Monday, February 22, 2010

My Mother's Secret

My friend and mentor, Debbie Johnson, wrote this for her mom, Aliene, who just turned 79 yesterday.

My Mother’s Little Secret

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror

And the reflection took me by surprise.

There was no mistaking what I saw,

Those were my Mother’s eyes.

I’d looked in them through out my life

And know them very well.

They are full of love and guidance.

What stories they can tell.

I saw the lines around my mouth.

Had they been there before?

If it’s a smile that makes each one,

I’ll take a whole lot more.

You see I’m not afraid of growing older.

It’s part of life, just one of those things.

And my Mother has shown me the beauty and grace

That each passing year still brings.

She’s taught me many lessons,

Her example has shown the way.

Love deeply and do things for others,

And count your blessings every day.

There’s no such thing as too many diamonds,

Too much food or too much fun!

It’s each experience that makes a life well lived,

And thanking God for each and every one.

I learned that singing makes any job go better,

And that baking is good for the soul.

A homemade gift prepared with love

Makes tummies and hearts feel full.

That life is like a casino.

Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win.

But as long as you keep on playing,

It pays off again and again.

I learned to love very deeply,

And feel the pride that only a mother can feel.

To not worry about problems that many never come,

But instead focus here on what’s real.

Sometimes we are taken for granted.

Meals, laundry, cleaning and more.

It’s not that we aren’t important.

It’s just what mothers are for.

Life is truly what you make it,

And my Mother has shown me the way.

That real beauty comes from the inside,

And the years can’t take it away.

In fact living just adds to the beauty,

Just look at my Mother and see.

The years have been very good to her,

And I know they’ll be good to me.

So as I look in the mirror,

And see my Mother’s smile.

I share her little secret

On how to age in style.

It isn’t a cream or a lotion,

In fact there’s no price you can pay.

Simply fill your heart full of love,

And give it all away.

It comes back to you like magic,

Lifting faces and taking wrinkles away.

Just take a look at my Mother,

She’s more beautiful with each passing day.

So as I fill my heart with love,

I see the lines that living can bring.

I remember mom’s little secret

And I’m not worried about a thing.

By DebbieJJohnson ©2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jenny #2, Santa Monica, CA

Please visit the new video on YouTube and meet Jenny from The Beauty of Wisdom collection.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Aggie, 87. Memphis, TN

Aggie is cool, calm and collected. She wore a yellow thin sweater with a beautiful large gold cross necklace. Sophistication fell off her soft, southern drawl as she spoke about Gene's harmonica playing or jewelry that he made. Agnes has been going to Gene for 40 years.

Here is a comment from Eileen in regard to the weekly beauty parlor ritual. She wrote it on the "Imperfect Women" interview and I thought it was so poignant, I wanted to share it with you:

"... in the midst of real heartaches that women are experiencing (I hear other customers talk of divorce, cancer, death, etc.) these women are still validating life and doing something positive for themselves, and it’s so true that no matter what is going on in their lives, if they can get to that appointment, all is not lost.

Thank you Eileen!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Elizabeth, Brantley, AL

Elizabeth, 89, is the teacher of Sheila, her hairstylist, Shelia's mother, and Shelia's daughter. Three generations of women. She is the sweetest southern woman I ever did meet...soft spoken and wise. She has been working with Sheila for 40 years.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pauline, Conroe, TX

Look at that smile and that pure white snowy hair! Pauline recently had a new pacemaker replaced and was in pain, but you would never know it. It was like she was visiting a family member as she told Kathie, her hairstylist, all about the procedure and you could see her pain falling away as she and Kathie engaged in conversation. Pauline and I chatted a bit while she was waiting to get her hair done...and she leaned over to me and in her sweet southern accent asked, "so what do you think about your First Lady gardening in high heels?" I love southern women!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Timeless Beauty-Guest Post by Rebecca Elia

I am so happy to have found Rebecca Elia on Twitter and so excited to post her words and thoughts on Timeless Beauty on my blog. Please visit her website and the links she has generously provided.

