Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Where have the past 60 years gone?

 Where has the time gone I question? I know everyone asks this question, but I never thought I would be one of them. I'm a "live and let live" kind of gal! A "life begins and life ends and we make the journey no matter how long that is" kind of chick! But here as I approach this milestone of being 60 years of age, I look back and wonder "where have all the flowers gone?" I wonder how I got here cause "here" is not where I thought I would ever be! And I realize most of all that I now have less time on this journey than I have had before. My past will be much longer than my future if I have a "normal" lifespan! It was kind of a weird realization; one I had never thought of before really.

And I see that the best thing about getting older is the gift of looking back over the past and "seeing" what the journey looks like from this future place. I am able to "see" those forks in the road where I took the one least traveled and the one everyone else was following. I can "see" the potholes I avoided and the ones I fell right into thinking I could jump right over the danger and instead fell right into the muck and mud! I can "hear" the laughter and I can "see" the tears! I know the ups and the downs of being a child, a teen, a young adult, a wife, a mom, a social worker, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a fan, an employee, a spiritual person, a woman, a single woman in aging years. I know what it feels like to be disappointed, to feel guilty, to forgive and to be forgiven, to love and to be loved, to fight for what is right and to disown that which is wrong. I am a child of the 60's who has yet to give up the fight for equality, fairness, peace and love! I am a child of the 60's who still believes in the deepest chambers of my heart and soul that we are one step away from the Age of Aquarius! I am a child of the 60's who has not sold out and doesn't plan on it any time soon.

Most people look back over their life at this point and feel they still have so much to do; that their lives have been empty and they need to make major changes. But I realized this week and this is not the case for me. I can't image "doing" or "being" anything else than I was and am. Oh, there are many times I wish I had chosen another man to marry, I wish I had divorced earlier, and I wish that he wouldn't have done the damage that he did to me and to my children. But regrets only create stumbling blocks to my further enlightenment and preparation for what lies ahead.

I was a social worker for 33 years! Over half of my life was spent in direct service to hurting families and children. And I must say I was a damn excellent social worker. I helped an incredible number of people improve their lives. It was an honor to travel journeys with people that others wouldn't give the time of day! I have seen things that no one should ever have to experience or have to see. The stories I have lived with others are unimaginable even in the best horror movies. And yet, I knew I was "home" when I was working with children and families. It was both a blessing and a burden, but one I knew I had no choice but to do! But in the long run, I was changed by each and everyone who I was able to travel with. And I loved every minute of it! And so, now when someone asks me to do volunteer work, I no longer feel guilty when I say, "no, not now, sorry!"

And I have been a mom for over half my life too. My oldest son, getting ready to turn 32 and my daughter 29! Boy did those years go by fast. I love being a mom despite the fact that I didn't always make the best decisions. I tried my best and really now "see" that no matter where I am in life, no matter what I contributed to creating, no matter what is happening, I am always doing the best I can with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that I have until I can find a better way to handle the situation." Regrets are the stumbling blocks that keep me from appreciating the good that came out of an otherwise unfortunate decision to marry the man I did. The good= David and Stephanie!

A child of the 60's turns 60 tomorrow! There are lots of us who are already well into their 60's and some who are on the cusp! But I am so very thankful I was chosen to be born in 1952 and was a teen/young adult during those late 60/early 70 years! I "see" that all that I have done, have said, and become has been as a direct result of living through those times and embracing them as my Truth! But that is not all! My children formed me, each person I encountered formed me and the Spiritual Path I have traveled has formed me.

I have completed the task that I was sent to do! That is my realization. Now, I will spend the rest of my journey being a Voice of Wisdom for anyone who wants to listen! I don't have a "task" now....I have freedom! I have Freedom to stop and smell the roses any damn time I want to! I can go to work or not! I can wear that damn purple hat that was so popular years ago and I can fart in public!

And I can chose not to wear makeup, let my hair grow and eat chocolate with every meal and in-between (which I have been doing for a long time already)! I can laugh at the way I forget important things (like clocking into work) and I can smile as rub my back and my hips when they ache. And I can embrace this new journey into my Crone years!

But you know what? When I look in the mirror I still see that skinny, blonde girl with flowers in her hair, peace earrings, colored glasses and bell bottom jeans! I still "see" that heart that loves all people no matter what and who "sees" a world where all are equal, all are supported, resources are spread equally, and there are no wars! And I guess as I begin my 60th year, I am still her!!!!!! And that I am most grateful for!

Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Women in the Olympics and Community

As I have been watching Olympics this week (oh yes, hundreds of hours!) I am reminded of what I love best about this greatest of sporting events! I love the sense of community. It begins with the opening ceremony as each team parades into the arena behind their Nation Flag; a member of their Home community and it ends at the closing ceremony (my favorite!) with all the athletes coming in together; a member of the Olympian community! They live together in the Olympic Village (even Murray the tennis star; stayed a few days even tho' he lives in London so he could be apart of the experience), they eat together and they spend time with people from other countries. A community is formed.

I have always been aware of this happening, but this year there has been more talk of it from the athletes themselves. There was talk of what they were doing and how it would affect others; especially young people watching who will see the possibilities they may have never thought possible. I am hearing less of what this will do for them as an individual and more about the community they came from and are returning to.There running in the 400 meter track race was a man from South Africa who is a double amputee. What an example for people all over the world as they watch and hear his story. It is about the stories too. That is what makes community. Telling the stories.

But what has stood out the most to me is that within this community there are more women then ever competing. In fact there are more women at the Olympics this year than men! A far cry from the beginning when women were not allowed to compete, but had their own competitions.

And what women bring to the table is that sense of community and story telling. And the story telling is not always oral.

Surghar Daily, the Afganistan Muslim woman who ran in a track event wearing her Hajab, respecting the religious community she is a part of where women must be covered at all times. She was last, but what she said was how much she hoped she was giving young girls in her country the message that can break out of their shell and achieve so much more than they are told they can.

Hala Gezah, Libya's track star, speaks of all she has had to go through in her country to make it this far. She has been ridiculed and yet she has made it in a country where she was expected to be pregnant at age 13 and has stood her ground as she pursued her dreams. She too spoke of being that role model for girls in her country.

Wodan Shaherkhani is the first Saudi woman to be in the Olympics and competed in Judo. Again speaking o what she will bring back to her country.

And then we have Jordyn Wieber, US gymnastic. Talk about example of it "not being all about her" and all about the community. She was the one expected to take the Gold in the All Around and she didn't quality to compete in that event. She was mortified and so upset, but when it came time to compete for the Gold Team metal she was instrumental in having those metals hung around all 5 shoulders. It was no longer about the fact she could not compete in the All Around; it was all about the community of the Fab Five and she was incredible!

Gabby was the first African American Woman to win the All Around Gold Metal. She spoke of how she was humbled thinking about the young black girls watching her and believing that one day they could achieve the same. She will bring that hope back to her community!

This is only a few of the wonderful stories at the Olympics. We should watch and learn about what healthy competition looks like; what community looks like; and strive to be like that every day.

So, as I think about all of this I return to the fact that there are more women competing than ever before. Women bring community. Women tell stories. Women embrace peace and harmony. Yes, I love watching the sporting events. For those who know me I am a sports addict and geek! But when it comes to the Olympics I see through the Veil! I see more than the score of who wins and which flags are flown at the metal ceremonies. I see community!

And this looks more like the Goddess than ever!

Blessed be!

Athletes marching in together at the closing ceremony of Beijing 2008!