Saturday, July 14, 2018

My 90-Day Bliss Journey to 65 Turns-Around-the-Sun

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
"We are born not just to pay bills and die. There's more to life than that." -Unknown
In three short months, I celebrate 65 turns-around-the-sun. Today I seek to write and keep intentions for the next 90 days. These intentions are sure to generate goals for this life benchmark; hopefully, goals that are more than just to "pay bills."

Through this blog, I will share lessons learned from the people, places, and things on this birthday path. At the same, I'm looking for recommendations from sister sojourners doing the same thing, or from wise crones who've already reached this benchmark of successfully celebrating 65 turns-around-the-sun. 

I seek interaction and connection as I don't want to do this alone. 
Why would I? 
You're welcome to join me!

Keeping the birthday itinerary simple, BODY BLISS is the first journey starting today, July 14 through August 13.

Then, it's traveling to MIND BLISS from August 14 to September 13, my Scottish gram's birthday.

Finally, it's off to SPIRIT BLISS from September 14 to October 14--my birthday.

Each journey contains three dimensions: 
What I seek to think, to feel, and to do.

What to think
Keeping in mind "life happens when you're planning," I begin with these intentions through these general affirmations to raise my body vibration:

I am healed, I am.
I am healthy, I am.
I am whole, I am.
I am holy, I am.
I am happy, I am.

What to feel by choosing thoughts that are only:
Happy. Energized. Focused. Creative. Optimistic. Possible.

What to do
* Remain open to H.U.G.S. > Happy Unexpected God Surprises of insights, information, and invitations.
* Revisit childhood activities that brought me great joy like horseback riding, camping, and dancing!
* Continue my daily writing practice and writing my book that heals me. 
* Change eating and cooking habits with less sugar and carbs, and more veggies.
* Start a 7-Day Cleanse that's offered by friend and writing sister, Rachel Kieffer; she's also a holistic health coach.
* Stop waiting to do anything so that extra weight finds no space on my body.
* Continue a skin-loving practice every morning and evening.

* Enjoy a different kind of massage and reflexology treatment every month; learn more about acupressure.
* Treating myself to a monthly facial and learning how to give myself facials
* Experience weekly acupuncture treatments to fortify my body's charka system (Gratefully there's a clinic that takes love offerings for treatments.)

* Practice walking meditation with friends and loved ones 1x a week and building to 3x.
* Learn more about essential oils and buy a diffuser.
* Celebrate my BODY BLISS successes every day here on my blog and through my Gratitude Lists.

The plan is perfectly imperfect. 
I affirm all of this easily and happily coming true--this or something better as Source knows best. I now surrender to that Divine Plan to move me towards a healthier body temple to celebrate my 65 turns-around-the-sun!

P.S. Your special invitation awaits you to join me and other sister writers in my free, private Facebook group, the Writer's VisionQuest for only women. Our intention is sharing and giving resources to "transform your words into somewhere brilliant."

P.P.S. Visit my Amazon Author Page to learn about upcoming workshops and events, and books to enjoy for your summer reading.

Copyright Lore Raymond, 2018. No portion of the blog post or information on this site may be reprinted, re-used or copied to another site without prior written permission from the author

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

8 Lessons in Aging: A Tale of Two Apartments

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
"Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Part One
The lives of Ms. Patricia O'Grady, New York City, NY, and Madame de Florian, Paris, France offer intriguing lessons of aging with their stories of living simply and, living richly. 

After their deaths, photos, stories, and questions filled the airwaves. The world oohed and aahed over the intimate images reflecting a time capsule of decades rarely seen; the snapshots offered some small insights about these wise crones (ages 84 and 91) who lived and loved in their apartments.

Why do these two women, their apartments, and stories cause intrigue?

Perhaps it’s just basic nosiness.

Perhaps it’s because you live alone in your own 'apartment.'

Perhaps you're growing older like them; I celebrate 65 turns-around-the-sun in October.

Perhaps you see some of their character traits reflected in you.

