Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability and authenticity. Brene Brown

Vulnerable is the only way we can feel when we truly share the art we’ve made. When we share it, when we connect, we have shifted all the power, naked in front of the person…we have no excuses…nothing to protect us. And that is part of our gift. Seth Godin

Vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding undercurrent of our natural state. D. Whyte

I’ve just read two blogposts; each author/poster describe circumstances that caused them to feel vulnerable and that they allowed themselves to feel in that state. Where there was avoidance was in the response of those who viewed this vulnerability as negative. In the other case, this admission created opportunities for others to offer support and kindness. In those posts, I found myself reflecting on feeling vulnerable in my life.

Long ago,a child I knew announced:’I’m a very big girl and I can do it myself!’ Was there a lesson from her family? Or was she seeking independence? Or….

Time was –

numb, pretend, perfect
were good words – valued
in my world. Oiled the spiral of my life:
provided a framework for safety.I was fine.
I did not risk much-
besides slices of adventure away from routine.
Emotions and passions were in abeyance.
What else was there in life?
Could it be I was avoiding feeling vulnerable?
Changing costume but not feeling bone structure?

Retirement’s doors and windows offered
Endings and beginnings…
This time in between is for exploring.
Along my inner journey
I tried to continue habits, patterns: no peace.
So…step off the merry round
to find what has fostered my separation
from my life.Who am I?
Deepening awareness of old patterns as scaffold revealed:
some no longer serve me. What do I value?
Without roles,I can dismantle the facades-
Keep the fire- of belonging beyond my paper doll self.
I feel vulnerable at every turn; aging,loss, wondering…
I have calibrated my responses
to people and situations. I have been haunting my life.
What do I really want?
Beyond echoes…

These days-

allow, courage, gratitude
These ideas support me as I learn to live my life.
Beyond circumstances,I belong in the world.
No longer exiled and/or imprisoned-
I am walking along my pilgrim path
towards the truth of me.
How will I inhabit my life fully?
The answers lie within me- I have written.
I am enough. Wondering about emotions?
Felt and expressed:beyond fear and anger as cover-
I am learning about feeling vulnerable…
and what was living beneath my armor. Love.Joy.
Hearing my voice in the world,I feel more powerful.
I find courage to risk… the ebb and flow
of doing and being is mending my fractured parts.
With wholeness- not hiding my desires, I create.
I am grateful.



In the stillness
I hear you calling… Pat B.

In the still of the night
As I gaze at your window…Cole Porter

…still and all I’m happy,
The reason is, you see,
Once in a while along the way
Love’s been good to me. Rod McKuen


What’s in a word? The world and its connotations would point out:


Is the market still there?
Are you still friends with…?
Are you still wearing those clothes?
Are you still buying books in a bookstore?
Are you still sending cards and letters by snail mail?
Is s/he still smoking, drinking to excess, etc?
Do you still feel that way?

I leave the tone of voice to you to indicate approval…or not.You probably have your own questions.From time to time,I have resembled those observations.


Childhood markers:
Still can’t walk/speak/ etc.?
Still can’t read/do math,having difficulties with… etc?
Still not decided what to do with his/her life?

Older adults:
Is s/he still able to drive?
Can s/he still carry on a conversation?
Still living in your own home?

Dr. Bill Thomas calls these reference points the Tyranny of Still. He is speaking of older adults and of the ways we tend to categorize functionality as a measure of value to community. I think that process begins early in life, continues through public education and through adulthood and seems to leave the person out of the evaluation. Self-esteem issues can last a lifetime.His phrase: cultural architecture.Seeing the beauty in everyone would offer alternatives.

Something great happens. Still,reality seems much less exciting and the great thing is an anomaly.
Something doesn’t go according to plan or lack and loss seem prevalent. Still, each of life’s circumstances offer us gifts if we care to look for them.

How do we value our relationships,being/doing,our gifts? What about awareness? Reframing?Re-sourcing? Reorienting?

These days…

Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46)
Still waters run deep…

Stand still! What does this phrase imply?

Be still-in the stillness:
listen to the whisperings of soul
meditation creates space for heart to offer support
living in the present moment
interior conversations with Self and guides

That’s what my song Listen is all about. Gurus and other speakers value highly the ability to be still in the midst of busy-ness.Strength. Understanding.

After all these years, I still…

am learning to live without roles and  others’ expectations
am letting go of what no longer serves me
creatively compose my life…allowing it to unfold
am walking my pilgrim path, receiving letters from my interior
value family and friends and the relationships we share
am seeking, resting, encouraging, believing
am feeling gratitude for all that has happened
am learning forgiveness…patterns, addictions, circumstances

Not to be forgotten:A still…of white lightning fame…home brew

A poem to read: Still by Mark Nepo

I’m still here!

