In the sixties, abortion was illegal. At 17, I was pregnant. Not being of age, I was under control of my parents, my father to be exact. The boy's family and my father decided I had to have an abortion. No one told my mother. She probably would have objected. Nevertheless, it was decided for me.
The day I had the procedure, I was awarded entry into the National Achievement roles for academic achievement and my boyfriend was taking an exam at college. And I was in an illegal clinic. This day changed my life forever. It was the day I became rebellious. The anger colored my life for many years. I no longer trusted anyone anymore. I no longer accepted rules. It started my journey to find my voice, my own way.
Years later, I understood I would also never be able to conceive, never have children.
Then the world changed. Women's lib. Roe vs Wade. But I was stuck and sucked in to the overall events. Student protests. Vietnam. President Nixon. When bumper stickers "Love it or Leave it' became popular, I decided to leave. I worked and traveled the world, just to see how other people lived, how to create a life that was not like the one that was expected of me.
At the age of 71, I have come to accept. My focus has changed. I observe what goes on in the world, witness it, and know that everything changes. I still raise my voice to object to what I don't agree with, and support what I do. But like Edit Piaf. I regret nothing,
I have a favorite pair of cotton socks that have had holes in the heels forever. Living in Florida, I haven't had much use for these socks till now. My work requires me to wear close toed shoes, hence the socks.
I finally decided to fix them. I darned them. Seems like a skill from another time, another century. I love recycling, and not throwing things away that are still useful. When my mom had her hysterectomy in the early sixties, she spent about two months in a home, Kate Macy Ladd. I learned to prepare and serve dinner . I also learned to darn. A kindly grandma stayed with my sister and I duing the day. She was what I would now consider an elderly woman, even though she probably wasn't, just a women who aged according to her idea of how she should look and be.Round figured, with grey hair and a soft voice. She taught me how to take a sock, put a light bulb in it, and 'weave' the hole together. While I was darning, I felt like a throw back. I wonder if anyone knows how to darn anymore, or even if it would be something someone would do.
Since we live in a throw away culture, I remembered Alvin Toffler and his book, Future Shock (1970). I remember his comments on a disposable, throw away culture. When something wears out, we throw it away. We no longer fix things. We used to take shoes for repair, and I remember handymen who would fix appliances.
I've read there is a growing interest in repairing things again. Groups are forming to further this activity. I haven't met anyone, yet. I am happy I learned how to darn. I love my socks, they're unblended cotton! I am happy to wear them and give homage to a bygone time and the woman who taught me how to darn!
I support peace. I became a vegetarian to avoid committing violence on a daily basis. Words are cheap, where action backs up what you say you believe in. I am still a work in progress when it comes to my mind and my heart. Mother used to say that what comes out of your mouth is what is in your heart. I believe she was right. I watch what I have in my mind and watch what I say. I am not always successful. Being more aware of the power of thought and words and how they develop into deeds, I am getting better at watching myself.
That said, I find that I am in conflict over the recent events, the mosque massacre, in New Zealand. My heart goes out to the victims. On the other hand, my mind is less sympathetic. It is hard to admit that.
What I have read in the Koran, and read about activities in Muslim countries, and Mosques that promote hatred, AND the nonstop attacks against Israel...I am less sympathetic towards Muslims.
I want to send them love. I want to value them as humans. I find it hard to do that. When I listen to Imams and even children spouting hatred towards Jews as well as promoting murder of Jews, my hands shake and my heart fills with fear. I believe they believe what they say.
One of the people in my prayer group offered me a perspective: it is their problem! True enough. But were I in the wrong place at the right time...I could be killed. Maybe that is extreme, since living here in peaceful Florida does not exactly put me on the radar. The only thought that eases my fears is the belief that evil and negativity will never prevail.
tThere are many methods to increase your concentration. My favorite is line drawing. I learned this technique in high school, and have used it throughout my art career. What is involved? Place a pen or pencil on a blank piece of paper. Focus on the object you want to draw. Leave the pencil or pen on the paper, not removing it while you study your subject/object. Do not allow your attention to waver. Do not look down at the paper. Do not remove the pen/pencil.
At first, the result may not be pleasing. As you practice, it does improve. John Lennon and Diego Rivera used this technique! My work has won awards using it. You can see pieces here, or visit www.artistbe.com under my name. Artistbe offers reproductions at reasonable rates.
So, how does this improve concentration? While you are doing this exercise, you have to be totally aware. You cannot let your mind wander. You have to be relaxed and fully in the moment. Being fully in the moment is what many gurus are recommending for a more fulfilling, alive existence. You can learn to do that with meditation; that is not something many people find time to do. You can achieve this state through dancing or being involved in creating music, or some craft, or some other activity that requires your full attention. This is just one of many ways to achieve a sharpness of mind. It is one of my personal favorites. Try it and see how it works for you!
Much to my surprise, I am back at that school. I am a floater, helper and whatever I can do person now. And the most screamiest kids come hug me up. Life is indeed full of surprises.
Let me relay a story. It was starting to get dark so it was around 7ish. Most of the kids had been picked up and there were only 6 left. We were in the playground. One of the youngest kids got me to dance with him. Then he got the rest of the kids dancing. What a lovely scene.
I have to take an education course of 45 hours to get ? certification.
I must have an important part in all this. As I see it as fun, the whole perspective changes.