So, who were these two women?
First, meet Patricia Clare O'Grady, an actress who lived simply, and richly. 
Here are 8 Lessons in Aging revealed in Act 3 of her life: 

#1 Lesson in Aging: Follow your bliss. 
The daughter of a doctor, O'Grady grew up in a Californian household that included her parents, younger sister, grandmother and a maid. At 22 and just two weeks after graduating from UC Berkeley in 1955, she headed east by train and joined three new roommates in the Big Apple.

Together these aspiring actresses rented the Greenwich Village apartment built in 1900 for $16 a month --$4.00 each--plus sweeping the hallways on all four floors. They each shared an ambitious appetite of making it big on stage and in showbiz!  Several Broadway shows opened the year of their NYC arrival including the Diary of Anne FrankSilk StockingsInherit the Wind and Damn Yankees.
The roommates eventually moved out, but O'Grady remained for sixty years in the same apartment paying only $28.43 a month for rent. This two-bedroom apartment will now command $5,000 a month to rent.
The fourth floor, cold-water flat apartment is above the blue and white striped awning of Murray's Bagels, the landlord's business.
#2 Lesson in Aging: Regardless of anything or anyone, continue to follow your bliss!
The extreme savings allowed O'Grady to pursue a passion for acting and dancing; this included taking twice-weekly lessons at the Joffrey Ballet School even as an octogenarian with osteoporosis. The savings also allowed her to live frugally, freely, and independently--something many desire to enjoy while aging and moving into and through the "Third Act" of life. 

"She took classes at the school for at least 30 years," shared Stephanie Godina, a teacher at Joffrey. A small memorial service at the school honored O'Grady when she died.

Over the years, you can only imagine how many times friends or family told her to stop being "tough-minded" and move out and into a "better," more comfortable place. 

She resisted.
She stayed.
She remained true to herself.
She followed her bliss to the last curtain call.
One of two fireplaces that warmed O'Grady's apartment for 60 years.  Source: CNN
#3 Lesson in Aging: Resilience and perseverance build character.
Only a single gas lightbulb provided illumination, and when it went out, candlelight followed as her osteoporosis hampered making a replacement. The apartment’s two fireplaces provided some warmth. But really, can you imagine the frigid NYC temps on January 9, just two months before her death, with a reported high of 23° and low of 14° F?!

It's noteworthy to restate that O'Grady lived on the fourth floor--the very top floor-- of this walk-up apartment. That means no elevators. No dumbwaiters. No doormen to assist with packages. Everything and everyone --food, purchases, wood, furniture, family, friends and she--made the trek upstairs. 

And despite her repeated protests against any physical upgrades, Adam Pomerantz, the current landlord, finally succeeded in installing a heating unit a couple of years ago. Pomerantz became a friend and reported that she said,
"I'm not worthy of these repairs and these improvements. I don't pay enough in rent to warrant this...I'm perfectly fine keeping it as it is." 

#4 Lesson in Aging: Find community and stay loyal.
With no hot water, bathtub, or shower, O'Grady resourcefully used the nearby  14th Street YWCA every day to bathe—thus the name ‘cold-water flat’ which are rare, if not impossible, to find any longer in New York City. For a long time, she remained sinkless and stoveless until a sink and cast-iron stove recently entered the apartment. She also swam and could be found reading the NY Times most days at the YMCA.
O'Grady's kitchen. Source: CNN
#5 Lesson in Aging: Remember, you control everything and nothing.
The almost-85-year-old was crossing the street near her apartment at 498 Sixth Avenue when a car struck the actress on March 12; within hours, the injuries caused her to take a final curtain bow. How ironic that she didn’t even own a car! She controlled where she walked every day-- and she couldn't control what others did on her path.

