Encouraging women to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.
And now it is “TIME FOR SPRING CLEANING!”    Whoa! You might be saying!  It’s past Spring.  Yes, it is.  And so am I! And so was the wise woman I was listening to, as she talked about how quickly the years went by; about relationships that had nurtured her and about those she regretted.   She talked about sadness associated with some “if only” thoughts and memories.

As we age, it’s only natural to accumulate a mixed bag of memories and a lot of them!  And we often, unfairly, judge some events from our current (now much wiser) perspective.  “If only I’d married Tom, instead of Bobby.”  “If only I had stood up for myself with that relative who was so caustic.”  And, like Farmer Brown’s cow, chewing its cud, we re-chew all those old events.  This activity is not productive – nor does it contribute to a positive present.  So, what can we do when those memories  refuse to stay quietly in our mental “storage units”, and instead, escape unbidden to play over and over in our heads like irritating videos, generally casting dark clouds over what might, otherwise, be a sunny day?
My wise companion and I decided to clean out our “storage units” rather than trying (in vain) to ignore the troubling, out-of-date items, hoping they would remain quiet.  We thought of three primary ways to handle the contents of our units.  .  If you are interested in trying our strategy, all you’ll need to do is to pay attention to those unbidden “videos” and use your imagination to handle them. 

Let’s begin:
Imagine that you become aware of one of those troubling memories.  Pay attention to it for a few minutes, preferably in a quiet space - but in a detached way.  Don’t be “on the stage”, caught up in the action. Instead, observe the video as if you are in the audience. You might be amazed at how long this irritating “personal video” has been occupying space and how many times it has caused you discomfort and pain.  Picture three bins in front of you.   They are labeled as follows:
  • Filing for reference or further action      
  • Forgiveness                 
  • Forgetting
You examine your video carefully.  You want to retain some of its information, so you won’t repeat mistakes.  Perhaps you’ll file these fragments into the first bin:  “for reference.”  It may occur to you that other aspects of this are simply unpleasant feelings.  You decide you don’t need to experience them again.  Picture yourself tossing these fragments into the bin labeled “forgetting.”   

Some memories of slights, misunderstandings and small conflicts can be forgiven. 

Finally, if the repeating video is very painful and/or contains information you haven’t been able to resolve you might file that in: “Filing for further action” and call a therapist or friend who can help you.

I hope this special Spring cleaning can free you of some memories no longer needed or useful.  Maybe you can even fill that newly created “shelf space” with opportunities and thoughts that enhance joy.  Many of you told me that the ideas of cultivating joy and living joyfully have been significant for you.   I’ll write more about those topics, and include some additional thoughts provided by our readers, in a future newsletter. 
We love to get mail!  Thanks to all of you who commented on our June Newsletter,” What Makes a Woman?”  in which we responded to the thought-provoking opinion piece by Elinor Burkett.  (See the June Newsletter or the New York Times June 7 issue.)

One reader - Bonnie Royster (I’ll tell you more about her later) – sent some intriguing comments.  She wrote about another facet of the important question – “Just what does make a woman?”  

“The public reveal of Bruce to Caitlyn Jenner has convinced me I know nothing about the mechanisms of gender orientation.  However, I do know you can’t buy what it means to be a woman from a retail store…you can’t carry it home in a box, bag or bottle…and you can’t wear it like a costume.

What you can buy, carry and wear are the trappings of being a woman.  Biology may not be destiny.  Having been born and raised a female, I know the trappings of being a woman interfere with the destiny of women.  Seeing those trappings embraced – whether magazine cover beauty or a burka – gives me pause.”

Thanks, Bonnie, and to the other readers who give us valuable feedback!

Now, as promised, more about our Bonnie Royster (above).  Bonnie is the Director of Development at the Kane Center, where seniors of all abilities and walks of life come together to enjoy the programs provided by the Council on Aging of Martin County, FL. Bonnie recently invited me to the Kane Center for a tour.  I am a passionate advocate for aging powerfully, and I knew instantly I was meeting a kindred spirit.  As she told me, the Center is dedicated to advocating for seniors.  As I walked through the large Center, I was impressed by its attractive, inviting appearance and its energizing ambiance. 
For those readers who live nearby, here’s some more information from Bonnie about The Kane Center:  there are numerous activities and opportunities; e.g., exercise classes, volunteer opportunities through Meals on Wheels, and respite for caregivers by providing adult day care for a loved one.  This is a very short list of available activities, by the way.  They invite you to stop by and see the facility.  The Kane Center is located at 900 SE Salerno Road, in Stuart or visit on line at or call 772-223-7800 for more information.  
Future Events
Thursday Workshops at St. Mary's Episcopal Church Stuart, FL will resume in the fall.

Save the date: this Fall t
he Dr. will be in… The Botanical Gardens
 Hypertufa Pots: Creating original art for your garden-And it’s actually easy!

Visit the Events Page on  for dates and information about when The Dr. is in...The Garden  Workshops will be at the Heathcote Botanical Gardens located in Fort Pierce, Florida and McKee Botanical Garden Vero Beach, FL.
Visit the website for details about future events:  
We’d love for you to attend. Events Page
Join the conversation….

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Copyright © 2015 Kendra Brown, Ph.D, All rights reserved.

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