Row Row Row Your Boat…revised

I am rowing MY boat. It has always been tempting and safe to be a passenger on someone else’s craft and to sing their song…with a certain panache, of course. These days, I am rowing MY boat of words and ideas of living well in the second half of life. My craft is sleek: I have let go of patterns that no longer serve me to let something new begin. I am supporting others to live their best life and to plan for a future of their own design. While I am aware that my boat is colourful and unique, as is its path, I am part of a flotilla of  boats whose rowers maneuver courageously  through the aging process, aware of their surroundings and allowing their dreams and passions to power them forward. Come along.

GENTLY down the stream

I know/knew I’m alive because I am working. My avatar kept me busy, often with several responsibilities to juggle. This approach allowed but it also constrained…defined me.  Compassionately and courageously, ‘gently’ has been my learning about self-love and caring: what matters to me. Along my inner journey stream, I am getting to know myself beyond the noiseless return of memory/ silos, towards the wholeness of acknowledging  my accomplishments and living my purpose in the world.  Conscious aging invites my voice to express itself. My creative imaginings arise from looking within; magical stillness allows me to listen to the stirrings of my heart and soul. In my quest to live my own life: I allow my world to unfold,am learning to recognize my gifts and indulge in their envisioned expression. Their strength and opportunity enhance my connections in the world. Reflect! Reconnect! Renew! My interconnections with the worlds within me and beyond this earth plane. Living large! The tough marshmallow.

MERRILY, merrily, merrily, merrily

I am enough! This realization has allowed me to find joy in past events and  current circumstances of my life. Others’ expectations are just that, theirs. ‘Merrily’ invites me to celebrate my life: the deepening understanding of my identity and loving who I am- ‘from addictions to flow’: an eternal healing and awareness . My wellbeing inspires an emotional response, wrapped in costume and engaging my body and soul in expressions of potential and creation. As my performer self plays, it becomes a catalyst; my soul responds, opening me to explore meaning in my life through modal musical foundations- singing, and dancing to rhythms- the sounds of love. My conversation with my life continues through my writing- about my life and connections with the world through a lens of awakened possibility. Whatever form this belonging takes: the magic of sharing my worlds and ideas with others is opening me to living consciously as I age. My creator self enlarges this conversation of Conscious Aging through designing and facilitating vehicles for conversation to support groups and individuals. Building community. Dream weaving. Living well through transitions. The caress of enhanced relationships with family, and friends old and new, nourishes me: encourages me to express my feelings and allows me to question- what wants to happen? How can I be of service?  I have written- ‘The answers lie within me; knowing I am all there is.’ Changeless and changing, with gratitude in my heart, I am a pilgrim, wandering along the pilgrim path of my life. Identity. Meaning. Purpose. Love.


Dreaming my life into existence- I am a spiritual being having a human experience(Beckwith) ; my ‘local self’ is but a part of my larger self connected beyond this lifetime and this time and space.In fact, I can sometimes feel that larger presence as I go about my day. I believe that some of my traits have existed over lifetimes- part of my life purpose in this earth plane is to heal old wounds and to feel the freedom of living. Living in light and knowing I am love meets resistance from my ego self who prefers the status quo- with illness and a passive response to life as gatekeepers.  However, I am learning to dream in this lifetime, to feel the power of desire and to marry it with my gifts and talents.  I am not alone; listening to my heart and soul, my intuition and connections with all that is allows me to rehabilitate my emotional self and to speak with one voice; to know myself as a feeling being and to express emotions, beyond fear, connected to circumstances – I am powerful and want my reality to engage with my Self in a co-creative awareness. My pilgrim path through this lifetime allows for recognizing endings and beginnings: the ‘always in the never’ that I can meet with courage and an emerging confidence. My vision for this lifetime unfolds.


The Green Scene

In the depths of summer
Intense green…
Stalwart leafy shapes-
Saplings, mature specimens or endangered ancients
speak to me of living:
grow where you are planted-
Of silent strength, belonging to self.

Serene green:
holding the space between earth and sky-
what transmissions occur?
recording life within the trunk- offering
branch space for others to inhabit.
Allowing all…born to live among us.