Curiously, she was born on September 12 in Oakland, CA. Then consider that the day after she died --March 13--was St. Patrick’s Day often thought of as a lucky day for the O'Grady's, one of Ireland's noble families. The family name means "illustrious."
Stacks of books and scripts from plays filled O'Grady's apartment. Source: CNN
#6 Lesson in Aging: There are no secrets.
Death pulled back the stage curtain of her life; curiosity and publicity photos revealed “The Patricia O'Grady Garden” for the world to see what her friends called a ‘dump with character.’ Because of the publicity, many new "viral visitors" to the apartment might describe her home as anything but illustrious. 

For whatever reason, she allowed very few into her inner sanctum, including the landlords over six decades. According to Adam Pomerantz, the current landlord, she preferred to be left alone and asked for privacy in her walk-up apartment of two bedrooms on the top floor.

After O'Grady's death this spring, photos by strangers revealed peeling wall paint, and her simple possessions with a very worn, but oddly quirky and charming patina. Paper piles and pictures filled many spaces with a piano in the bedroom. Stacks of books revealed numerous copies of Joyce Carol Oates's Solstice, "literary fiction that focuses on two unrelated women and their friendship/relationships with one another." 

You have to think that this very private woman would be calling for a "dead blackout," a stage term meaning no onstage lighting. She didn't want others to see her sanctuary! And here I am, shining the light on her home, but hopefully sharing her story in a respectful way that inspires others to live as she did: free.

For a closing perspective, these Broadway and off-Broadway plays opened her final year including Mean Girls and Frozen; revivals like My Fair Lady and the Iceman Cometh and; new productions such as Returning to Reims and Fire in Dreamland

Now, there are no secrets. 
The world saw and commented on O'Grady's life and how she lived--especially about her $28.43 rent and what's being called the "Manhattan Miracle."

O'Grady's bedroom with writing desk and piano. Photo: Stefano Giovannini/NY Post
O'Grady's office. Photo: Stefano Giovannini/NYPost

If only the books, desk, piano, and paint peeling walls could talk!

#7 Lesson in Aging: Life stories unfold while you live and after you die.
* Wouldn't you, over a cuppa tea, like to interview O’Grady about aging while living simply and richly?
* Wouldn't you like to know more details about her three lives: public, private and secret?  
* Wouldn't you want to hear about the Big Apple dreams planted during the 60 years of living in a cold-water flat?

Maybe you would ask questions like:
* Which dreams blossomed and which ones never saw daylight? 
* What advice would you share about how you lived to be 84?
* What if anything did you enjoy about aging in the same apartment,    neighborhood, and city?
* Why didn't you feel worthy of the improvements made to your apartment?
* What's your happiest and saddest memory of living here?
* What's the most exciting or memorable thing you wrote at your desk?

Or perhaps...
* How often did you play the piano? What was a favorite song? 
* How did you get the piano up four flights of stairs?!
* Why didn't you ever move? 
* What play would you love to perform again?
* Where do you get firewood in NYC for your fireplaces?
* What's your favorite New York City restaurant and why?
* What's your favorite music for dancing and with whom?
* What happened to the dreams of being married or having children--or did you ever have these dreams?
What question(s) from this list would you ask? What might be another question?

#8 Lesson in Aging: "To travel far, travel light and be sure to pack all your dreams." -Lore
You might say her relationships also reflected a frugally unencumbered style of living. She never married or birthed any children. Her partner of 16 years, David Fulford, a director, and summer stock producer, predeceased her in 2009 of natural causes. 

And she did birth several roles with career accomplishments spanning 50 years and many off-Broadway productions. 
Now, only O'Grady can answer the question: Did your dreams come true?
Adam Pomerantz, current landlord, inside the apartment. Photo: Stefano Giovannini/NY Post

Some final thoughts.
The landlord wants to gut and remodel the apartment.
But who wishes that he wouldn’t?
There is an intriguing, her-storical tale and space to preserve.

Appreciating the honest comment from Pomerantz who said that the apartment looks worse now than when O'Grady lived there; workers have been bagging items and clearing the way for the renovation which might take six months.

