Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A No-Cost Way To Improve Your Life - Thanksgiving

          Wayne Dyer speaks of abundance. Oprah also has expounded on the subject over the years. These two as well as thousands of other well known personalities have written tomes about abundance and its role in life. Within my own spiritual community, abundance is a cornerstone of a joyous life. Acknowledging abundance around us is a powerful and no-cost way to improve your life. I’m all for inexpensive ways to improve my life, and I never get tired of being reminded of the goodness that comes from creating prosperity and celebrating all the abundance that already exists.

Negative Issues

          A practice of acknowledging abundance helps mold a more positive and upbeat lifestyle. After all, it’s an uphill battle to focus on negative issues all the time when you see and celebrate all that is available to you daily. I can see your eyebrows crinkle together when you read that last sentence. Is that a true statement, you ponder? Actually, with all the reports of crime, destruction, poor economic forecasts, and war, to name a few pessimistic talking points, it’s quite easy to wallow in the negative in spite of all the wonderment in the universe.

          Just look at an hour of the news every night for a week and feel the sadness left in your soul. We’re bombarded with messages that say things aren’t good out there and if they are good, it’s only temporary. There’ll be a shooting, tornado, financial crisis or political scandal to rob you of the true joys in life.

Describe Your Abundance

          What does abundance look and feel like to you? To me, I don’t focus on what I want when I think of abundance, I think about what I already have, and that doesn’t change with the stock market, the weather or with what so-and-so said about me to someone else. To many people abundance is defined as freedom, happiness, health, love, peace.

          I think you have to live an abundant life to have an abundant life. And here I’m not talking about what possessions you have but rather what you truly believe about having abundance. You can't truly believe in lack, want, violence and be worried and fearful or angry all the time and, in the same breath, believe that there is enough in the world to meet all your needs. You have to let go of the negative to allow room for the positive to live in your soul.


          This Thanksgiving when you’re sharing all that you’re grateful for, toss in a few affirmations about the abundance currently in your life. Celebrate and declare all the abundance that you have manifested. It’s your choice. Choose abundance, choose the celebration of all there is, choose the affirmation of all that the Universe currently provides for you.
Kali, some of my abundance

You might also enjoy:
How to be Wealthy


Friday, November 22, 2013

One of Those Moments: The End of Camelot

          Fifty years ago today John F. Kennedy was assassinated. His death put in motion a chain reaction of several factors that continue to affect our society today – indeed, affect many societies around the world. The upbeat, optimistic and hopeful times following the end of the second World War, all through the end of the Vietnam War, came to an end. JFK’s death signaled a slow migration toward cynicism and fear as well as a distrust in our government and each other.
          At the time of this crisis, I was a 15-year-old living in  France. All these years later, I feel privileged to have experienced this event while living among military families residing abroad. I got to see firsthand the heartfelt pain and anguish from neighboring nationalities that reassured me in that moment that we reigned as the world’s most powerful and revered nation. JFK stood for that power. He was not perfect, but who is. I miss him. I miss his message.  I miss what he represented to a enthusiastic nation that still believed … in itself and in others.

It is my hope and prayer that it doesn't take us 50 years to swing back to a nation united and standing strong in the belief of all peoples coming together to make an indivisible and stellar future for the benefit of everyone.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to Be the Best "I" You Can Be

The Subject of I

          I read somewhere that the first-person pronoun is a mighty tool, and that I should use it. Earlier this year, in the Wall Street Journal, the author Lacy Crawford wrote, “Claim the ‘I’ and write the hell out of it.”

           It’s too bad this subject of focusing on the “I” isn’t taught in schools starting at an early age. I don’t mean classes in how to love yourself narcissistically while putting the welfare of others behind your own. I’m talking about trusting yourself, listening to your inner voice, sharing your feelings and speaking honestly from your heart. Isn't it unfortunate that we're taught relentlessly how to be tough, fierce negotiators ever mindful of which side we’re fighting for? Isn’t stoic unbending behavior modeled in the world all the time?

Taking Control

          I hope a shift is coming; a shift toward being open to creative problem solving that doesn’t pit us against each other. After all, you only have control over yourself. Being yourself is the only unique thing you will ever experience, and both our personal and business lives can benefit from that uniqueness.

          Coming out on top is cold comfort when the chips are really down, when you are staring adversity in its face. So, it might be beneficial to develop a strong relationship with yourself. You spend all that time, money and energy on developing the outside of yourself. Spend as much time as you can working on the parts that make you unique: your heart, your soul and what makes you sing inside.

          Stop with the arguments, the upsets, the problems, the disappointments. Stop letting others characterize you incorrectly. Get a life. Smell the roses. There is always time to appreciate the simpler things in life - how the sunlight filters through the living room window and frames the kitty in its warmth, for instance.

