Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Life, wisdom and creative retreats






I received a letter recently from a very wise friend, Joan, who so inspired me by her words (as she always does) that I asked if she would mind if I shared her letter. I met Joan as I have so many of you, through Collage of Life. Words reaching out from one to another, creating friendships of like minds, of kindred spirits. I call it the gift of blogging.

Being the gracious soul that she is, Joan was more than happy for me to share her letter and sent along the quote by Thoreau to set the tone. I am sharing because I believe there is a message in it for all of us. Especially those of us who are reflecting on the chapters of our lives. With the New Year spirit in your heart and soul... I offer wisdom and creative retreats..


Excerpts from a letter..

Dear Jeanne...

Normally I would say that age between like-minded people makes no difference and should not be referred to.  But -- and I am guessing like you -- about 50, more windows opened in my brain - opened in the beginning without being quite aware.

But then - then -- I noticed that I had come into my own in so many ways that I had not seen before.  What did I notice?  A confidence at a level I had not experienced before.  A faster stride in my step - my actual step.  A step with purpose.  The beginning of wisdom, just the beginning . . . but as time went on it became more noticeable to me.  And yes, I believe to others.  There seemed a new found respect.  People listened like I was one they could believe.  Sometimes I felt like one of those monks high in a mountain in Nepal in a cave with people coming up to make a pilgrimage to gain my knowledge.  I did not speak unless I felt sure of myself because often, other lives would be too affected to make missteps.

Perhaps I am reading through your words.  Frankly, I don't think so.  I see you as I was when I was fully coming into my own.  It is a good feeling. . . but I believe what I really want to say is that as talented, having the ability to swing with all sorts of circumstances and come up on top, juggling and seldom dropping a single ball that I can see, I will tell you that you are in the beginnings of the best chapter in your life if you make it so.

I watch closely, observe others, and instead of opening up at 60, they begin slowly closing up like a Japanese fan.  But that is not you and me.  I know it may be hard to believe, but the best of life is yet to come.  . and the best simile I can explain it with is that more and more windows open up and wisdom flows out.


Wisdom you are going to be able to use in so many important ways.  You will feel that there is nothing you can not do -- and succeed in.  You begin to fully flower -- as you only thought you did before. 

Just so you know, I hate the word "retirement" as too often it smacks of sitting on the sofa watching TV and letting life pass you by.  Instead of that, for you it will be a new door opening and another chapter beginning.  I think of life as series of sidewalk pavements.  Most often we are not aware that we have stepped over the line to the next part of life for quite a while -- but as long as we move forward, always LIVING LIFE and being sure you do every single day.  No vegetating as usually I equate it with slowing down -- and as I look at my friends who have given up really living --- you never want to do that.  It can start early -- and I am so fast at picking it up in others. 

I loved the MacDowell Art Colony video and I have followed them and other writers' retreats:
Click here: Residency | Ragdale  and that is one of many.

Don't let a day go by that you are not learning as you are hopefully enjoying and growing.  I am sure that there are days you wonder -- but all that is you is a part of a larger jigsaw puzzle that will all fit together when you can give your all to every talent you have. In other words, it will pay off.  Try to believe me as this is what I have done - always reaching out, always learning - and I find life thrilling, productive, and in my heart of heart, I feel like a woman of worth (without the bragging part).

Jeanne, I am knee deep in Christmas at home --- and I cannot believe that somehow you inspired me and I wrote "a book" to you in the midst of wrapping paper -- but it seemed the right time -- and perhaps bits and pieces can be my Christmas gift to you.  I want to say:  just wait until you see what is ahead for you!  Your own life has just begun -- and it gets better, or so I have found.

I want you to know that if you always are looking at what lies over the next hill in life, I promise that the wonders that still lie ahead will be all you would want and more.  I can say it as this is what I discovered --- and still discover for it seems to be never ending.

Much love and those moments of joy and happiness that drop out of the sky and fill our hearts,

Joan

note: Joan is a writer, adventurer and world traveler. Her heart is clearly set on Antarctica..a place she considers to be her second home. With this note, I send my thanks once again to Joan for her wisdom, encouragement and friendship. I am blessed. :) You can meet Joan..here.