Gently down the stream…

You must master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be. M. Williamson

Courage: to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences…with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. To be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made. D. Whyte

…reclaiming large areas of peace in ourselves and molding our inner life. E. Hillesum

I am between stories at the moment. In this gap I am able to reflect on my story to date: the events and circumstances that brought me to this juncture and the tales I have told myself to explain the need to work and/or be busy and to tend to others’ needs. With retirement, my identity was in question because I had identified so strongly with a work ethic…how would I contribute? I created  conversation circle opportunities and facilitated groups and individuals to explore the impact of change through transition as we age.I loved it all: content and interactions- hearing stories of lives lived well and sharing the realization the our eternal summer lives on. Dreaming and planning in a world of our own design. An extended adulthood. My outer reality with some inner journey process and realizations. Conscious aging.

Over time I have collected some ‘re’ words: remain, reveal, re-energize, reflect, renew- well you get the idea. These ideas have opened many doors. However, now that I am learning to be more inner directed, two new terms have arrived: re-source(A.S.) and re-orient(L.R.) Aging is offering me an opportunity to continue my inner journey without a script and without measuring my progress in any way. I will tell you that change is not easy as I have been one for whom accountability mattered(s). The stuff of many conversations.

Ah, yes: conversations.

I have loved the conversations I have had with others over time…so much to share and I often realize how much alike we are despite circumstances. It is when I hear my voice, I have some ‘aha’ moments. Interactions.

These days I am have conversations with my Self who always prefers words and ideas! I am writing a play about my post- retirement reality and allowing myself to be there for the experience. I am singing my own songs and writing poetry of living well while feeling vulnerable. Stillness offers my soul space to whisper and my intuition to support my re-connection to my authentic being. Coulda, woulda, shoulda is slowly replaced with learning to play and to listen. Noticing.

I was explaining this shift to a friend the other day who pointed out that I was very busy- writing, thinking,allowing, learning a new way to be. As well, I am exercising on a regular basis, getting to know my body…I am creating a different life well out of my comfort zone. A full daytimer is not always the goal; however, meeting up with friends and a weekly playdate give me options. Reading has always made a difference. Permission to live. Self-knowledge. Awareness.

I am allowing my life to unfold within the context of what I have learned.My lived experience matters. Meeting dormant parts of me has been exciting…just ask me about anger and the impact it has had…not an emotion I have felt free to have, never mind express. This lifetime or others: it is time to integrate emotion into my being in this one. I trust and I listen. Slower. Deeper. Releasing questions for contemplation.

In the confluence of dismantled frameworks, I am learning to live past fear, paying attention to what I am grateful for and acknowledging what I long for. Beyond the challenges, I am more present to-

‘…reorienting to the currencies and currents of our lives’. L.R.




On my mind…

Wabi-sabi   has to do with embracing the flawed or imperfect. It teaches that the scars of history are an integral and even beautiful part of our experience, rather than something to disguise or feel shame about.

Kintsugi (golden joinery)- when a piece of pottery is broken, artisans mix gold dust into lacquer and use it as a glue to put pieces back together. Rather than hiding the damage, the gold lines make a feature of the breaks.   Blackwell

With these two ideas in mind:

I will live consciously, embracing all that happens….accepting learning opportunities contain embedded possibilities and feeling gratitude for light and shadow.

I have courage to re-imagine my life: acknowledge my past(lifetimes) and the desire to heal old wounds and transform that energy. Integrate all events and circumstances into the flow of my life.

My stories of lack and loss invite exploration of my investment in those memories and circumstances. What am I hiding? Am I able to forgive? Renew my connection with life and live the truth of who I am in the world.

My inner journey offers opportunities to move beyond perfectionism, to listen to the whispering of my soul with a deepening awareness of  my connection with other and my desire to align my outer realities with my inner truth/summer in harmony and peace. Laughter too. Love.

From bystander to participant. From judgement to wholehearted acceptance. From fear to hope and optimism. From feeling powerless to belonging. From passive and placeholder to feeling deeply and creating my authentic life.

Creators and manufacturers sometimes make features of imperfection and can charge more for atypical elements. I have often been attracted to those traits.

Make peace with what’s true.

I am not perfect…thank goodness.












– a journal poem

Stray light illuminates pieces of my life.
Focus briefly- looking for signs and symbols
Connections.Not obvious to all-
Why that light there?
What am I seeing?
A wanderer with a backpack:
memories, byways, pleasures;
time to unpack-gifts, souvenirs:
a spiraled life, with creativity’s light
surrounding-a bystander:
a permission seeker within the embrace of
words and music. Work is the watchword,
the frame. A stop on my journey.

Turn once and the light focus is on people:
family, friends, lovers – knowing, leading, following,
feeling, believing- reflection, refraction.
I have lost myself in interactions.
Finding myself- in the light of friends who
see me for who I am – see beyond the facade.
I am grateful- gives me options. Values and valued.

Turn again
-to find myself within the web of addictions,
contradictions, dictions that limit unconsciously.
Spiraling: searching for my space and time. Stillness
makes a difference. Glimpses – exploring new territory:
peacefulness of solitude, the blue of sky and ocean-
Nature…and of great conversations, ideas that
connect me, help me feel whole.
Beyond controlled and constrained
I have a meaningful life- unfolding, allowing,
will be the keys.

Turn again
– emotions are on display:
lonely in a crowd, conversations I don’t understand-
or live within. The call of my Self- heart and soul
are the centre of my being.
Celebrate with me the freedom of living. Not needed-
Momentary gladness to be followed by serious, straight,
sometimes sadness. Learning to express my feelings…
to feel good about me,to feel pride in accomplishments.
To connect the dots of warmth and understanding.

Shift again
– acknowledge my gifts,my potential:
writing and music are the tools.
Through sharing ideas of living: exploring,
describing inner and outer journeys-
light my way.
I am a creator, a performer…
beyond the surly bonds of earth.
Imagination and reality mate:
ideas their progeny. I midwife.
Potential. Passion. Source.

Light refracts
– focus on learning opportunities:
Seeking permission to live-
my passive response to suggestion.
Waiting,always waiting-
to hear my voice in the world.

Acknowledge, appreciate,
Transition, transform
My pilgrim path leads me on.
Emerging from the shadows,
At the intersection of reality and imagination,
the light of opportunity and courage shines
I am there!
I am the kaleidoscope.

My Questions

It is a story that is told. Blackwell

I tell stories and listen to others. Sometimes my stories recount my adventures over time; sometimes tales of others’ experiences serve to open my mind and memory to similar stories in my own life allowing for perspective.  The truth of my stories: honed over time  can be used to explain, to entertain, to prevent and allow. Some of my stories have evolved: what I tell myself and others over and over- reasons why something does or does not happen. Rhythms-routines-ruts. I have questions:

questions that can make or unmake a life
questions that have patiently waited for you
questions that have no right to go away
D. Whyte

Some of my stories tell of difficult issues or circumstances…the ‘why’ as well as when and where. What are the gifts of these experiences? If mistakes are learning opportunities, why am I hesitant to learn or to reframe an experience? without blame?

The art of facing things: seeing myself as I am as my life unfolds. Will I allow myself to be vulnerable as I let go of habits that no longer serve me? knit old wounds? Face my truth?

What is my undiscovered country?  As I move through life, along my river, what slows the flow? creates beauty? invites me to swim?

The caged bird sings of freedom (MA)-what would I do if someone opened the cage door or I realized that I may have constructed the cage? Forgiveness?

If I am a conversation between my past and my present, in that crucible am I able to let ‘what is’ lead the way? dream of possibilities? listen to the stirrings of my soul? Gratitude?

What form of self-expression will allow me to live fully in my life? How will self care nourish and support me?  What about my relationship with other?

My pilgrim path invites me to live wholeheartedly. I intend to do so…living my purpose and aligning with my passions inside and out. Living and learning. Emotionally available.

We are asleep with compasses in our hands. S Merwin

Human beings can create something new from what we already have. A Seale.

I can stop searching in stores and boutiques…Pat Bronson (song extract)

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.

Ghost Stories

This was the worst ghost story yet. The phantom life that might have been. Louise Penny

It was a dark and stormy night…

This time of year that phrase conjures up anecdotes and stories of ghost and goblins, apparitions and opportunities to feel the ‘frisson’ of fear- especially if you are in an unfamiliar setting. Sheets are sacrificed as Hallowe’en costumes and sugary appeasements are offered at doorways.