          You are a mother, brother, student, teacher, friend, lover. You are many things to many people in this world, but you are only you to yourself. No one will ever fully get and appreciate all your idiosyncrasies and foibles. NO ONE, seriously!

          We don’t have enough time to waste on things out of our control, things that don’t bring us joy, and things that deplete us of the love and compassion as we strive to grow and expand. This isn’t a dress rehearsal; this is opening night, the real deal.

          This is my lesson in life to learn also.

What Moves Me

          I took a long hard look recently and contemplated what moves me, incites me, and enrages me, about what is important enough to speak up for or not compromise about. For me I want to:

            -stare at the brilliant ocean waves crashing in

                front of me from the beach, memorizing the
                glaring white foam

            -inhale the sweet scent of the folds of a precious
                baby’s neck

            -take a mental snapshot when Kali twists her
                head back from my lap to stare lovingly into
                my eyes

           -listen for the umpteenth time to that piece
                of classical music that moves me to swoon

          -feel the soothing caress of comfort from a friend
               or loved one

          -recreate that event or retell that story that made
               me laugh so hard I nearly cried

           This is my list today and it’ll probably change or grow in the future. That’s okay. It is, after all, not the list so much as the process of being the best “I” can be. What about you?

You might also enjoy:
      When Bad Things Happen:  Five Ways I Cope
Contact me here: 

Friday, November 15, 2013

One of Those Moments: Elder Haiku

Elder Haiku
Lunch time,
calls from kids,
game to start,
happy hour,
Always waiting.

Elder Haiku II

Stuff to do,
then again,
What's the rush?
I can wait

for my final task.
Sunset in Bali.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Doing Nothing Can Help You Do Everything

          Once a month I have what I call a 'No Tech’ Day. During this 24-hour period, I don’t turn on my computer or my cell phone. I don’t drive my car or watch TV, Netflix or videos and I don't listen to music. I don’t text, Tweet or use my landline to reach out. I don’t microwave or do laundry. I do turn on the heater if necessary and will use electricity for lights in the evening. It’s a cathodic fasting of sorts, and it juices me up to do more and be more productive in the days that follow this break in my routine.

          What do I do if I’m not doing all that? I sit in silence, I walk, I read, I feel the sun on my body as I contemplate my garden and I meditate. I visit with friends if something is pre-arranged. I play with my cat; Kali loves these days when it seems I never stop tossing the ball or pulling the string throughout the house for her entertainment. I eat salads, and I miss having my morning coffee. But I remind myself that it’s only for 24 hours.

           Like a lot of people, I can get overwhelmed with the fast-paced world of technology that, for the most part, enhances our lives. We communicate, problem solve, create new ideas and develop systems at breakneck speed. We have trained ourselves to think on our feet, to multi-task and to make decisions on the fly instead of mulling over our reactions and responses in contemplative repose.

          At the Center for Spiritual Living, my metaphysical abode, our practice for this and next month is silence and retreat. We’ve been talking about ways to question if you’d benefit from spending time in silence and some ideas for ways to create that for yourself. If it's been forever since you've taken a whole day to be alone or if you can't go for an hour without checking e-mail, Facebook, etc., you might be prime for a 'No Tech' Day. For me, I participate daily in a snippet of silence when I meditate. On a No Tech Day, I meditate several times: upon waking and later in the day, sometimes leading to a delicious nap.

          One of the main rewards I get out of taking a break from a fast-paced life is being reminded how the simplicity of a quiet day enhances my appreciation of all that surrounds me without fanfare. I remember what silence sounds like, I become aware of what outside noises I live with daily, and I stop to smell the flowers both in reality and metaphorically speaking. While I’m embarrassed to say sometimes it takes one of these retreat days to get me back in touch with the simple things in life, I’d rather own up to it and gain the benefits instead of just plugging along without nurturing my soul.

          It’s pretty simple but it can be challenging if you’ve never lived without electronics for a day. You can do it. You can improve the more you do it. Don’t get discouraged. Try it for an hour at a time at first. I promise you it’ll be worth it.

You might also enjoy:
     Being Awake - Guest Blog by Randall Friesen
Find me at:  Antonia's Senior Moment on Facebook or
leave a message at:  antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com

Friday, November 8, 2013

One of Those Moments: In a Flash

          Chances are if you read blogs, you’re a reader of other stuff and perhaps you’re also a writer. Today in my brief moment with you I’m sharing some opportunities to think differently about the stories and novels you read.

          As some of you know, I’m a big fan of flash fiction, stories or memories usually 500 words or less. But there are some outstanding stories told in much fewer words. My iPhone stories (see tab above) with words and pictures come from trying to convey the biggest story with few words. The shortest stories I’ve read were only six words, yes only six. That’s a challenge to write a complete story in only six words. Think you could do it?

