Category Archives: Life Purpose and Meaning

The Free Fall to Beat All Free Falls (figuratively speaking)

Felix Baumgarner’s unbelievable free fall

Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from the stratosphere. It’s amazing to watch. It’s out of this world to contemplate. It gives me the chills to watch. To just think of the trust he had have in his equipment, in his team, in his self.

I was on the phone talking with a girlfriend Sunday night and she told me about this man who did the free fall from outer space. What??? I thought. But after we hung up I was exhausted from the day so I numbed out in front of the TV watching Johnny O’clock an old film noir movie from 1947 starring Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes and Lee J. Cobb. I never finished that movie I ended up dragging myself off to bed.

When I woke this morning I thought of this man free-falling from outer space and went to the internet to check it out. I sat transfixed as I watched the grainy version of Felix Baumgartner jump off the edge of his little ship and fall through space. This version showed the full free fall clocking his speed playing incredible music by Sabrepulse – Arcanine. It was definitely free fall music only adding to the excitement and mystery of what this man must be experiencing. An added plus with this particular YouTube video is there would be glimpses from the team who assisted him in a control center and of his family and friends watching on some screens in a room.

What went through my head was unbelievablity. To think the idea up that, “Hey, I’m going to free fall from the stratosphere, 24 miles up.” Then to plan it out, find the necessary help and Do It. Some people must have said, “What? Are you crazy.” Granted he does dare-devil free falls for a living but still this one was over the top. Maybe not the first time someone did this but the first since 1960, fifty-two years ago. Amazing.

For me it shows a great sense of self-esteem. I mean anyone who would pull this off has to believe in himself. There must have been opposition somewhere. Supporters too. Of course many supporters. However, I am sure he needed to convince his supporters that this is what he wanted, what he needed to do. He must have had to let them know that he was born to do this awe-inspiring feat. Therein comes the trust. His trust and belief in himself. Trust and belief in the universe, the earth, the atmosphere.  They would support him.  The trust he needed to have in others to help him achieve his dream. The trust that he needed to have in all the complicated and scientific equipment. And of course his trust in his parachute. At any moment once he dove off the edge something could go wrong. But he persisted. He trusted.  He believed.

Makes me think, if Felix Baumgartner can believe in himself to the extent he did to carry out his mission, could I not just trust and believe in myself to carry out my few little dreams and goals, one of which is to write a memoir.

Thank you Felix Baumgartner for your inspiration in such a grand, imaginative and super sonic way, paving the way for meager dreams such as mine.  I’m bolstered.  I’m inspired.  I’m ready to believe and trust.  I’m ready to Do It!

More exciting video’s:

Related Links:
The Washington Post article.

Baumgartner free fall image from the Washington Post article.

Women Gather, Magic Happens

A CD at Amazon.comWhen women gather magic happens. That’s a bold statement but one that I personally experienced and that I heard voiced this weekend from the women who came to gather at Cedar Valley near West Bend, WI. Once a year for at least 15 years Cathy Gawlik and Dawn Zak of Way of the Willow put together an opportunity for women to gather. This weekend’s gathering Circling: Walking the Wheel of our Life made use of the medicine wheel (see link below) to look at ways we can be unbalanced in our life.  This weekend had its challenges for sure but over all I had an awakening, an opening up and an allowing of myself to be me, the joking, loving, heart on sleeve, fully present for others, vulnerable me.

The first women gathering weekend I attended a number of years ago, although powerful, was more than challenging, it was rocky and rough. The me I just described would show up in bursts and fill me with shame and humiliation at her antics. When I’m being me, I am wide open, vulnerable. In this state, I can screw up, get carried away and say something that could be misinterpreted and I have no defense, after all I am being who I am, I am being me. And so my reflexive ego saving defenses would kick in and I would clam up, retreat to my room or go for a walk. When sitting down to eat with the other women I would get up and leave as soon as I was done, not allowing myself to sit, be and communicate with the other women. When the weekend was over I would make a hasty retreat, trying to extricate myself as unobtrusively as possible. Worst case scenario, I would leave early, just sneaking away with my tail between my legs.

That was then and like I said this time things were different. For one I’m older and the changes I made with myself through the years although minute at the time have tallied up. So although my growth was imperceptible day-to-day the cumulative effect is substantial. And also,I have been working with Cathy on her e newsletter WillowTalk, and her blog Life. A New Perspective. So, I went to the weekend feeling safe to be myself, to express me.

At one point I did have a melt down. Not an overly dramatic, big, splashy, meltdown. At least I hope it didn’t appear that way. I thought it was more like a silent, quiet, hiding, a need to retreat and cry silently by myself meltdown. My bouncing around feeling like myself caused me to hear myself say, “Oh, my God. What are you doing? You’re so stupid,” in my head. At which point I sat down, covered my head and cried.  Two fantastic, generous, caring women graciously and inconspicuously, or what I felt was inconspicuous, helped me out. This meltdown was silly really but it turned out to be my catalyst for awareness about imbalance in my life.

On Saturday we were to spend time alone either journaling, walking out in nature collecting things for a prayer stick, working in our big meeting room with art materials to create a mandala, resting or whatever we needed or wanted to do to reflect on ways we get out of balance and how to bring ourselves back in balance.

Swinging free at Cedar ValleyI chose to do everything. While walking on the serene grounds at Cedar Valley which has many trails with powerful art objects throughout, a chapel, an outdoor labyrinth, a pond for swimming, horses and goats, I came across a cool swing hanging from a tree. I had my camera with me so jumped on that swing and took my picture. I can see from the picture I took that I am feeling free and myself. Not long ago I wrote a blog about how as a child swinging gave me a sense of freedom

After a quick dip in the pond I went back to the meeting room to assemble my prayer stick and create a mandala. I needed some inspiration for that mandala so I went to the table that had these meditation cards. There was this deck called the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards. After breathing, centering myself and asking for guidance, I drew a card. It was a Mole! A big part of me wanted to put that card back. What can a mole say to me. I knew that I needed to accept what comes my way so reluctantly opened the book to the description of the mole. I was blown away. I took that book over to the table with the art supplies and copied down what it said inserting my personal interpretations in parenthesis.

This is the point at which to examine your life, detach your interest from the ways of the past (insecurity, guilt, self-loathing) and recreate yourself (Trust, self-confidence, passion, power). You are the guardian of yourself. Come up above the ground into the light (awareness, clarity, consciousness). Live in the present by incorporating your knowledge and vision of past and future (writing). Each new moment is an opportunity to awaken so self (conscious awareness) and burrow deeper into earth goodness (trust, faith, hope). You have the power to heal your life and create your life anew in any moment. Listen to the messages you receive from above (higher self) guiding you to the whole healing of your body, mind and soul (integration).

Then I made a mandala with the picture of the mole in the middle.

mole mandala

What I learned was that I can get out of balance when I am being my spontaneous, open self and unconscious memories from the past can cause negative self talk and throw me off. Instead of getting lost in those past emotions and thoughts, I can become aware of what is happening and get back to trust and faith. I need not punish myself when I get out of balance. It is part of life. Instead I can face and accept my imbalance and strive for balance.

I came away with three reminders to help me do this. My prayer stick, my mandala where I copied the meditation from the book and the little card Cathy and Dawn gave us to fill out as reminders about what we learned.

I face Southwest. I strive for balance in Trust, Clarity, Intuition, Passion and Power with my creative unique writing with the help of Great Spirit.

I am not the only woman to reap such benefits from that weekend. Each woman in turn filled out their card with their own message. Each woman was awed by the magic that happens when women gather. I would highly recommend that women gather to help bring themselves into balance which in turn can help balance the energies on this planet.

Related links:
Wikipedia’s article on the medicine wheel.
Bighorn Wyoming’s medicine wheel
Circle of Women music CD

Listen to the Cherokee Morning song by  Walela.  An uplifting song that we heard this weekend during of our retreat.

Crone wisdom and Storytelling

Crone woman with loyal sidekick

Crone with loyal sidekick

Over a year ago on June 25 I decided to go for it and write a blog about crone wisdom. In my first two posts, Hello and On Becoming a Crone, I explored the how and why on my choice of topic. However, blogging was the start of delving into to a more structured writing life. I thought if I had a blog post to put out it would force me to write which is what I thought I wanted to do. And I do want to write it’s just that being more focused on it is more work than I realized. I read somewhere that writing is 80% work and 20% fun. Before being more structured about my writing that was just a concept. Now I get that 80/20% thing on a more personal level. I had the thought in my head that it should be the other way around. But now that I’m more into it I can see that thinking up ideas, finding the right words, and endless rewriting is the bulk of writing which is the work part. Then when I’m done and I say, well, that is the best I can do at this time and its pretty OK, I feel like I accomplished something.

Anyway, after kicking around a few ideas I thought I wanted to write about what life is like during the third trimester of life from one woman’s perspective. I thought being an older woman is viewed negatively in our culture. Actually you could say being older altogether is not highly valued but for a woman it is especially looked down on. From reading different books and pursuing the internet I discovered the concept of the crone with regard to older women. At first I cringed. Crone, I thought Who the heck wants to be an old crone. Aren’t they witches? Like the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz.

Blyth Danner: A crone is beautifulThen I realized that a crone is actually an older woman who has cultivated wisdom from her decades of living, learning and experiencing. That’s who I am is actually a crone minus the stereotypes. Actually, many older women born of the baby boom generation are experiencing life in the 21st century differently than women of previous generations. We/I had the benefit of the 60’s exploration, woman’s lib, and various personal exploration methods like rebirthing, transactional analysis, to name a few

So when I started my blog I called it Jazzminey Crone Chronicles suggesting that I am chronicling the life of a crone, a baby crone actually implying that I am new into cronedom which I saw as a woman past menopause living life fully, embracing life, taking care of herself psychically, emotionally and mentally, being an inspiration to the upcoming generations that being an older woman does not mean she need take up a rocker and watch life go by. That she can be in life and actually contribute to it from her place of an elder in society, a wise elder, a wise woman elder, a crone, a wise woman crone elder.

That is the place I wanted to come from when writing my blog. It wasn’t to just hand out advice and tell others the best way to live but to portray my struggles and accomplishments, excitements and disappointments, joys and sorrows and how I dealt with them. To synthesis my accumulated past experiences, learning and knowledge into a wisdom pearl, to give added depth and sense meaning to the present and share what meaning I got out of the experience through storytelling.

Taking the path of the croneI have shared 62 experiences in my first year of blogging. I started out enthusiastically blogging twice a week after which I settled into my now once a week post. I touched on many different topics that were relevant to me at the time of writing. I hope in my posts I showed that an older woman, a crone, has a rich and varied inner as well as outer life. That life is not over after 60. Sure life is different now that I’m older but I can still be physically active, learn new things, change old habits, develop new ones and even consider the possibility of a life purpose and pursue that. To me that is what a Crone is all about.

In my second post of all time I had a link to a poem. I am adding it here, shall I say, linkless, as a way of marking my first year of blogging, of chronicling my life as a crone, jazzminey crone chronicles.

Crone Wisdom

Night is the time of the Crone
After the heat of day
After the heat of youth
The coolness of the Crone comes

 Night is the time of the Crone
Cool breezes carry her wise words
Her secrets unfold in the quiet time
Echoing ancient truths

 Listening is a gift of the Crone
Seasons of living opened her ears
Pain and joy have opened her heart
Acceptance of others opened her spirit

 All Crones have wisdom to share
Some know the Goddess…some do not
Open and listen to the Crones you meet
Value their wisdom that is offered to you

 Age is not to be feared, but embraced . . .
wrinkles are not to be hated, but explored . . .
they are the map of a person’s life, carried upon their face . .
movement slows as wisdom grows . . . this is a truth of life’s later season . . .

                                                      http://spiralgoddess.com/CroneWisdom.html

Links on Crone Wisdom

An article on One Crone’s Wisdom
Rebirth of the Crone Archetype
A deck of 54 Wisdom of the Crone meditation cards
Elderwoman links and resources
Crone: Empowered, Wise, Self-defined
Celebrating Creative Women: Treasuring Maturity

A Life of Passion

Judy Garland while at MGM StudioJudy Garland lived a life of passion; she lived her passion, her passion for singing and performing. I recently saw About Judy Garland: By Myself an episode on PBS series American Masters. I sat sprawled on our brown sofa transfixed as Garland’s life unfolded on our 52 inch LCD screen. Her life stayed with me as I went about the next couple of days living my life. It was infectious the way she lived her life of passion. This passion was evident in her whole being when she sang. I always loved Judy Garland’s movies, not just the Wizard of Oz, but all of them however, watching this biography of Judy made me realize why she resonated with me so.

Watching her I felt a yearning in my heart. “I want to live a life of passion. I want to be able to express myself uninhibited,” I felt it whisper to me. Yes, Judy was terrified of going on stage. She was terrified of being found out, as she put it. But once she was performing, once the music enveloped her, once she started singing, once she let herself go with her passion, I believe she was living her life on purpose.  Watch this video and see for yourself.

Judy Garland believed her motive behind her drive to perform was because she wanted to please people. She wanted the audience to love her. Yes, that seems like she was trying to fill a hole probably from childhood. This may not be the most healthy way to live and in the end, it did kill her. However, I believe that part of her appeal to audiences is the vicariously living a life of passion thorough her. I know that is what I ache for, the giving of myself so freely to that which moves me, my passion. Living a life of passion. Judy is an inspiration to be sure.

It is clear to me that taking risks, putting myself on the line, being prepared to get messy and forging ahead in spite of the fear that tries to squelch any passion is the key to a passionate life which is equal to living your life on purpose. I saw this in Judy Garland as those close to her confided about her extreme stage freight and how she threw herself into a song or a role she was playing.

My life purpose, according to my LifePrints analysis, is to express myself creatively. I would not be surprised if Judy Garland’s LifePrints revealed her purpose to be one of artistic expression with her own unique creative style. Not that I think I am in the same league with Judy Garland, no matter how much I wish it were so, but she is a powerful role model for me.

What I need to do, what I want to do when I am writing which is the medium I choose with which to express myself creatively, is to come from my heart and not allow my inner critic to suppress what comes. Emily Hanlon says, in her course Creative Success that you have to be willing to get messy, to get your hands dirty.  You have to be willing to be wet and juicy. Judy does just that in her performances. That is what gives me the chills when I watch her.

Judy found her passion but it was born out of desperation. I believe a life of passion can be found through awareness and intention. By shinning conscious awareness on areas of my life that are blocking my flow of creative energy which for me is usually fear, fear of making a fool, fear of doing it wrong, fear of doing it right, fear of being seen, fear of not being seen, fear of making myself vulnerable. By being aware that these are my blocks, I can consciously release them through my intention and step out on that ledge and free fall to my life of passion just like Judy Garland

Added links
A biography of Judy Garland
A workbook for 12 weeks to a more passionate life.

Peace in my backyard

I discovered that there is such a thing as finding peace in my backyard. It was quite by accident. It was a sunny warm Sunday afternoon and Mike was on his way over to our son’s to help install a deck.

“I’m going to do some writing while your gone,” I announced.

“Why don’t your write outside, it’s nice out,” he said.

“Yeah, your right. That’s a great idea.”

Peace in my own backyardI packed up my laptop and headed to our picnic table with my green,  rummage-sale-find-of-the-year umbrella and set up shop. Of course it took me awhile to settle in and actually get to writing. First I had to go around the yard and check out all my flowers and my resident toads, all of which I decided needed to have their pictures taken.

