Unfinished Thoughts from Joan Anderson
Forward to a Friend
Do you know someone who would enjoy words of wisdom from Joan? You can share Joan with a friend! Just add them to our mailing list by clicking on the link below!!
Add A Friend To Joan's List
Unfinished Women seeking change at a recent retreat at Kripalu in Lenox, Massachsetts
Iona letter 2
Books by Joan Anderson
Continue to check out Joan's web site www.joanandersononline.com    for new items of interest and upcoming events!!  
If you are no longer interested in receiving news from Joan Anderson, you can unsubscribe from our mailing list by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the newsletter.
Click here to check Out Whidbey Kayak Adventure...
June/July '09
Some Unfinished Thoughts
Joan AndersonBe Your Change
     Growing up and growing on is inevitable no matter how hard we try to stop the clock. And yet, in this image-oriented culture most of us are fooled into thinking that if we keep our youthful appearance, stay on the treadmill of meaningful work, and attempt to be current when in the presence of our grown children nothing much has really changed in our lives. But if truth be told, the way we were is not the way we are. It only takes a quick glance at the family photo album to confirm that reality.
     So, when I offer a program entitled, Weekend to Change Your Life, it's all about learning to accept change-embrace change, revel in the new phase you find yourself in, and love the unknown. Surely my attitude around all this was aided and abetted by two astute teachers, namely my 94 year old mother as well as my mentor Joan Erikson, wife of psychotherapist Erik Erikson. Both were stunning examples of growing old gracefully-- neither bothering to dye their hair or hide their wrinkles. What's more, in Joan and Erik Erikson's now famous life cycle theory, "the work we have to do in middle age is fight stagnation with generatively...to see the excitement in metamorphosis rather than attempt to hold on to what is impossible to keep-in other words to embrace change and find the strength in it.
      But alas, acceptance entails coming to terms with what we are given...play with the hand we are dealt, see the reality of the situation, and then evaluate our choices. Resignation on the other hand renders us powerless and is fraught with negativity-- giving up and giving in, wishing for a different hand, clinging to illusion and therefore staying stymied and stuck.
      I'm no different than anyone else when change is thrust upon me-immediately anxious, I try to find my way around it instead of going though. Yet this spring has brought nothing but changes all of which offered no exit. There was a knee operation, followed by a falling out with a business associate, and finally, the death of my mother. No avoiding any of these situations and yet in retrospect, the lessons and wisdom from these realities offered possibilities like never before.
     Training myself to go with the flow has worked wonders. My image  for such always takes me back to a picnic on one of Cape Cod's barrier beaches-three couples piled into two Jeeps laden with all manner of paraphernalia-food of course, small and large tables, gas grill, a canvas windbreaker, plates, glasses and plenty of wine. We were more than ready to party as our vehicles skidded through mounds of sand and came to a stop at the top of the high tide line. It was the perfect night-a roaring sea with ten foot waves slapping on shore, gulls swirling overhead, and clouds behind us promising a colorful sunset.  No sooner had we unpacked and settled in, Chardonnay in hand, then our host wondered if the tide was going in or out. We soon learned from a nearby fisherman that high tide would be in 2 hours...plenty of time to eat and run we mistakenly thought until minutes later, we were smacked by not one but three rollers forcing us to move our gear toward the dunes, not once but twice during our adventure.
     In such a situation it is all part of the fun-what one must expect and accept when camping in the wild. So, even when the stakes are high and the changes that keep coming are more dire,I look back on such evenings and know that none of us can control the way life passes-we can only adapt. Whether it is moving to dryer land or a situation more serious like a tough diagnosis, a betrayal, loss of a job, change of home address, or a new family configuration, this journey is not just progressing through the world but moving through stages of understanding.
     The way I see it is that we are meant to become observers and participants of our own growth...scholars of self and soul I call it...truly embracing the unfinished parts of ourselves and become someone we never intended to be. What's more, be patient about it!
     A new reader of mine emailed me recently. She had just moved to Los Angeles with her boyfriend and wanted everything about her future to be known RIGHT NOW! Every time she used the word NOW she capitalized it...as if her life could be preplanned, perfected, and styled somehow. Could I help her figure it out and give her a plan?
     I quickly answered her plea. "Now is not the time to get answers...now is the time to stay with the transition...that uncomfortable place where you feel as though you are in limbo but through which you will grow the answers you are seeking about NOW. Being young and in limbo is right for you NOW. If you need to give yourself a time limit do so...like a year of listening to what your heart needs to say. You have 8700 hours this year to move here and there...plenty of space to let your psyche develop truthful instincts and intuitions. You are meant to BE for NOW and live into your next stage which will only be obvious when you sense it. Nothing worthwhile can be forced or hurried. Be your change."
     And that is what happens during a weekend to change your life. By taking oneself away because you know you are changing, then through a series of adventures and exercises experience a breakthrough, by week's end you may just feel yourself moving through the portal to the other side, an unfinished woman ready to transcend herself again and again. It's time to be your change! 
Summer Musings
     Summertime and the livin is easy...so goes the song from the musical Porgy and Bess. Well, one always hopes for ease especially during the summer. But given the continued state of the world it is becoming most difficult to kick back and relax.Summer holidays are not as affordable anymore and employers are giving less and less time for such breaks just when we seem to need them the most.
     But even if we can't actually "get away" to some destination other than home, we can still vacate by changing the pattern of our days and making time for an inward vacation. So much vacationing and leisure is merely stopping to take in sights and sounds--meandering, musing, contemplating--all those things we miss during the busier, more organized seasons.
     Why not set a few intentions just for you during these long summer days and nights? After all, the Latin word for intention is intenderae, which means to stretch toward something. Likewise, the Latin word for inspiration is inspirae which means to breathe life into.
     Although some would say otherwise, summer is toughest on women who have children under foot 24/7, relatives dropping by, and get-togethers, the organization of which basically falls to the woman.  Although we want each season to be memorable, we also want to savor some memories for our very selves. All the more reason to be intentional and inspirational in the living of your summer days. May you succeed in pleasing yourself.
For new retreats, check out Joan's Northwest Adventure...
Iona letter 2
There is no question that my sense of place is beside the sea, preferably a solitary beach. Yet from time to time, I'm called to the mountains, particularly those with snow covered peaks. Imagine having both which is precisely what awaits you on Whidbey Island, off the coast of Seattle. More...