I think of my ghost stories…and how that image describes me on my journey through this lifetime.A ghost of an idea…

Memory’s ghosts: of times past and their continuing impact on my present circumstances. It has taken me some time to recognize an episodic less benevolent presence and to transform that energy…less powerful now…gives rise to the questions:
– Have I ghosted my way through my life? Roleplay? Masks I have worn! Who am I?
– Does the ghost of what might have been play catch with my emerging options and I  am the ball?
-What do my memories have to teach me? Symbols?
– My interior voice ghost:  in my life I would rehearse what I ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ in place of being present: can I befriend this fear and co-create my future with my more powerful presence? What if?
– I love to read and vicarious living has allowed for separation from others; non fiction reveals other truths. Have I been hiding in those pages? What will happen when I put the book down?
– I have been writing(sic) about my life and my reflections about passages. What will happen if I share my thoughts with others? Will I value myself differently? Does it matter what others think?
– I have had many ghostly interactions: Hello, How are you? What do you do? and we move on: no time/ interest to get to know the person beyond the mask. Like smoke that appears and disappears. Why do we sometimes short circuit our human interactions?
– As I age, do I become ghost-like again, my presence and value calibrated by others’ agendas? Do others really only want the ghost?

Another stop on my pilgrim passage through this lifetime….beyond smoke and mirrors.

Don’t believe everything you think. Pema Chodron

Puppets present…

Today I went to see a puppet show…for the younger crowd. The story concerned a lonely old man who wanted a friend and how friends found him. What a difference it made in his life. As it happened, I came to the show with a friend of mine…thoroughly enjoyable on all fronts.

Some musings:

  • Do-BE- Do -The old man tried his best to find a friend; it was when he sat down that a friend or two found him. I resemble that pattern; often I think being busy will make something happen when, really, sometimes being still makes all the difference.Allow.
  • Friendships came his way and he could trust their connection and how they warmed his life. Big lesson for me: trust is an issue for me when I am connecting with others. Friends see me for who I am…see and be seen.
  • With my small business I am making a difference : conversations with participants who are aging and experiencing an evolving lifestyle share stories of the road as they live through transitions, find friends. Transitions R US. loneliness.
  • The outer world does not always value a group/ an individual that it does not see as useful to the community: may segregate them. Friends make a difference: see beauty and possibility in our  heart- based connections. Isolation.
  • Giving and receiving- for the old man and for his new friends- emotions and connections.For me, these two ideas are fraught…especially allowing myself to receive from others.Level playing field. Allow. Thanks Loren.
  • The production offered entertainment for both adults and children:a window on the world. Actors effortlessly moved through identities and action with a few props. Life lessons. Pay attention. Enjoy.

I spent the rest of the day reflecting on the play and my friendships: how important they are to my wellbeing. Small story- big impact. Learning to live consciously.




Yesterday, a friend and I went to Kits Point , sat on a bench, ate our lunches and shared our stories of living in the world.

Opening scene…I parked the car. Helen and I strolled through the trees seeking somewhere to sit and participate in our Salon. We found a suitable bench facing the water and made ourselves comfortable. As always, sharing stories and observations about events begins almost immediately.The warmth of the sun invites relaxation and endless wonder of nature’s landscape and the gifts living in this part of the world can bring.

Scene 2…the penetrating sun’s rays sent us looking for some shade and a suitable bench was selected. This weathered bench carries an inscription. I recognize the name: my yoga teacher of many years. Memory and circumstance share the spotlight as the day continues.

My connection with Debrah was through the yoga mat. As a new student, I was unsure of success and how it would be measured. Over the years, my body slowly uncurled and I was able to assume the asanas and follow the routines with increasing ease…amazing even myself. Debrah always noticed, supported and suggested. From the ‘feet up the wall’ to the closing guided meditation, conversations about life with ourselves and with her wrapped the classes in communion with my larger self and the connected nature of living.

As we sat on the bench and continued our conversation, I shared some excerpts from a play I am writing: a memoir of my post retirement years. I am enjoying the process of self-discovery and experiencing some frustration at the pace of its appearance on the page. Sharing my work means exposing myself which is itself a work in progress. Helen’s kindness  and questioning always illuminates and encourages me to invest more of myself on the page.Support.Community.Oneness.

Always there is the ocean and our desire to be in it and on it. The diamond blueness encourages, supports and reminds me I exist beyond any set of circumstances. The Greek chorus that wandered by our outpost- our stories may differ but our connection to nature is our common conversation about living and our enjoyment of connecting with each other in this landscape.

So: past and present lived simultaneously. cyclical nature of life. the sometimes painful revelations of memoir writing counterbalanced with pleasant memories of living and learning. Support comes in many forms: to be felt  and acknowledged. meet in memory someone who impacted my life so positively: created a context for me to know myself.signs and symbols are everywhere if we are prepared to look. I am not alone as I wander and am definitely not lost.

Even in dreams: two people dressed in white are standing  looking at me. In the next frame a car bangs into a house causing considerable damage.