Encouraging people to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

Potpourris – or Potpour

According to the dictionary, potpourris is a mixture of various flowers, leaves and spices used to make a room smell pleasant.  This month, I’m writing about a mixture of various concepts, mottos, little stories I hope are appealing and will add enjoyment to your other senses.
Like RE-connecting.  Over and over, research has demonstrated that connecting with others is crucial for happiness.  Recently, I re-connected with several of “The Pages,” the women whose stories and wisdom led to my writing and publishing Eavesdropping.  With the passing of time, some of us have moved and all of us are busy.  So, it was a happy event - telling each other about our current activities and exchanging glimpses of family through cell phone photos.  I noticed that staying busy, committed, and connected is adding joy and meaning to the lives of The Pages today, just as it did when we met years ago.  (Sorry, Terry, in all the fun – I neglected to take a photo!).
"The Pages" 
Like RE-modeling.  I’m not talking about remodeling your home.  A client delighted me with descriptions of herself and her current goals.  She firmly intends to begin NOW “…living life, rather than enduring life.”  As she took an inventory of her daily chores and activities, she said, “I’m just like an old shirt – faded and frumpy!” After she left, I thought about my life today: do my activities enlarge and refresh my life, or have I simply gotten into such a rut that I don’t realize how parts of it are drab and “faded”?
Like Relationships- how and with whom we can connect.  When I go to Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic for medical exams, I stay at the Mayo Inn (run by Marriot).  I was there two weeks ago.  After my exams, I visited the Inn’s coffee shop, and saw three women busily knitting and talking.  They didn’t look as if they were related and I wondered what brought them together at the Inn.  So, I asked.  They explained: one of the group (Luz) works at the Inn in the morning and volunteers for Mayo Clinic in the afternoons.  The others met because they were staying at the Inn for extended visits associated with organ transplants.  As many as 15 women have taken part in this knitting circle and it has been going on for five years.   They continue to be a wonderful support for each other in sickness and in health!

And talk about RE-committing! Luz is such a great example of this.  As she spoke of her volunteer work at Mayo Clinic, her eyes sparkled and it was obvious that her time there adds significantly to her life, giving her purpose – as well as some unexpected connections, as mentioned.
RE-thinking how to meet our needs in ways that are accessible as we age.  Yesterday, I attended a financial planning seminar for women.  The speakers emphasized the importance of planning for unforeseen events – like losing a spouse.  We know the research:  women often live longer than their male spouses.  There’s no question that having a close and significant relationship is crucial to happiness and joy.  I have a favorite line from a movie that speaks eloquently to this:  “We need a witness to our lives... The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. …'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."  From the movie:  Shall We Dance?  With Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon.  I have sometimes seen couples fortunate enough to be supportive witnesses to each other.  More often than not, however, I see women who lack this key element and are lonely as a result.  A support network can help fulfill this basic and important nurturing.  It takes time and effort, but the payoff is worth it.  Seek a good witness – and preferably, more than one.
And last, but by no means least:
RE-paying.  I heard a sermon last week that’s been stirring around in my brain ever since.  It was about repaying generously!  I’m blessed with an appreciation of the natural world.  Even when driving in traffic on US1, I notice, with pleasure, the whiteness of the crane or osprey flying against the background of a Florida blue sky.  I am daily grateful for these visual treats as well as for many kind people in my life.  But this was a new thought:  to really grasp the enormity – the abundance – that most of us live in.  And, I wonder how it might be to meditate on that every day.  Might I find it easier to repay – to respond to others – not just with gratitude – but generously?  
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