As a boomer woman, I have been pondering what aging gracefully actually means. On the surface, the term has a benevolent tone – a compliment of sorts or perhaps a kind appraisal of an older woman’s physical appearance. But underneath this idiomatic facade, I see the language of this phrase as one that demeans, negates and undermines the richness and depth of the woman inside. It has become a euphemism for someone who is physically aging, yet it ignores the spirit and substance and breadth and experiences of this woman. It is another example of how the superficiality of a woman’s physical self trumps the essence of who she really is.
I would like to create a new paradigm for aging gracefully. I propose that we look at growing older with grace as an opportunity to comment and honor the wisdom learned from the accumulation of one’s life experiences as opposed to how many wrinkles one has or how many more pounds have been added on over the years. l suggest that we give voice to a life lived and listen to the lessons learned from the good and maybe not so great choices that were made along the life path. I ask my fellow boomer women to proudly tell their stories so that all of us – young and old – may gain further insights and understandings about life – all the while getting to know you…….the real you…..the person.
I envision that we look to women from all walks of life, from all economic, class and racial backgrounds and we must not forget women who have been physically, mentally or emotionally challenged. I implore upon us to seek out women who have achieved great success – success not measured in dollar signs but in creating meaning and purpose and living their authentic life – whether they ran a large corporation, worked as professionals or in blue collar jobs or were stay at home moms.
To me aging gracefully is about the content – not the container. It is the culmination of a life lived, challenges met, obstacles overcome, and through the lessons learned, mistakes made, chances taken, so we gracefully age. And, like it has been said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood,” I say, it’s never too late to begin to age gracefully and to give honor and respect and voice to our sisters who are already there…..Aging gracefully is not about what we look like, but about how we get to be who we are. It’s an inside job.
My guest this past week on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime was Beverly Riverwood. Bev has had many careers over her long life as a teacher, potter and stone carver. She founded the Marin Women Artists’ Collective and Marin Women’s News Journal. She opened a successful riding school in Marin where children traveled the trails between Pt. Reyes and the Golden Gate. She has a degree in law, sings with the Occidental Choir, plays the harp and writes. She is one of the 9 members of the West County Writers’ Circle who just published their first book, Stories From the Left Coast: Nevertheless They Persisted.
In the late 1960’s Bev moved with her husband and young children to Denver, Colorado expecting an idyllic, serene and laid back lifestyle in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.Surprised by a series of earthquakes that were not part of the natural geological order and unsettled by a suspicious notification in a local newspaper, Bev did a bit of delving and discovered a dangerous dark cloud looming over her new home. Her subsequent actions, inquiries and organizing ultimately preserved the health and vitality of the Rocky Mountains and the humans and creatures who live there while forever altering her life path.
I invite you to listen to Bev’s story and learn how sheand a small cadre of young women successfully challenged the Atomic Energy Commission, The Bureau of Mines, the gas and oil industry, local and state governments and halted the use of nuclear bombs to frack oil out of the Rocky Mountains.
Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
This story took place over 40 years ago and is as relevant today as it was yesterday. Bev’s story demonstrates how a few passionate and determined people can fight injustice, challenge the system, and indeed make a difference. There are many lessons here for all of us. I invite you to listen.
Poetry as an art form probably predates literacy. It is believed that the earliest poems were recited or sung as a way of remembering oral history, genealogy and the law.
And today, this magical art form is alive, well and thriving.
Step into any library or bookstore and you will see shelves filled with past and current poets. Almost as easily, you can find an open mic, or poetry slam nearby and hear local artists reciting their own and others poems offering us windows to the deepest parts of ourselves and the world we live in.
This week’s Wise Woman Storytime Show was about this ancient art – its allure, magnetism, power and potential for new visions, insights, vistas and understandings.
My guest Sher Christian, the author of Star Kissed Shadows: Divining Poetry, is a Sonoma County poet and visionary and has her own unique take on poetry.Through poetry, Sher offers us all some new avenues for personal introspection and transformation.
I invite you to listen to her show, hear her story, enjoy her poetry and learn how writing poetry or listening to others words and images may open up new horizons for you.
Mary Oliver said, ”Poetry is a life-cherishing force…for poems are not words after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”
Sher Christian offers us a window into this life-cherishing force. Today you get to hear her story.
