As we get older, we might experience NEW challenges in our life - just when we want to feel free! It's never too late to grow in body, mind or spirit. It's never too late to deepen your social connections, or to strengthen your relationships. And now that is it rightfully YOUR time to focus on what really matters to YOU, this episode will leave you inspired and hopeful. For personal experiences and professional advice on some of the physical, emotional and social challenges of ageing, we'll discuss how to reinvent your life. Do you want to be VIBRANT BEYOND SIXTY? Then listen in...
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Connect with Louise: vibrantbeyondsixty.com
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Debra Jones 0:00
As we get older, we might experience new challenges in our life. Just when we want to feel free. You know, it's never too late to grow in mind, body or spirit. It's never too late to deepen your social connections, or to strengthen your relationships. And now that it is rightfully your time to focus on what really matters to you, this episode will leave you inspired and hopeful.
For personal experiences and professional advice on some of the physical, emotional, and social challenges of aging, we'll discuss how to reinvent your life. Do you want to be vibrant beyond 60? Then listening.
My next guest has been a professional couples therapist for over 20 years. And after turning 70 she added something new into her practice. She helps women who have lost touch with their own needs and desires, find new meaning and purpose in their lives. I'm so glad you're listening to this. Please welcome Louise Dorfman. Hi, Louise.
Louise Dorfman 1:40
Hi, Debra, really pleased to be on your show. It's been an interesting journey, and if you've been a couple therapist for over 20 years, you've probably heard a lot of things and understand a lot about people and your journey yourself. There's something that changed the course of your journey, not that long ago. Would you like to share that with us? Well, I'd like to say it's not that long ago when I was 70. I'm going to be 76 in December.
But I was feeling a bit restless towards my 70th birthday, which happens to be at the end of the year, the beginning of a new year. So it's kind of interesting. I woke up the morning of my 70th birthday and I looked around the room, and I for some reason, I had a yearning to do something different, but not stop what I was doing, but expand what I was doing. And I don't know, most of my life I hadn't been that close with women. I didn't have a lot of women friends, usually have one or two. So I wasn't really a group kind of person in terms of women. But I started feeling, wanting to reach out to women for some reason, it was really strong in me. And I lay there trying to figure out what it is that I want to do, how can I reach out to women. And I felt I was at a juncture I felt at this point in my life, something was missing. But you know what, by the time you're 70, you go through a lot of different things. I had a wonderful husband, and beautiful son and daughter-in-law, and they didn't have children at the time. But something was missing. And I wanted to, what could I give women you know, and I, of course, I always draw upon myself, who else is there to draw upon. And so I thought, embodying everything that I wanted to be. So I thought, that's when I came up with the idea of vibrant beyond 60.
Actually, it was vibrant beyond 70 but I did a little bit of research talking to different women, and I found that women in their early 60s, even for sure mid-60s are starting to feel some of the same things that I was feeling. So I thought it just might be better to reach out starting there.
Yeah. And so you did work with couples for many years, and the focus being on women now. Why? Why did you choose that as a focus?
Louise Dorfman 4:31
You know, a lot of the work that we were doing as couples, that we still do, is focused on two people really supporting each other really well, forming a real secure attachment to each other so that they feel safe in the environment they're in. But I was starting to feel Oh, I want to be more independent. And you know, and I certainly didn't have a husband that was saying don't, don't be independent, but I was starting to have my own thoughts on things.
It's just a real yearning to kinda stretch out and, and be my own person. But I didn't want to give up what I was doing. But I really wanted to cut it down. And in order to do this, and to sort this through and figure out how I was going to go about it, I did have to start to move away from my couples practice a bit. So I made sure that he took on a lot. I should say, his name is David, and he's a wonderful man.
Debra Jones 5:30
And I know him too. He is a wonderful man.
And so really, you felt like branching off so that you could fulfill something that you've been yearning for?
Louise Dorfman 5:48
Yeah, an expression of me, being me. I wanted to have my own legacy in a way. That's an urge that I had when I reached 50, as well is, you kind of look at your life and do a review and almost like a checklist, you know. What have I accomplished? What do I still want to accomplish? Is this, in fact possible? And what I found for myself, and from the clients that I talked to, as well, is, it's not always believable, that it is possible to pivot.
And I think that's where your coaching comes in. helping women sort of get over that hurdle. What do you think?
Louise Dorfman 6:53
Yes, because I think at a certain time of life, when you're getting closer to retirement, or if you're been working on your own. You really need to examine who you are. It's an inner desire, you want to know, who am I, for instance, I was 70. And I thought I have 30 years to go, you know, maybe a little longer? And how is that 30 years gonna look? Well, nobody wants to look at, you know, when you're starting to crumble, nobody wants to think about what will I be like when I can't walk? And I can't think, and all the rest of it. So it's better to think about what can I do as long as I can do it? And maybe if I do it now, I'll live longer, healthier?