O'Grady's apartment is a rare, time-capsule testimonial to one woman’s desire to follow her dreams. Her story is one of independence, commitment, loyalty, resilience, perseverance, simplicity, living with less and frugally!
Thank you, 
Ms. Patricia Clare O'Grady, 
for your life and these priceless
 Lessons in Aging.

Stay tuned for Part Two: Meet Mrs. De Florian, Paris, France

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What's Your Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream?

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts & Inspire Actions

“Ben & Jerry’s is an indulgent dessert and should be eaten in moderation. 
You should not be replacing more than one meal a day with ice cream. 
We do not consider a pint or tub of ice cream to be a single serving.” 
–Jerry Greenfield

Did you know that July is called the Ice Cream Month? There's good reason as this 2,000-year-old treat can always cool and soothe the hot summer blues, body, and creative soul. Marco Polo returned to Italy from his Far East expeditions with a recipe for sherbert. Seems Catherine de Medici of Italy later enjoyed her “cream ice” in 1553. And it didn’t take long before everyone could buy a scoop starting in 1660!

Did you also know that your favorite ice cream flavor speaks volumes about your personality?

To verify this, there’s research conducted by neurologist Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. "Seems Hirsch uses various standardized psychiatric test results to make statistical correlations, explaining that the same part of the brain (the limbic lobe) is responsible for both personality traits and food preference."

Hirsch says the taste for your favorite ice cream is set during childhood and tends to remain constant throughout your life.

As an author, this invites me to consider myself and story characters –not to mention family and friends- in this new, sensory light. Hmmm…I wonder what ice cream my 3x Great Uncle Liberty Raymond killed at the Battle of Fort Wagner in the Civil War enjoyed as a child on his New Hampshire apple orchard?

It's fun to wonder what other sheroes enjoyed like Ann Hasseltine Judson, Julia Tarrant Barron, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Golda Meir, and Mother Teresa. I'm also curious about the favorite ice cream flavors of writers like Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Rumi, Isaak Dinesen, Hafiz, or Peace Pilgrim. 

As I now write while juggling a somewhat melting cone…

Descriptive adjectives flow.
Plot twists sweeten.
Vocabulary gets sprinkled with multi-syllabic words.
Creative insights gather.
Memories of happy moments drip...drip...drip.

For fun, here are my assigned ice cream flavors from Hirsch’s research to seven well-known people with birthdays in July:

* The Dalai Lama, July 6 - Vanilla
* Sylvester Stallone, July 6 – Rocky Roads
* Tom Hanks, July 9 – Chocolate
* Malala Yousafzai, July 12- Vanilla
* Ernest Hemingway, July 21 – Coffee
* Robin Williams, July 21 –Butter Pecan
* J.K. Rowlings, July 31 – Chocolate Chip

So what’s your favorite ice cream for cooling down this July? What do you think about the ice cream matches above?
P.S. Your special invitation awaits you to join me and other sister writers in my free, private Facebook group, the Writer's VisionQuest for only women. Our intention is sharing and giving resources to "transform your words into somewhere brilliant."

P.P.S. Visit my Amazon Author Page to learn about upcoming workshops and events, and books to enjoy for your summer reading.

Copyright Lore Raymond, 2018. No portion of the blog post or information on this site may be reprinted, re-used or copied to another site without prior written permission from the author.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Prayer at the Summer Solstice

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
Happy Summer Solstice
“This was when the whole world measured time
This is when the light would turn around
This is where the past would come undone
and the spinning earth will make a new beginning...” –Carrie Richards

Depending on where you live, Thursday, June 21 marks the year's longest day of light in the Northern Hemisphere or the year's shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere.

In the Northern Hemisphere, twelve hours or more of daylight celebrate this first day of summer. Already, thousands are preparing to celebrate sunrise at the megalithic structure of Stonehenge and around the world!