Just a few weeks ago, in the early hours of October 9th, some of us started looking around our homes and stepping outside because we were smelling smoke. We were met with ashes raining down in 50 – 60 mph winds.In other parts of our beloved Sonoma and Napa Counties some of uswere being awakened by frantic knocks on the door and bullhorns screaming “Evacute now.”As doors were opened, raging 20-30 foot flames were bearing down on them, their homes, businesses and communities.With no time to waste, frantic choices had to be made about pets, neighbors and what should be gathered as people ran for their lives. Inhaling toxic smoke, hearing thesounds and smells of exploding gas lines and propane tanks and flames traveling at 230 feet per second, our friends, neighbors, and family members fled into the night and into a community that soon would embrace them with food, shelter, financial and emotional support and open arms as they faced the unknown.
A little over 2 weeks now, with containment still not 100%, hot spots are flaring up, our hills and lands are still parched and dry,over 40 people are dead, neighborhoods have been decimated, 5700 structures and local institutions destroyed and everyone – the fire victims, the evacuees, and the witnesses are just beginning to assess and process the magnitude of this event.
As the cinders cool and our friends and neighbors return to what is left and what is no longer, we are all beginningto reflect on what was, what is and maybe what can be. There are lessons here that not only can transform how we keep our homes and families safe in the event of a disaster, butthere are bigger and much deeper and profound personal learnings about community,living on our beautiful and precious planet,and about death and grief and life.
My guest today is one person who can glean a new vision from these ashes. She is someone who can look amidst the rubble and with a different lens find the precious non material gems that offer us all a new paradigm for living richer, fuller and more connected lives.
I invite you to listen to her story and see if you too can envision a new life trajectory that values aliveness over numbness, stewardess over ownership and a path to deeper connections to ourselves, others and our planet.
If you would like more information about Death Cafes, future workshops beginning in 2018, and to be added to Tess’s mailing list, you can contact Tess at email@example.com
Every once in a while Wise Woman Storytime puts the spotlight on a wise elder man and we get to hear a personal story from his life.Such is the case this week. Local activist, farmer, and teacher Shepherd Bliss, a supporter of medical marijuana recently was part of a neighborhood action when it was discovered that 2 illegal industrial sized cannabis farms had sprung up overnight in his community defying environmental regulations, ignoring code requirements and just plain common decency and respect for all. The two farms were shut down by county officials within a few days.
These events have taken Shepherd on a path towards unraveling the complexities of how this now legal and potential billion dollar crop will be managed and enforced by government. It has motivated him to explore the environmental, political and cultural impact on the quality of life in rural communities and the ramifications of this industry on longtime small local growers as large corporations and rogue growersbuy up land, begin large scale production and may very likely process and distribute the cannabis in local communities as well.
While Shepherd’s story begins in a small rural neighborhood in west county, this is an issue that potentially affects our water safety and supply, our environment (including increasing the possibilities for more floods and out of control fires) and the quality of life for everyone.
Sonoma County is currently issuing permits to growers while still figuring out the rules, codes, and zoning regulations.Corporations are moving in and rogue growers are setting up industrialized farms in local neighborhoods as small local growers are being pushed out.
Never has our involvement, participation and input in this process been more important. The future of our county and quality of life is at stake.
Margaret Meade said, “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Scroll down to listen to Shepherd’s story and read the links. Learn what is going on and help us create the county we want to live in.
Sonoma County Advisory Group Meetings:
The next meetings of the Sonoma County Group are scheduled for Wednesdays October 25 and December 6th. All meetings begin at 3pm. Arrive early to get a seat. The meetings are held at the PRMD Hearing Room 2550 Ventura Blvd. Santa Rosa.