For Joan..



With thanks to Maude for passing along these encouraging words 
on an adventurous life. They speaks volumes..
Maude is part of the Tahilla Farm story, another gift of blogging.

Joan referred to creative retreats, you will find video clips 
for each..here and here. They are both equally inspiring.

With that, I send best wishes to one and all 
for a wonderful week ahead.
I hope all of the above inspires you as much as it did me
and helps you to plan the next chapter of your life. 
This is my way of 
Paying it Forward...to you.

Best wishes..

Jeanne xx


The beauty of friendship..the smiles 
that come with each and every one.





50 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt letter. Such beauty and truth. Have a wonderful week. Bonnie

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it Bonnie...very best wishes..:)

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  2. One of the reasons I love your blog is that is that it is soulful. You share your heart and soul into it. The letter from Joan is so touching and speaks to me too. I feel that 2013 will be a wonderful year for me but of course I do not know yet what will unfold. I just feel good and excited about it. Thank you for sharing Joan's letter.

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    1. Pamela...so many of us are walking the same path with shared interests and lifestyles. Even though we are spread wide and far...when words like Joan's touch the heart, it instantly bonds us together...that is what this letter did for me. I guess you could say I am paying it forward... :)

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  3. Thank you, Jeanne. May you, my friend, be blessed with happy days, good friendships, plenty of love, and smiling faces to kiss. xo

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    1. Thank you Carole...wishing you the very same. :)

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  4. Joan's letter is full of wisdom and i believe whole heartedly in what she says... Lovely, Jeanne... thank you for including us in your correspondence and reminding us of the importance of moving forwards... xv

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  5. Jeanne - what a lovely read for a Monday morning. Dog walk dispatched and I sit here with the British drizzle outside, drinking coffee and reading this lovely letter. I LOVE the idea that awareness comes with years - I have never been more aware and I like that it will only get better from here. There is so much to learn and be grateful for - for me that is the gift of blogging. My best friend, who always regards my blog with slight mirth, said she thought the best thing I had got from writing it is a more positive attitude to life. When you sit down to present your life to the internet world, you do stop and think - actually things are pretty good (even when they are bad). So I salute that sentiment. Take care big sis, Lou x

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    1. I understand the mirth Lou..and after doubting myself and wrestling with it, I decided to let it wash over me and let it go. The results of the relationships I have formed have been to good to have missed. You are so right...I am sure my family would agree..a more positive attitude to life has been one of the many benefits. I often wonder how I would have survived all the transitions if I had not chosen to write and express myself. It's the kindred spirits I have discovered that has been my greatest reward..I count my blessings. As always, litte sis..it is a pleasure to hear from you. xx

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  6. Lovely, thoughtful, encouraging are some of the words that come to mind. As women in our mid-40's, we see our friends who cross over into the 50's vibrant and strong and wish the same for ourselves in the future. Thanks for sharing Joan with us and for giving us hope. Wishing you a wonderful week!
    xxoo
    C + C

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    1. C&C..you are very welcome and as for the 50's...the best is yet to be. :)

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  7. Jeanne, that is truly beautiful. And here's me thinking life is already wonderful in my 40s. I'm starting to think that it'll be even better in my 50s. I've finally started my new blog and my own creative retreats which I look forward to telling you more about. It's been a hard slog this last year and I nearly gave up on homeschooling while I was trying to pull all the rest of it all together. It's been so wonderful keeping up with what you're doing through Facebook as blogging has been almost out of bounds for so long.
    I look forward to catching up again more often now.
    Much love and thank you for sharing such a marvellous, loving, heartfelt piece of wisdom.
    xxx
    Ange
    PS I was just re-reading one of the emails you sent me about virgos and being true to oneself last night. It brought a fond smile to my lips and a twinkle to my eye before I nodded off at 3am. :)

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    1. Ange..I am looking forward to the new blog and love that you just keep on going. FB has been great for keeping in touch...sometimes it is hard for us to connect thru blogging, it is always nice to know the connection remains with FB. Funny that another Virgo was wide awake at 3:00am last night...I started playing with Pinterest when I woke up..I thought it would put me to sleep...ah..no. Best wishes Ange.. xx

