about attitude and handling challenges with courage…

Positive Parental Participation Building self esteem in children through projects, reading, and she’s even writing a book!

Mirth and Motivation:  Creative, spiritual, motivational!  And music too…

MarcieScudder  Beautiful, emotional photography and thoughts.

JonWaters  Working from personal experience to improve health

OneInCreation Beautiful poetry, artwork and photography.

Thanks again, Mother.  Blog on….

Official Rules of the Award

  1. Thank the award-giver(s) and link back to them in your post.
  2. Tell your readers seven (7) things about yourself.
  3.  Give this award to up to fifteen (15) recently discovered bloggers.
  4. Contact those bloggers and let them in on the exciting news.

A Sentence… A Journey


The Story Teller - Images available at sharonabbottfinearts.com

I need it today – right now – a major attitude adjustment!

I woke up this morning full of frustration, wanting to blame (and that’s a joke – who would that be?), feeling sorry for myself.

No jumping in the car to run errands, drive up the gorge, meet friends and family!

No quick return trips upstairs to grab my earphones – and anything else that I forgot to bring down with me  this morning

No running to the kitchen to grab a snack – now it’s a time-consuming, uncomfortable trip.

After only a few days of this Stay-Off-My -Broken-Foot sentence, I’ve gained even more compassion for those who are immobilized, or restrained – for any reason.  I used to take an elderly woman for rides and errands and you can bet I’m going to again find someone  that I can help.  As soon as I can drive again.

Yes, I have crutches and use them when I have to move.  Coordinated and comfortable with them yet?  Not!   After losing my balance a couple of times – fortunately catching myself with a wall, our bed…  I’m not very confident about navigating.  Especially when I’m by myself.  But when I see this in writing,  I hear “The Whisper” in my ear – how can you whine?   At least you can move!

I woke up feeling very gritchy this morning.  I keep telling myself… “It is what it is and, Grasshopper, you can choose whether you want to  fight your circumstances or relax, accept and go with it”.  Easier said than done!

Many times I  enjoy an entire day writing, reading,  playing computer games, being very sedentary.  My recorder is full of my favorite shows.  In fact I need to delete some so that I can record more!   I even forget that many times I ignore what I need to do so that I can do the very things that I can now do!  Unlimited time.  No demands.  But when  I have limitations, I rebel.

Yes!  Now I have time.  Lots of it.  My daughter reminded me that maybe this is God saying Stop!  Take a rest, Sharon!  (I might have said that to her a couple of times in the past:)

I just love blogging!  My mood is shifting as I write.  I can clearly see that it’s pretty easy to share my good moods, attitudes, observations.  Not so easy to share the less positive me.   It’s really no fun living with a negative me.

It’s magic – this writing!   It’s raining outside.  The fireplace is keeping me warm, physically and emotionally.  I am kind of excited about feeling cozy, snuggling up and reading my Oprah Magazines (I have an entire year of unread O mags!) .  I’ve been wanting to re-read “Death Comes To The Archbishop” by  Willa Cather.  I’ll watch a Netflix movie on my computer while my husband watches yet another golf game on TV (do they EVER get to the 18th hole?), I’ll sketch my next painting, I’ll meditate.   I’ll eventually get upstairs and paint.

I’ll be grateful…Yes, I am!

Warning! Sidewalks Can Be Dangerous to Your Health!


Well I broke my foot.  The tip of the fifth metatarsal and the displaced fractured piece is  attached to a tendon.  My doctor told me that it’s a “troublesome” fracture in that with any strain, if my heel-foot has any weight bearing,  it is very likely that the tendon will pull the fragment loose and then I’ll need surgery.   He told me that I can either stay off my foot completely – aaarghh –  for a month, or if I take chances with it, it’s very likely that I’ll require surgery to place a pin and then I’ll  be off my foot for 2+ months. Since they’d have to catch me first – for surgery – there’s not a lot to consider here…

This happened two days before we were leaving for a couple of months to escape the Pacific Northwest winter.

Chloe

Ok.  I’m very active, walk 10,000 steps – minimum – every day.  Walking controls my blood sugar and blood pressure.  It takes care of my excess energy and helps me sleep.  It’s my time with my dog, Chloe.   She sniffs.   I think, listen and contemplate….

Now then…if everything happens for a reason – well, I’m waiting to find the reason for this one.  I do get that there is a lesson in everything that we experience and I’m thinking I’m supposed to be learning…

Courage

  • Postponing our trip….To make a decision from logic?  What a concept!   I had an impulsive, strong urge to take my chances and travel on crutches  and deal with anything that might happen – wherever it might happen.    ( A Whisper in my ear – Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 11)  The whisper is saying – “any fool can see that you’re  a klutz with the crutches and can see that  there’s probably huge potential for another fall  – at least at this point.   And the whisper is loud.    Mature decision?  Me – who has almost always thought that maturity is usually  overrated!   But then I thought of food.  I have to be able to move my bod if I want to eat what I want.  Or take a pill.  And I’ll do just about anything rather than take a blood sugar med!  At least as long as I can manage another way.   So I made up  my mind… I’m trying this “mature” thing (as defined by my daughter and also my best friend…and the whisper).   But I’m not totally convinced that maturity works for me – chuckle…  Since when would that be?
  • To change plans that involved disappointment and  inconveniences for several others?  Uhh….For a compliant  (probably not my husband’s first thought when describing me:) – translated  struggling to get thru this without my not-too-far-behind-me- people-pleasing-nature taking over;  it took great fortitude to utter “I think I want to postpone our trip until I can enjoy myself too”.

Vulnerability

  • I’m very independent.  It’s very difficult to ask someone else to do something for me.  Those around me are not used to my being very needy.  Talk about ripple effect….  Lessons for all?

Change

  • Over the months, I’ve learned to enjoy walking – out of necessity.  But now it’s a habit that I truly enjoy.   Then…I’ve detested weights, exercise classes, going to the gym.  Now…The new no-weight-bearing me has discovered that I can use tubes (available and unused for years) while I’m sitting.  I was shocked at my weak upper body muscles and how quickly they “burn”.   Jane Fonda is whooting in my ears!    I can see the sugar burning, courtesy of my glucometer.  I can lie on my back and ride an imaginary bike.  I am also amazed at these weakling thighs.  I’m obviously using different muscles than walking requires!  My blood sugar is under control – without a pill!  My heart rate soars – quickly.   And,  I’m exercising my mind trying to think of new and effective ways to move so that my body feels exercised.   Ahhhh…

Acceptance

  • I can’t change or fix this one.  I just have to wait for it to heal.

Patience

  • A very big challenge.  A definite work in progress!    I repeat my prayer that I read somewhere years ago..”Please Lord!  Give me Patience!  Right now!”

One thing I know for sure…There’s no place like home.   When I’m in pain or ill.   Even if  my bedroom, art studio and office are upstairs.  Climbing stairs on hands and knees works for babies.  It works for me too.  And it makes me laugh.

I’m so thankful that it wasn’t worse – an ankle, knee, hip.  Yikes – or neck!

I’m very grateful!