Playful green:
light and shadow colour leaves-
create art on any flat surface.
trails, collaborations, being with…

Musical green:
with partner wind whispering messages-
cycles of life conversations-
of the adventures each contains. Listening to
the murmured invitations to explore.
Or- windy collaboration to effect landscape change-
life can change in an instant: forever
can have a time scale.

I have seen the scene- and wandered
through the landscape-
realized the kinship of flora and fauna-
the ongoing gift exchange,
the weaving of relationship-
That some of us will be admired, named, chosen
Others will be removed to serve other humans
Roleplay exists even here-
demonstrating connection, interaction, intersection.


We are all a sun-lit moment come from a long darkness,
what moves us comes from what is hidden,
what seems to be said so suddenly has lived in the body for a long time.
David Whyte

Stardust in human form:
my bag of skin contains
all that is needed in this lifetime.
born to parents
siblings arrived
Becoming a family.

I set out on my journey:
a pilgrim on a path of
learning to live.
doing, being, loving, learning
Some traits are more valued than others.
The lilac years: play, solitude, away, over…
Creating safety: passive, follower, agendas-
I paved the road of expectation
As far as I was able…willing.
Why do I not belong?
On adventure’s road a different self peeked out.
Occasional tourism/work opportunities opened horizons;
Frivolity offered connections, warmth, pleasures.
Role play to match the splinters seemed wise.

Retirement: my composed framework crumbles
Over, away…
Outer reality demands
give way to an inner journey-
Pilgrim lost- no script.
Moving backwards and forwards in time:
reflection, memory, release…
the rocky road of discovery? gifts and challenges.
What does my being want me to know?
Out of the uncertainty my essential Self reveals dormant desire.
I hold the flashlight of understanding.
Opening to what matters- letting go of costumes…
What will I create in the new space?
My heart and soul whisper:
learn to love yourself- as you are.
Sounds of music awaken me to
voicing my songs and renditions of others.
Feel and move to the rhythms. Notice me.
Emotions rise- their expression: a surprise.
Words are my tools…seeing myself reflected
on others’ pages, my own scratchings.
My gifts to share
connect me with others.
Silence/meditation with the Divine.

My presence in the present allows me to
hear my voice in the world,
befriending myself with new conversations
of living.
Acceptance of all life’s light and shadow,
past and current…and future- as yet unknown.
With forgiveness and gratitude
I journey on
I am enough.

Spring Snapshot

Spring is bursting out all over.
Exploding firecrackers of wild intensity
beckon amidst the forty shades
of returning greens.
Canopies of pink and white
announce, prevail, glow.
Different stories:
returnees shout their promise
in jeweled carpets of blossom-
patches of vivid fragrant favorites invite:
Look at me!
Notice me!
I do…
I feel the warmth of the sun
on my back-
Under the blue sky, I am-
Wandering, wondering, marveling:
Nature’s bounty.

Let’s go for a walk…

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold… JM

These past few weeks, I have been invited to a party
hosted by Mother Nature.
Her paintbox explodes as far, as far…
Serene green is slowly morphing into fiery landscapes
of autumn finery- signaling potential. A new light play
is on offer.
Stark changes evolve as the foliage flames; my question:
what changes? what does not change?
In the autumn of my life, how will I answer?

Celebration: flame, lacy, brown crowns- each plays inevitably.
Invitations -what is there to say about leaves?
Red and yellow and orange and brown…
Each shape transforms its reality by letting go
of tree and branch, journeying lazily on the wind towards
a new truth…a new geography awaits.
Treasured, collected, photographed, valued.
These variegated carpets- so freely offered.
Compost piles: agents of reincarnation-
soil for new growth and opportunity.
What am I prepared to let go of?
What am I allowing to begin? Legacy?

Conversations of living:
Spoken, chirped, skittered, hidden: each a pause-
an insight into transience and transition. Cycles.
Our human nature also lives in cycles. I am aware of mine-
and have come to understand that embedded in every ending
is a beginning. Over is such an ‘overused’ word.Think spring.

Relationships become apparent as stark silhouettes reach for the sky
Anchored in the earth and communicating with above and around-
mediums to remind us of strength and acceptance.
Reminding me-
despite the winds of circumstance and experience, the essential me remains.
What about my own relationships with myself, with other? How do I communicate?
Sun, wind, rain, others of my kind- I share and connect as do trees, each in their way- inspiring hope, peace, calm.
The web of life.
The party continues and I am alive.

Life composts and seeds us as autumn does the earth. P. Palmer

One Day

Plans change.
A planned encounter at a coffee shop is postponed.
What about a date with myself?
All morning anticipation lives in my body.
Nothing will interfere with this plan!
Prevarications- responding to questions – creating a path to
a personal happening.

Being here:
Relaxing into the gentle sounds of music,
muted conversations, ordering…
My space is in the corner.
Drifting in the afternoon: filling body and soul-
sipping, observing, maybe some writing. Peace.
It is so easy- this satisfying solitude.
My pleasure,
My oasis,
Lady in the coffee shop.
I am here.


This dance of life-
Two steps forward and one step back:
Partners in a circle or square
Following a pattern only they share.
Leading and following…
moving together and apart-
Events and people create the steps.
The melodies of life- their key to living.

I listen to the music
And yearn to play-
My own dance to compose.
Subtly, the melody changes:
Beguiling- a new path to follow.
My own space, my own ideas.
Creating, designing, daring to go;
Feeling, increasing awareness of
My gifts and how to share them.
As I wander the world
being in step inside and out..

My music…
Melodies of relationship with self and other-
My dance of emotional expression weaves magic with experience.
Foundations and frivolity: is there a difference?
My creative potential hums eternally
surrounded by light and shadow.
I am surrendering to the major and minor in
my songs of life. I hold the baton.

Books and I: friends forever

The end of a book’s wisdom appears to us as merely the start of our own. Proust

This phrase has certainly been true for me. From the start of my retirement journey, books seem to keep track of of my progress along my interior journey and to offer support when I was feeling overwhelmed by the depth of the changes that surrounded me. I found solace, recognition that I was not alone on this journey and suggestions as to new ways to think of myself as the ‘old order’ vanished and I was feeling intensely vulnerable.

So often I would go to the library; the next book I ‘needed’ to read was waiting for me to select it, call it my own for a time: ‘this book was written for me’ crossed my mind several times. Did I always agree with the author’s point of view? Not always…but then, authors did not always agree with each other. Aging, the new frontier, has many points of view on the elegance and challenges of growing old…always more to learn, invitations to expand our lives even as society has plans for downsizing. Not only for homes. Avidly, I read of others’ lives, saw some possibilities in my own and sought to share my journey with others…fellow warriors on the new/er path. I could do this, I thought.

As my life continues to change and I let go of’ things that no longer serve me’, it seems as though those books, podcasts, and articles have provided me an excellent foundation for composing my own further life. Who am I? What matters to me? What are my new beginnings? My daily journal entries seem to help me explore new and reflective landscapes. I do have something to say about my journey and the teaching/learning environment it provides. Plays and publishing work seem to be on the horizon. Increased awareness of patterns and routines allows me to breathe differently and to listen to my heart and soul…and my body: what are its desires? How do we live as one? The essential me is strong and yearning to live out loud. Song and dance continue to fill my heart with joy: bellydancing as life…I am learning the steps slowly. Songs, melodies, chants work their magic. Singing along and composing my own ditties: it is my thing! My aging body has its own messages of support and desire to be considered. So many possibilities to be explored…who knows what will be next? Anticipation.

I will end…with a book. Over the Rooftops, Under the moon by JonArno Lawson. In the picture book, he explores life: alone and together, change: inside and out and what we can come to understand. Near and far. I will make my own meaning from this text and beautiful illustrations. I am hearing the sound of GO!
Live your life as you choose!

Ancient vocabulary:

philautia…taking care of self

agape…love for everyone

Philia…loyalty to friends

MY credo.

I Feel a Role

I feel a role coming on-
I know them from old.
Learn the jargon; follow the script-
Wear the costumes!
All the world’s a stage:
Strutting and fretting-
Is this spiral who I am?

I feel a role coming on-
Connections with others:
sister, daughter, cousin, friend-
Relating, sharing- I am learning
stories of living- expectations, control.
then and now- near and far-labels
Who do you want me to be?

I feel a role coming on-
Being responsible for my life:
What matters to me? My song
and dance- what will I do with words?
Explore inner and outer realities-
align, design- community, solitude
Becoming who I am!