" 'Solstice' (Latin "solstitium") means sun-stopping. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise and set stops and reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, meaning it's visible in the sky for a longer period of time." -Source: Time and

All this light painfully contrasts against the dark realities of the world. The news channels continually and violently flood the senses with a tsunami of stories about the worst of humankind—and begrudgingly offer occasional drops of positive news. Perhaps you are emerging from your own "dark night of the soul."
The BBC reported that about 12,000 people attended the Neolithic site in Wiltshire, England, to watch the sun rise on June 20, 2016. 

 And there’s another choice to the darkness generously offered by the Summer Solstice:

On this day, take a deep, slow breath, hold it, and exhale. All the world's horrors, unkindness, and greed can dismantle your peace of mind. Yes, you can focus your attention there at the risk of drowning emotionally and spiritually or...

On this day, hold your attention in a different reality--a new vision of a different world that you would like to experience with loved ones. Make your thoughts expand into this brighter world and match the thoughts with all future words and actions and...

On this day, light a yellow or orange candle while speaking into the world this…

Summer Solstice Prayer
I am grateful to be alive, I am.
I am active in my body and mind temple, I am.
Like the morning sun, I am awake, I am.

May my mind be open and allowing.
May my body be light in feelings and movements.
May my heart be sunny and radiate only love.
May my spirit soar upwards to the Sun.

I now awaken others by generating my own vitality.
I now emanate creative energy to renew and recharge others.
I now dance with the life force, the Sun!

~Lore Raymond

P.S. Your invitation awaits you to join my free, private group for women, the Writer's VisionQuest. We intend to "transform your words into somewhere brilliant" by giving and receiving writing, reading, and creativity resources.

P.P.S. Please visit my Amazon Author's page for books and upcoming writing courses and events.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

5 Ways Whales Inspire and Inform Deep Creativity

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

"Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye."
~Dorothy Parker
Have you ever seen whales breaching? Stared into their eyes in person or in photos? Who isn’t filled with wonderment seeing them leaping and frolicking like giant ocean puppies? Like the whale, a wild mind and disciplined eye can be yours to create.

My first whale experience came the Summer of 2000 during a VisionQuest in Nova Scotia. After sleeping soundly in my new, L.L. Bean two-man, blue bubble tent, strange sounds gently awakened me. They were not close by. Curiously, I bumbled outside in the pre-sunrise hour to hear the sounds continuing...Oh, my! It was a whale breathing! Later that day, I joined other tourists for a whale watching boat adventure which did not disappoint.

The guide shared that worldwide, Native American peoples worshiped these gentle, intelligent creatures and treated them with great respect. Even Europeans were awe-inspired and considered them symbols of the world because the oceans are their home. Today, whale sightings are considered a good luck sign—and if one is found breached or dead on the shore, it conveys a sad and heavy message.

For your reflection or writing consider…
* Is now the time to dive deeply into your creative projects, writing, business, or perhaps personal relationships?

* What help do you seek to surge ahead and break through the nets of procrastination and overwhelm that hold you under?

* Are you experiencing trouble navigating the small storms or tsunamis of life?

* Do you seek more courage to sing your personal song? What would help?

You have only to look to the whales for answers. 
Symbolic of the free use of creativity, whales serve as global teachers to help your creativity skyrocket! 
 Here are five ways that whales inform and inspire creativity:

Practice self-reflection.
Taking time to retreat and to “unplug to plug in” allows for an essential alone time. By doing this, you hear like whale sonar, your inner whispers, and intuitive voice. In time, you will also hear your “Whale’s Song”, the Divine music. Follow it. Trust the lyrics and the melody. Trust your huge and gentle creative genius.

Embrace confidence.
If you are swimming in polluted, contaminated waters, you can’t create. You must change the environmental waters of people, places, and things. Take one step each day to swim beyond these negative influences. Imagine yourself grabbing onto the whale’s tale as you travel to fresh, crystalline waters; now you can see more clearly to create.

Wake Up & Rise Up!
At times, you may feel like you are Jonah in the Bible story being swallowed up and then spit out. While you are in this seemingly dark, impossible place, the whale serves to teach and transform if you patiently allow. During this time, you must awaken and remember that there is more to what you experience in the outer. Then rise up! “Be in the world, but not of this world.” ~ John 15:19 and John 17:14-16.