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  8. Oh Jeanne,
    What a wonderful letter, full of such encouragement for the years ahead and, so kind of her to take the time to write such inspiring words to you ( and for us to share it too). I think that is what is wonderful about blogging...... sharing opinions, thoughts and giving and being given advice.
    I am probably older than most of the bloggers that I have connected to ( haha !!) and I can tell them all that age means nothing........ we can all do as much ( or as little) as we want at any age and enjoy each decade to the max. I have been blessed with a positive mind and my glass is not just half full but positively overflowing and I believe that a major part of enjoying life after 50 ( or before 50 for that matter) is a positive mental attitude.
    Here's to 'us' and a very Happy New Year to you ...... may it be filled with love and kindness and even more inspiration. Much love. XXXX

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    1. Jackie...I thought of you as I was reading Joan's letter, I knew you would think along the same lines. So glad you speak the same words. I think many of us appreciate knowing what is around the corner for us. If you and Joan are any measure, I would say things are definetly looking up! :)

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  9. Now - I think I just commented, but I'm not sure it was kept or if it disappeared into the ether. Such a beautiful post Jeanne and so wonderful of you to share. I've missed corresponding with you over the last twelve months while I built up my new site and started some creative retreats of my own. Just before bed last night I was re-reading the message you sent to me about Virgos and 'being true to yourself,' had it been in the pages of a book and not on my computer, I would have hugged it to sleep.
    Look forward to catching up more often now but thankful that you have been updating lots on FacebooK :) This is my new space - blog plus website from now on: http://signedbyange.com/ Much love to you and happy New Year.
    Ange

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  10. We are blessed at this time in history for women to pursue their passions at any age. I don't feel like it is out of the ordinary for me to be starting a new business at middle age.... gasp!;) It is definitely invigorating and I think, good for my daughter to witness. All the best Jeanne, thanks for your beautiful posts. xo

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    1. A new business at middle age..sounds wonderful to me Brenda. I have been on the same wave length. It's exciting to think of the possibilities! It is a wonderful phase of your life for your daughter to witness...inspiring I am sure. xx

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  11. Thank you so much for this post Jeanne. I passed it along to my sister who is going through some difficult times.

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    1. Cindy...I know Joan would be so touched by the gesture, I know I am. xx

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  12. I find this most inspiring Jeanne and it has come at a momnent when I really need some kind of inspiration - so thank you for it.

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    1. So glad you found the wods inspiring WG..it is all I wished for. I hope it helps you in some small way. xx

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  13. Having just turned 60 ... I say a loud YES to this fun post.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  14. what a wonderful, inspiring post and letter. You give me something to look forward to, and I hope that when I get to that point, I can be a strong, creative and open person. Thank you, Jeanne!

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    1. I am sure you will be Stephanie...you are on the right track. :)

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  15. Thank you for sharing Joan's letter.

    Yes. Life is a contnous learning and wisdom comes like a butterfly.

    We are always just halfway in our journey. The creative retreat refreshes the energy.

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    1. You are so right..a creative retreat would do just that...refresh the energy. Sounds wonderful. :)

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  16. Jeanne, Again today as is so often the case when I tumble into your words and feel your presence in the story you tell, delight has been my companion. I watched videos, read pages, felt so much of the movement of creativity throughout the entirety of your post. My day now moves to the writing desk and I head athere with an inspiration to allow the muse to pull the pen across the page and be present to the words that follow.
    Always, Jeanne, your friendship touches me deeply as we continue our walk together on this beautiful earth.
    Namaste,
    Kristin

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    1. Kristin, my friend...I always love the way you pull your words together..such a gift. Namaste...Jeanne xx

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  17. Jeanne,
    What a beautiful and thoughtful letter. It is so inspiring...I'm sending a link to my twin sister. I'm so glad we've reconnected in this big world where blogs make it seem a wee bit smaller...in a good way.
    Happy new Year!
    xo
    annie

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    1. Agree Annie...in a very good way. Happy New Year! xx

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  18. What a beautiful, heartfelt letter. And you know what Jeanne? I think that Joan is right. At 4 I have a confidence that I wish I had when I was 20. But I will make the most of it now and in the future :)

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    1. Loree..it is true, isn't it. I can't help but wonder too. It is great feeling knowing that it is up to us to make the difference. xx

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  19. A wonderful letter and lots of good thoughts for follow-up. Personally, cannot wait for "retirement" so that i can stop focussing on the world of work and turn my time and attention in many other directions. Wish it were tomorrow. I feel so strong and full of "me" to spend.

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    1. That day will come Webb...and I for one am most curious to see how you spend it. :) xx

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  20. Deeply moved. But you knew that I would be! And you were already "paying it forward" in your wise comments chez moi the other day, ones which I have thought about on a loop since reading them. They have an added meaning as a family friend wrote a poem for me when I was little that had the line "the world is her oyster" in it...

    Joan's writing makes me recall a memory: I had to wait tables in between acting gigs and one night at Fiorello's, the most lively pair of women came in. They just were having the best time, even though they had been given the worst table (something usually considered important at this restaurant across from Lincoln Center). We got to talking as they stayed late. It turned out the meal was to celebrate one of the women's 60th birthday, so of course I brought out some tiramisu and grappa on me. And the birthdayee told my young, very sensitive 20 something self "It will only get better! Just wait and see! You won't worry about all of the things that are so important to you now. You'll have so much confidence and not care what others think so much." It seemed too good to be true! But look, those are Joans (and your) words almost verbatim. I have a terrible memory, as you know, but I never forgot that. I held on to them dearly. I will come back to this post too to read over and over whenever I need courage as I struggle towards what is next, towards doing and sharing. Thank you both.
    With much Love,
    Heather

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    1. Heather...those two ladies sound like they had moxie, by the bucket loads. I can see why you took a shine to them. I have similar memories, snippets here and there, of advice passed on to me. At the time, I felt like that day would never come with four small children hanging off me but now that the days are slowly coming forward, I have a warm feeling about all those encouraging words...they do make a difference. I am so glad you enjoyed Joan's thoughts, I hope to share more one day! Warm wishes... xxx

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  21. Hi Jeanne, I never tire of hearing stories like this - friendships forming between bloggers, words of wisdom being paid forward. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring letter with us. I've been thinking about Joan's words all day and all can say is that I'm feeling very excited about the prospect of gaining these beginnings of wisdom as I age and more importantly feeling that confidence she writes about. As a naive twenty year old I used to think I knew everything but the older I get the more I realise I know not much at all. It's exciting to think we may come full circle. Mel x

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    1. Agree Mel...it is exciting! Thanks so much for stopping by, always nice to share in the story with kindred spirits. :)

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  22. Found you. Just needed to track back to Loree's blog. Haven't had a chance to visit all of the links she so graciously provided, but you're first. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment over at Subliminal. Your words were unexpected and encouraging. You and Joan are birds of a feather in that regard.

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    1. Suze..so glad you came over to reply! I thoroughly enjoyed your blog this morning and look forward to reading more. Discovering another talented writer is a gift to me. :)

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  23. Jeanne, it was wonderful to read this letter from Joan to you. I love when friendships develop between strong, wise, like-minded women. Much love to you,
    Angie

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    1. With thanks Angie...I would say you are right in there. Like minds are the best kind.. :)

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  24. Hello Jeanne,
    A Happy New Year to you.
    Blogging for me has added another dimention to my life. I have made some great friendships.. and as Angie wrote..like- minded women.
    I see myself in what your dear friend Joan wrote.
    I am 65 and open up more each day. I keep my path as clear as possible and enjoy the road ahead.
    Its a most wonderful feeling, when we come into our own.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Hope all is well with you there in Ho Chi Minh City.
    best wishes
    val

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    1. Thank you Val...I found your words so inspiring. All is well in Ho Chi Minh City, I am finally coming into my own. :)

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  25. Jeanne, I needed this experience today. It's that simple. I leave here feeling replenished by the realization that there are so many women who think and hope in the same way that I do. And I love Maude's words on an adventurous life.
    xo
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

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    1. Amen to that Leslie! Long live the adventure! xx

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. Just a few words or a
few paragraphs, no matter. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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