Monday, February 6, 2012


On my 60th birthday, I plunged into mourning. I thought my sex life was over.

As I contemplated my bleak future, I took heart from Ruth Turner, who was quoted in Joyce Tenneson's book, Wise Women. At 75, Turner said, " I just got married again. I answered an ad in the New York Review of Books. That's how I met Larry. I am his sexual fantasy." I decided if she could be some ones sexual fantasy, so could I.

Further encouragement came while dining out one evening. As I prepared to order, I watched an elegant African-American couple of advanced years be seated next to me. She was somewhat frail, but he tenderly held her arm. I told her how lovely she looked.

With a conspiring air, he came over to me and said they were newlyweds. He proudly announced he had married a younger woman.

Patting him on the shoulder, I smiled and said, "Good for you."

He chuckled and said, "I'm 92, and she is 88."

As we ate, we chatted. As I was leaving, I bent over and whispered in her ear, "I just can't resist asking you. How is sex at 88?"

With a knowing smile, she replied, "Very interesting."

She promptly relayed my question to her husband, and we all had a good laugh.

A friend once said, "Nobody wants to talk to old people about sex." However, as a psychiatrist, my job is to ask questions, including questions about sex.

I once asked a depressed 78-year-old gentleman about his sex life with his wife of 50-plus years. He replied that it had always been wonderful until the preceding year. With a dejected look, he said that he was unable to have an erection because of his heart medications. He perked up when I suggested he talk with his cardiologist about oral and injectable treatments for erectile dysfunction.

A 92-year-old woman once related that she was saddened by her partner of 45 years who refused to be physically intimate. She said, "Old people still feel things. Believe me, I know."

Research has shown the need and desire for regular sexual activity does not significantly diminish with age. In fact, the ability for a man to achieve an erection and for both men and women to experience orgasm continues throughout their life spans. In additions, sexual activity, especially between loving partners, contributes to the physical and psychological health of the participants.

As mature women, we often have reared children and/or had fulfilling careers. Usually, we have resolved many of our emotional and spiritual issues and found peace within ourselves. In our maturity, we become comfortable in our skins. In the sensual and sexual realms, these can be our most fulfilling years.

So ladies, if you are having another birthday, put away your mourning shrouds. Enjoy your sexual maturity.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Individuals often speak of happiness as something they can directly achieve. However, happiness is a byproduct of a life well lived.

I recently attended a gathering of individuals of the Baha'i Faith. I have never been with a group who radiated so much love, acceptance, kindness and peace, the tenets of their faith.

The Baha'i describe the attributes of God as All-Loving and All-Powerful. According to Baha'i teachings the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through prayer, reflection and being of service to humankind.

Baha'i writings emphasize the equality of human beings and the abolition of prejudice. Humanity is seen as essentially one, though highly varied; its diversity of race and cultures are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. Doctrines of racism, nationalism, caste, social class and gender-based hierarchy are seen as artificial impediments to unity.

The principles of the Baha'i Faith include:
- independent search for truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition
- oneness of the entire human race
- unity of all religions
- condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national
- equality of men and women
- abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty
- exaltation of work performed in the spirit of service
- glorification of justice as the ruling principle of human society
- establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind

(The information on the Baha'i Faith was taken from Wikipedia.)

Daily practice of the above principles would constitute a life well lived. Contentment, happiness and peace are its byproducts.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Living consciously means not only buying less and smaller but also recycling every component of the things we do buy and the containers in which they are packaged.

Americans consume more than their share of the world's goods and contribute a lion's share of environmental pollution. In good conscience, how can we as individuals and a nation continue to perpetrate our selfish, greed-ridden lifestyle?

One example of our behaviors is our quest for newer, faster gadgetry. Our choices have created a staggering amount of toxic, high-tech trash, including computers, televisions, cell phones and more. Dumped or inappropriately recycled e-waste is extremely hazardous. It contains arsenic, beryllium, lead - a neurotoxin and cadmium - a carcinogen that damages lungs and kidneys.

In the United States, cell phones are often discarded after 12 months use. For many, their phones have become a "status symbol." The owners want this gadget to be an expression of their personalities.

No object defines us. To live consciously, our choices must change. So recycle and buy smaller and less of everything. Tend your needs and not your wants.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


With alarms sounding, it is time to buy smaller and less. Like so much of the American dream, the "bigger is better" house, car, more-of-everything mentality, has become an environmental and social nightmare.

We are a nation in which our wants far exceed our needs. Let our motto become "Less is More," or "Enough is Enough." For our children, grandchildren and future generations, our slumbering consciousness must awaken to this planetary emergency.

Being a child of relative poverty, I believed the American illusion that happiness followed obtaining my material wants. I took my turn with big houses, fancy cars and furnishings galore, but there I found no peace.

In Alex Wilson's book, Your Green Home, he discusses minimizing our environmental impact by building smaller, more space- and energy-efficient homes. He is right. We don't need large homes to store stuff we don't need. I grew tired of cleaning, heating and cooling mine.

Weighing in at 900 square feet, I now live in a 1926 greenly remodeled home. My air conditioning is often open windows and ceiling fans. I drive a hybrid vehicle and am within a short walk of all my shopping needs. I deeply enjoy the simplicity of my life. I hope you discover that less is more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Standing in lines, I often meet new friends.

Today, at the Post Office, I was behind a well-dressed, elderly lady of African descent.

We watched a loquacious boy talking to his mother. He had thick, straight, black hair and large, heavily-lashed, black-brown eyes. She wore a pink, head scarf, indicating her Muslim faith. Quietly and patiently, with humor in her countenance, she listened to her son's questions and observations and made inaudible comments.

I soon engaged them in conversation. The six-year-old boy explained they were there to obtain his passport. His family was from Bangladesh, but the upcoming, three-month, summer vacation would be his first visit. With some embarrassment, he said he couldn't speak "Banglei." I assured him, after his trip, he would speak it fluently. His mother explained that she had not been home for nine years. Her other child, a fourteen-year-old daughter, had been to Bangladesh twice. Soon, she was joined by her husband, who had completed the transaction on behalf of his son.

As we observed the child, the elderly lady spoke of how the boy reminded her of her daughter as a child. She said, "My daughter asked constant questions. She always wanted to know more, and I never said no to her." Obviously, the woman had encouraged her daughter inquisitiveness and was proud of her professional accomplishments.

Farther down the line, I watched an African male and his Caucasian wife being loving and affectionate with one another. In an infant seat, he carried their infant daughter. She was also posing for her passport photograph. The child's mother was Canadian, and the couple planned to visit the mother's family.

I was smiling on leaving the Post Office. I love our human family.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I saw a couple today whose college-age daughter will have her third cancer surgery tomorrow. Their pain was palpable. They pray, live one day at a time and wait for God's will to unfold.

On later reflection, I was reminded of Mother Teresa's comment, "I know God never gives me more than I can handle, I just wish He wouldn't trust me so much."

Then, I recalled Jesus saying something to the effect, "let this cup passeth from me." I went in search of the text, which is Luke 22:42. In one translation, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus said, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

Monday, January 16, 2012


At sixty-five, I often feel invisible.

I don't wear the current fashions or desire to expose my breasts, legs or gluteal muscles. I wear relaxed and comfortable, whatever their date.

My hair is silver, and I use little makeup.

Without advertising, I don't attract much male attention. Besides, the men my age are usually hustling younger women.

I don't need or want center stage or even the peripheral limelight. I think this comes from being content with my life and comfortable in my own skin.

I no longer compete with others or race anyone for first place. I yield the right-of-way. I'll take the turtle's pace. It's steady and sure.

Actually, I am enjoying this time in my life. Invisibility removes the stess, and I can just be.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I have surfaced from ten days of relative silence and much painting.

In the canine department, I discovered a mobile veterinarian, and Horace was relieved of his nuts. I don't believe he's missed them. Bodhi had his teeth cleaned and is minus a loose tooth.

In addition, this is an equal opportunity household. All three dogs now sport bark collars. I am less stressed, and the neighbors are pleased.

I sense 2012 will be a years of blessings, for myself and others. As I write this, I am aware that seemingly negative events may yield the highest good for all concerned. Therefore, I must work to suspend judgement about the positive or negative nature of the events in my life.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


In my morning meditation, I read portions of Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching. I want to share with you the 81st reading.

"True words aren't eloquent;
eloquent words aren't true.
Wise men do not need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.

The Tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the Master leads."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The December 2011 issue of Ode, contains a series of articles on the healing power of giving.(

Author, Diana Rico cites various world religions views on giving.

"If you knew the power of generosity, you would not let a single meal go by without sharing it," the Buddha said ... Giving was advocated by the Buddha because it "both acknowledges the interdependence we have for each other and is the active practice of letting go, which is where freedom from suffering lies."

Paul exhorts, in 2 Corinthians 9:7, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

In Islam, the Qu'ran discusses the practice of giving alms. "It is intended not only to provide welfare for needy Muslims but to purify the spirit of the giver (who is cleaned of greediness and selfishness) and the receiver (who is saved from the humiliation of begging and envy)."

The Torah commands its followers "to open your heart to the poor and to the needy kin in your land."

Other authors discuss the body, mind, spirit and social healing powers of giving for both the giver and the recipient.

Another family shared their abundance by selling their lavish home and giving half of their proceeds to charity.

So goes the circle of life. Peace and happiness is the result of sharing, loving and letting go.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I enjoy asian food, and I look for wisdom within each fortune cookie. Recently, I received a true gem.

"He who climbs highest is the one who gives another a hand up."

This thought is one of purity and truth. Carry it forth into this new year.