An Invitation

You can create a life you love… right here, right now.

You’re going to work with the raw material of your life… exactly as it is.

Start with a willingness to practice creating moments of
Peace, Joy, Empowerment, And love… in each day.

What would that look like?
What is peace? Joy? Empowerment? Love?
How does one live those qualities?

Peace is a deep inner quiet we each have within us, that can be accessed anywhere, any
time, by briefly pausing, breathing deeply and allowing one’s self to be still.

Joy is the exuberant feeling that comes from being aware and awake to the small miracles
and wonder of life in each moment.

Empowerment is recognizing one’s ability to take action, and taking action.

Love is making a choice in this moment to support one’s divine potential or that of
another with kindness and compassion. Love is not an adjective, it is a verb.

You can create a life you love by bringing these qualities to the circumstances of your life
as they are now. All you need is a sincere “yes” to yourself… and a daybook…

A daybook can be on your phone, I-pad, computer. It can be a big beautiful journal or a
little notepad that can be carried easily in a pocket or purse. It can be a graphic journal
where you draw instead of write.

Each day just take a moment to record:

When today did I create a moment of peace?
When today did I create a moment of joy?
When today did I create a moment of empowerment?
When today did I create a moment of love?

As you begin doing this right here, right now… your life will change and you will begin
creating a life you love.

Posts made in June, 2013

Trusting Life

“ . . . Human beings have forgotten what they came here for.  With all of the stimulation outside of ourselves we have lost sight of the Beloved, our creator, and have lost ourselves as a result . . . We have the answers within us, but it takes incredible discipline and hard work to gain back those abandoned gifts we were given as a birthright. We are each a part of our divine maker and creation itself, and when we accept that divine connection, we have begun upon the path of enlightenment.” –Christy Turlington,  Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice

Peace, joy, empowerment, and love thrive when we are able to see the value in life’s difficulties. In the face of suffering, the question can always be asked, “If this is my teacher, what can I learn?

This kind of openness brings us to the realization that we have a relationship with life. And if we are willing to fully engage with what life hands us, over time we experience expansion and evolution. Though we may be surprised and confused at what shows up, we can gradually learn to trust our lives, even as we hold the mystery of it all.  Trials become one of life’s most spiritual opportunities, holding precious gifts.

Often it is our trials that throw open the doors of our hearts to the arrival of the Divine.

A broken heart can be an open heart.

One Saturday morning when I was 16, I received the crushing news that my father had been killed in a car accident teaching driver’s education that morning.

A river of pain that felt as forceful as the current of The Snake River, near my home, thrashed through my body.  I felt crazy with grief and ran from the house screaming.

It had been the student’s first drive.  They were on a country road outside of town surrounded by potato fields.  Neither the 14-year-old driver, nor my father, who was in the passenger’s seat, saw the large farm truck coming toward my father’s side of the car at an intersection.

scan0001My father, a jovial man with a broad brown face, soft green eyes, and a mischievous smile revealing a space between his top front teeth, often covered his bald head with a dapper hat. He clothed his short stout body in snazzy suits or fishing or ski gear on the weekends. He joked a lot and loved to have conversations with people wherever he went.

We loved each other unabashedly, often walking for hours together –  talking and sharing.  We skied together, camped together, shopped together.  He was a calm center in the middle of the turbulent storm that had become my life – always encouraging me, believing in me, and winking at me across the room.

Now, both of my parents were gone. My mother had died eight years before in the same month. It felt like my foundation in life had been ripped out from under me.  Those first horrible hours after the news I longed to have that river of pain swallow me whole into the dark shadows of oblivion, carrying me away from what felt like the impossible task of going on with my life.

But in Psalms it talks about “Peace . . . like a river.”  Where could I ever find those waters?

scan0002I basically slept walked through life the next six months until life bought me a gift.   Fred Miller was a humble science teacher in Driggs, Idaho, who hiked the trails of the surrounding mountains several times a week during the summer as he led the youth at summer camps on hikes.  A survivor of childhood polio he walked with a long pole and slight limp as he hiked miles over the rugged terrain in eastern Idaho and into Wyoming with his young hikers.

I had met him at girls’ camp.  When we hiked with “Brother Miller,” as he was known to the youth, we paused to taste licorice plant and watermelon snow. We learned what the continental divide is, and how to treat a blister or a bee sting. We rested on large rocks next to the creeks of rushing clear mountain water as he taught us about forgiveness, love, adversity, and sacrifice.  He was a fountain of spiritual truth.  Most importantly, when you were around Brother Miller, with his leathery brown skin, piercing blue eyes, and gentle smile, you felt as if he could see all that was precious and good about you no matter what.

And so the summer after my father’s death he invited me on a special hike — a three day pack trip into the Alaska Basin, a lush, gorgeous Alpine Meadow at the base of the Grand Tetons with five other teenagers, four adult married couples, and himself.

On the second day of the hike, after a rigorous climb up into the backwoods of the Tetons, we all slept under a midnight blue mountain sky alive with thousands of bright white, twinkling stars. By noon the next day we arrived at the meadow that is known as Alaska Basin.  A lush covering of green stretched before us filled with purple Lupine, red Indian Paint Brush, and wild Sunflowers.  The sky was a stunning azure and the jagged peaks of the snow covered Tetons gleamed before us in stunning clarity — America’s own version of the Swiss Alps.

It was quiet in the meadow except for the call of a hawk overhead and the gurgling of a mountain brook running Grand-Teton-National-Park-United-Statesdown from the mountains. We hikers were exhausted and also in awe at the stunning tableau before our eyes.  Incredibly, I ended up alone with Brother Miller for about fifteen minutes.  It was fifteen minutes that would change the rest of my life.

There I was at mere 17, struggling with the meaning of life, trying to make sense out of life’s most difficult mystery – why do people suffer? How was it, that not even out of high school, I no longer had parents?  My question for my mountain teacher was simple, yet universal in the face of the devastating adversity I faced, “Why?”

I trusted Brother Miller and looked up to him so much I imagined he knew most everything.  So I was surprised when very candidly he said quietly “I don’t know,” and then fell silent. We sat together in contemplative communion. His pure care for me was tangible, as this wise master seemed to be searching himself for some set of words that wouldn’t fail me in this crucial moment.

Eventually he turned toward me with a tender gaze and stretched out his arm and with a wide sweep motioned to those Tetons, that meadow, and that sky and said, “What I do know, is that God created this, and knowing that teaches me we can trust Him.”  He also assured me that, though we can’t immediately see it, there is purpose in our pain.

Just as important as his words, was the feeling his words created. Not even realizing how tense and braced against life my body had been for the past six months, I immediately experienced a wave of release. My whole being felt the greater truth of what he said — that there’s so much we don’t understand  as we face adversity . . . there is always something bigger happening that we can’t see. This is the mystery of life and that mystery is not something we solve as much as it is something we live through.

Sitting in the palm of the beautiful and unfathomable creation on that mountain, I began to understand that even with the trials, there is a natural order to our lives even when it feels entirely unnatural.  Most importantly, I realized I wasn’t alone. I knew sitting on that mountain that Brother Miller was physical, tangible, evidence of God’s love for me.

I left those mountains trusting my life a little more.  Ultimately, my broken heart had brought me to the Table of the Divine. I began to have a sense of an eternal flow in which I could allow myself to be carried. And I could also row as needed.

Living life as a creative process requires patience and presence within each moment.  Our progress takes on a life of its own as we practice not only surrender, but resourcefulness and curiosity in the face of difficulty.  We are all creative beings and we exercise our creativity and our power with each mindful choice we make. And life’s great wonder opens to us as we are willing to abide its mystery.

Now, remembering these searing and soothing experiences of my 16th year of life from the perspective of my 60th year, I feel as if all the parts of my life – both shadow and light, have all been circumscribed into one great whole.  And it is a beautiful creation, a creation I can humbly call, a life I love!

All those years ago, as I left the Alaska Basin with Fred Miller and the rest of the hikers, we entered difficult terrain. Our descent down the mountain was over jagged rocky trails glistening with bronze mica, and craggy weathered pines. The harsh landscape of the downward descent was stunning.  Below us we could see the Snake River winding its way home.

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Joy and Suffering

Joy and Suffering

“Joy drinks pure water. She has sat with the dying and attended many births. She denies nothing. She is in love with life, all of it, the sun and the rain, and the rainbow. . . Although Joy is spontaneous, she is immensely patient. . . She knows there are obstacles on every path and that every moment is the perfect moment.  At times joy is elusive – she seems to disappear. . . yet she waits for us. Her desire to walk with us is as great as our longing to accompany her.” – J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

A creative relationship with life begins by meeting life right where it is.  This is where the raw material to create a life we love is found.  When we get stuck in the mud of resistance, our progress stalls and misery persists.

surrender1Acceptance, on the other hand, frees us.  Accepting simply means acknowledging and meeting “what is.” By facing reality we are empowered.  We can surrender, which is not “giving up”, but rather “giving over.”

When we surrender our difficulties at the Table of the Divine, we trust in that which is greater than us and we access power and wisdom beyond our own capabilities. We sense we are not alone in our suffering, that others have trodden the path before us, and others will after us.

We come to realize that joy and suffering are part of the intricate dance of life, both parts of the same whole. Without suffering we wouldn’t really know what joy is. We can learn to be present with our suffering in a way that actually fills us with peace, and adds a poignancy and richness to life.

As I mentioned in my last chapter, many years ago, in one of life’s interesting and divine coincidences, my older 993000_10200090796618353_1926097008_nsister and I became pregnant at about the same time – she with her last child, me with my first.  We both had daughters.  My sister, Brenda Joy, named her daughter Roma Joy.  Because our daughters spent so much time together I witnessed my sister discovering the first signs of a degenerative brain disease Roma had. It would be years before she actually received the diagnosis–Leukodstrophy.  Her type was particularly rare, and usually showed up in males. Her life expectancy was age 14.

Roma was well past this age when she was finally diagnosed, but was already living with its affects.  Those included mental impairment, difficulties with speech, and numerous painful physical problems.

Roma was named after her grandmother, our mother, Roma Gibbs Smith, who was born in 1914 and died of cancer in 1963.  Roma and Roma had much in common.   Roma Smith was a nurse who lived to help others.  Roma Williams spent much of her life as a patient, yet had the amazing ability to lift, influence, entertain, and bring joy to those who were her caregivers and friends. She spoke Spanish to some of the people who worked with her — no one really knows how she learned Spanish, or how she even had the capacity to.  She made funny jokes and greeted people by name.

From Roma Joy we learned the truth that joy is not a fleeting happiness we chase, but rather it is a way of being, a way of meeting life, no matter what.  Both Roma Joy and her grandmother Roma were joyful people who loved life, loved their fellow beings on this planet and, remarkably, accepted with divine grace and even times of cheerfulness the diseases that ultimately took their lives.

But Roma Joy was also like her mother Brenda Joy. I witnessed Brenda embracing what life had put on her plate by how she responded to Roma’s health issues for 30 years.

From the beginning she celebrated Roma’s life just as it was. The only aspect of it I ever heard her complain IMG_0014.jpg_about is if Roma was in pain or if she felt Roma wasn’t getting the care she needed.  If that happened, watch out!  Instead she lived life to the fullest with her daughter.  She was undaunted in finding Roma help, learning all she could about her condition.  She also spent a lot of time at Wal-Mart pushing Roma in the wheelchair that eventually became her mobility. There, Roma with her cute crooked smile and friendly nature, made friends she remembered by name later on.  It also gave Brenda a chance to keep Roma stocked up with cute clothes, hair ornaments, jewelry and the latest Barbie.  While she could, she took her on trips and to movies.  She cared for her, advocated for her and found resources for her on her own since Roma’s father died when she was young.

Brenda never saw Roma as a burden.  She saw her as one of the greatest blessings of her life.  She rejoiced in it and entered that sacred place of transformation that comes from embracing what is.  And as she did, Brenda continued to grow spiritually and emotionally.  Of course there were tears, of course she got tired, there were times she was bitter, not for herself, but because of Roma’s increased suffering as she aged.  But she accepted the plate life had set at her table and because of that, she found joy in Roma Joy.

Dear friends, there is always an excuse for not coming to the banquet of life.  We don’t like what’s being served, it’s too far to walk, and we don’t want to sit next to the person whose place card is next to us.  But in that kind of resistance we miss life; we miss the joy that comes in showing up for what we are given and discovering its hidden delights. Both Brenda and Roma came to the banquet – one in a wheel chair, the other pushing. And they both found joy despite their difficulties.

Brenda Joy has always been an example to me of how to create a life you love, no matter what.

Life isn’t happily ever after.  With two of my daughters, I joined Brenda at the table that held Roma Joy’s body when she died from her disease at age 30.  We were there to dress her in white for her burial.  I felt overwhelmed by sorrow as I looked at my sister. Brenda had lost her mother at 20, her father at 28, her husband at 43 and now her daughter.

And there was a sweet spirit in that sacred experience.  As we lifted Roma and gently pulled a beautiful white dress over her body it almost felt as if she was there, but now free, now unlimited.  We talked in whispers, but we found ourselves laughing — just as Roma would have had it – when Brenda recounted something Roma had said as her body began to fail.

“Mom, when I die, grandma Roma and I are going to be running towards each other with our arms stretched out and we both will be calling Roma! Roma!”

“Our first step toward healing and transformation,” Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us, “is to recognize the existence of our suffering and not run away from it.”

Looking back over my own suffering in life, after nearly six decades of living, I have taken the radical stance that death is just death, abuse is just abuse, pain is just pain. Our difficulties are our teachers. If we face them with curiosity we are awakened to our gifts. We find that we have a particular contribution to offer life because of our experience. And as we offer the gift we have been given, we fulfill the measure of our own creation and in so doing find joy.

Roma Joy has been gone four years now. She is a hero in our family and we think of her often and with great tenderness.  Brenda, after many years of teaching is retiring.  She will read this chapter at a rest stop somewhere on the way to North Dakota, where her new home awaits.  She does indeed deserve a rest, but true to her middle name, “joy”, she’s got big sunny ideas . . . . just over that ridge covered in scrub oak she’ll be meeting life just as it is, while also bringing her creative gifts to the table.

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Each Life Has a Purpose

Each Life Has a Purpose

There is more in a human life than our theories of it allow, . . . sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path . . .What is lost in so many lives and must be recovered is a sense of personal calling, that there is a reason I am alive. . . each person enters the world called.”  — James Hillman, The Soul’s Code, In Search of Character and Calling.

There is a purpose for our life and often it is found via the adversity we each suffer.

photoMy sister, Brenda Joy, is 12 years older than I am, and holds a precious place in my life. She was the one who made sure I went shopping for school clothes the autumn after our mother died, even though she herself was only 21.  My first piece of mail in college was from her – in a fabric envelope with my name hand embroidered (she oozes with creativity; I swear she carries a glue gun in her gigantic purses!).  She bought the hat for my wedding dress and maternity clothes for my first pregnancy, and then she surprised me with the news that she too was pregnant! It would be her last.

I remember her coming to visit me during a difficult time in my life. I had poor health and the demands in my life were numerous. I had a household full of daughters I adored, and I was lonely for parts of myself that had been set aside to honor other important choices I had made.  I wondered forlornly if I would ever discover those parts again.

She said to me, “I have learned there are many lives in a life.  When I was your age, in some ways I thought my life was over.  If you had told me I’d be where I am today I wouldn’t have believed you.”

I remembered her life at my age. Her husband was battling poor health and struggled to earn a living.  They  had five children.  She hadn’t finished college and worked odd jobs to help out.  She waited tables, was a bus monitor, and sold home decorating supplies.  Still there was rarely enough and the family often kept company with poverty.

images-1But once all her children were in school, she felt a strong impression she needed to go back to college.  She was scared.  It had been years since she had set foot in a classroom except for parent teacher conferences!  Could she do it? How would she keep up with the homework while helping her kids with theirs? How would she even afford it?

But my sister is a strong woman.  She got loans. She got grants. And she got A’s. What mattered got done, what didn’t was ignored. Six months before she finished her bachelor’s degree, her husband died.  She buried her husband, finished her degree and got a job – as a grade school teacher.

photoShe was an excellent teacher.  Her little first graders adored her. She wore funny hats, dressed for every holiday, kept them on task, and made sure they all laughed as they learned.  Her time had come and so had joy!

Eventually she got a master’s degree and became an administrator over one of the most successful reading programs in her state. Despite teaching in schools where the majority of the students came from troubled homes and poverty, test scores climbed. Most importantly, the students were learning to read! She had found her calling.  She was singing her song. (This could be taken literally, for recreation she joined an all-women’s choir: Sweet Adeline’s!)

Many years have passed since that visit where she gave me the encouragement to go on.  I discovered the truth of the lesson she taught me: new life was breathed into the passions that I had put aside for a time. And I too found a mid-life calling I had never imagined – my work as a mental health counselor.

Brenda’s road to one of her important life purposes—teaching—did not arrive like a lightning bolt. It came as a quiet impression and arose from challenges she was facing. Retrospectively, it can be witnessed that her difficulties in life led to something greater.  What matters most is how she responded to those challenges.  She was willing.  She worked hard.  She took risks and dared to journey into foreign and difficult terrain.

As I’ve discussed in this book, each life has a current.  It is through following our life’s unique flow that we find our gifts, opportunities, and purpose.

lightceremonyHow? You might ask.

By replacing judgment with curiosity.

By showing up and doing the hard work of grieving and growing.

By learning everything we can about what we are experiencing on our journey and transforming that into something useful we can do.

By trusting.

And by gathering our flock of fluttering thoughts into as many moments of quiet as we can muster.  It is in the stillness where the answers come, where the call is received, where our purpose is revealed.

I have found it a powerful experience to actually draft a purpose statement.  I spent a long time on mine; giving myself the permission to go slow, gather information about myself, and inspiration from the divine. This statement helped me clarify a uniquely crafted purpose for my life.  Its 81 words briefly state what personal growth I am working towards and how I want to share what I have been given with others.

200px-Anne_FrankThis is what Anne Frank had to say about the purpose of her life as she wrote in her diary, in hiding from the Nazis:

“I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met.  I want to go on living even after my death!”

It is humbling to consider how many millions of people have been inspired by that young woman’s account of her journey through adversity, discovered and published after her death in a concentration camp.

Next week Brenda Joy’s story of purpose and passion continues as we learn about the precious relationship she had with her last daughter, Roma Joy, who was born with a serious brain disease. It offers a powerful contemplation on the interrelationship between joy and sorrow in our Lives.

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Dear friends and readers, I will be posting two more chapters – one on June 17 and the final chapter of the book on Friday, June 21.  On June 22 I am offering a workshop on the book, for info see the events page on my the Creating A Life You Love Face Book page.  On Monday June 24 I will begin posting a weekly article.  I will write on the same theme of creating a life you love.  Those articles will be similar to the book chapters,  but a bit shorter.  I hope you have been enjoying this six-month journey of having my book posted one chapter at a time.  It has truly been an important journey for me in continuing to create a life I love!  Tamera

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Desire and Practice

Desire and Practice

“There are three tasks that matter in this lifetime . . the first . . . is to quiet the busyness in your mind. The second is to find your song. And the third task is to sing your song.”—Harry Roberts as quoted in: Accomplishing More by Doing Less by Mark Lesser

We create a life we love by nurturing the desires of our heart.

What do you long to do that you have neglected, ignored, kept hidden like a secret or locked tight into a little box for safe keeping?

Those ignored desires are tugging on the hem of our lives like a toddler trying to capture her mother’s attention. Can we mother those desires into a vibrant existence?

Desire is powerful. Everything we do is preceded by a desire. Desire compelled our infant self to try to lift her head, then roll over, then crawl. By the time we were one-year-old, most of us were up and walking.  Each step we took was motivated by the desire to move forward.

Desire answers the question: What do I want?

There are obstacles to what we want.  And we may be one of them. We may believe, as they say in A.R.T.S. Anonymous, “in a universe of scarcity; that there is only so much ability and success to go around.” We may tell ourselves there isn’t enough time.  Maybe we’re just too tired to try.  And of course there is that old enemy: fear, otherwise known as “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

instant-salvationBut it is only by just climbing right over the obstacles, skinning our knees as we go, and taking action, that we come to know a life full of joy and freedom we previously could not imagine.  As we adopt a practice we breathe life into our desires.

Practice answers the question: What will I do?

Practice is commitment to action.  Practice whispers a holy “yes” to our desires. Practice starts with the first word of a novel, the first stitch in a gown, the first note we sing of our song.

As Epictetus said, “First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do.”

A.R.T.S Anonymous remind us that “every day is an opportunity to express our creativity” and advocate just spending five minutes a day practicing our art.

As every creator knows (and we are all creative), five minutes can easily lead to 50 minutes and sometimes five hours.

We just have to be willing to show up with the intent to take some action, however small.

550px-Place-Your-Fingers-Properly-on-Piano-Keys-Step-1Bullet2When I was 11, my stepmother enrolled me in piano lessons at Somers’ School of Music.  The “school” was a white brick home, with roses in the front, and eight pianos in the house – each in their own room.

Students attended lessons five days a week, for half an hour.  We were taught by Mr. and Mrs. Somers who, teaching eight students at a time, moved from room to room where we were playing, to come in and teach us the things we needed to know to read and play music.  We were also expected to practice on our own at home every day and once a week we participated with the other students in a mini “concert” where we each performed two pieces from memory for the other students.

My teacher, Mr. Somers was a gray haired man with a lazy eye and a penchant for popping us on the knuckles with his paper punch if we made a serious mistake. He could be sitting with me, helping me with the rhythm of a piece and hear a timing error the student in the next room was making, at which point he would fiercely knock on the wall to let the other student know they better get on track or face the paper punch!

He may sound crotchety and mean, but I liked Mr. Somers because he was teaching me how to be disciplined, and what that produces.  Discipline is simply doing something you don’t feel like doing anyway.  Disciplined practice leads to increased skill, and desires fulfilled.  Mr. Somers died when I was in high school.  I will never forget his funeral and this is why—his funeral consisted primarily of a piano recital by his most advanced students. I had chills on my arms as I witnessed a 17-year-old student who had started out playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” with one hand now playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 5, hands flying up and down the keyboard, from memory.

How do we begin nurturing the desires of our hearts?

By answering the question, “What inspires me?”

woman-painting-0908-de-98387654Is it a brand new box of colored pencils ready to imbue the blank page with swaths of indigo blue, peacock green, and lilac? Or is it your gardening gloves and clogs waiting to carry you to your task of cultivating the earth with sunflowers, peonies, and nasturtiums?  Is it the laughter of a child? The smell of sourdough bread baking?  The feel of your fingers on the ivory keys as you learn to play the melody of Claire De Lune? Or the feel of the pen in hand as you scribble your notes for a book?

Start very small. Start where you can with what you have.  Start with five minutes in the morning, or at lunch.  Just sit down and write or stand up and dance. Watch your desire expand. Start small to live life big!

I had a brief, but big experience working as a newspaper reporter in my early twenties.  Later in my twenties, after marrying, I somewhat reluctantly entered motherhood.  Was I ever surprised!  I had no idea that much love was in me.  I was inspired and I wanted to tell the world. I began writing while my daughters napped.  I went from writing about murderers to writing about motherhood.  Another older mother and writer wisely counseled me, “never do anything while they are asleep that you could do while they are awake.”

We lived in Portland, Oregon, and a new magazine debuted with a big splash. This Week magazine was made up of great cover stories and lots of columnists.  I looked through and noticed a void. There were no columns about life on the home front.  As I perused its pages I thought, ‘I could do that’ and then, ‘I want to do that!’  I sent them a proposal from the writing I had accrued so far and was hired.

I wrote my “On the Homefront” column for 9 years and ended up doing numerous workshops and speeches for groups as a result.  I wrote my column every week on Tuesday mornings from 9 – 10 while my little daughters watched Sesame Street.  The rest of the time I never went anywhere without a notebook so I could jot down the minutia of life that inspired me, gave me that creative buzz.

And don’t let age get in the way. I just read of a 17- year- old who developed a million dollar selling app. Laure Ingalls Wilder published Little House in the Big Woods, the first in her eight-volume Little House series, when she was 65.  At 68 Lillian Carter, mother of the president, served in India for two years as a Peace Core volunteer. At 96, Martha Graham premiered her choreographed work, the Maple Leaf Rag.  (See more examples in Andres Postman’s book, What’s in an Age?) 

Whatever our age or circumstance, as we identify our desires, and implement a practice, not only do we experience joy and fulfillment, but we are led to our  purpose in life.

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Readers, I now have an events page up.  Please check it out to learn about the new workshop I am doing on “Creating a Life You Love.”  I would love to meet you in person if you can attend.

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