Thursday, June 2, 2011

Regrouping Regarding Abundance.

I stopped writing for a time, not because I didn't have ideas for the blog, but because I was overwhelmed with all that was happening.
So many people to meet and so many ideas..

I met author Marc Freedman and let him know how much I appreciated his work. (He has a new book,The Big Shift.) His informative books made me feel like I was doing this initial process right.   I am adopting his wording for this phase I am in.  Rather than being "retired" I am in my "gap year." He writes that people just leaving a 9 to 5 job are far more exhausted than they often realize. (No kidding!!) Work life has become "one long run-on sentence in need of punctuation."  Wouldn't it be nice to have a pause at other times in one's work life?
(Note the word "pause", which I am careful to use in place of the word "break."   Last time I said I need a "break", ended up with a broken foot, which needed surgeries, a bone graft, a plate and five screws.  I did get some time off of work but not exactly what I had in mind.)

I have been able to meet with new folks to learn about how they moved forward with their ideas. 
Jennifer Morris, a realtor, developed  the Daisy Camp for women going through a divorce, providing one day or weekend retreats filled with information and connection to others.  Her idea has now been developed into a non profit business offering support to that most difficult of times.
Sayre Darling, who has her own consultation business Courageous Communication and laughingly admitted what other business would a person with a name pronounced "say-er" be involved in. How awesome is that.

I have just started to support my friend Amin Etemad with his new website Albooms for Baby Boomers in Business and his site for preserving children's art work.

I have had many of those sychronistic moments including a  conversational lunch with a wonderful young man on break a fast food restaurant.  He is a musician who is also hoping to go into the helping field. We had a great time!!

 I have also been trying to get outside now that Spring has finally arrived in the Twin Cities.  For mother's day, I have a new rose called Aromatherapy which it truly is.  I am hoping to get it planted between the rain today. 

I also had an Oprah party, inviting four friends to watch and discuss Oprah's last show.. end of an era and the beginning of a new one.  Sounds like the theme of my life also.   Oprah asked us to listen to the whispers of what is calling to each one of us.   Out of the discussion that day I discovered I may be going on a trip but that is in still process... as I am... 

Monday, May 2, 2011

The new normal.

I have been very busy considering I am currently "retired".  Not exactly what I expected but then it's all new. 

I did get to see the movie I AM and yes, Tom Shadyac was there. The theater was sold out so the movie was actually delayed to get everyone in. As they said in the theater "Thank you Oprah."  Two more of my friends, Kathy and Cheryl were able to join us.  We had to play a cell phone version of "Marco Polo" to get connected in the crowd but we enjoyed the movie together.   Tom did not have as long to talk as originally was planned. I would have tried to meet him but he announced to the crowd that he was currently single and  as one would expect, he was surrounded quickly.  Besides, I would like to have time to sit down and talk with him.  Maybe, there will be an opportunity in the future. I will keep a good thought.  By the way, Tom was just as charming, funny,and genuine in person as he seemed on film or TV.   I definitely thought the movie was really worth seeing and can't wait for more people to see so more discussion can continue.  It is timely for me as I am looking at what I can contribute to the world in a new role.

I continue to have more sychronistic moments.  I picked up three books by Marc Freedman at the library and found he is speaking in town a week later. So guess who's going to go hear him speak?

Mark has been writing about retirement, mentoring, the Baby Boom Generation, and finding work for the second half of life. Marc's books include: EncorePrime Time and the Kindness Of Strangers. As I was reading, I was struck by how often exhaustion is talked about in his books.   I, too, have found so many people talking about how mentally or physically tired they are. Depleted working parents going home to stressed and exhausted families.

The first thing on the agenda for many of the retirees is rest.   Good plan!! I am astonished at how tired I have been.   (It hasn't helped having grey skies and weather in the 30's in  May.)  The good news is that the folks in the books recovered and went on to find wonderful places to use their gifts.  At least,  I know I have that to look forward to.

One statistic Marc Freedman mentioned was there are 77 million baby boomers. In my first post, I used that number for the number of bloggers I heard there were.   So I checked the Internet and the number of blogs seem to be at more than 120 million.  Wow!!!    So I am part of two huge groups,  bloggers and the Baby Boomers.

I have been trying pay attention to my dreams to keep up with what my busy mind is up to at night.
My most recent dream was detailed, exhausting and funny.  I was going to a play. My friends and family insisted we go to a 10 story playhouse with multiple plays on multiple levels.  I knew when we arrived we were at the wrong building but I was "very gentle" about sharing this information.  After a long time of wandering around, I insisted on asking for assistance over the objections of the others. I was told to call (by pay phone) "Ellen Little" (no idea who this is but she was awesome!!) who confirmed we were in the wrong building, we could still get to the correct theater and the theater folks were likely to let us in even though the play had started.   She then asked me very  pointedly,  "Is there any way you can find to not make it a problem that you are late?" I said "Yes, I think so."  She wanted us to enjoy the rest of the evening.  Thank you, Ellen.  The best part... The name of the play we were heading off to...  "The New Normal." 

So I am still getting clear messages to speak up and enjoy what I have. I feel so grateful, as I continue on my quest to find "My New Normal.   I send you all blessings and hope that you are taking good care of yourselves, you are speaking up and you have a wonderful "Ellen Little" in your dreams, too.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The next "Yes"!!!

Happy Earth Day!!!  I remember that first Earth day. I was expecting my first child and was part of the tree huggers.  My husband was completing his forestry major at Oregon State in Corvallis Oregon.  40+ years!!

As part of my new life, I am developing a few new personal rules to get myself to the next "Yes".   The first one is "should" means "NO"!!  If I say to my self  "I should  go to the grocery store," I don't.  I look at the other options and pick the one without the "should." attached.   That does not mean I am not getting the essentials done.   Groceries  are being bought, bills are paid, and laundry is getting done.  I am just following my interests since I have the time now.

For example, I decided I wanted to learn to bake French baguettes.  You know those great crusty loaves of bread.  So I did.   It was the next "Yes."  The first loaves were a little too close to being doorstops because in the two day process, I forgot to let the dough rise enough times.   Helps if you pay closer attention to the directions carefully noted in the recipe.  I also learned two more lessons.   One, some cooking thermometers are made more of plastic than is obvious at first glance and melt in 500 degree ovens. Two, even hot water poured in a hot Pyrex baking dish will crack it.  Who knew?!   The next batch of French bread was much better!!!

My next "yes" was making scones! I can now make a mean apricot, raspberry or cranberry scone.

So I am living my life right now looking out for options.

One of my fun new choices has been to watch Oprah as she completes her last season. I make myself a cup of Chai and sit down to watch the entire show.   Such a luxury and it gives me ideas to consider for the next Yes.

On one show this week, the options for retirement expanded when a recently retired woman gave birth to her grandson as a surrogate. Kris Casey was so joy filled to do this for her daughter and son-in-law   Wow, giving birth or being a surrogate was not anything I connected with the word "retirement".
I don't think this is the path for me but what I loved was the clarity Kris Casey had about her own personal next yes.

My next "yes" came together tonight as I looked up Director Tom Shadyac's website about his new movie "I AM."   (He is the director of Ace Ventura, Liar, Liar, Patch Adams and other great comedies and yes, he was on Oprah.)  I remember watching this man talk about giving up his "Hollywood style life" for a lifestyle that felt right for him and thinking it would be fun to meet this guy.   On his website, I found out the film is only being shown in selected theaters and cities.  To my astonishment,  one of the cities was Minneapolis tomorrow night  and  the director Tom Shadyac is going to be at two of showings!!
Hmm...  seems like a sign  that says "YES" to me.

So I have tickets to the movie "I AM", dinner reservations at a nearby bistro and my wonderful friend Ann who is interested in everything to enjoy it with me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The first leap into flight

I have just taken a leap of faith into the world outside of a 9-to-5 job. For the first time in my life, I am not responsible. I just paused to look at my writing and was fascinated by the sentence “I am not responsible.” That phrase can be taken several ways. First, I am not responsible for any one else's life at this point. The kids are well launched in their own lives. Second, I am not responsible for following other people's rules or other people's expectations or other people's agendas. Now this is both encouraging and terrifying. So this blog will be exploring the day-to-day transition into my new life and to add my voice to the world.

The other day I was mulling over what was getting in my way of actually writing the first post on my blog. I realized I didn't have a clear view about where things were going to go. I wanted to be more specific about my purpose, and my hopes of what I could accomplish. Just then a car pulled out in front of me and there on the license plate was the word "CLARADY". I laughed and thought “Well, that's about right! I am getting clearer but I still think I need a bit more time.”

Part of me felt I should just start the blog and follow where it leads. As if in confirmation, I found this quote by Audre Lorde. “While we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.” Hmmm, do you think this is a sign?

The final confirmation was yesterday when I was listening to a CD by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I heard her say “Perfect is the enemy of done.” And here I am, wide awake in the middle of the night writing my thoughts out into the world.

I have been retired for 4 1/2 months and been traveling, recovering from the that nasty virus that was going around and organizing my home. I finally have time to put my own house in order by doing those things that we put off when we're working full-time. My files have been updated. I have thrown away warranties for appliances I haven't had for 10 years. All of those recipes I've torn out of magazines and printed off the Internet have been three hole punched and put in a binder. I can open my cupboards without anything falling out! I have renewed my friendship with the library and have been reading like mad. In fact, the most frequent call I get nowadays is the automatic voice message saying that I have another book on hold at the Hennepin County Library.

I chose "My Dumbo Feather" as the name for my blog because I wanted to have something to hang onto as I venture out into the world of blogging. I find myself intimidated and amazed and encouraged that there are more than 77 million blogs speaking their unique voices into our world. Too many people have been silent for too long and I have to admit, I have been one of them. I so love the story of Dumbo with his friend, and the encouragement and faith his little feather represented. It seems obvious to me that with ears as large as Dumbo's, flight was inevitable. Clearly, Dumbo could not see that just as I cannot see where this blog will lead me.

Though out the years as a parent, friend and therapist, I have given "Dumbo feathers" to my family, friends and clients and watched them take those transitional objects out into the world. I wanted those Dumbo feathers to serve as support until faith and belief made them unnecessary.

I have collected a number of Dumbo feathers in my day. In fact, sitting on my desk right now is a small clay angel with a quill, poised to write made by my friend Kara and a small green glass stone next to a small note book to write my creative ideas from my friend Sharon. My most recent feather is a handwritten note on my computer that says “You can call Virginia.” I met Virginia, Kara and Sharon at a creative writing retreat in 2007  with so many wonderful creative women and that put me on the path to this blog today. Hi, everyone!! Look at me, my ears are flapping.

So I send these first words out into the world and hope they take flight and bring joy and hope and fun.