Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Painfully Yours

In pain
        What does pain do to my overall well-being … besides the obvious, that is? When I stub my toe I jump around and moan … for about 20 seconds and then the pain begins to subside. But what about pain that lasts and lasts? There is a huge cadre of people, many of them senior citizens, who live with pain everyday of their lives.

          Yesterday, I received a new partial which replaced an old worn out one. The minute I popped it in my mouth, when it clamped around the two anchoring teeth with a vengeance, I knew it wasn’t going to be coming out anytime soon. Sure enough, now I can’t get it out. And it’s digging into my gum, and I’ve been in pain pretty fiercely since yesterday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Two Year Anniversary

          Two years ago today I created my very first blog post on Antonia’s Senior Moments. I can honestly say it’s been one of the most creatively fun things I’ve ever done.         
          I’ve written some highly appreciated gems and some not so great, boring posts. I’ve taken a few chances to post slightly controversial as well as highly personal information.

          Through it all, I’ve felt the love and support of many people along the way. Without these people Antonia’s Senior Moments would not have been enthusiastically viewed by thousands and thousands of people all over the world.

Edward Viljoen, my mentor and teacher
Kris Oxford, my dear friend and voice of reality

Guest bloggers:  
          Gretchin Rubin
          Chris Michaels
          Jane Beach

          Margaret Stortz
          Carol Fleming
          Ron Donoho

          Suzanne Sackett
          Randall Friesen
          Thank you also to ALL my girlfriends and husband, Rod,  who spoke honestly and loved me in spite of some of my silly choices.

Contact me at antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com or
  Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Be Here Now: Cliché or True Wisdom?

          Have you ever spent days ruminating over something you did in the past or on a decision you made that can’t be changed? Have you ever noticed yourself so focused on something in the future that when you get home, you don’t remember driving your car there? The “now” in both of these examples is merely a fleeting concept, yet, for me, being in the now is the richest, most delicious place to hang out – in both challenging and fun times.

          When I’m inside, I wish I was outside and when I’m outside I’m sure there’s something I should be doing inside. Again, experiencing the now is nowhere in sight. It is also challenging to be in the now when I’m worried or in pain or stressed. This is the best time, however, to practice being still and calm and centered on what is right in front of me.

Monkey Mind
          My “monkey mind” – that incessant chatter that rolls around in my head – sometimes keeps me from focusing on being calm. I have struggled with this when I meditate and when I
consciously focus on what’s going on right now. This monkey mind isn’t the enemy, however, but if I treat it as such, it only gets louder. If I treat it more like an insolent child, shushing it with compassion and love, it begins to quiet immediately.

Letting Go
          When my spouse passed away a few years ago,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Judgment Can be a Robber

          I was reminded recently just how bad it feels to be unfairly judged. Let’s just say I did something. It wasn’t a bad thing but it was a choice to do something different than what one of my friends would have done. My choice in no way affected her. And she didn’t have all the pertinent information as to why I decided to do what I did.

          This difference among friends might have been okay except, instead of reaching out to me to share her point of view, she just withdrew and stayed away… for a couple of years!  She pulled away even when I tried to communicate with her, asking if something was wrong and why she hadn't responded to my efforts to contact her.

What's the Take-away?

          All that doesn’t matter. What really matters to me is that I’m thankful this happened. I’m thankful I got a firsthand lesson in exactly how awful it feels to be judged for my actions. It is a huge reminder not to judge what others may say or do, but to remember that there’s much more going on than I will ever know about any decision made by others. When I don't 'get' it all, it's probably better just to stand by and continue to be the good friend that I am ... silently.

          I feel wholeheartedly that judging can be a good thing. We need to judge situations and people to make sure they are not harmful and injurious to our hearts, bodies or souls. Judging, or rather misjudging the actions, attitudes, and beliefs of others, however, is a villain, a robber of the human-ness of people. Unjustified harsh judgments that we might make can steal our grace by the diminishment of unconditional love that we have for others.

          Because we have to incorporate judgments into our everyday life, it’s easy to misjudge. Kind of like the difficulties of dieting because we have to eat some food. (Why do I equate everything with food???) Anyway, one of the traps of judging is that it usually stops there with no further information exchange. If we arrive at a negative judgment we don’t usually pursue the situation or person further to find out if we were correct in our assumptions (which we probably shouldn't have made in the first place).

What I Learned
          So, for myself, before making a judgment, I will:

- Listen to what is said with an open mind
- Ask a ton of probing questions
- See if my opinion and attitudes get in the way
          of seeing the clear picture 

Ask myself if it matters...does their behavior
          or decision affect me at all and, finally,

      - Convey my final decision to pull away or be upset in a clear
                and timely manner.

          I miss my friend and I forgive her. I wish we hadn’t wasted these years on a judgment that went off the rails.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nearly 7 Things I’m Looking for in a Best Friend

          Disclaimer:  I will start off by saying that, in spite of the title of this post, I am well aware that you have to give in order to get. Thus, I need to be and do all that I wish for in a best friend. I have to treat both myself and another the ways I list here.

1.  Positive Attitude.
          A positive attitude is one of the qualities I value most in a close friend. My ability to function hinges significantly on how positive and upbeat the people around me are. Negative people who complain a lot or who only have dire things to share bring me down. I’m not Pollyanna, however, I cannot give forth joy if all that is coming in is what’s wrong in the world.
2.  A Good Listener
          Part of being a good listener is remembering. When your friend says they’re facing a grueling test on Thursday, a call on Friday to follow-up is a sign that you were listening, both to the content and the emotion behind their message.
3.  Conversation
          Eye contact is critical in conversation. Your friends can’t believe you’re really interested if you’re fumbling with your iPhone or off in la-la land thinking of how you’ll respond. Don’t speak in order to one-up your friends with stories that look to out- due their experiences. Silence is ok too or, better yet, parrot back a shortened version of what they shared.
4.  No Judgment
          Know what is the biggest giveaway that you might be judgmental of your friend – from their point of view? It’s that you’re judgmental of others in casual conversation with your friend. If you can be snarky about someone else, you might easily be snarky about me.