          Here are some examples of six word stories:

                     Buried in a steel casket. Immortal. – Gen
                     Two wives, one funeral, no tears. – Desrio
                     For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn. – Ernest      

           On Twitter you can post your six word stories at:

           Here are some 12 word stories:

           Over time, watered by the tears of war, lasting
                     peace eventually blossomed. -- Lisa HW
            Ivy launched its assault: climbing, reaching, and
                     photosynthesizing. Triumph! Fence is        
                     invisible. -- Heuchera
           A man walking in the desert diving into a mirage
                     visits China. -- Joyce R.

           Listed below are websites that share stories written in six, 12, 50 and 100 words. There are lots more websites out there. Check them out. I think they’re fascinating.

          6 words:
          12 words:
          50 words:
          100 words:

Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rules/Suggestions for Seniors Communicating in the 21st Century

          “You don’t write, you don’t call.” To this statement you can now add “you don’t e-mail, you don’t text, you don’t Tweet.” When learning about and using new forms of communication, we’re now asked to learn the new guidelines of communicating that go along with them. I’ll get to those in a minute.
          As we’re all aware, communicating has changed significantly in the last several years. It’s easy to communicate and do it quite effectively if you’re standing in front of the person. You’re able to speak and use hand gestures, facial expressions and intonation to get your point across. “I don’t think so,” can be a straightforward response to a question, a flip remark to a comical situation or a sharp retort to a perceived injustice. The meaning is identified by all the other ‘stuff’ that goes along with the words.

Back then ...

          Remember when we used to write thank you notes with fountain pens and Eaton stationary? You do if you’re a senior like me. After Christmas and birthdays, it was required in my household to create these little expressions of gratitude for grandmothers and other relatives. I hated writing them, but I loved receiving them when I was the gift giver. I still have friends who have taken the written “Thank You” to an art form and send them out for much lesser reasons including a dinner or a party. But I tell the nephews and the step-kids not to bother having their little ones send these laborious cards. It’s sufficient to just shoot me an e-mail saying that they got the whatever.

Communication These Days ...

          I recently attended a Senior Expo in my community where I shared information about this blog. To get this page where you see these words, you have to be plugged in, have access to the Internet and be savvy enough to navigate your way in and out. I tried guessing before the event what percentage of seniors who came by my table would claim, proudly or otherwise, a solid lack of interest and even a distain for all things computer-related. I thought it might be 50-50. But I was wrong.

          The vast majority of seniors I spoke with that day embrace, to various degrees, this electronic form of communication. Some people said they squeak by just using e-mail and others said they, like me, live in e-mail, Facebook and the Internet throughout most days. The minority of seniors who stay as far away from the Internet as possible are also not going to even dip a toe into e-mail. Evidently that fact frustrates their families and friends who routinely rely on electronic mail to connect and to inform. The same goes for tweeting; if you’re not on line, you’re not connecting via Twitter.

          My experience has been that the seniors who are likely to use text messages are among the computer literate group even though texting is done via a Smartphone or iPhone and not a computer per se. I love text messages to quickly inform rather than to engage in a protracted conversation. “See you at 5” is more likely a text message rather than a question like “How was your day?”

Rules, Suggestions, Guidelines...call them what you like

          Over the years, new practices have been developed to accompany the various forms of electronic communication. Some people refer to them as rules. I think of them as suggestions or guidelines. You won’t be dropped from the social registry for doing things incorrectly in the e-communication venue, but you may not send the message you intended to your audience if you don’t at least pay attention to the major guidelines.

          First and foremost, remember this:  typing words via an e-mail, Twitter or text messages excludes all those wonderful, and, yes, sometimes irritating, body and facial gestures that almost always enhance the meaning of the spoken word. Written messages, in general, are flat words and their meaning, without hand movement, facial expressions and voice intonation, can be misread. Be careful with humor and sarcasm. Many arguments are started and feelings get hurt when words are not interpreted correctly by the receiver. Better to save any message that might be misunderstood for the face-to-face meetings, if possible.

          Along these same lines, never use an e-mail or other electronic messaging to communicate something that needs to be said in person. We’ve all heard about getting a “Dear John” message via e-mail. Confrontation can be uncomfortable and the tendency may be to hide behind a non-personal e-mail. Don’t do it. It can be rude, hurtful, and confusing at best. I've learned this the hard way myself.

          Other suggestions for the best electronic communication:

                    and is considered to be annoying.

           -Many people feel it’s ok to forego proper grammar and
                   any letter formatting in
e-communications. While
                   I may not always start my e-mails with "Dear So  
                   and So,” I do use correct grammar and punctuation                     throughout. But then I'm a writer, so I must, no??
           -Be sure to use the Subject line to let the reader know
                  what the message is about.