 

 

Peace in my backyard

Writing in my peaceful backyardFinally, I did settle down to write. The peace in my backyard with all the different birds around me singing to one another was working its magic, I felt my breath deepen and tensions slip away. Suddenly a robin came from behind me and whizzed past about 12 inches from my head. I heard the wings flutter and even felt a slight breeze.

Whoa,” I said to no one in particular before I broke into a full smile. I realized that lately I was experiencing many close encounters with Robins. In the our yard, for sure, but also on my walks where from time to time a robin would fly for a short in tandem with me. Hmmmm. Robins. I wonder what message Robins bring. Of course, I went right over to the handy-dandy animal spirits web site and looked up Robin.

Robin wisdomRobin:  Understanding the power of song, Happiness, Guide in the wisdom of change.

Interesting. I just read a quote by poet Kahlil Gibran on Aging Abundantly.

Music is the language of spirit. It opens the secret of life, bringing peace, abolishing strife.

That does feel like synchronicity and I certainly do feel joy listening to Robin’s unique song. Whenever I hear a robin sing, I stop, listen and identify that I am listening to a robin. Maybe I’m being urged to slow down, enjoy the present moment and be guided on my journey through writing not just with my blog but the with my “therapy story” I mentioned in my post Immersing myself in a project.

About ten minutes later, a pigeon flew past coming from the same direction only a little further out. Two different birds doing the same thing. This must mean something.

Pigeon wisdomPigeon: Brings peace and love, Understanding of gentleness, Spirit messenger, Communicates between the two worlds

I took in a deep breath allowing the peace in my backyard to fill my heart and soul while I contemplated the two messages from the robin and pigeon. I felt that Spirit, the universe, God’s love, were all around me. Maybe the guidance suggested by the robin lay in  peace, love and gentleness which is always waiting for me in my backyard. I know I can be hard on myself when it comes to my writing.  Gentleness is needed and with peace and love, I can be the wisdom of change. Maybe somehow, someway, through my writing, I am putting voice to the change that is going on all the time in myself and that which echos in the wider world. In fact my “therapy story” is basically about change. Lately there are times when I felt uncertain as to why I am writing that story in the first place. Maybe I’m being shown here that there is a larger purpose.

But the universe is not done sending me messengers. I had set up my tripod to snap a picture of me in the middle of enjoying the peace in my backyard. After I took the picture I just left the tripod sit there. Before long and much to my surprise and delight, a hairy woodpecker landed on one of the black legs of the tripod swiveling his little head searching about for a place to peck. Finally it realized it’s not on a tree and it turned and flew right towards me. I duck my head as it adjusts its flight path and lands on the bush behind me.

Woodpecker wisdomWoodpecker: Connection to the earth, Ability to find hidden layers, Understands rhythms, cycles and patterns, Warnings, Prophecy, The Earth’s drummer, Pecks away at deception until the truth is revealed

Now I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, at least for this moment because everything is in a state of constant change, that the message that took three messengers is around the writing of my therapy story. I was struck with how the “pecking away at deception until the truth is revealed” is so fitting. When I think about it that is exactly what is going on during my writing. It feels like a slow rhythmic pecking away at hidden layers, at an uncovering an untruth.

What an amazing discovery. Right here from the peace of my own backyard, without having to get in the car and travel. I can sit out here, breathe in the peace and tranquility and receive wisdom from nature’s messengers anytime I choose to avail myself

Hey, I bet if I take that quote from Kahlil Gibran and change the word music to nature I am left with a poetic summary of my experience sitting in my backyard.

Nature is the language of spirit. It opens the secret of life, bringing peace, abolishing strife.

I invite you to walk out into your backyard and discover what the universe through nature has in store for you and please do share your discoveries here on Jazzminey Crone Chronicles.

Finding peace in your backyard links.

How to Find Peace at Home
Finding inner peace in your backyard

Robin Image credit: steve_byland / 123RF Stock Photo
Pigeon Image credit: abramovtv / 123RF Stock Photo
Woodpecker Image credit: bgminer / 123RF Stock Photo