the new in the shell of the old

I love the concept of the new growing in the shell of the old. It’s the language of transformation. And the age-old reality of life. Which is what I’ve been focused on very intently for the past many months.

Full Circle Festival is just around the corner in Burlington VT, the first-ever festival to celebrate the heart and art of aging. We have an incredible line-up of dance, music, poetry, story-telling, art shows and talks, panel discussions, fitness, comedy, food demonstrations and interactive activities for the whole multi-generational family. Starting with one of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye giving the keynote on Friday night, April 11th.

While I have been gathering images, wise and witty sayings, and inspirational stories of creativity in the elderly (which, by the way, almost guarantees long and happy life, seriously!) to engender interest on the facebook page, I have noticed how all around me this simple perennial process is happening.

Yesterday, while staring idly out my kitchen window, I realized that the fat robin resting on the railing in the sun had just recycled the holiday berries lingering in the windowbox among fading greens and twigs. Making something new from the shell of the old!

I think of Gandhi who said/he might never have become
an activist for nonviolence/if the neighbor boys had not
beaten him up. – Naomi Shihab Nye, from ‘Communication Skills’ in  Honeybees

breathing deep


credit- andriehvitimus

credit- andriehvitimus

“If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly.”  —Andrew Weil

“Shallow breathing is a reaction to the unyielding stress of modern life—and is itself a cause of further stress, which leads to more shallow breathing. To stop this downward spiral of shallow breathing and stress—even in the midst of the daily mayhem—I can take three or four deep breaths and enter an upward spiral of deep breathing and calm… All I need to do is gently, without strain, fill up the space of my belly, and then slowly and tenderly breathe out.

I take a first belly breath—breathing slowly and deeply, expanding my stomach as I breathe in—and I focus on centering, on being present in the here and now. I take a second deep belly breath, and while doing so focus on my purpose—whether for that day or for my life as a whole. The third deep breath is dedicated to something for which I’m grateful—thinking about a family member, a meeting I had or am about to have, or anything else.

The physiological impact of deep breathing, coupled with the cognitive component of focusing on something positive, provides a powerful technique that can change the way you feel. The technique is particularly effective in bringing about calm and joy if you do it a few times a day.”

Excerpt from Choose the Life You Want: The Mindful Way to Happiness , copyright © Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, 2014. See more.