The Gap – Or…Choosing Acceptance – A Way of Being. Yes!


Night before last I slept 2-1/2 hours.  Unlike some prior sleepless times, it was not a tortured night, just restless.  It was as though there was something that was trying to bring itself to my awareness and I wasn’t getting it.  I realized this but couldn’t put it into words until later in the morning.  I just knew I was tense and anxious – could not relax my tight shoulders, neck and body, even through a couple of hours of attempted meditation.  My mind was in an anxious muddle,  I couldn’t seem to relax and clear it.  So I pondered.  What the hell was happening.  What was causing this stress in me.   I couldn’t filter it down.

When this happens to me, it’s like a wonderful intriguing mystery – at least after I’m through the “journey” or “lesson”.    Because of these experiences, I really believe Eckhart Tolle, Michael Singer – and others – that we are the observer.  We are not our thoughts.  We observe our thoughts.   Why didn’t I think of it earlier?  Of course!  Writing.  That’s usually how I figure things out – writing words and listening to the message.  So early yesterday morning, I started journaling.

I have been surviving some major changes in relationships with my children and grandchildren.  Changes from what it used to be to what it is now.  These have been painful changes for me because of the loss of  my being an integral part of their daily and weekly lives, of being a parent and grandparent who has been distanced by normal  life circumstances.    Are these Age gaps?   These changes were definitely not my choice.  On one hand, I’ve been pleased and proud to see everyone becoming… and knowing that they’re healthy, happy and purposeful on their paths.  The other part of me has wanted to grab their legs and drag on behind them, saying No! No!  Include me.  I can’t stand to lose what it was”.

Well, there is a God!   I fortunately managed to avoid doing that but on SO many occasions I came very close to saying something (that I would regret).  I just never knew exactly what to say…

Needless to say, I finally got “it”.  Things really have permanently changed.  Over the last year I’ve been working on making a different life for myself.  It’s taken a lot of trust.  I’ve caused myself a trainload of grief and anxiety but gratefully I’m on the other side of that now.    Mostly.  So now I can write about it.   Much of my life has shifted from the comfortable known of relationships with these young friends who happen to be my children and grandchildren, and all the laughter, silliness, busy-ness, excitement, curiosity, sharing, and more laughter…that the growing absence of that has been way more aloneness than I ever imagined.   In fact, I guess it never occurred to me that things would change.  It was a surprise.  And quiet sudden.  Why?   Not sure why it was such a surprise.   I’m in my 70’s and they’re in their 20’s and 40’s.  Big gap in a few ways.

I’ll skip much of what I analyzed over these past months, learned and began to acknowledge.  Suffice it to say that I’ve learned a ton about myself.  And I’ve created a few nice new friendships that continue to grow.  These are women my age and there is laughter and fun and a different kind of understanding, but I recognize that I’ll need to involve myself, maybe volunteering in some way to be with young people.  I really enjoy them.  Maybe the time that I spend with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be fulfilling enough since I have my new friendships.  We’ll see.

Yesterday morning was another major life-changing AHA realization.  When I started writing, I realized how I’ve narrowed my “role” to being  the Wise One.  I feel that’s how my kids and grandkids see me now – at least from their communication styles with me in the last year.  Somewhere along the way, probably in a large part due to age differences (I blame it on that), I lost my reputation with them as being silly, shocking (I loved doing that to them), pretty daring, fun and introducing them to new things.  By the way, realizing this, I know that I can change this pattern with a little effort – and I’m making my plan.

I realized that I’ve lived my life in resistance – to what is – always wanting more – or different.  Not things.  I don’t want more things.  Life is shorter now and I want more out of life.  For me and those that I love before I pass on.  I’ve been a searcher and explorer of what more is possible.  Always – in fact to the point that inside I had become driven, exhausted and anxious.  “What could I be doing better?” Well, now.  I got a bit of an idea of how that is most like perceived by my loved ones.  Gap?….

Mortality is real now.   Mine.  And that branches out to include all of those that I love and care about.  When I was not as concerned with my mortality, I was more free with my choices.   What seems careless to me now was freedom then.   I have had a rude awakening as to how much resistance I have been choosing – to what I’m doing – to what others do.   Did I not do   similar things to what my grandchildren in their 20’s are doing – prior to growing nearer my “mortality”?   When I felt laughter, fun and freedom?  I’m almost certain that I’ve thrown that net of concern over my kids and grandkids when what they are doing seems “careless and taking unwise risks” in my new perspective.  Whew!  I don’t like realizing that.  No wonder the gap!

And the clinker…I have no control over what they do anyway!  Consciously I don’t even want it.  But do they know that?   Do they interpret my concern for them as lacking confidence in their decisions?  I do have a strong sense of wanting to protect them.   But I also know that they’re all adults and perfectly capable of caring for themselves.   Last week I was stressing about life situations that my kids and grandkids are facing.  I wrote what I call a letter to God.  I write about my concerns.  I pretend – or maybe he really does answer me (I believe he does), with thoughts that help me.  I have a running dialogue in my head with God but sometimes it helps to write it.

Well.  When I was expressing my concern about my kids problems, God ask me if there is something I think I can do that he cannot.  Ahhemm.  Chuckle.  I confessed probably not.   He said, “worry not”.  I’m always with them.  Your job is to love and enjoy them.  Period.  Stick to your job and I’ll stick to mine.   I didn’t feel scolded.  I felt like I’d been lifted out a huge rut that I’d been stuck in, had an overwhelming load taken off my back and was grateful for his love.  I felt hugged.  I also felt immediate joy in my kids and grandkids.  A gift.  They were no longer a burden.  Is that what they were feeling from me?  Gap?

Yesterday morning I realized that I’ve been carrying on the old family trait – one learned from my parents – that there is always a better way to do anything – translated to me as never being good enough and never doing it well enough.  Yes, there is some good in that trait but Stop Grasshopper!!!!  Balance.  I found I was writing about not being very accepting – of much of anything.  Always jumping at the chance to express ideas for improving what is, improving whatever….you name it.    Has that been translated and heard as criticism?  Wow! Does that sound like “old” or what!  Intensity, anxiety, driven, tired…. I realize age has nothing to do with that kind of “old”.   But I suddenly got a very clear picture.  When my thinking exhibits “narrow, critical and old”, the white hairs on my head add to the perception.    I have thought that those white hairs simply indicate I probably know more than I used to.  Well, yes – this may be true.  But its the balance –  having the allure of youth – being  fun, silly,  excited, light-hearted and free that is interwoven with wisdom, sharing fun and interesting experiences that honor our age.   I realized yesterday that somewhere that  balance had gradually changed in my life  – to  being anxious and preoccupied, intense, being perceived as critical, perfectionistic, and not much fun to be around.  Sounds “old” to me.  I’ve missed the laughter, the fun – of being me.  And that’s a choice.  I got it.  The first step in closing the gap a little?  Maybe?

I realized that the opposite of being resistant is accepting.  Yesterday I made a choice.  I wrote about making unconditional acceptance  my chosen way of Being.  Accepting life, change, loss, and yes – even happiness and joy.

My AHA! moment –  Today, I want exactly what I already have.  I accept what is.  Unconditional acceptance is my conscious, chosen way of BEING.  I know that my way of “being” is definitely a choice.   The wonder of all of this is…I can stop right now and choose something different…a different way of thinking, believing and BEING!  I can rewrite who I am.  I can rewrite my story and start fresh and new.  Again.  And I have.

The moment that I wrote that, my body relaxed.  I was released.  The power of that resistance was gone.

Last night I slept eight hours!  The first time in a long long time.  Acceptance.  I’m a raving fan!

Handling Stress… Letters To My Children


Reblogged from SomeLettersToMyChildren.

Stress can take our joy away.  It can make us sick, keep us from sleeping restfully.  Stress can be a huge strain on relationships.  It can even kill.  And it causes many more symptoms as well – constant fatigue, fat gain around the abdomen, overeating because of low blood sugar episodes, inability to lose weight, feeling light-headed, body pain for no apparent reason, gut symptoms, irritable bowel, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, loss of sex drive, increased PMS or menopausal symptoms, allergic reactions, skin problems and sensitivities, acid reflux, frequent colds, flu and lowered immunity….it’s not fun!

There is much written about adrenal stress and cortisone – an anti-stress hormone.  It’s worth reading about on the internet.

