we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues

We’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering. That is why it is the least privileged, not the most, who excel in appreciating the smallest of offerings.

Many women flourish as we learn how to make everything workable. Yes, everything. As we walk out of a friend’s funeral, we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues.

Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old, crippled and living in a tiny apartment with a window facing a brick wall. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”…

There is an amazing calculus in old age. As much is taken away, we find more to love and appreciate. We experience bliss on a regular basis. As one friend said: “When I was young I needed sexual ecstasy or a hike to the top of a mountain to experience bliss. Now I can feel it when I look at a caterpillar on my garden path.”

Older women have learned the importance of reasonable expectations. We know that all our desires will not be fulfilled, that the world isn’t organized around pleasing us and that others, especially our children, are not waiting for our opinions and judgments. We know that the joys and sorrows of life are as mixed together as salt and water in the sea. We don’t expect perfection or even relief from suffering. A good book, a piece of homemade pie or a call from a friend can make us happy. As my aunt Grace, who lived in the Ozarks, put it, “I get what I want, but I know what to want.”

We can be kinder to ourselves as well as more honest and authentic. Our people-pleasing selves soften their voices and our true selves speak more loudly and more often. We don’t need to pretend to ourselves and others that we don’t have needs. We can say no to anything we don’t want to do. We can listen to our hearts and act in our own best interest. We are less angst-filled and more content, less driven and more able to live in the moment with all its lovely possibilities…

By the time we are 70, we have all had more tragedy and more bliss in our lives than we could have foreseen. If we are wise, we realize that we are but one drop in the great river we call life and that it has been a miracle and a privilege to be alive.

~ Mary Pipher, excerpts from The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s (The New York Times · January 12, 2019). Mary Pipher is a clinical psychologist in Lincoln, Neb., and the author of the forthcoming “Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age.”


Photo Credit

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Who says Allie Kieffer isn’t thin enough?

Allie Kieffer, one of the best Americans running the New York City Marathon next Sunday, spent a lot of her life feeling as if she didn’t really fit in among the competition. She was good enough to land an athletic scholarship to college and hoped to continue running after graduating. But she wasn’t as thin as the women she raced against. Her coaches suggested she diet. She eventually gave in, and her body broke down…

After a few years, she missed running and started again — but this time was different. There were no goals, no opponents to compare herself with and no times to record. Everything was on her own terms…She began running more miles than ever, she was healthier than ever, and she was happier, too. And then something unexpected happened: She got faster. Much faster.

Last year, Kieffer ran the New York City Marathon and finished, astonishingly, in fifth place. She was the second American woman, and she logged her best time by nearly 15 minutes in one of the world’s most competitive footraces. Barely anyone knew who the unsponsored 30-year-old American with the topknot sprinting past Olympians in the final miles of Central Park was.

Suddenly, Kieffer wasn’t just trying to be one of the hundreds of elite runners in the country. She had become one of the best runners in the world…

In doing so, Kieffer has given us a powerful example of what can happen when we stop trying to force ourselves to meet preconceived notions of how to achieve success — especially unhealthy, untrue ideas — and go after our goals on our own terms. When we focus less on fixing what we consider to be inadequacies and more on reinforcing our strengths, we can realize potential we didn’t even know we had.

“Sometimes, the act of trying takes so much energy that it can prevent you from actually doing the thing you want to do,” Brad Stulberg, the author of Peak Performance, told me. “If it starts to feel like performance shackles, you’re going to want say screw it, to break out of rigid patterns and rip those shackles off. And only then are you able to really achieve what you were trying for the whole time.”

Kieffer’s story also proves that we can achieve far more when we value all women’s bodies less for how they look, and more for what they can do.

Not that being underestimated can’t serve as motivation.

“I’ve always gotten a lot of satisfaction by being the big girl everyone thought they were going to beat,” says Kieffer…

There is a growing movement telling us to embrace the bodies we’ve got — thank you — but it’s hard to drown out the other messages. Whether it’s for a race or a wedding, women are told that they are at their most valuable when their bodies are their most diminished. Resisting the impulse to feed yourself is an accomplishment we praise. You don’t have to buy into these values, but you’ll probably still be judged by them…

By conventional standards, she is doing nearly everything wrong. But she’s beating a lot of the people who are still training the “right” way, so perhaps her path shows there’s room for a more flexible definition of what the right way can be. This is probably true for more than just distance running.

~ Lindsay Crouse, excerpts from Who Says Allie Kieffer Isn’t Thin Enough to Run Marathons? Success that shows we might be able to achieve even more when we break all the rules. (The New York Times, October 27, 2018)


Inspired by:

  • Nobody is smarter than you are. And what if they are? What good is their understanding doing you?” -Terence McKenna, Nobody is Smarter Than You Are
  • I don’t think that you have to get all your inner stuff together and totally integrated before you can actually be what you’ve realized. You’re going to wait forever if you wait for that. Just start being what you know now.” ~ Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

When a sincere woman begins to dance…


A dancer performed during the Spring/Summer 2019 women’s ready-to-wear collection show for fashion house Dior during Paris Fashion Week on Monday. (Gonzalo Fuentes, wsj.com, September 24, 2018).

Inspired by: When a sincere woman begins to dance, the seven heavens, the earth, and all creatures begin to dance. ~ Shams Tabrizi, Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-I Tabrizi

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


A child holding tulips during the Flower Run race marking International Women’s Day in Moscow’s Fili Park. (Mikhail Tereshchenko/Tass/Zuma Press, wsj.com March 8, 2018)

1,218 Rank. #1 in our Heart…

2017 SHAPE Women’s Half Marathon on Sunday in Central Park.

Our Rachel finished in 1,218 place out of 6,975 women finishers @ a 8:57 Pace.

Who would have thought?!?! 🙂


Related Post: Running. 10, On Great Friday.

“What’s going on next to me is just ridiculous”

katie-ledecky

Here are a handful of excerpts from an awe-inspiring, MUST READ article by Michael Sokolove on Katie Ledecky:

  • The most dominant swimmer in the pool this summer is 19 year-old Katie Ledecky. The question isn’t whether she’ll win, but by how much…
  • She is now the world’s top female swimmer in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyles. She is among the best Americans in the 100 free. No swimmer has conquered this combination of distances in nearly half a century, and to many in the sport, her achievement is hard to fathom — it would be like the Jamaican star sprinter Usain Bolt taking up and winning mile races.
  • No other woman has ever come within seven seconds of her top time in the 800 freestyle; in the 1,500, the gap is a ridiculous 13 seconds. At the Olympic trials, Leah Smith, an emerging middle-distance swimmer, came within two seconds of her in the 400. She said she was excited because, in her races against Ledecky, “I had never been able to see her feet before.”
  • In the starting blocks before a race, Ledecky does not stroke her biceps or pound her fists against her own body, as some male swimmers do…She just stretches her neck a bit and shakes her arms out, then dives in the pool and wins.
  • She has only three real training partners, all of them male, because they are the only ones with the ability to keep up with her. They swim either in the same lane or in an adjoining lane to Ledecky…It’s not unusual for men and women swimmers to train together, but being in the pool with Ledecky is something that many men can’t handle. In April, Conor Dwyer, a 6-foot-5, 27-year-old American swimmer who won a gold medal in the 4-by-200 freestyle relay in London, gave a revealing interview posted online by USA Swimming. In it, he talked about male swimmers being “broken” by Ledecky when they practiced together at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
  • I saw a couple of guys have to get yanked out of workout because they got beat by her.” When I asked Ledecky about this, she claimed not to have noticed. “I was probably just concentrating on doing my own work,” she said.
  • “I’m not gonna lie, it can be annoying when she beats you,” Hirschberger told me. Even if the person getting the best of him is a reigning world-record holder in three events? “You’re just not used to getting beat by a girl,” he said…”What’s going on next to me is just ridiculous. It’s unreal. (Andrew Gemmell, a Ledecky training partner)

Don’t miss the full story here: NY Times Magazine –  The Phenom

 

 

Come On Ladies. Let it Go!

forgive-forgiveness-study-chart-depression-psychology-health


Notes:

  • Source and read more at: wsj.com: The Healing Power of Forgiveness
  • Post inspired by: “It’s hard to move on if you don’t forgive,” he said. “It’s like trying to dance with a lead weight on your shoulders. The anger can weigh you down forever.” ~ Diane Chamberlain, Pretending to Dance
  • And inspired by: “I have simplified my life to just three principles, which I try to practice. I cannot say I have mastered them. I attempt. I fall, I falter and I attempt. I call my spiritual rowboat Surrender — complete surrender to the will of the Greater Power. The act of surrendering is so important that Who or What you surrender to becomes insignificant. It is the surrender itself that is important. My two oars are instant forgiveness and gratitude — gratitude for the gift of life. I get angry, I get mad, but as soon as I remind myself to put my oars into action, I forgive.” ~ Balbir Mathur

 

Driving I-95 S. With Whisk Brooms and Women.

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5:17 am. 25° F.  Rollin’ down I-95 South in light morning traffic, with other insomniacs and the red tail lights of the hulking convoys.

I roll the tape back to the scene last night.

“Wow!”
“Wow what?”
“How much did it cost?”
“$55.”
“$55?”
“$55.”
“$55 per eyebrow?”
“Really Dad?”
“What?”
“Eyelashes. Eyelashes Dad. And, who would get just one eyelash extended?”

I ponder that for a moment. She has a point there. [Read more…]

Kate Winslet: “I’m proud of those silences”

At home, on most days, she is up at 6 a.m., cooking breakfast and getting the kids ready for school—not the stereotypical image of a movie star. “Do you have to use that word?” she asks, wincing. “I’ve always been so uncomfortable with that. I just don’t feel like one, and I don’t live like one either—not the way I imagine a proper movie star living.” […]

I didn’t plan on its being that way,” Winslet says. “And f— me, it hasn’t been easy, you know.” Noting that the tabloids tried and failed to detail how and why her earlier marriages unraveled, she adds, “No one really knows what has happened in my life. No one really knows why my first marriage didn’t last; no one knows why my second didn’t. And I’m proud of those silences.” […]

She admits to a lot of self-criticism when she was younger, but “thank God all that s—’s evaporated,” she says. “We all focus on our bodies in our late teens and our early 20s, in a way that is just not cool or healthy. In your 30s, you become aware of staying fit. Now I view my physical self as an instrument that I have to keep going because I’m a mother, and I have to be as healthy as I can for those three people who need me—more than I need for myself to be in a f—ing nude scene.” […]

Recently, Winslet has found herself in a new phase of her career. “When you get older, you’ve got to become more interesting. That’s why you have to choose the right parts,” says Primorac, mentioning the resolution of today’s digital cameras, which magnify every physical flaw. “I’ve done lots of films where Kate is the amazingly sexy leading lady, but now she’s more interested in the parts where she can frown and she can have wrinkles in her forehead. Instead of worrying, ‘Am I going to look good next to Liam Hemsworth?’—which she still does, by the way—she’s more interested in a great role.” […]

I want to read a script and go, ‘Holy s—, how the hell would I ever play that role?’ And then find myself somehow playing it,” she says, laughing. “I want to always be doing this. I want to grow and I want to change and I want to freak myself out.” Part of that process will be turning 40 this month, a birthday Winslet is sanguine about. “I have not wasted a second,” she says with a smile. “Good God, have I made the most of those 40 years.”

~ Elisa Lipsky-Karasz, Interview with Kate Winslet


Read entire interview here: Director’s Darling: Kate Winslet Stars in the Highly Anticipated Film ‘Steve Jobs’

Hopper & Shirley: Morning Sun

morning-sun-edward-hopperedward-hopper-morning-sun-1952

“In Hopper’s paintings we can stare at the most familiar scenes and feel that they are essentially remote, even unknown. People look into space. They seem to be elsewhere, lost in a secrecy the paintings cannot disclose and we can only guess at. It is as if we were spectators at an event we were unable to name; we feel the presence of what is hidden, of what surely exists but is not revealed. By formalizing privacy, by giving it a space where it can be witnessed without being violated. Hopper’s rooms become sad havens of desire. We want to know more about what goes on in them, but of course we cannot. The silence that accompanies our viewing seems to increase. It is unsettling. It weighs on us like solitude. “

— Mark Strand, Hopper


The first image is Edward Hopper’s 1952 painting titled Morning Sun. The second, is a screen shot from the film “From Shirley – Visions of Reality” where Austrian Director Gustav Deutsch has recreated 13 of Hopper’s better-known paintings with images that bear an uncanny cinematic recreation of Hopper’s works. Hopper’s paintings are brought alive by the film, telling the story of a woman, whose thoughts, emotions and contemplations lets us observe an era in American history. Shirley is a woman in America in the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and early ‘60s.” (Phaidon)


Credit: Mark Strand Quote and inspiration: To Escape From a CommonPlace of Existence

 

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