I feel a role coming on-
Borderlands living:
Past, present and future speak to
my essential self who creates with embodied gifts.
Conversations to share wisdom; storyteller: writing of life
Performance: singing and dancing to my songs, others’.
Heart and soul: what wants to happen?

Vocabulary on my pilgrim’s path:
acknowledge, awareness, gratitude, forgiveness, memory, transitions, imagination, emotions, powerful, potential, courage, vulnerability, rhythm, routine, rut, challenge, opportunity, envision, belief, learning to pay attention, integration, trust

The Trees and Me

In the midst of my doing:
Making, baking, purchasing…
Expectations, anxious moments-

Every morning, from my window
I watch the trees.
Sunny days bring gilded outlines;
silver, grey on cloudy days:
black on statement days of rain or snow.
Each day an adventure.
Trees in their stark winter glory
Stand tall- reaching for the sky
Rooted deeply in the soil.
Telling the stories of living on the earth.
Nature as artist lives in cycles-
Trees always in the midst of change.

My doing pace offers glances,
My routine cycles of intense weeks-
timetables, agendas, slices of connection.

invitations to the light and shadow display
are sent and received.I accept.
No rules or obligations intercede-
Trees quietly support, announce, connect with
those of us who admire, desire- select the mature lifestyle.

Perhaps I do not have to choose.
Rather: be with nature, walk among its beauties
for mutual support and conversation.
Stillness creates- allowing life to unfold
for all to see. We can be together.

Bright lights and composed lives may beckon…
Duty and desire both flow through my veins.
When I wander far from contemplation, trees-

the joy of simplicity.

Nature nurtures.
I am a human being.
I believe.
I belong.

Two Faces

My questions…

Am I still armored?
Are my masks still in place?
Am I continuing to view/feel the light of living through the cracks or in measured doses?

You are your own stories and therefore free to imagine and experience what it means to be human…what it feels like to be human without domination over others…without rotating, rehearsing and reinventing the hatreds you learned in the sandbox…you could create it. Toni Morrison

The axis of friendship is always along the frontier between what you think is you and what you think is not you. David Whyte

I am a toddler …learning to befriend myself, leaving behind patterns that no longer serve me, creating space for my authentic self to emerge and allowing the ghosts of former roles and responsibilities to be there: keeping the fire of experiences and not the ashes.I know I am writing about my emergence often; however, the pace of change has allowed me to re-member and to think: what is costume and what is bone structure?
The two faces of Janus: for me, one face is labelled Other and the other Self. The more familiar ‘Other’: fear has played a huge part in creating my appearance in the world/ outer reality. Spiraled patterned living, connections with others whose desires and scripts often constrained my own, unexpressed emotion- costumes and role play defined success for me.Work was/is fuel; however, Self was there in the adventures and creative compositions- I learned more about myself then.

As I age, Self has become more evident. As I continue my inner journey, I acknowledge I will care for her and allow dormant and unacknowledged gifts to blossom and light my life with joy and understanding as I blossom into my identity.Other: friends old and new support remind me I am not alone as old energies slowly transform into newer ideas- bone structure, like trees in winter: foundational.

I am aware that these two faces are aspects of my single being. I will have compassion for ME as I negotiate my new realities, blending, letting go, risking and learning to express emotions in the context of new and remembered experiences. I am feeling more powerful as I develop my own routine for living; incorporating what I have learned, integrating new and newly alive parts of my self and dreaming of the possibilities in sharing my own ideas with the world. Aligning inner and outer realities towards wholeness- my heart and soul wouldn’t have it any other way. Self and other- companions, co-creating- belonging….in and out of my comfort zone as the game of life plays on in the context of:

Forgiveness- of self and other who did the best they could given the circumstances…ongoing
Vulnerability- rather than shielding me from the world, I am allowing myself to be vulnerable: open to whatever happens
Gratitude- for all of my life’s experiences to date and the teaching and learning embedded in them


Maturity beckons also, asking us to be larger, more fluid, more elemental, less cornered, less unilateral, a living conversational intuition between the inherited story, the one we are privileged to inhabit and the one, if we are large enough and broad enough, moveable enough and even here enough, just astonishingly, about to occur. D.W.