Our Elderly: The Last Unappreciated Frontier?” – RAV008

Posted on : 07-02-2015 | By : Lynn | In : Baby Boomer, Communication, End of the Road, Featured, Heart Talks

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One of my favorite quotes by Light Worker Paxton Robey is, “There is nothing outside of us but a mirror.” And if you’ve ever delved into the study of our minds and something as basic as how we see things via those instruments we call eyeballs that sit in the front of our face and relay messages back to the computer we call our brains, the easier it is to see the point of view that really all that we see, hear and experience outside of ourselves (whatever ourself is) is simply reflections back to ourselves of what we are experiencing.

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So, gentle reader, why on Earth would I begin an article entitled, “Our Elderly: The Last Unappreciated Frontier?” with a paragraph about brains and mirror reflections?  Because as my brain sees and interprets how much of humanity–at least the culture in which I live today—views the elderly either not all, or, if at all, in a very shallow insipid low waters of perception along the shoreline of our thinking and feeling minds.  Our elderly really are an untapped gold mine just waiting for us to see beyond the mirror reflections of our beliefs (or disbeliefs).

Let me ask you to consider this, according to www.usgs.gov up to 60% of the human adult body is water.  Can you imagine that we silly humans spend so much time worried, fearful, concerned, fretting, and anxious about how the outside surface (skin) of the vessel we call our body (which is more than half composed of water) looks that we turn away and dismiss that last unappreciated frontier of humanity which is full of wisdom, perspective, humor, stories, love, answers, ideas and more. In fact, for many of us, exploring that frontier could be as simple as having a conversation with the next elderly person who crosses your path and being curious about what you may discover.

Thought for the day:  What prejudices, judgements and beliefs might you harbor way down below that is preventing you from surfacing the overflow of wealth from the elderly in your world?

Helpful Hint for being human: We’re ALL going to be part of the elderly someday (unless we check out before hand). Can you imagine how fulfilling it would/will be too be not only respected, honored and appreciated for living a life well-done but to be asked to give our every last drop of experience to help others coming up behind us on their life path.


Dying, Death, End of Life! There I Said It! RAV002

Posted on : 30-01-2015 | By : Lynn | In : Baby Boomer, End of the Road

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A good friend’s father passed away yesterday at the well-lived age of 90.  Ever since her mom’s passing a couple of years ago her father has been “ready to leave this mortal coil.”  He was a good kind man who was loved very much by his daughter and their family. I will always remember her birthday party from a handful of years ago when her Dad and significant other conspired to create a birdhouse painting party. Her father made several simple yet lovely birdhouses for the party participants to decorate and paint which my friend then hung all throughout their xeriscaped gardens.



Out of respect and general agreement for her father’s wishes there will be no funeral or memorial service.  Somehow this makes me feel a little bit closer to her Dad because although he was such a gentle soul he was also a practical soul and after seeing what his family went through with his wife’s passing he did not want to impose more on them then absolutely necessary with his passing.  Sure, if they want to have a remembrance of him during the burgeoning and budding of spring in their garden with the swapping of stories full of wisdom and humor that was fine with him but nothing that cost them money or angst.

Thought for the Day:  Since birthing, dying and death are all part of the process of life why not discuss these things when we’re coherent and can get clarity about what we think and believe with each other before a stressful experience.  There’s nothing as gratifying for loved ones who are in mourning as the ease of finding important documents and the clear understanding of your wishes to say the least about having faced, embraced, discarded or amended core beliefs well before the end.

Helpful Hint for Being Human: We ALL experience being born, living and dying so why shy away from what the here and now and what the great beyond means to us now? There is, after all, no time like the present.


Life003 Break Through to A Warm Peace

Posted on : 02-12-2013 | By : Lynn | In : End of the Road, Featured

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The first time I really wrestled with mortality and reality was after a weekend of psychedelic imbibing that pretty much burnt away any filters my brain and consciousness came with and any defenses I had created along the way. My response was to dive into intense fear of being alive with constant panic attacks and severe anxiety. Nothing brought me peace, except my big red Golden Retriever who kept a watchful eye on me as my serenity sentry.

The blessings from this time were plentiful including getting into some much needed therapy and finally sobriety. During this journey, I cobbled together a belief system and spiritual path created from many discoveries and learnings which helped me to find peace about death. I believe this acceptance allowed me to be there for others in their time of grief and also for friends who were making their own transition from this life to the next.

