Stop Dieting and Start Listening

February 28, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Midlife is built on such shifting sands, isn’t it? Full of surprises and calls to reassess comfortable habits. Looking in the mirror at your growing girth is a case in point. Though unsettling, seen from a different lens, changing body chemistry is a wake-up call to build new habits that promote your vitality for the next 40-50 years. We’ve invited Certified Holistic Health Counselor Rachel Venokur Clark at Renew for a New You to remind us that ‘when diet changes, everything changes”. What we eat isn’t about “dieting,” but about mindful eating - and weight loss is a nice side effect! Rachel trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition with notables such as Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, and Mark Hyman. Here’s her counsel on how to start:

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It’s time to put the“one size fits all” myth diet myth to rest. Everyone has unique needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle. Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself,

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Finding Balance in Uncertain Times

February 25, 2009 | Leave a Comment

It seems like we’re breathing in fear from around us every day, doesn’t it? I know I’ve grown wary – and weary – of turning on the news, it’s too depressing. Knowing that we’re at last on a course correction after years of insane pursuit of wealth is hardly cause for joy. The reality of the magnitude of devastation left in its wake is bewildering. Even though we may personally be protected, the future is uncertain. Making the hard choice to bail out irresponsible behavior is galling. And it’s simply shocking how rapidly our assumptions about tomorrow can disintegrate.

So what is a conscious response to this moment? What’s the key to finding and maintaining balance? I found an answer from Spirit Rock Zen teacher, Norm Fischer, one of the many Zen teachers whose talks I found at Dharmaseed Talks. Sit in this “museum of negativity” that is, this swirl of thought and feeling in the mind, he said. In fear and discouragement, people often don’t have the heart to do spiritual practice, Read more

Answers to Your Green Questions

February 21, 2009 | Leave a Comment

It’s so exciting that protecting environmental quality is at last on the national agenda. Finally, a shift from the tired either/or arguments of the past, that going green is bad for business. Or that we have to pick our devil: oil, coal or nuclear. There are so many rational alternatives available, depending on the resources and needs of the region. Of course they create jobs, different jobs from ones in the past. Ones we can be proud to pass on. Okay, I’m done, rant over.

Having said that, going green is getting more complicated by the day. As usual, the devil is in the details. There’s a lot of nitty gritty to practically every choice that goes way beyond the silly choosing “paper or plastic” at the supermarket (bring your own bag!). Help from the Green Lantern, courtesy of is on the way. Which is better, Read more

The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Eldercare

February 19, 2009 | Leave a Comment

When I began to understand the reality of caring for my mother, who has an Alzheimer’s dementia, I was, like everyone else, unsure and filled with questions about ‘how’ to ‘be with’ her. I was very uncomfortable when she endlessly repeated stories, or mixed up the characters in them. And when the memory of my father began to fade, to be replaced by childhood memories, I felt shocked, disoriented, and greatly saddened.

I felt guilty about feeling bored, inadequate in the extreme (where was my wise, earthy, intuitive mother to help me figure this out?). But mostly I had questions: Do I gently correct her, bring her back to the here and now, as one of my sister’s opined? Would this strengthen her grip on “reality”, stimulate her mind and delay her decline? My instinct Read more

Menopause and the Science of Alternative Medicine

February 17, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Today I sing the praises of Oprah! Not because I always agree with her, but because she is unafraid to raise provocative issues that start a national conversation, causing people that otherwise might not, to pay attention, and to come out of the woodwork to give them a much-needed airing. A case in point is the Open Letter to Oprah that found its way to my email box this week. Oprah, who is smack dab in midlife, and, apparently perimenopausal, hosted a program that featured bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. And this is how I came to discover Virginia Hopkins, who is no small authority on the subject. It turns out that Virginia Hopkins co-authored several books with Dr. John Lee, M.D.

Since Dr. Lee died a few years ago, it’s been harder to find reliable updates on all things natural hormone-related. If you’re not familiar with Harvard trained Dr. Lee’s ground-breaking work: he pioneered the use of transdermal progesterone cream and bio-identical hormones in the early 1990s, and wrote about the dangers of HRT Read more

Midlife at the Movies

February 12, 2009 | Leave a Comment

In this blogpost that came across my desk yesterday, the writer reflects on how heroic characters in the movies played a key role in motivating and inspiring him to stay positive during a rough midlife decade. He describes a recent 50 something Liam Neeson character, an action hero who takes calm control of a dire situation with relentless focus, persistence, and physical skill, and then goes on to name others who helped him to overcome feelings of overwhelm and helplessness, and to remind him that age is not a barrier to what you want to achieve.

I thought of my own experience, of the enormous importance of role models, and of the impact these archetypal characters exert over our perceptions of our choices, and our behaviors. Their larger than life, mythical images deeply influence our imagination, Read more

Midlife Men in Andropause

February 9, 2009 | 2 Comments

Read today’s San Francisco Chronicle to discover whether a male midlife crisis is more than a state of mind, or linked to andropause, hormonal changes occurring in midlife men that is the equivalent of perimenopause and menopause in women.

According to psychotherapist and male midlife expert Jed Diamond (pictured), author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Aggression and Depression, men suffer from the effects declining hormone levels as they age. There’s evidence that reduced testosterone in some men can cause moodiness and irritability, flagging sex drive, reduced muscle strength and loss of male identity. Some NIMH peer reviewed studies have also shown that giving back androgens like DHEA and testosterone improves the mood of men in midlife with declining testosterone levels.

Interestingly, he says that men go through a number of hormonal, physiological, interpersonal, sexual and spiritual changes, just like women do. But in women, the physiological changes are emphasized, Read more

Snapshot of an Incubating Midlife

February 4, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Here’s an authentic and real time voice of a valiant midlife - in- process. Recently, Jim Selman posted on his blog, Serene Ambition - isn’t that a great name? - about his upcoming ‘inventure’ – his inner adventure - trip to Africa. He says he’s always wanted to go to Africa, but for one reason or another, it’s never come together. He’s going with eight other men in various stages of retirement, who are uncertain about their future and asking, “What do I do with the rest of my life?”

As it happens, Jim has written a book about retirement, The Freeway Guide to Retiring Right, How to Invent the Rest of Your Life, and is following his own advice in seeking clarity and renewed purpose as he grows older. He talks about finding time to pursue his passion, the Eldering Institute, which he founded. It’s “what I have planned Read more

Finding Meaning and Purpose for the Second Half of Life

February 1, 2009 | Leave a Comment

“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” Carl Jung

Thus opens a new video by Wayne Dyer exploring the spiritual journey in the second half of life. Read more about it and view the full video . As usual, Dyer is succinctly upbeat and to the point. On making this film he said, “I am 68 years old and I have a new career. When I was asked to do this film, I didn’t think ‘I’m too old to do something I’ve never done before.’ I thought ‘I am open to everything. I am willing to change and to learn.’ I’m more proud of this film than of anything I’ve ever done before.” P.S. There are several little snippets that you can view after the one you see here finishes playing.

Financial Action Plan 2009

January 27, 2009 | 1 Comment

Job layoffs, plunging retirement accounts, home foreclosures… the ripples of the recession are affecting many of us, which is why money expert Suzie Orman says there is no better time to take control of your financial life. This is the year to pick up the pieces and deal with what happened last year in the economy.

If you have questions about debt, savings, real estate or retirement, Suzie has put the answers in a new book she was giving away, Suzie Orman’s 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound. It gives you a foundation to deal with what happened in your own financial universe last year, and sets you up to plan for the future, because, she says, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Chock full of very practical information and resources, the 227 page workbook is written in her usual no-nonsense nuts and bolts style and also covers credit, planning for college, spending and protecting your family and yourself.   Contact us at [email protected] for your free copy.