The Enthusiast

We do love new beginnings.  Times when we get to wipe away what was left undone and truly focus on the future.  Perhaps it is my personality style.  I recently took the ENNEAGRAM Test online (http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/ – cost 10 bucks) to discover many things I already knew about my personality, but also to be the recipient of how to improve me tools – the part that offers suggestions on how to become healthier.  This is a part of the personal coaching in which I am investing for 2011.  Part of my personality (The Enthusiast) is that I love to plan and look forward to the future.  Sometimes that beats the heck out of doing the work for today.  Regardless, it is an excellent test to get feedback on your strengths and your not-so-strongs.  No judgment involved, just an follow-up report that can offer you ideas and suggestions for becoming a healthier personality.  I will take that any and every time I can get it.

One of the parts of my personality style is that I’m impulsive.  The report suggested that I attempt to stop acting on my impulses, but to notice when I am feeling them.  I’m impulsive when it comes to signing up for online classes, buying books, looking for the next miracle makeup or skin cleaning regime, buying clothes, and looking for (and purchasing) shoes for my feet that don’t work so well anymore.  Hammer toes and numbness.  Such fun.  I realized some time ago that I’m not really looking for new shoes.  I am seeking new feet.  So for this past week, I have been particularly aware of my impulse drives.  I would suggest (to me) that I begin writing them down much like one can keep a food diary.  I will keep an impulse diary.  I imagine that these impulses come from other empty spots inside, but I don’t want to get into that today.  Just be aware, and don’t act.  Regarding such impulsiveness, I have read that it is a great idea to leave credit cards at home so that one has to truly decide they want to use one instead of seeing that purse that I MUST have, and grabbing it on the spot.  Trouble with that idea is that I do much of my impulse buying online.  I suppose I could shred the credit cards but that gives me such shivers, I do not want to think about it.  Apparently, I have a long way to go with  my impulsive behavior.

 

Another healthier route for me is to stop answering and fixing things for everyone.  I did begin practicing this several years ago.  It is my nature to jump in and fix everything.  I remember an argument I had with my middle son when he was in high school.  He screamed, “you can’t fix everything!”  Why do I still remember that?  I’m sure we had many arguments, but that is one of those that stands out distinctly.  He was right.  What I have also discovered is that I no longer  want to fix everything.  When others have problems and difficulties, it does not help them to grow when I jump in (with either experience or inexperience) and save.  I can suggest if I so wish, but not do.  Therein is the important point.  Saving vs. rescuing.  If you happen upon my blog semi-regularly, you will see this theme emerge semi-regularly.  As parents, friends, siblings, children, we don’t help people when we continue to save them.  They do not discover their own unique abilities to solve their problems by having us continue to do that for them.  Even though my belief in god (or a higher power) is regularly challenged, I do believe that the relationship (if we choose to have one) offers us the experience of the perfect parent – there to call on for help if we choose to have belief, but not to step in and save us directly.  Unconditional love, but not a fix-all parent.  We are allowed to fall on our faces as many times as we want or as many times as happens, or as many falls as life hands us, but we must learn to get up and face out in the morning.  We must learn to overcome our own problems.  Do our children get to experience their consequences when we save or fix for them?

There were quite a few more lessons in the report, but these are lessons that I will read throughout this year, use in my personal coaching experience to overcome the bricks and mortar that I build in my pathway.  I will keep you apprised of the accomplishments and setbacks of this experience as I stumble along this new path I have planned for myself.  In addition I am working through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I believe the two experiences will go hand in hand, and I hope eventually to teach The Artist’s Way in my UU fellowship. Most of these plans have to do with “unblocking” my writing so that, in the last 1/3 of my life, I can become prolific.  Which is very much what I want.

 

I ask this question a lot – what are your plans for 2011?  You might not be an enthusiast, and I can hear many groans out there.  What is the point of creating resolutions?  Just to disappoint yourself because you won’t accomplish them?  In the 12 step program, we advise that you keep getting back in the saddle.  Once you find out that you’ve fallen off, get back on.  Don’t judge, criticize, berate, argue, or otherwise abuse yourself.  What’s the point?  If you are like most people I know, you do a pretty good job of that without extra effort.  Simply get back in the saddle.  Ooops – I haven’t exercised for 2 months.  Go do it.  Don’t grab a donut.  Grab your walking shoes, and just go.  Don’t get defensive, mad, sad, or fatter.  Don’t think, just do.  Perhaps that would have been a better Nike ad.  Don’t think, just do.

 

I was chatting with my brother last night who has rather severe back pain.  He’s a tiny little thing, so it isn’t weight related pain.  I asked if he stretched regularly.  No.  He keeps meaning to do it the first thing in the morning to warm up for the day.  I said, don’t put it in that kind of category.  Anytime you feel the pain, stretch.  We went through a few.  You lift something and feel the pain? Drop and do a few stretches.  Take better care of you.  If that is your new year’s resolution, decide how you want to do it.  Do it before you go to bed.  Or do it at lunch.  Or at a 10:00 break.  The important thing is to develop the habit, see the results, and become more motivated.  Don’t think, just do.

 

Another story – I have a good friend who is occasionally verbally abused by her friend.  She was relating to me her conversation of how she told him in an equally verbally abusive conversation that clearly that she wasn’t going to put up with it anymore.  It wasn’t going to happen another time.  I asked her what were the repercussions?  How would she stop it?  She seemed confused at the idea.  It simply isn’t enough to say, “this won’t happen again”.  There must be consequences.  End the relationship?  If that is too much, take a break from it for a specific time?  Even more deeply, get some help as to why you put up with such an abusive person?  Everything has consequences.  For 2011, think about the consequences of not caring enough for you.

 

Here’s to the new year, and my being the Enthusiast.  I have enough enthusiasm for both you and me.  Want to play?  Make some plans.  Write them down.  Reach a little higher than you think you can get.  It’s all up to you.  I can encourage if you will play.

Advertisements

Review of “A Woman’s Guide to Great Sex after 50: Getting Your Mind, Body, and Relationship Ready for Pleasure” – BY: PEPPER SCHWARTZ, PHD A Vibrant Nation Health Gui

I am delighted to report that I found this report fascinating and encouraging.  Dr. Schwartz has covered all of the angles in creating and maintaining a healthy sex life for women (and men) past their 50th birthday.  I was curious when I began to see if she would be all inclusive to the many options which women have, and was excited to see that she did exactly that, covering masturbation, later in life gender choice changes, toys, diet, and exercise.

Having had many conversations with my close friends about the way sex changes as we get older, I was gratified to learn that for many, it does get better.  Dr. Schwartz doesn’t dodge the issues of body image or health problems.  There is some glossing of the “average” woman in her 50’s and how good “she” feels about her life, but I took this to mean that the things which Dr. Schwartz writes indicates how possible it is for women to be satisfied their sex lives.  She goes on to delve into the prospect of lowered libido for so many reasons, each reason well presented and researched, and how to approach that “problem” to enhance one’s sexual experiences.

I like the idea that there is one report which I can read that will detail the many separate articles for which I would have to search – in magazines, academic journals, online articles. This is an easy read that gives me the information I can seek on my own, and wonder about the validity of it.  Dr. Schwartz’s background removes that concern.

I particularly agree with the exercising component.  If you don’t love your body then it does become hard for someone else to do so.  The endorphins I get from exercise do more for my mind and sexual health than anything I have ever tried.  I have been on Paxil for too many years to recall, and I believe I will be weaning in the next few months just to see if that makes a difference.

I also have girlfriends who have opted out of long time marriages, seeking their own personal fulfillment or simply getting out of a bad situation, who I hope will find the part about dating after 50 a great encouragement.  One particular friend has chosen to throw her lot in with an emotionally unavailable man because dating is so difficult.  Remembering and reinforcing that it takes work to accomplish any goals which are worthwhile is an important part of Dr. Schwartz’s study.

Kudos to you, Pepper Schwartz, for boiling it down into an easily digestible guide which will hold appeal for so many women over 50.  I learned from it.  Have sent it to my husband, and will suggest it for many (male and female) friends.  Well done.  Dr. Schwartz is a wonderful writer, and an authority on this important subject.  I don’t plan to give up sex as long as I’m breathing, and I will embrace many of her ideas for getting the romance back.

FYI – for those of you interested (and all of you should be) here is the link to purchase the guide as well as a free report on vaginal dryness.

A Woman’s Guide to Great Sex After 50: Getting Your Mind, Body and Relationship Ready for Pleasure
Product Link:
http://www.vibrantnation.com/store/great-sex-after-50-a-womans-guide-to-getting-her-mind-body-and-relationship-ready-for-pleasure-php/

Associated Free Report: Top 5 Treatments for Vaginal Dryness and Dyspareunia (Sexual Intercourse Pain)
Free Report Link: http://www.vibrantnation.com/freemiums/top-5-treatments-for-vaginal-dryness-and-dyspareunia-sexual-intercourse-pain/

End of the year 2010 meanderings

Here we are.  I’ve gotten through each day just planning on getting through each day.  My most recent challenge which I have accepted is to work The Artists’ Way.  What a great experience this is.  The first requirement is to write 3 morning pages each day.  Just streaming of consciousness writing.  Don’t plan, just write.  What has emerged is truly wonderful.  I am having thoughts – and accepting them – about changes which I have fought vigorously.  I am healing in areas of my life (if not my feet) that have not previously occurred.  I am accepting myself and my drive with this writing, learning about myself, and wondering what will be the next chapter.

I know I’m struggling with aging.  Beauty and attractiveness have always been part of my mode of operation.  Even when I didn’t believe it was completely true, I knew that I could dress up and clean up and make it work.  I have gotten to the age where the 2nd looks are not happening, I’m arriving at the age of the “invisible woman” (unless I get loud) and the visual nods of approval are not coming my way often (except from loved ones and friends). I’m adjusting to the last year having taken its toll on me.  But I’m getting better with it.  If only friends and family tell you that you are lovely, isn’t that the most loving and important people to care?  Truly it must be.

Back to The Artist’s Way.  IF you desire to have your creativity unlocked, please pursue this book.  You notice I did not say read it.  Pursue it.  Internalize it.  Make it part of your daily habit to know YOU better than you know anyone else.  The changes which come to you in life – be it in physical, mental, emotional, intellectual form – can be embraced and accepted.  I am practicing loving me, and in association, loving my family and dealing with my problems in a more directed and self considering manner than ever before.

Additionally, for the new year, I am hiring a personal coach.  A woman I have known for years who I am aware is extremely talented at what she does.  I am investing in me.  This will not be an inexpensive expense.  I will have to budget my money and monitor what I spend.  I will have to be financially frugal and fiscally responsible.  I will have to say no to the random, addicted purchase, and use what I have.  I believe that this will be worth the investment.  I have goals to accomplish, I’m 56 years old, and I want this next chapter to move forward with purpose and dynamic action.  I want to live hard until I die.  And this is my plan on how to accomplish it.

Today’s writing is almost a “stream of consciousness” writing, much like my morning pages.  But it feels good to do this, and I hope it feels good to you to read it.  Invest in you for the new year.  If that means one yoga class a week, or a new pair of walking shoes, or a makover, or going back to school.  Live hard.  Love hard. Do it for you for 2011.