Some causes are physical – low blood sugar, chronic illness, late hours, jammed schedules, chronic pain, sleep deprivation, excessive exercise, excessive stimulants (to keep you going), eating a poor diet – too much sugars, especially sugar substitutes, processed foods, environmental toxins…

Other causes of stress can be constant worry,  our inability to handle uncertainty,  pessimism, trying to “do it all”, emotional trauma and ongoing strain, perfectionism, negative self talk, unrealistic expectations, lack of asserting ourselves, continual anger, pushing yourself when you know you need to rest…

We need to take personal responsibility for our health – physical and emotional.  Taking medication for stress and depression is an interim solution but not a cure – should be used only when absolutely necessary while we are working on the real cause.  I  was the Queen of Stress and anxiety over this last year, (WAS – past tense, thank God!)  and it caused so many problems  that it got my full attention – physically, spiritually and emotionally.  I’ve studied in detail.   I’ve learned so much.  So thought  I’d pass on some things I’ve learned –  some simple and healthy ways to deal with stress…

  • Breathing exercises.  Learning to breathe properly and consciously has been a miracle for me.  Breathing can reduce stress, help maintain focus, increase energy, calm mind and body, and help with sleep.    Exhaling completely is easy to learn – it will improve health.  Take a deep breath through your nose, exhale naturally through your mouth –  and then squeeze out a little more.   It’s the old smell a rose – blow out a candle exercise.   Do it regularly and it will become a body habit with time.  Try to concentrate only on your breathing out – exhaling – and saying “relax” to yourself while you’re exhaling.  Let go of all of your worries by breathing them out.
  • Exercise – Morning is better but anytime works!  Other than within four hours of bedtime – it may keep you from sleeping.
  • Quit all stimulants – caffeine and any type of energy drink, chocolate and teas for starters.
  • Diet is huge in managing stress.  And it’s effects are nearly immediately – good and bad.  Cut sugar and sugar substitutes, starches and processed foods out of your diet.
  • Eat tons of fruit and veggies.  1/3 protein, 2/3 steamed veggies and fresh fruit that is in season.
  • Stress and adrenal stress makes us crave salty foods.  A signal?
  • Always eat a healthy breakfast within an hour of getting up.  It will give you energy, better brain function and help keep your blood sugar stable during the day.  You can’t drive a car without gas and you can’t function efficiently without good nutritious food in your beautiful body!
  • Eat something, a healthy snack, every three hours – every two hours if you’re really stressed.  But keep them healthy.  Remember – protein is brain food.   If you’re craving sweets, eat some protein.  It helps take away the craving.  You don’t  have to eat a lot when it’s nutritious – a good combination of lean or plant-based protein and healthy carbs.  Consider a high nutrition-low calorie way of eating.
  • Get rid of boxed, processed and man-made food!  It’s toxic.
  • Drink plenty of water – it cleans and detoxifies your body.
  • Don’t eat late at night but a small protein-high fiber carb at night just before bedtime helps you fall asleep and keeps your blood sugar level stable throughout the night so that you don’t wake up.  A few pumpkin seeds or a tablespoon of almond butter is a great bedtime snack – full of magnesium.
  • Take a good whole food multivitamin every day.
    • B-complex. B vitamins can help calm and balance your mood.
    • Omega-3 (fish oil) supplement. Either from molecularly distilled fish oil or from krill.  Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency has been associated with increased anxiety and depression.
    • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). An extract from the root of this flowering perennial contains essential oils that have been shown to help some people more effectively deal with stress.  Don’t mix this with prescription drugs.  Ask a pharmacist before you use any medication or mix medications – or herbs for that matter.   Ask about the half-life of a medication that you’ve been taking to determine how long you need to be off of it before mixing with another herb or medication.
    • Calcium and magnesium. These can help a lot with muscle relaxation and healthy sleep.
    • Take vitamin supplements in the morning.  They help wake-up your brain.  Taking them too late in the day may keep you awake.
  • Sleep Sleep Sleep – and I know this is a tuff one when you’re under a lot of stress.  It takes a lot of meditation, planning and maybe sometimes a little help.  I prefer herbal sleep aids – melatonin, valerian, hops, passion flower – there are many combinations available and pretty inexpensive.  But don’t mix them with any other sleep medication and be sure to check with your pharmacist before you mix them with any medication that you’re taking.  
    • Pay attention to what you eat and drink at dinnertime and later.  Avoid sodas (horrible! Anytime!), overeating, chocolate, tea, coffee, and excessive sugar and salt.
    • Plan your evening carefully.  Create a relaxing sleep routine.  Think about how we put our babies to bed – we rub their backs, read them a book, turn down the lights.  To this for yourself.  We need a “turn-off” period so our brains know it’s time for sleep.
    • You may be photosensitive so avoid working on a computer or looking at a bright cell phone before bedtime. Try setting an 8 pm limit on visual stimuli.  Reading may or may not help you fall asleep.
    • Make a To-Do List for the net day and then let it go.  It will get done.
    • Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night.  Tell your body that it will sleep restfully and deeply for 8 hours.  I’ve read where it’s very important to go to prepare to fall asleep before 10 pm, that sleep before 2 am is the most beneficial.
    • Keep everything out of your bedroom that keeps you awake – TV, animals…
    • Keep your room cool and uncluttered.   Keep it clean, organized and the bed made daily.
    • Make your bedroom your sleep retreat.   Make it your haven.  Don’t watch TV (especially the news), check email or eat in bed.  Bed is for sleep.  Don’t confuse yourself.
    • Have a cup of chamomile tea at bedtime.  (I know – I said no tea or coffee.  But chamomile?….
    • And take calcium and magnesium in the evening or at bedtime with your snack.
    • Snuggle in bed.  Close your eyes, consciously rest your mind and every part of your body. Breathe deeply.  Meditate.  There are great free and inexpensive apps for your phone to guide you thru relaxation.
    • Put lavender in or around your pillow to help calm and relax you.
  • Most importantly, start working on yourself.  Start identifying problems and situations that cause stress in your life.
    • Say no to at least as many things as you say yes to
    • Don’t worry about other peoples’ problems – you have enough of your own.
    • Exercise.  It’s the only way to balance your brain and your body – a great way to “burn off your stress”
    • Eat lean protein with every meal – preferably before you eat the carbs.   No carb-only meals.  Ever.  Proteins build healthy brain chemicals.
    • Manage your hormones.  Get tested to see if you have too much estrogen in your body.  It can be balanced.  Small amounts of natural bio-identical hormones that perfectly match the body’s molecular structure make a huge difference!
    • Get rid of the toxic people in your life.  Surround yourself with more people who make you laugh and smile, who have positive energy, who help you be a better person.
    • Brush off emotional baggage – literally.   Therapeutic touch, energy fields – our entire body and world is energy.  I read this and I like it…”If you have left a conversation, a meeting, or a negative encounter with anyone – even yourself; if an encounter leaves you feeling drained, irritable, angry, exhausted or totally wiped out, try this.  Use your hand to brush your arms, legs, head and back  as if you’re wiping them and removing a layer of bad emotional residue.  Do it outside if you can and imagine yourself removing everything you no longer need – irritation, anger, bitterness, jealousy, sadness, fear, etc.  And keep what you want – love, compassion, empathy, calmness and peace.”
    • Shrug your shoulders.  “If you can’t get outside, or you want to switch the negative energy coming in, consider the simple act of shrugging your shoulders.”  We carry emotional stress in our shoulders.  So shrug them and tell yourself that you don’t need to carry resentment or other peoples’ problems.  If you have to be around negative energy, when you leave, shrug your shoulders to symbolically remove the negativity when you leave their presence  Don’t take it with you.
    • Blow off your negative feelings, energy, emotions and irritability.  Yep – that works too!  Breathe deeply and exhale quickly and forcefully through your mouth.  When you’re by yourself, make a loud sound – “ahhhh” – when you exhale.  Try it daily after work or at the end of the day before bed.  Visualize getting rid of or blowing out everything that is no longer serving you.
    • Re-fuel.  Make positive statements to yourself.  Put affirmations on your phone reminders – every hour if you need them.  I do.  Make sticky notes and put them on your mirror.  Make a positive statement and memorize it.  Say it out loud.  Every day.  Flood your mind with positive thoughts.  It it’s true that you are your thoughts, think what you can do with this one!  You are in control of your destiny by changing your thoughts.  Keep them positive even if you don’t believe them right now.  Keep your eyes on what you want and where you want to be and you can’t help but get there.
    • Schedule time for you.  Do something that you just love to do  as often as possible – where you lose track of time, forget to eat….  Find ways to help others – every day.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  Senseless acts of kindness…
    • Remember how much you are cherished!  My world lights up just thinking about you!