Breathe to open consciousness and clarity.
Take a deep breath. Hold it. Travel like the whale beneath the waters of your consciousness into a new awareness. See different perspectives. Feel heightened intuition. When you surface again, you take a new breath as though it were your first. Life looks different. Your creative projects now look different, yet the same.

The whale never stays in the deep forever and comes up for air, often skyrocketing! You can also reclaim your inspiration and skyrocket. Remember to breathe.

Enjoy heart-listening.
When you become still to listen to your heart --the first drum in your life --a sacred, creative rhythm like the “identifying sounds the whale uses to identify their pod in nature.” The whale enjoys strong family ties that are always protected. Through heart-listening, your family, friends, clients, and readers know they can trust your creative projects. Why? They emanate from a place of love.

As you start or continue a creative project this summer, remember to call Whale into your office or studio. Review the five ways that whales inform and inspire your creativity: Practice self-reflection; Embrace confidence; Wake up & Rise Up; Breathe to open consciousness & clarity and; Enjoy heart listening.

What is Whale teaching you? Remember, like the whale, a wild mind and disciplined eye can be yours to create!

Enjoy Whale Sounds, Stress Relief with Theta Isochronic Tones. Playing Theta wave music is proven to enhance writing and creativity.

Your invitation awaits you to join my free, private group for women, the Writer's VisionQuest. Our intention is to "transform your words into somewhere brilliant" by giving and receiving writing, reading, and creativity resources.

Please visit my Amazon Author's page for books and upcoming writing courses and events.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

30 Creativity Quotes to Inspire Your Artist's Heart & Soul

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words to Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
May 30 is National Creativity Day! 
For inspiration, enjoy these 30 quotes designed to tap into 
your artist's heart and soul.

Creativity is…
“Creativity is an act of defiance.” -Twyla Tharp

“Creativity is a wild mild and a disciplined eye.” -Dorothy Parker

"Creativity is intelligence having fun." -Albert Einstein

“Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made and it wants to be made by you.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

“Creativity is one of the highest transmissions of love.” -Suzy Kassem

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” -Scott Adams

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” -Albert Einstein

"Creativity is just connecting things."-Steve Jobs

How creativity manifests…

“To be creative is to look madness in the eye and challenge it to a spitting contest.” -River Fairchild

“Create with the heart, build with the mind.” -Criss Jami

 “Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.” -Dee Hock

“When people ask me how did I get so creative I tell them it’s because I ate paste as a child.” -Anon

“That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.” -Ray Bradbury

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.” -George Bernard Shaw

"To create a work of art is to create the world." -Wassily Kandinsky

What erodes creativity…

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” –Sylvia Plath

“There is no innovation or creativity without failure. Period.” –Brene Brown

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” -Pablo Picasso

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy.” -Ray Bradbury

“Negativity is the enemy of creativity.” -David Lynch

"Never, never, never give up." -Winston Churchill

Why create…

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” -Maya Angelou

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” -John W. Gardner

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” -Pablo Picasso

“The creative adult is the child who survived.” -Ursula K. LeGuin

 “What if the very reason you were created was to be creative?” -Michelle Dennis Evans

“Writing reawakens my childhood fantasy more than anything, opening up creative worlds.” -Leo Tolstoy

“Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.” -Virginia Woolf

“Art, freedom, and creativity will change society faster than politics.” -Victor Pinchuk

Hopefully, these 30 creativity quotes tapped into your artist’s heart and soul. 
Let me know which ones you like the most and why. Please share other personal favorites in the comment section. 
Be creative!

P.S. Let's connect and be creative together! Are you a woman who writes? An author or a messenger?
Please join me in my free, private group, the Writer's VisionQuest. By giving and receiving resources our intention is to "transform your words into somewhere brilliant."

P.P.S. If curious visit my Amazon Author's page which lists my upcoming writing and creativity events/courses plus day trips that I lead.