Two “teachers” come to mind this holiday season as it seems many of us are experiencing a dance with death. One is a friend I’ll call “N”. N and I were part of a group of women (he being the only male) who explored and investigated all kinds of spirituality and psychic worlds. Our whole intent as a group was to learn how to help in healing animals, people and the planet. About a year into our studies, N found out that he had AIDS. We all gathered around him and loved him through the next two years until his passing. I will be forever grateful to N for allowing us to experience his most intimate experience of life in his last years on Earth. One of the lessons I took from N was that each person’s choices to how they handle their illness, life and death is ultimately their choice! And the best way I could help N was not to try to save him with all the ideas, information and knowledge that I possessed but rather to love him and accept him fully where he was at even though he chose a different way to handle his disease than I thought I would have chosen for myself in the same situation. I learned that this kind of all purpose accepting love would break my heart open to grow even bigger.

The other teacher I’ll call “I”. “I” had beaten non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 11 years prior to when I met him. A year later a cancer came raging back that was not Hodgkin. My friend “I” handled his prognosis in a way that I will always hope that I would follow if God forbid I found myself in his situation. In the beginning, he held a large pot-luck party with friends and family to let them know about his diagnosis, the process and how he wished to have his time unfold with all of us along the way. He gave us all permission to have our feelings and to be there for him (if we chose to) in our own special way. Some cooked meals, some cleaned house, some took him to appointments. “I” definitely took the power out of his death sentence. His life and how he chose to handle his last years encouraged me to become the kind of person that I always hoped I could be. The last week on Earth, I picked him up from an appointment and we went for an early lunch at Magnolia Cafe with his constant companion of the oxygen tank. I was so grateful for our conversation about life, and what was on the other side. And he was able to shed some tears about the beauty of it all and also some pain and sadness. I’m so grateful that I was able to just be there and hold the space without interjecting myself.

Who knows the whys and wherefores of this life that we are all living right now. We’re all really just doing the best we can as a result of the choices we’ve made up until now. I will tell you that, for me, I’ve learned that in illness, dying or death situations going fully into the love that you have in your heart and allowing it to break through the crusty constraints you’ve let settled around your heart is the way to peace. A warm kind of peace.

Break through to the peace. Love will take you there.


CLUE002 Watch Two Episodes of “Newsroom” and Write Me in the Morn

Posted on : 28-08-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Choices, Creativity, End of the Road, Heart Talks

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If you’ll watch at least two episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s new television show, Newsroom, I am confident that you will remember how to feel inspired and hopefully, will remember what we humans are capable of being (in a good way).

On the second page of the Austin Daily Planet is a photo comparing the mass of ice in the Arctic in 1979 to the shrinking mass in 2012.  The blurb below predicts unpredictable weather caused by the shrinking mass of ice causing the temps to raise around the world.

I remember several years ago hearing Deepak Chopra speaking in front of the Austin Women in Technology group about global warming and the hole in the ozone.  What he said that made an impact on me then and still lingers in my memories today is that we (humans) have scientists and technology available today (that must have been back in 2006) that could heal and fix the hole in the ozone layer, cure major diseases, etc.   I believe this is so.  At least for the half century I’ve been a visitor to this planet, I’ve certainly come across some amazingly capable people who are doing incredible things for our planet that doesn’t always make it up to the air of the popular media.  This requires some digging into the matrix.

I hope at some point each of us will stop and take stalk of who we are and about the world around us and be able to choose where we will put our thoughts and energies.  Do we really care so much about what housewives are doing to themselves in various genres on the boob tube?  I feel sorry for the people who were born years after me who often don’t know what “normal” weather is like where they live.  But I do believe they could. We humans can create amazing results when we put our minds and our hearts to it.

Where will you focus your thoughts today?

DASH017 Aging is Definitely NOT For the Faint of Heart….Especially in the U.S.A.!

Posted on : 01-08-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Choices, End of the Road

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Aging is definitely not for sissies (play on Betty Davis’ quote)!  And most especially aging is not such a chilly red hot thing in the U.S.A.  especially if you’re female.  I communicate with many people on a daily basis, both men and women, who are mostly from the U.S. but there are some from Mexico, Canada and across “the pond”.  I was born at the end of the fifties and so I’ve lived through a few decades here and have some experience from whence I write!  As much as I would like this blog to be uplifting and inspiring to you, I’ve got to be honest about the negative aspects of the aging of our outer shell that encases 85% water! At least in this country.

At the same time, I am very grateful for many aspects that I enjoy today including robust health, clarity of mind, good heart and good energy!  I am very grateful that my husband and I have affordable healthcare unlike many of my single female friends who choose to either not pay for healthcare or buy the very expensive catastrophic variety with a huge deductible.   I run five miles every other day, I also run five miles on the elliptical and work out three times a week and swim laps in our pool. Not bad for a “seasoned broad”.  Many friends in my age group and many who are a decade or more older than me are finding themselves in the new world of a different kind of retirement.  Many plan to work well into their seventies.  A good friend who is the sexiest 75 year old woman I know just landed a job in her field after three days of looking.  Although she is grateful, if she had her druthers she’d much prefer to be retired and enjoying her grandchildren.

So why is aging in America such a trial?  Well, if you don’t happen to have a good job (or any job for that matter) it is expensive to live as a senior especially if you need healthcare services.  For those of us just hitting the age where our outside bodies don’t match how good we feel on the inside, we buck up against all of us who have been steeped in the advertising and commercialization of beauty and begin frantically looking for the magic pill that will remove the effects of nature.  Isn’t it a shame that we humans have dedicated so much of our energy and lives to resisting and fighting aging? I met a billionaire a couple of years ago who is in his early 70’s and I remember wondering what the hell his story was because his face looked like it had been ravaged and repaired after an accident or fire because the sheen from the stretching of his skin was so apparent.  He is obsessed with face lifts and has had many in his life.  Really made me pause.

On one of my jogging routes, there is a piece of land that I love running by because of the three really old and glorious cedar trees scattered on it. Yes, cedar trees can be quite resplendent when they’re allowed to grow tall.  I especially love them because of their gnarly trunks and evidence of having weathered many a day and several years in their plot in our hood.  If only we could change our thinking, opinions, judgements and beliefs to view aging humans the same way.  I often think about elders from various cultures in Africa, Australia, the mid and far East as I slather on creams and concoctions to beautify myself and wonder what they are doing with themselves right now in their lives.  Do they worry about looking older? Probably not.  Are they even thinking of themselves? In most cases they’re probably not as self-absorbed.  What would they do if they were in our shoes?

What do you do?

NEXT006 The Dirty Little Secret at the End of the Road

Posted on : 16-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : End of the Road, Featured

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Do you have a loved one in a “skilled nursing facility” or perhaps you may be looking down the end of the road  towards such a place for yourself? Well then you know the “dirty little secret at the end of the road” that most of us don’t talk about and if we do talk about it, the rest of us don’t listen.  It’s just not a very pretty scenario.  And for those of us who have grown up in the U.S., we don’t like to look at many things that aren’t pretty.

Let me be the next one in line to say that a.) I’m going to keep myself very healthy physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially so that I don’t have to depend on outside institutions to take care of me and b.) I’m a huge crusader for creating a different way of aging and living such as small 5-10 home communities with a main dining, living and library room for all to share as well as a separate quarter for nurses and doctors.  I have just enough entrepreneurial blood in me to know that this is one of the next big waves to create and there is a lot of opportunity out there but only have enough energy to create it with friends for ourselves and encourage it to be copied.

Helping a good friend to enter a senior skilled nursing facility this week definitely triggered all my flight or fight responses. She is not happy there, is miserable and wants out. I “knew” from friends and family that have shared such experiences with me in the past that this kind of reaction is par for the course, but it’s one thing to “know” and an entirely other thing to experience it.  Especially when you’re like me and just want everyone to be happy.  I will say that when we went out to the smoking area so that she could enjoy her two cigarettes for the hour (don’t ask…) I met two pretty cool smokers , both about my friend’s age, who were nice and full of information.  My thoughts were confirmed that if anyone could figure out a way around the system, the smokers would.  And they had!  These people seemed happy and had both been at this particular home for about a year.

I know it must be scary to lose the power over yourself physically, mentally and financially by degrees and then to find yourself with what worldly goods you could fit, in a room about as small as the inside of a small suitcase.  Trust me, it’s small but at least it’s private.  I think this is only one way that many end our days because I know others who have created pathways for their end days that fit with who they are and what they are and it is because they were willing to look at the hard truths of life.  Still, it’s one of those dirty little secrets that as a society, especially an American society, we seem to sweep under the rug and not talk about very much.  Now that more and more Boomers are reaching the spot in our lives that we have to pay attention to such things, maybe more voice and impact can be given to how we want to handle the end for ourselves and how we can create a plan.

I, for one, know that I sure want to be in control of the kind of environment and people I surround myself with and enjoy in the twilight years of my life, what about you?

NEXT005 Put Down the Avenger Cape and Mask and Just “Be”….

Posted on : 13-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : End of the Road, Featured



Have you ever found yourself about ready to jump off the proverbial “cliff” complete with your Avenger cape (mine’s red) wafting out from behind you as you peer out from behind your black mask ready to tackle all the problems of someone you care about?  Actually, I may have several sets of capes and masks with various designs to complement the mood of whatever occasion I feel that I must “save”.

I’ve been blogging lately about a good friend of mine who entered hospice care a week ago and thought I was doing pretty well in terms of keeping a good balance between being there for her and being there for me and my life.  And if you compared me to the person I was several years ago and how I would have reacted to this situation with who I am today then you could say that I have been doing a good job.  With that said  however, I am so grateful that I have friends who have known me for awhile who can be there for me and help me to see that I’m not only wearing a rather dashing cape and mask but that I’ve even added a shiny new pair of boots to my clever ensemble!  One friend gently reminded me that there is a whole  hospice (Christopher House in Austin ROCKS!) team who can help my friend and her sons figure out which skilled nursing center that is best for her to relocate to and what “stuff” she wants to take with her as well as which items she wants packed up and stored.  It is more important for me to be there for her as she moves through this stage of her life than for me to get in there and get BUSY (so that really, I don’t have to feel what is going on).    These are precious times that I’ve been given the opportunity to share with my friend and her family and what I really want is to be able to just “be” there with my friend and enjoy  the time we have together.

During our visit today, I wheeled my friend out on to her patio for a cigarette (hey, what are you going to say to someone dying of cancer, “no you can’t smoke because….?!??”) and we sat there studying the mural that had been painted on the wall in front of her room (she’s an artist so I always enjoy hearing her take on things.)  We were trying to place the landscape that had been painted.  She thought it looked like a scene out of West Texas showing the rolling hills and mountains (yep, we have mountains in Texas too!).  There weren’t very many trees painted, but my friend did comment about the few sets of Poplar trees by saying, ‘have you ever noticed that they tend to plant Poplar trees by cemeteries” and I said that I had but I’d also noticed that for some reason people in out of way places, especially those without a whole lot of trees seemed to like line their driveways with Poplar trees from the entrance all the way to their home.  We sat there as she smoked another cigarette and I took another deep breath in appreciation of our friendship and then something on the ground below the mural caught my eye.  It was half of a shell of a little bird’s egg.  It wasn’t quite white but it wasn’t quite any other color I could identify either plus it had strickles (Lynn word meaning a smattering) of brown lines running all over it like little mountain streams.  I picked it up for us to examine.

I’m so glad I that I’d left my cape and mask at home so that I could just hang out with my friend and enjoy our time together instead of worry-warting about what next thing I needed to get done!

Sometimes the best kind of rescuing we can do for another person is just to show up and just “be”.    Where can you just “be” in your life today?

NEXT003 What You Don’t Learn About The Dying Process

Posted on : 09-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : End of the Road, Featured



Turns out there is just a whole lot about dying and living that most of us don’t  learn about in most academic settings.  We tend to learn about the hearty rich part of life and death through our own personal experiences.  One of the best things we can do for each other is to share those kind of experiences. Of course, there is no substitution for the real thing but at least we can create a safe place to explore these mortal topics.

I’ve been blessed with three friends who have allowed me to support them as their days came to an end.  I had never had this experience with my family (thank goodness) partly because everyone is so dispersed that sheer geography gets in the way and partly because we must all be really really lucky!  I’ve written about these friends over the years because it seems that I am still unwrapping gifts and lessons from my time with them.  One of the things I’ve learned about being with someone who is dying, at least as far as pertains to these friends, is to accept that you cannot “fix” them.  That they are going to die and to give them a safe harbor to park their boat and talk about their feelings and thoughts as they ready for their journey home.  It’s such a sacred time right on the edge of this world and the next.  I wonder if this is what babies are trying to tell us about their experience of being born only they don’t have our words yet?

I’m grateful that I’ve cleared away enough of my own inner garbage that I can be there with my friend during this time.  Yesterday during our visitr, her pain level was at about a “6” (1-10) but even more disconcerting was her bi-polar and depression medication not working very well so she was feeling very fragile and very scared.  I’m grateful that we’ve known each other a long time and had talked each other off of many cliffs, so I knew how to talk her down off of this one.  She was worried and sad that she may have offended one of the older CNA’s when she was talking about her son and made a disparaging remark about his confusion and politics which my friend though offended the CNA.  After years of working the 122-steps of AA with my friend, I was able to acknowledge how she felt and that she wanted to make amends where she had done wrong but I was also able to tell her that I was pretty sure that anyone who worked  in this particular hospice setting  that she was in  had probably heard just about everything and was not bothered by it….but even if he was, right now my friend needed to focus on herself and love herself.  Feeling crazy because of the mental meds being off and also being in pain and also in the process of accepting that you’re dying is probably not the best time to rake yourself over the coals because you “may” have said something that offended someone else.  At least it seemed so in my mind.

Some people have asked me how I have been able to show up for this friend day after day, month after month and of course you know I respond with “how can I not?” But even more is that I believe I have been graced with the desire help her. It’s as if there are hundreds of angels on the other side of this earthly veil who are just waiting for us to ask them for help and for us to be willing to be used by them in the process.  Sometimes I feel like I am floating through experiences with the ability to observe what I am going through and wonder how it is happening so smoothly when there really is a big huge chicken s&*t inside  of me who has regularly run away from all kinds of commitments and intimacies in my life.  On the way home from our visit yesterday I put on Zero 7 and cried all the way home.  Cried that my friend is having a tough time right now, cried because I will miss her but also cried because of the searing beauty of life in these moments when we’re asked to expand our hearts.

What we usually don’t learn about the dying process is the outline of love that is filled in by living.

NEXT002 How Death Opens Up The “Present”

Posted on : 07-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : End of the Road



Most of us have heard the reminder about “living in the now” and that the only thing we can really count on is the present moment.  Turns out, these words of wisdom as well as many similar quips are right on.  There is something about being in the presence of a loved one who is dying that really opens up the present of life for me.  Not to sound like “Harold or Maude”  but just to make note of how the shadowy side of life, which is death, certainly has its moments as well.

A very good friend of mine who I’ve known since I was in my early twenties entered hospice care yesterday.  Thank goodness for Hospice and the caregivers who give their time and love to those who have chosen to end their journey of life this way.  This friend of mine has seen me through thick and thin.  From being an absolutely crazy, out of control co-dependent through getting sober off of many things that I used to ingest to help me to get out of all the mounting moments of pain.  When I went to visit my friend this evening, I felt time moving like thick molasses.  She had asked me to grab a few things from her apartment to bring with me which included her nail polish remover. She has always had incredibly beautiful long nails.  I sat there for the first half hour taking the old nail polish off of her nails as we talked about the present, the past and the future.  Just like in meditation, somehow my usual fast moving thoughts had slowed down enough so that I could be fully in the present.  She cried, I cried. We laughed.  When I told her that during my meditation yesterday I just “knew” that she had made this decision, she asked me why I hadn’t told her that she was going down the shoots.  I said, “you are a wonderful, loving lady who is a dear, dear friend but you’re also hard headed as hell and so you had to get here on your own sweet time” and we both laughed and then cried.

She talked about this last year of battling her Lupus and Cancer and how it had felt like she was trying to put round pegs into square holes.  I told her she’d put up quite a good fight.  And reminded her about how many people she has touched and continues to touch.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago she had struck up a conversation with the guy who had delivered flowers to her hospital room and learned that he had her deceased husband’s same first and last name.  They bonded over books very quickly and two week’s later he had chocolate and a teddy bear delivered to her room at the rehab center.  I reminded her about how precious each of these living moments are that we are in now…that these count too, that little miracles continue to pop up all the time if we just notice them.  Like the baby green frog who I startled awake from his safe sleeping post on our coiled up hose the other day. He had been so asleep that I was able to pick him up and spontaneously kiss him on the head.  I put him in the fish pond on top of a lily pad. My friend loved that story. She agreed with me about the precious moments. Like when her major care giver doctor who had been seeing her through chemo had the tough conversation with her about the aggressive cancer, her weak physical condition and helped  her arrive at the decision to enter hospice care.  He hugged her and then cried as he was leaving her room.  She also said after a very tough day of people coming in and out of her room as she readied herself to being moved to hospice she looked up to see the entire Occupational Therapy department who had helped her over the months and years standing in her room to wish her good bye.

Death does suck, don’t get me wrong but I believe that when life gives you a whole cart of manure, there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere.  Love your life’s precious moments. Slow down and let it in.