ZCommunications » Latest ZNet, https://zcomm.org/latest-znet/Shepherd Bliss: Cannabis Cultivating Re-Visited. I support cannabis growing by locals on appropriate sites that do …(Boston, allows comments)
https://doncastercannabis.club/health-canada-to-launch-cannabis-awareness-public-he…Health Canada to Launch Cannabis Awareness Public Health Campaign. 25/09/ … Shepherd Bliss: Cannabis cultivating re-visited. next post …
www.sonomacountygazette.com/sonoma…/neighbors-shut-down-illegal-cannabis-gro…Neighbors Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Grow. Aug 30, 2017 by Shepherd Bliss. Share: Disclosure: I am a Peace in Medicine patient. CBD-rich cannabis …
/shut-it down/ Neighbors rally against illegal cannabis grows. … Shepherd Bliss (3sb@comcast. net) has farmed the Sebastopol countryside for 24 years and …(allows comments)
“Thank you for posting this. It’s been an open secret for many years that people have been growing pot here in Sonoma County. We have a pre-existing culture already in place that supports this underground business. Now, with the legalization of cannabis, it is has never been more important to move towards county policies of accountability on everyone’s part – and that includes growers, lawmakers, code enforcement, clearly articulated zoning laws and neighbors not looking the other way, but instead holding their neighbors accountable.
I voted yes to legalize the growing of cannabis. I did not vote yes to support blackmarket businesses that suck the life out of our communities. We need everyone on board to stop the rogue growers now.”
I greatly appreciated Shepherd Bliss’ “Shut It Down” (Open Mic, Aug. 23). His and his neighbors’ actions inspire me to rouse from my “it’s inevitable” victim attitude toward possibly illegal cannabis operations. Taking action against rule breakers has nothing to do with whether we ourselves are cannabis consumers, or how we feel about the burgeoning pot culture.
—Randi Farkas, Sebastopol, published 8/30, Bohemian.
http://augustafreepress.com/neighbors-shut-illegal-cannabis-grows/ , from Virginia, (allows comments)
policywonk.blogs.com/oipp/2004/10/we_didnt_go_in_.html, Neighbors Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Grows by Shepherd Bliss;
Russian River Times (print edition only, accepts long letters).
15. Re: Illegal Cannabis Growing – WaccoBB, www.waccobb.net › … › Sonoma County Bulletin Board › General Community, Aug 24, 2017 – https://ecology.iww.org/aggregator/sources/511, Neighbors Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Grow by Dr. Shepherd Bliss … I support cannabis …
Throughout our lives we go through a myriad of transitions…….we enter school, we graduate, we leave home, move, travel the world, get married, get divorced and start new jobs to name a few. All of these experiences are wrought with a complexity of feelings –great hope and possibilities on the one hand and fears and anxieties of entering into the unknown on the other.
As baby boomers age, this year alone 3.2 to 3.5 million people will be transitioning out of the work world and entering into some version of retirement.
Needless to say, there is tremendous potential for this time of life and yetthe dreams we have- whatever they may be- maybe challenged with insecurities about money, self-identity and questions like, “ Can I afford it?” “ Who am? “ “Now what do I do?????
Louise Mayer, author of Poised for Retirement; Moving from Anxiety to Zen was my guestthis week on Wise Woman Storytime. Louiseis no stranger to personal introspection. On her journey towardsfacing her own retirement, she met many of her fears and anxieties along the way. Always reflective, she looked within, interviewed others and looked at research to best inform her decisions, choices and soothe her worried self. Her inquiries not only resulted in her latest book, but provide real life, practical suggestions for anyone who will one day leave the work place.
I invite you to listen to her story.There are lessons here for all of us.
If you live in Sonoma County odds are that you have been to Coffee Catz– that homey, friendly cafe where you might meet a friend or make new ones. At Coffee Catz you certainly mightenjoy a deliciousorganic salad, a bowl of freshly made soup or a delicious pastry. Odds are that you very wellmight walk into an open mic or poetry event, hear live music or sit down yourself and play a few tunes on the beautiful baby grand yourself.
It’s obvious from the first time you step into this legend of a business that you have entered into a very special space.And if you have the good luck to be there when the owner is around, you will likely get a warm smile or a big hug.
My guest this past week on Wise Woman Storytime was Debby Meagher, the owner extraordinaire of Coffee Catz and a west county icon herself. I invite you to listen to her story. Learn how and why shecreated Coffee Catz and the special life ingredients that she puts into her cafe, food, relationships and life.
We live in a world today where information is literally at our fingertips and knowledge is highly valued. But knowledge is NOT the be all and end all.Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Today we’re going to hear a story from a woman who values imagination and intuition as a path to a richer, fullermore fulfilled and connected creative life.And she should know, because it’s been her life long journey and taken her to unimaginable places.
My guest this week on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime was artist, writer, animal communicator and spiritual mentor Leiah Bowden. Intution, imagination, and positive energy are essential ingredients in Leiah’s work and life path.
She has a story to tell that may very well change your view of the world and offers us all a new lens for living, learning, and connecting.
You can learn more about Leiah and her work by visiting her website at http://www.lightspeak.com/. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our culture, aging, dying and death are often talked about in whispered and hushed tones and often viewed as an enemy to be defeated and overcome.
But what if we had a different paradigm……one that accepts and even embraces the end of life as a passage as sacred and blessed as the birth of child?
What if we looked to death as a great teacher informing us about living fully and reminding us about who we are, the gifts we have and the potential for a legacy that goes beyond our finite years?
My guest this week on Wise Woman Storytime, Tess Lorraine offers us a new lens and worldview that transforms conventional thinking about aging, dying and the end of life with a template for the rich possibilities that this life stage can offer.
Deeply personal, Tess’s story is a universal tale.It is what can happen within a family system as each family member comes face to face with their own attitudes, values, and belief systems as they individually and collectively care for and attend to all the needs of a dying loved one.
It is a story of how despite having end of life directives, one’s intended wishes can be misunderstood, misinterpreted and misdirected by those who love us the most.
All of us have or will eventually face the death of a loved one and certainly all of us are facing our own mortality.Do we really know what our loved ones’ end of life wishes are?Do we really know what we want? And have we clearly articulated our wishes both legally and informally?
Tess Lorraine’s story is a mirror for us all to look at our own lives, deaths and legacies.There is practical information in her story about death and dying. But, perhaps more importantly, she invites us to look into the portal of death as an avenue to become our most authentic selves in life and as we are dying so that we can ensure we give those we love and ourselves the life and death we really want.
Tess Lorraine designs seminars and retreats on “Awakening to Life and Death- an in-depth approach to exploring our choices at end of life”
Artist, printmaker and teacher, Jami Taback was my guest this week on Wise Woman Storytime.
Jami’sjourney has taken her to art schools around the world. She has studiedwith master teachers, and has been both an enthusiastic visitor to museums anda passionate art historian for others.
Through color, texture, illuminated light, and wordsJami examines the world, finds meaning for herselfand now through her story offers her unique lens to others.
This is a beautiful and passionate story of Jami’s journey as an artist and how her life path has shaped both her inner and outer world views.Join us and witness art, color, light, texture, and history through her lens.
Edgar Degas said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”Today you will meet someone who easily could have written this quote, but would be likely to change it to……. “Art is not what you see, but what you make others and yourself see and feel.”
I invite you to listen to this visual artists’ story of her lifelong exploration and deep love and devotion to art. You may never enter a museum or view a work of art the same.
You can see Jami’s art, check out some classes and and connect with her atjamitaback.com.
In our culture, aging, dying and death are often talked about in whispered and hushed tones and often viewed as an enemy to be defeated and overcome.
But what if we had a different paradigm……one that accepted and even embraced the end of life as a passage as sacred and blessed as the birth of child?
The key to this revisioning of life and death may very well begin with an exploration of how the framework of our patriarchal system shapes our thinking, way of life, and our political and social justice systems. And it may very well inform us how male dominance, hierarchal ordering, violence and the ever present assent to power, shape every aspect of our individual and collective lives- even our deaths.
My guest this past week on Wise Woman Storytime, Leslene della Madre offers us a very different look at death and ultimately a new look at life. An initiate in the metis Paiute medicine tradition of Grandmother Mahad’yuni, and an initiated daughter in the Nepalese lineage of Ajima, protector of women and children, Leslene draws on ancient wisdom, the sacred feminine and her 45 years on the shamanic path of awakening.
Leslene’s message is an important one.
When we embrace a sacred feminine paradigm of aging, dying and death, whose foundation rests on peace, acceptance, solace, generosity, connection and love – we not only die peacefully, we live fuller and happier lives.
This is Leslene’s story and there are lessons here for all of us.
You can find out more about Leslene and order her book Midwifing Death: Returning to the Arms of the Ancient Motherat her website midwifingdeath.com. Check out her Facebook page as well.