Timeless Beauty
Once again, I am thankful to Twitter for connecting me with like-minded people. More and more women are exploring our society’s refusal to accept death and aging, and, lately, they’ve been tweeting about it. Elissa Stein, author of FLOW is working on her next book project, Wrinkle and her recent Huffington Post piece, The Age of Invisibility, was about our mistreatment of the elderly. Through twitter, I also learned of Robbie Kaye’s work.

It’s time to address this peculiar societal dysfunction.
In the not so distant past, the anorexic teenager was our society’s single representation of beauty. The Twiggy template lived on, decades beyond her actual owner. Dove’s relatively recent campaign was one of the first to use normal-looking normal-sized women models. Their famous Evolution video revealed the false representation of the final icon of a female model that appeared on a billboard. By the time the initial picture was adjusted, it was so far removed from the original that it was difficult to connect the two. Our sense of beauty, both outer and inner, has become unbelievably warped.
It took my traveling to Greece to become aware of just how culture-specific beauty is. I was relieved when I discovered that the Greeks were blind to the dark hair on my body that was deemed socially-unacceptable in the U.S. I was thrilled that women who we would consider overweight showed no hesitation in wearing tight clothes in public or bikinis on the beach.
But there was another difference, and this one had more to do with inner beauty. In Greece, the elderly were cared for, honored, and respected by their families. Often, these elderly women provided the structure and foundation for the family. Many of my Greek friends were raised by their yiayias (grandmothers). Because the Greeks are a very social people, I had more conversations with elderly women there than I did with one of my own grandmothers. I could not return to my apartment without talking with a yiayia who lived in my neighborhood. She would pull out a seat cushion and rush to make Greek coffee when she saw me approaching her marble steps. In fact, I had to add an extra thirty to sixty minutes to my trip home if I didn’t return during her afternoon nap.
These grandmothers not only shared their life wisdom with me but provided me with such a strong sense of family and stability that it eased the 6,000+ mile distance from my real family. Looking at the world through their eyes provided me with an immediate sense of what is truly important. Linear time disappeared. Relationships and relating became crucial. It was clear that what we do is not as essential as how we do it, and that those we love are more important than anything else in this world. The emphasis on artificial physical beauty disappeared in a land where nothing could be more gorgeous than the dramatic scenery, weathered by the same natural elements that wrinkled the lovely faces of the elderly.
I became aware of another striking difference. These Greek women lived each day in the present moment, just as children do. In fact, they lived their entire lives in this way. This was a country in which the natural cycles of life were recognized and death was accepted along with life. The Greeks understood that in order for anything new to be created, the old must dissolve. They remembered what we have forgotten, that unrestricted growth is unsustainable and undesirable.
Both of my biological grandmothers died long ago. Now, more than ever, I absorb my mother’s memories of her mother and her mother’s generation. Not wanting to miss any of their wisdom, I grab hold before it disappears forever. By forgetting her, I lose. By forgetting them, we all lose.
Ours is a young nation. How can we expect to mature without the wisdom of our elders? We are quickly destroying our earth and ourselves. The longer we hold onto this notion of unrestricted growth, the more we destroy. When will we, as a nation, begin to face our fears about aging and death and, instead, honor the hard-earned wisdom of our elders? When will we see their true beauty? Until we do, we will remain blind to our own.

Rebecca Elia is a Holistic Gynecologist who is more interested in creating health than in curing disease. Her forthcoming book, Creating Feminine Health, Finding Balance in a Masculine World addresses the consequences of valuing masculine qualities over feminine ones, including our society’s difficulty in accepting, let alone honoring, aging and elder wisdom.
Website: You may sign up for her free Creating Feminine Health Newsletter on the homepage of her website.
Links in Post:
Elissa Stein’s blog:
Elissa’s Huff Po post: The Age of Invisibility
Dove’s Evolution video: