Is 50 the New 30??

I’m not going to hide from it. I am turning 50 this year. A year and a half ago I attended my 30th high school reunion and reconnected with a number of people from my youth who are also turning 50 this year. Suddenly I’m noticing the statement, “50 is the new 30” being thrown around.  Hmm, I ponder. Is it true, or are we just fooling ourselves?

I’ve always believed that age is very much a state of mind, yet decorum and a dose of reality do come into play.  I have four beautiful mini skirts hanging in my closet that I can’t bear to part with, but I know will never again see the light (or dark) of day, at least on my body.  I can’t leave the house now without a pair of glasses because I can’t read a menu, ingredients on a label, or anything I might have to sign my name to without help. And the gray hair that I have inherited has made me recognize that I can choose to replace it with any color that I want.

If these are the biggest grievances I have about turning 50 (and they are!), then I consider myself pretty darn blessed. Although I still fit into and wear clothes I had long before I was 30, I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for me, I don’t feel 30. And that’s a good thing.

Why 50 is better than 30:

  • I’ve come to value a nice man over a bad boy.
  • It’s no longer all about me.
  • I’ve come to prefer authenticity over sizzle.
  • I’m way comfortable with myself.
  • I cherish every moment with my parents.
  • I’ve come to value meaning over money.
  • I’m in touch with the fact that I’m not going to live forever.
  • I no longer care about what people think.
  • I think about how much I am blessed.
  • I’ve experienced some painful, challenging times and have come out stronger.
  • I’ve learned to trust myself.
  • I’ve taken some big risks and survived.
  • I’ve learned that being true to myself is more important than security.

Am I missing something in the “50 is the new 30” statement? If so, please enlighten me.

10 Life Lessons from My Dad on His 74th Birthday

Today is my father’s 74th birthday. I recognize how blessed I am to be able to share it with him, and I don’t want to wait until he’s gone to reflect on what I’ve learned from him. In no particular order:

  1. Give help without being asked.
  2. Hard work really does pay off.
  3. It is possible to create a new life in foreign land.
  4. You don’t have to hold a college degree to be intelligent and educated.
  5. Love is expressed by what you do, not what you say.
  6. Having someone you can count on is one of the greatest gifts in life.
  7. What’s inside is more important than what it looks like on the outside.
  8. A strong commitment will keep you going when the road gets rough.
  9. Don’t ever assume you know how a person will respond.
  10. Don’t take  your blessings for granted. Life can change in an instant.

Jack Canfield: Merging Business and Spiritual Principles for Success

jack-canfield-success-principles

Last weekend I went out in search of a book that could set me into the new year with an inspired focus on the unlimited possibilities that I know are true for all of our lives. I came home with Jack Canfield‘s The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. The title perfectly expressed what I was looking for.

Fifty seven pages into the read, the book has surpassed what I set out to receive. It’s not that the principles that Jack Canfield writes about are new, it’s that his ideas are a rare mix of spirituality and business. They’re grounded in practicality and yet they speak to the soul. He reminds me that it’s possible to achieve your dreams, but first you need to get in touch with those dreams, break them down into goals, and above anything else, believe in your ability to bring your dreams to life.

I sat down to do a couple of different exercises, and it blew me away to discover just how vague I am about what I really want from my life.  How can I focus on building the life of my dreams if I haven’t focused on what my dreams clearly look like?

Jack Canfield has left me with a number of gems so far:

  1. Believing in yourself is essential to success. If you can’t believe in your ability to succeed with something, ask yourself why not? Identify what you need to do to feel confident about your ability to succeed and do it.
  2. Get clear on your vision and create very specific goals. The more definition you place on what you want to achieve, the better equipped your mind is to support the building.
  3. Make a habit of focusing on what you want to create through visualization and mental review of your goals. Keep your visions and the energy that supports them engaged and fully alive. Review your goals several times a day.
  4. Carry a written description of your most important goal with you. Make it a part of your life by reviewing it constantly.

If you haven’t already, take the time to create a vision of your ideal life, and break that vision into specific goals. You can never be too clear on what you want to create.

Tips for Creating an Abundant Life

Like you, perhaps, I’ve been thinking about what I want to create in the New Year of 2009.  When I focus my complete attention on creating my life, a few things come up that I know are vital to the process:

  1. A clear vision: Knowing specifically what you want to create enables you to play an active role in building it. Vague goals don’t give you anything solid to believe in, visualize or reach for.
  2. Give yourself permission to be prosperous. Financial success comes from thinking that prosperity is your natural right, just as much as breathing.  Work on making this belief your habit if it isn’t already.
  3. Adjust your beliefs about your life with what you want your life to be. Become keenly aware of that little voice that is constantly telling you what it thinks is possible for you and make the commitment to override it with statements about what you want to be true for you.
  4. Understand the power of visualization and use it to create the reality you want. Think of yourself as a co-creator of your life and see visualization as your tool for molding your creation. Read more about visualization.
  5. Make a habit of consciously creating your life. Start each day focusing on your vision, be sure that your beliefs are aligned with your vision and follow through with a visualization that brings your vision to life.

Related articles:

How to Consciously Create Your Day – Part 2

How to Consciously Create Your Day

Bad Times Bring Big Faith

The Silicon Valley chapter of Experience Unlimited, ProMatch, a state sponsored career resource center, has swelled to maximum capacity while a list holds names of unemployed professionals waiting to get in. The volume is so strained that the maximum membership time has been reduced from 9 months to 6 months in an effort to support more people.

The New York Times this weekend reported similar crowd scenes, yet in a different type of venue.  The article opened by describing an affluent Long Island town evangelical church so packed that an overflow room with closed-circuit TV with 100 folding chairs set up to accommodate the crowd. Similar stories were reported in Seattle, Brooklyn, and other cities throughout the country.

Bad times draw big crowds in church. It seems that fear returns us to that faith that there is something to believe in that will enable us to feel safe.

If we can feel safe in the most challenging of times, then isn’t the challenge worth where we’ve arrived?

Meditation: Priceless Gifts for Free

I hate to admit this, but I’ve been neglecting my meditation practice lately, big time. I’ve allowed myself to become “too busy.”  The result?  Well, let’s just say that I haven’t been my usual joyful self. I gave myself an inner boost this morning, though, and it made such a difference that I felt inspired to share.

Here are just some of the benefits you might receive in a 20-minute meditation:

  • Be reminded that your life is not about the outside world and all its complications.
  • Experience a sense of privilege to have been given the opportunity to live.
  • Feel closely connected with the energy behind all of life.
  • Remember how you are really supposed to show up.
  • Become refreshed with a deep sense of peace and joy

Would you agree that this list of benefits reads like a seminar you might pay hundreds of dollars for?

Meditation is free. Here’s a great wikiHow article to help you get started.

I’d love to hear your comments on what meditation has done for you.

I Can: The Secret to the Life You Want

Worry is nothing more than holding mental pictures of things you do not want.

–from I Can, by Ben Sweetland

I found this passage yesterday in the very first self-help book I ever bought. I can’t remember when or where I got my copy of I Can. All I know is that it is the 1978 edition of the book originally copyrighted in 1953.

The memory of this book came to me as I was thinking about my dreams for my work life and fighting the doubts that were darting through my mind. It was as if I was wrestling with what I knew I believed about my own potential and possibilities intellectually versus the doubtful thinking that seems to come so naturally. I really do believe I can do or be anything. But why does it have to be so hard fighting off the demons trying to tell me otherwise?

Can you relate?

Britney Spears: What Has She Taught You?

britneyspears.jpg

I am constantly looking for the meaning that lies below the surface of an event that has touched my life. I do this because I believe that we are all connected in a divine effort intended to lead us to a higher place. Our connectedness means that we are all in this together. And as much as it may seen difficult to relate, even in all her celebrity mistakes, Britney Spears is a part of our “we”.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see Britney Spears go up in flames like Anna Nicole Smith. I think we all agree that she needs help. So why don’t we do what we can to help her? And what is that, you might wonder? By consciously thinking about what you have learned from observing her life, and imagine yourself surrounding her with that energy.

Britney has taught me the value of what I sometimes take for granted—my sense of self and my desire for a life with meaning. She’s also shown me that who we were isn’t any indication of who we can become. She’s been an example of how bad choices can ruin the most promising of lives, and that there is always a different choice that can take us around a new corner. While I can’t force these concepts down her throat, I can help her, even if it is just a smidgen of help, by visualizing her understanding what’s she’s taught me. And if enough of us amplify this kind of energy, just maybe she’ll finally get it.

Celebrity Mistakes: Is Jail the Only Justice?

llohan082307.jpg

Lindsay Lohan’s plea deal with provisions for only one day in jail is undergoing some fiery attack. Did she really get off easy?

The message behind this particular question is that punishment is a sentence that can only be experienced outside of ourselves. It acknowledges only the black and white that we can see, taste and touch in the outer world, and fails to consider the goings on of our inner world. If punishment is meant to equate pain, any question about justice should consider first that the greatest pain is that which is felt in the heart.

So when we ask if Lindsay Lohan got off easy, shouldn’t we first take a walk in her shoes? Sure, those shoes are very different than yours and mine. They walk a very different life, one that is watched closely by millions, one whose mistakes are revealed under a microscope on steroids. I don’t know about you, but it seems a lot less painful to spend a few months quietly tucked away serving a very private little jail term than having all of mainstream America pointing out how badly I’ve screwed up.

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

Interview: Inspiration for Happiness

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

shortmeditationcover.jpgsusangregg.jpg

I am delighted to share my space here today with Dr. Susan Gregg, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations. I had the honor of asking Susan some questions about the path to happiness and inner peace. I found her answers very inspiring and wanted to share them with you:

SH: I understand that you were schooled in the ancient Toltec tradition with don Miguel Ruiz and Sister Sarita. What is it about the Toltec teachings that resonate so deeply with you?

SG: Ever since I was a young girl I have been fascinated by the idea of freedom and the essence of the Toltec tradition is experiencing personal freedom.

SH: The choice to feel happy is something you focus on in your teaching. Do you find happiness a more organic choice living in Hawaii than one might find living in the mainland states? What is it about Hawaii that calls you?

SG: I believe we can be happy no matter what is happening around us – we can be in the midst of tremendous change and still be happy. So I can be happy in the middle of an airport when I have been traveling for 28 hours, as is the case when I go to Europe once a year to work in Lithuania.

I love Hawaii. I love the people, the feel of the land, the smell of the air and the climate. It is easy to say of course I am happy – I live in paradise. I live in the country surrounded by luscious greenery. But the essence of what I teach people is how to be happy no matter what. I have seen people who are miserable in Hawaii. I love Hawaii so of course I live in a place that is most suited to me and reflects inner self.

Happiness is always just a thought away – so I invite people to think that thought. I used to have a coffee mug that said blossom where you are planted – I blossom here and wherever you are you can blossom and grow too.


SH:
A question was posed by one of my readers recently asking for some advice on how one can stay focused on positive thoughts despite the pull of the outside world. What would your advice be?


SG:
Life is emotionally neutral. Life is and then we tell ourselves a story. I suggest people let go of the idea of positive and negative. When I watch the news I see events – some people make choices based on judgment and fear. If I perceive them as bad or judge them, it is like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it. So when I watch the news I send those people love.

I find it much easier to change my perspective than to stop having negative thoughts. If I say don’t think about a red fire truck you immediately think about one. I frequently ask myself, “How can I see this through the eyes of love?” and “What would love do?” Seeing through the eyes of love allows me to see the love in everything.


SH:
How did the decision to produce Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations come to you?


SG:
My literary agent contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in writing it. I love meditation and always do guided meditations for my groups so it seemed like a wonderful fit. I really enjoyed writing it and have gotten wonderful feedback from readers.


SH:
What would your advice be for someone who wants to start a meditation practice, but doesn’t know how to begin or feels intimidated?


SG:
The easiest way to start meditating is by simply focusing your attention on your breath. Whenever your mind wanders just gently bring it back to feeling your breath. I also suggest people set aside time each day to meditate – even if it is only a few minutes. Spiritual practices take practice and with practice meditation becomes easier and very rewarding.


SH:
What would you tell them to expect in their early days of practice?


SG:
They will have lots of thoughts and that’s okay. Just like going to a gym – if you go regularly and work out, eventually your body will get in shape. Allow meditation to be easy and allow whatever happens be okay. My mantra about meditation and life for that matter is allow it all to be easy and effortless and savor every moment. Savor learning how to meditate, you can only be new to meditation when you are new to it – so savor being new to the process.


SH:
You have been a teacher of human potential for many years. How would you describe the evolution of human consciousness that you’ve experienced over the years?


SG:
Life just keeps getting better and better. Once we connect with our spirit magic and miracles become a part of every day life. And I have watched people make it so much harder than it needs to be. I did for a long time until I realized I could enjoy it all.


SH:
Is there any other specific message you’d like to leave with our readers here?


SG:
Give yourself the gift of happiness. Be willing to let go of your limiting beliefs and allow yourself to feel the love that always surrounds you. We never experience life. What we actually experience is our personal story about life – change the story and your experience changes. Once you realize you are making up the story may as well make it a good one!

SG: Thanks so much for having me. Aloha from paradise.

I’d encourage you to check out Susan’s book. Follow the link to her site to obtain a personally autographed copy.

Thanks for visiting. Here’s to choosing happiness!

Susan Hanshaw
susan@susanhanshaw.com