Thursday, March 31, 2016

Therapy on the Mat & Unresolved Issues~

It happened again this evening. For me it seems to be a seasonal experience – something that affects me during the springtime.   As I moved into savasana or final relaxation or corpse pose, tears leaked from my eyes. In the past I had thoughts and smells of my paternal grandfather. This evening I recalled sadness from my childhood when Ricky Kreigbaum and LeeAnn Weingardner died from leukemia and I lost my maternal grandparents and great aunts and uncles and wasn’t able to say goodbye.

Apparently I had unresolved grief. And through yoga I’ve been able to find spirituality through the movement and breathing that I needed to heal. The first time it happened I was completely disconcerted. I smelled my grandfather, heard his voice, and felt his presence while tears flowed. It was around the 25th anniversary of his death and I’d never felt right that I hadn’t been there for the end and had been unable to attend his funeral because I was living in Asia at the time.

Yet this evening what brought my tears was something that I’d not thought about in 50 years. My yoga practice helped me to appreciate that I had unresolved frustration that the prayers I offered for my sick classmates 50 years ago did not save them.  Wow! I also understood that I still felt the loss 50 years later of my maternal grandparents and greats aunts and uncles that died before I learned to appreciate them.

Perhaps it is associated with my uncertainty navigating the changes at work that triggered the underlying subconscious grief that I’ve carried with me for decades. Or maybe it is just a by-product of growth and letting go as I continue on my path.

In my childhood I did not embrace grief. I was young when I started losing those who were important to me and didn’t know how to process it. My religious upbringing taught me that when people died, they went to a better place. But I never accepted the loss in that way. And there were so many losses in such a short time and I did not have the emotional resources to deal with it.

This evening I concentrated on the asanas during practice and focused on alignment and my breath. I felt strong, confident, and in the zone, which more than likely helped me reach the conscious enlightenment that I needed to let go of long repressed pain.

So I shed some tears for Grandma and Grandpa Conroy, Aunt Kate, Uncle Mart, Aunt Esther, Aunt Lerna, the nuns that taught me at St. Bridget School, Father Meehan (the pastor of the church across the street), my Uncle Amos, and all of those I lost before I reached adulthood and learned to accept what is. And now I feel as if I’ve released them and set them free – Maybe I resented them for leaving me and hadn’t released the resentments. What a catharsis! Another gift of yoga!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Remembering to be Grateful for Blessings in the Midst of Change!

Suck it up, Buttercup! That is what my spousal unit said to me last week when I was expressing my angst about the changes taking place at my place of employment. We are in the midst of re-organization. People’s roles are changing. Titles, job descriptions, territories, scopes of influence, reporting structures, best practices, methods of doing business, and culture are all changing. It is disconcerting on the best days. It can feel overwhelming on the most challenging days.

But my husband’s  “suck it up, Buttercup” was a reminder that I have so many reasons to feel grateful. Yes, there are myriad changes afoot. Everybody from top to bottom must accept and adjust to the Brave New World. A learning curve is inevitable.

There are colleagues who are unhappy and resistant. But resistance is futile. Wishing for what was will not make what is any easier.

I am committed to embracing the changes to the best of my abilities. Since I have no control over these changes, I have two choices – I can decide to resent the situation; or I can decide to accept what is inevitable and do my best to move forward with a positive attitude.

Fortunately, I’ve learned after decades of trying to control the uncontrollable that I have control over only one thing – my attitude.  The friends and teachers that shared their experiences, strength and hope during my years in Al-Anon, where I sought and found recovery from living with those suffering from addiction, gave me the tools I can use in every aspect of my life to be focused on positivity, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to understand that over which I have no control. I am grateful for the road map that the 12 steps of Al Anon provided to live a happy life filled with peacefulness and an attitude of gratitude.

Sometimes I need reminding. So I do appreciate my husband making me laugh with the jolting, out of character “suck it up, Buttercup”!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

To Really Reboot Washington, Vote Against EVERY INCUMBENT!

The American populace has decried for decades the deteriorating ethics of Washington insiders and members of Congress. There have been calls since at least the Reagan presidency to “throw the bums out”. But people only want to toss out the other guy’s bum – not his own. And partisan politics creates even greater challenges because many voters cannot bring themselves to vote for a member of the “other party”, no matter how much sense there may be in considering the candidate rather than a platform or ideology.

Clearly, the status quo is ineffectual.  Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have taken the higher road in recent decades. Partisanship has caused gridlock, vitriol, critical deterioration of our infrastructure, disdain for all elected officials, government shutdowns, and voter apathy.

Super Pac money results in only the 1% funding elections. The status quo essentially curtails the ability of grass roots community candidates to find traction. Career politicians care only about listening to themselves talk on CNN, getting re-elected, and pandering to lobbyists.

The only way to completely reboot our republic is a wholesale sweep of the current members of congress. Vote against every incumbent no matter the party. Send a message that you are fed up with the machinations of the party machines. I harbor equal disdain for Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.

Even newbies to our Congress are sucked into the vortex of corruptions, self -aggrandizing and hubris within months. The system perpetuates itself.

If you want to change the outcomes, stop sending the same siphons to Washington.  Vote for anybody fresh. Vote for any candidate that agrees to serve no more than two terms. Vote for any candidate that represents your community honestly, refuses to take money from lobbyists, and refuses to be bought.

Look what happened in the Middle East when the people demanded change. We have the mechanism to change our government. Regretfully, we’ve gotten the representation we deserved – because we kept voting for our bums.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Stylish /Wearable Footwear for Women Over 40 – Spring 2016~

Beautiful shoes make my heart sing! In my youth I would wear the most torturous footwear for fashion. But, I’m no longer willing to do that. No doubt my falling out of a window onto a balcony trying to retrieve a bottle of chilling wine in 1979, which caused ligament damage, a perpetually unstable right ankle, and early onset arthritis has contributed to this healthy decision. But I refuse to wear “old lady” shoes, thick-soled oxfords, and athletic shoes for anything but working out, Euro clogs, anything that screams “Easy Spirit”.  To satisfy my lust for stylish but wearable shoes I have been on a mission to identify shoe brands that afford beauty and comfort. 

Here are the best resources for fabulous footwear that work for women of a certain age. I will caution they are not inexpensive options. However, with the exception of my Holy Grail ballet flats, it is possible to find great discounts with a bit of help from Google.

Ballet Flats

1) Tieks
Tieks are handmade in Italy. This ballet flat molds to your foot. There is no elastic so no rubbing across the instep or heel. They rarely have a promotion. The brand has succeeded by word of mouth.  Prices range from $175 to $365.  This shoe is worth full price. Once you’ve worn Tieks you will never consider another ballet flat. And, they fold into a pouch to tuck in your handbag.

2) Marc Joseph New York
The only other ballet flat I will wear. These flats are two –tone with some tasteful decorative accents and extremely comfortable.

Driving Moccasins / Loafers

1) Marc Joseph New York
 The Marc Joseph driving mocs and loafers are amazingly comfortable and are available in an abundance of fabulous styles, colors and patterns.

Butter soft leather that feels like silky slippers
Also check Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor & Dillards

1) Bernie Mev
The “Master of Woven Footwear”
Elastic uppers with memory foam insoles. Steve Madden has a similar look but it is NOT the same shoe. I walked from the 30th Street train station in Philadelphia to the Marriot on 12th Street in August and my feet did not hurt!
I bought my first pair at my local boutique.  (nabbed a pair for $26 after a coupon)

Taos make my absolutely favorite stylish wedge sandals. They go with everything!

Kitten or Lower Heel Pumps
Fortunately, kitten heel pumps and mules are currently in fashion. For those of us who don’t want to give up the beauty of a perfectly shaped pointy-toed pump but must have a reasonable degree of comfort, these shoes are my go to brands:

1) Amalfi by Rangoni  (Italian!)

2) Stewart Weitzman
I’ve not yet tried on a pair of Stewart Weitzman shoes that hurt my feet.
Weitzman shoes are beautifully made, stylish, and comfortable. Check the sale sections of the better department stores on a regular basis and it is possible to find a great deal.

I’m a summer girl, but if I must endure winter then beautiful boots are a moral imperative.

Frye boots fit right out of the box. They get softer and more comfortable with wear. Frye has been crafting fine boots since 1863. These boots are not inexpensive, but they will last for years. It is possible to find great deals with a little bit of effort and it is so worth the effort.

Born footwear is fashionable, comfortable, and reasonably priced. Born boots and shoes can be found wherever fine footwear is sold. I really love my Born ankle boots.

3) Josef Seibel
Josef Seibel is a German family owned business that has been making qualify footwear since 1886. Great ankle boots and mules.

There are, of course, numerous other resources and shoes brands that provide style and comfort. These are the resources that I’ve used most successfully. Even if you can find a better price elsewhere, I encourage you to go to Zappos and read the reviews.  Reviewers often provide other shoes brands or styles they love, which is a great resource.

Feel free to share any recommendations!