           -Keep it short and simple. Reread your message before
                  sending and delete any unnecessary verbiage.

           -Don’t forget to Spell Check.

          A personal pet peeve is when I get an e-mail that has been forwarded from the sender’s brother’s niece’s secretary’s father. There are so many addresses and messages of the previous receivers to wade through before I get to the cartoon, joke or kitty montage that the sender thought I might enjoy. You can delete all those forwarded messages and e-mail addresses before you send it to your crowd and delete the RE: in the subject line. If you can't figure out how to streamline these kinds of messages, let me know, and I'll walk you through it. Deleting all the previous addresses and comments makes the receiver feel special -- that you intended the cute/funny/informational thing just for them!

Whatever You Do, Don't Give Up

          I know that electronic communication can be confusing and not the easiest for those of us who spent the majority of our lives in face-to-face interaction. Sometimes, rather than learn the correct way to use e-mail and other forms, we plunge ahead and plead ignorance when we screw up. I encourage you, however, to take the time to learn the proper ways to communicate with electronic devices. I guarantee it’ll pay off in terms of being heard and, who knows, some of the younger members of your family might just be blown away by your acumen. It’s always fun to surprise kids these days.

One of my less than pristine forms of communication.

You might also enjoy:


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Springing Ahead or Falling Back?

[Originally published March 10, 2013)

           Are you one of those people whose life is completely discombobulated because of the beginning or ending of daylight saving time? One hour either way doesn’t seem like much but I have lots of friends who are in a daze and off-kilter for weeks after this one hour either magically appears or is illogically stolen away.

          Daylight saving time (DST) decreases the amount of daylight in the morning hours so that more daylight is available during the evening. It was first proposed by entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects and led him to value after-hours daylight. He presented a paper in 1895 where he cited economizing on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight and by using less heating coal as additional reasons for the one-hour change in time.

          Winston Churchill took the DST ball and ran with it in England saying it enlarged "the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country.”  People who worked in agriculture and those in the evening entertainment business dubbed it "Daylight Slaving Time.” The US adopted DST in the early 20th century in order to conserve coal during wartime along with Britain and other of Germany’s allies in WWI.

          You might be surprised to know that there is no federal mandate that US states observe daylight savings time. The only DST law that does exist is one that stipulates that states or areas that do observe it do so at the same time - from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. This is a change from what it used to be prior to 2007 when it was the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October.

          Today DST continues to be controversial. It certainly doesn’t benefit farmers and others who rise before dawn and may have to operate in the dark a while longer before daybreak. Its benefits include energy savings while decreasing the number of traffic accidents and incidents of crime.

          One of the minor kinks in DST is that not everyone observes it uniformly. Residents of Arizona and Hawaii, along with the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, do nothing for daylight saving time. Their lack of participation has been manageable over the years.

          Like many, in terms of sleep, I transition easier with the fall hour change when we get some additional snooze time. But then overnight, so to speak, it’s dark even before the evening commute. In that sense, the spring change, while taking away one of life’s most precious commodities, time, we are able to frolic or laze in longer warm afternoons.

          To me, there is also a more subtle change that seems to accompany DST and that is a feeling in the air. It doesn’t change exactly on the day of hour giving or taking away but sometime within that week. In the spring, it feels just a tad warmer in the morning when I deliver cat poop to the garbage can and I start noticing all the tiny blossoms beginning to bud. In the fall, there is a momentary crispness in the air that makes me think about hunting down the stored sweaters in preparation for cooler mornings ahead.

          Daylight saving time signifies change, a change I’m willing to embrace. It signals holidays approaching or a feeling of warmth penetrating completely into my bones. It’s a life cycle that brings change but remains unchanged from year to year.

          Our one hour come or one hour gone really is little compared to the early Romans whose daily clocks were tied to the rotation of the sun and how that rotation changed during the year…..there were more minutes in some days than others and they varied from month to month.  I guess we should be glad it’s only two hours during the entire year that we’re haggling about. Easy for me to say since I’m not one of those bothered by the DST change.

          Does DST throw you and/or your sleep patterns all out of whack? Are you cranky or spaced out in the fall or spring because of DST? Whatever your answer, DST begins next Sunday. Don’t forget to spring forward an hour!

Friday, November 1, 2013

One of Those Moments: Our Friends

          I'm a cat person...you know this. You might even have seen more than enough of my tripod, Kali. But I love dogs too, other people's dogs. I think they are special and way too smart for me. Dogs don't hold grudges, judge the behavior of others or let selfishness stop them from loving us. All they want to do is please us.

If you have trouble viewing this video, click here to see it in YouTube.

You might also enjoy:

Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook