"Are we the generation that will redefine aging?

Can aging be not just growing older but growing wiser?

Isn't there a little Zen in all of us?

Although 'growing old is not for sissies' this writer hopes that aging well is a real option."

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Poetic State of Mind: a Revolution in Consciousness from the "Me-Generation"

I forget the words she said that day as we were having coffee together. But they were similar to a George Eliot quote I was familiar with: "It is never too late to be who you might have been."

I've loved the idea of that quote all my life, but at seventy it has a hollow ring to it. Sure, we can go back to school or take up ballroom dancing. Hopefully many of us will blossom now. But...

...at this age I like Rilke's quote better: "And then the knowledge comes to me that I have space within me for a second timeless larger life." Yes!

This is not about a radical career change or a marriage or divorce. This is making space within me for that timeless larger life. This is making space for mindfulness.

Of all the ways our generation has redefined aging, it is most powerful in the way we have redefined consciousness. Our minds! We have rediscovered that through becoming aware of the clutter of thoughts in our psyche, we can clear it out, make space, make 'moments' in which we can slow down the endless chatter of the mind. We can make room for that second timeless life. We can acquire spaciousness...

Whew! I love that thought--it's not unlike the idea of being in a poetic state of mind where the flow of life comes into us in such a way that it is both slow and intense...a way in which we can process it and write about it. Or paint it...or sing it.

That's my hope for this on-line journal...that I will slow down long enough to notice how the sunlight shimmers on the blue and white vase on the windowsill in the morning when I wake up....that I will notice the luminosity of last night's snow as I look out the window, and will pause long enough to take in the sweet smell of brewing coffee. Mindfulness will allow me the space to not be repeating the grocery list I need to know later.

And then I can write. That is the hope. Just like in meditation we have the thought and then the space...groceries and the luminous light. Washing the mug and remembering the day I made the mug. Then and Now! I will take in this NOW and make it a special moment.

When I was young I remember how old people always talked about the past. My hope is that our generation--the ME generation--will remember the past, but talk about our lives now, bringing to consciousness the full beauty and the poignancy of each moment. ME-FULNESS can transform to MIND-FULNESS....and out of that, a larger kinder life can be born. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Heaps of Hope

Every January I do some version of this: I vow to drink less, eat more leafy greens, exercise more and allow myself time for creative solitude: “Me time.” Sounds good, right?

And every year it kind of works. At least for a while…and something abides throughout the year. But…

…when I get on Face Book and see my friend vacationing in Morocco or starting her new business proving the medicinal values of mushrooms and making money at it, I wonder if my small efforts at self-improvement are worth feeling good about? It matters too, that a couple of my friends were diagnosed with cancer this year. It matters that another friend died. What is the story I’ll be telling myself this year?

I want to take a deep breath and hit the refresh button. I want to hear the whoosh of my text message sent off to the Universe. I want to know that the Universe will respond in a timely manner and I want my message to be fresh and full of the new freedom I feel inside.

I sense something in the collective psyche that says “You don’t have to compare yourself anymore…there is no “one size fits all road map” that you need to follow.

Basically, I am unsubscribing from SHOULD-ING on myself. I will eat leafy greens when I feel like it, and I know that one glass of wine is just perfect with dinner, not two. (But that’s me.) It’s true that I’m not great at yoga but I’m good enough at it to do it occasionally. My favorite exercise is still dog walking…and I know I won’t make any money on blogging, but I’m still going to do it. And I refuse to eat mushrooms that look like they belong underground with ringworms and earthworms.

So it may be small potatoes that I’ve started a blog this year or that I’m finally feeling healthy again, but for me it’s BIG. I can easily take time to turn solitude to creativity, and when I think of the choice for fear or for love, fear loses every time. It’s not that I don’t care about what’s happening in the world or the precipitousness of my age, but rather that it’s taken me to the age of seventy not to care any more about worrying and comparing.  Let them travel and eat fungi--! It’s my freedom that I’m staring at, and I’ve got heaps of hope for this new year.

If you're interested in an astrological reading or a counseling session, either by phone or in person contact me at elizabethspring@aol.com and check out website: www.elizabethspring.com



Sunday, December 24, 2017

Light Notes: Aging Gracefully: 5 Things I Learned from my Dog

I was feeling a little glum on this gray morning and I looked down at Sweetie looking up at me and snapped a photo. Wow...she has such an honest face. She looks as if I could ask her anything and she'd have some good advice for me.

 "So what do you have to say?" I asked her. We did a little mental telepathy, which is the way dog's talk to humans--if we humans can only listen quietly.

 "You are worried about getting older."  she said.

I nodded and stroked her head.  "So tell me, my sweet dog, how do I manage this getting old? Can I age gracefully?"

She jumped down from my lap and circled the kitchen table first searching for morsels, then came back and sat right in front of me.

"First" she told me: "Stop worrying about how you look...you know, all those times I see you making big sighs in front of the mirror." She stroked her paw across her face  a few times as if to show me how to wipe away anything unsavory there. Her fur stuck out in all directions and she looked silly but her eyes stared straight at me and I thought I saw what looked like a grin. I could hear her again: "If you have a good feeling inside it will show on your face. See? When in doubt, tilt your head slightly and show your teeth." She showed me her teeth and I laughed. That's a smile I noted to myself. Yes, I thought, smiles are truly the best make-up.

"Second," she said, "Take naps...or at least curl up and get a good 'pooze' in the middle of the day.

"A pooze?" I asked.

"Yes, that's a cross between a snooze and a pause." She rolled over and mimicked the doggy pooze with all legs and head raised in the air first, and then curled tightly into her.

I thought of how dogs seem to know this resting yoga posture quite well and I'd been practicing it at 4 PM most days lately. I can't nap, so I call it "flattening" for a half hour.

"Third," she insisted, as she jumped down and did the downward dog pose: "Plan something good to do each day--even a walk around the block can be just enough. Make it a scratch and sniff walk though...stop by a friend's house or the little shop down the street or the high place on the hill to take in a good view. Leave your unique signature wherever you go." She wagged her tail to go out.

I knew about her  need for "doggy signatures" but I didn't quite understand this. Maybe taking photos along the way or talking to strangers would do... I needed to ponder this more.

"Fourth," she added, as she looked at her dog bowl and licked her chops: "Eat and drink something that makes you feel good. If you think about eating tasty food it will be good for you too. It's lazy eating that makes you sick or fat. Upgrade to real food!"

Did I see another grin? Her needs were simple. She didn't complain and she lived instinctually--she took a 'pooze' when needed and always jumped into the nearest laps to give and get love. Hm.... 

It looked like our telepathy was coming to an end, but then she rallied: "Do something different whenever you can." She jumped into my lap again and nuzzled her head into my armpit...she could be very intimate at times. "You're getting a bit boring sometimes," she implied. I know she didn't mean to insult me. Perhaps I'll take up tap dancing or ballet or teach a class again.

At seventy? Yes, at seventy...why not? And when I write next time I'll go deeper.... beyond the light notes." I pondered; feeling self critical. I'll get beyond talking to my dog. I let out a long sigh.

 Sweetie turned her big brown eyes and looked at me--"This isn't enough?" her eyes beseached me.

Guilt swept over me like a dark cloud. I was wrong. This was enough! Love in any form is always good enough. I kissed her on her snout and walked to my writing table, letting the cloud pass...grateful for deep conversations like this. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

At Seventy We Transcend Our Natal Birth Charts"

“At Seventy I am more than ever myself….”  May Sarton

All our lives our astrological birth charts have a strong hold on us. However an interesting thing happens after the second Saturn Return at age 59! Our charts have less of a hold on us as we become the conductor of our own inner orchestra.

We may not even notice this gradual change, but because we know ourselves, and because of something I can only call grace, we gain more free will….and a certain sweetness often enters our lives: “unbidden grace”.

We listen to the sometimes conflicting voices within and make better choices. We know ourselves more: the inner slippery slopes of Pluto as well as the risks of Jupiterian “too muchness”. We walk with Saturn and do what needs to be done, instead of trying to escape.  It happens gradually of course, and seventy is not set in stone. It could be sixty or even earlier for you….but as an astrologer of 35 years I’ve noticed this happening with my clients and myself.

  As Tracy Marks writes in the November 2017 edition of Mountain Astrologer: “An important principle of depth astrology is that we can transcend the apparent fixity of our charts. We carry our natal charts within us all our lives, but as we develop a center within ourselves and learn to trust our inner guidance, we can be less at the mercy of the stresses indicated by our natal planets….as we make choices that consider our conflicting needs, we become the puppeteer rather than the puppets in our own cosmic drama.”

Perhaps this is grace.  Have you felt the subtle contentment that sneaks up on you at the most ordinary of times?

“I do not understand

the mystery of grace

only that it meets us where we are

and does not leave us

where it found us.”

Anne Lamott

Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter Thoughts; Do you know the most Taboo Word? Widow.

Last night at a party a few of us were talking about how many women lost their husbands this year—then in a whisper one of them said: “I simply don’t know how I’d survive.”  She looked me straight in the eye almost as if she thought I knew how it could be done…as if I knew! It was a question I’d also pondered.

My friend Jane would know what to do. She reminds me that painful times of transition are like the stage of transition in childbirth—these are the hardest moments between labor and pushing. “You can’t do anything other than wait and endure” she said with a long pregnant pause.  So I guess that’s it: you trust the process and stop trying to take control.

I agree….but still….I wanted to know what I needed to ‘shore up’ to make me strong for those times…as if one could prepare.  “You can’t ever know when things will change…” she added, and I thought of how she had to ride through sudden waves of change in her life. But she survived.

The idea of one’s partner dying and becoming single again looms large for many of us—we’re grateful for our lives yet we  look at our single friends with envy because they’ve had practice navigating the emotions of going to bed alone and waking up to a day without a partner. We’ve forgotten the rhythm of the single life.

After too many conversations about this, it appears that the bottom line is that it’s not about how much money one has, or if one has enough friends, or if one is healthy enough or wise enough to not have this catastrophe sweep over one like a flood…it happens and one must endure. One waits and gradually moves into the next chapter of our life.

“We learn how to do it when we have to do it” my friend said. Until then, I’d say I need to care for my Soul. To nourish my interior life. I see this writing is a way of doing paying attention to the whisperings of my Soul and a way of asking questions of my complacency. And I wonder, how could I do this living better now?

Perhaps we need to keep having this conversation. What do you think? For me, living better now means making good choices…shall I write today? Have lunch with a friend? Clean house and cook a good meal? Make pots or do an astrology reading? What do you do--especially in times of transition?


This blog was started when Saturn moved into Capricorn at the time of the New Moon. New Moons are good times for planting the seeds of new beginnings. But Saturn never hands anything over like a piece of cake—that’s Jupiter’s domain. Saturn demands work, discipline and perseverance…and rewards for efforts in the long run.

 We’ll see…if you like this blog I hope you’ll put your name in the box on the side to get it as an email. It’s such encouragement. Thank you~!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Couch


When I was ill, getting past 4:00 PM everyday was dreadful. That’s the time my blood pressure would rise and the anxiety that went with it. Four PM was the time I needed to rest after a busy day—it was the time to put my feet up and unwind—but instead of ‘resting,’ my blood pressure would rise, and a gray depression descended along with it. It felt lonely. My body was doing something internally that felt like a betrayal.

I’d meditate, or put on good music, or try to read something inspiring and yet it would be so bad I’d occasionally have to talk to the doctor. (It took the doctor three years to find the right blood pressure medication.) But still, come 5:00 PM all would be well again as I rose from...the couch.

Being sick meant being on the couch.

I’ve always had a dis-taste for the idea of being a ‘couch potato’ and for this time of day even when I was young…and it seems worse on gray cold days. Do you know the feeling? The earliest poem I remember writing, at age thirteen, was called “The Hour that Strikes Four.” But back then I didn’t have the Couch. Maybe it was hormones…

Or is it because of low blood sugar that time of day? Or is it a fleeting depression?  Now that the blood pressure is finally controlled I still look at the clock as it approaches four… and I look at that couch with apprehension.

But I go there. I do it. It’s a new ‘practice’ of mine to go to the old painful spot and dare to be there again just as I used to be…and each time I’m surprised! Despite how tired I might be, that feeling isn’t there. And each time I practice I imagine that the couch and I are becoming friends again.

Do you know this feeling? How have you made it better?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Affairs of the Heart

“What’s that?” I asked as a needle was inserted into my belly. “You’re going to be fine, my dear,” he said as I looked up into brown eyes hovering inches above mine. “Blood thinners and anti-arythmics to steady your heart from the afib…”

My first view into the doctor’s eyes from the emergency room table was full of gratitude. The next two visits they were less than heroic. But now I take the right meds, every day, three times a day.

This was the beginning of an illness I’ll have the rest of my life. Until then I’d been healthy and young…

Until then…

Illness makes one feel old and different from others. But being seventy itself isn’t an automatic induction into old age—yes, it’s a shock to hear yourself saying “I’m seventy!” –but unless you’ve been ill, it’s likely you’re still feeling quite young.

It has taken me five years to come back to health again—and to writing. Before the ER visits I’d just finished writing 4 books. These daily endeavors took me through my early sixties--but perhaps it was the strained discipline of writing and of  having ‘glued myself to the computer seat’ at seven am that brought about heart problems.

A lesson learned—I hope. This time writing will be interrupted by generous sprints of dog walking among other things…like tending to the pottery shop and clay studio (connected to the house) and by doing astrological readings (my real work)… but most of all, tending to the real affairs of the heart such as spending time with my husband, Harry, and daughter Sarah, her husband, Shane, and their two girls, Greta and Tallulah. 

As Harry inscribes on one of his large pottery bowls: “Love is the Only Ingredient that Really Matters.”

Monday, December 18, 2017

Aging and Sage-ing; Ponderings for the Introvert Within

I took Sweetie on her favorite walk through the woods this morning; the deep December snow was not glistening but more like a Currier and Ives print. If  you’re old enough to know what those Christmas illustrations were—of  horse drawn sleighs and solitary men walking home at dusk against a moody sky—then  then these ramblings of a ‘woman of age’ might just be your cup of tea.

Younger folks are welcome to read of course—aren’t we all curious of each other’s interior lives? Perhaps these ponderings are simply for the introvert within; any age will do.

 In my late twenties I was a fond reader of the diarist, May Sarton, who chronicled her way into my Soul with her daily journaling of an ordinary-extraordinary life. She was an Elder; tough, sensitive and observant of the simple things in life; nuances and synchronicities did not slip by the power of her pen. I devoured her writings and grew up by learning how to observe the late afternoon sun dancing on the walls…and the way the light fell upon Christmas narcissus blooming in winter.

 Deep wisdom?  No, but I began to find the sacred in the commonplace; I began to find a resonance between what was around me and what was within me…I was beginning to notice my Soul.

Today in my morning dog walk I brought a Christmas ornament with me to adorn a small solitary pine tree standing humbly beside the path. Someone had started a good tradition there and I would add my red bulb. As I placed it carefully on a branch I could imagine a lonely walker finding the happy display of human celebration on the spindly pine among the deep wildness of the woods. I could almost hear the echo of a child-like thank-you; and I thought of Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.” 

The snow crunched under my feet as I returned home. The Sunday blues had left a shadow on my heart yesterday that I didn’t want to carry into today. This was a fresh start; watching Sweetie’s tail wag like a windshield wiper as she pranced along the path was the perfect cure for such a malaise. I would leave her red sweater on the counter when I returned home to remind me to come back tomorrow…she would take me where I needed to go…

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

My purpose in writing this 'journal' is to help me, and possibly you, thrive in the "third act" of life and to find grace in aging I hope it will help us seek out 'the poetic place' inside of us that finds meaning and joy in the simple ordinary things of life. I will bring in my experiences as an astrologer and therapist as well as simple observations--often gained in dog walking or pre-dawn morning musings. I value and appreciate any comments you may have...leave them here, or write to me at: elizabethspring@aol.com   or visit my website at: www.elizabethspring.com