But how am I going to fill that 30 years, I wanted to know, obviously, I'm saying 100? But it takes a lot of going inward? It takes a lot of understanding who you are and are there areas of you, you haven't really fulfilled? Are there areas of lack of knowledge that you need to fill? For a lot of women my age, they go into a place of creativity. Well, I'm no artist, I've never been an artist. So that's not for me. But I have seen women around me who have done some beautiful artwork in there. You can say later years, I don't like to say 'later years'. So the years that I'm in.
So you know, how do I tap into that creativity? And how do I get past thinking I can't.
Also women start looking inward and maybe becoming more spiritual in some way. I feel I missed that over the years. And so for me, it was more like getting in touch with the energy of the universe. For some people that might be, you know, being more religious, but for me, it was realizing I'm one of this universe that I'm connected to. And that was a big thought for me. So a lot of what I'm doing, in the energy work that I'm doing is keeping me closer and closer to that thought process.
And keeping me grounded, making me feel I'm not alone. I'm part of a bigger, bigger union here. That's a wonderful feeling. And so working with women is the idea is I say on my site, women empowering women, is the idea of, we can empower each other to look deeper, reach out and be more connected with each other and all that is around. It's not just women. So there's just so many levels of interest there for me.
Debra Jones 9:54
So you put a website together, vibrant beyond sixty.com. What is it you're offering exactly?
Louise Dorfman 10:04
Well, initially, I am offering what I can offer, which is my counselling services.
So the main focus of what I'm offering right at this moment, is one on one couching, you can call it coaching, it is, what it is, depending on who I'm working with, and what they need and where they're coming from. But I've been spending a few years now learning a lot more about energy psychology, mainly different forms of tapping, to help people get more in touch with who they are, and start to look at these limiting beliefs that they may be dragging around that are getting in the way and to move them forward and empower them. But I also work very comfortably with women who have different traumas in their life that they're trying to deal with, emotional changes of different sorts. Even the prospect of getting older and health, you know, how do you deal with health? How do you even deal with pain? And I've had some of my own little challenges in the last few years, just to make it all more interesting. And, you know, whatever happens to you, gives you richness to offer to others.
Debra Jones 11:28
Absolutely, I find that too. But I also have noticed as I get older, there's a focus on people that are leaving us now. So losing people and having the effect of that in our lives, whether it's close family members, or just even in the media, and it's like, well, I used to follow this person, and they're not here anymore. You know, there's a lot of loss. Yeah, is it actually can be a hurdle for some people, don't you think?
Louise Dorfman 12:00
Yes, loss is huge. You're right. We're losing friends. We're losing family members.I don't know why in October, November, every year, I noticed older people seem to go, and people who I don't know. But I may be followed in some way. And I go, oh, and even that's a loss for some reason. Maybe it just makes you aware of your own mortality,
There's too much around us that's not comfortable. So there's a lot of like a review of where we're at when things like that happen in our lives, we start to think about our own lives. And you know, a lot of people don't talk about, you know, the end of life. And we will be doing a podcast later on about end of life. And there's ... lost my train of thought
it's gone. Okay, let's start off again,
Louise Dorfman 13:14
you should keep that in just to show what it's like as you get older
Debra Jones 13:19
it was a senior moment they call it, right.
Louise Dorfman 13:21
Debra Jones 13:25
What I'd like to talk about also is, as we get older, and the children are leaving home, and so we've got that empty nest syndrome, that we've been so used to caring for other people, and now they're not needing us or even wanting our care. Do you see that a lot?
Louise Dorfman 13:46
Yes. And I experienced it as well. It's a big surprise. Because you give your all, you do your best. Nobody's perfect, right. But there is a point where you're not needed as much. In fact, I heard something yet just yesterday, about somebody saying they feel invisible. As you get older, and you maybe don't match what people are looking for, you do become kind of invisible. But, you know, children move all over the place now, they, you know, travel, they live in different countries. I have a girlfriend whose daughter moved to South Korea, and she and her boyfriend now becoming, you know, wife and husband. They're, you know, she may see them every three, four years. And to me, that's such a heartbreak. We lived five and a half hours away from our son until a year ago. And sometimes it was very difficult and you talk about loss. There's a loss there because you don't know what's going on. in their everyday lives, you're not having regular conversations with them. I mean, especially if you have a boy. Yeah. But there was a lot of loss and, and grief over that, and finding it hard to make that connection. So one of the things I wanted to reach out to women about is what that loss about, about children and grandchildren is about. And right now, during COVID, my heart goes out to the grandparents that just can't be with their own little tiny grandchildren. Even newborns, though, you know, we're very fortunate we moved here and that we can, but I really feel for everyone else, because I've been through it. Yeah. There's loss and grief around close friends, you know, at this point, things start happening to them.
Debra Jones 15:51
Yeah. And, and if you do move away, and you move away from your friends, that's another stress isn't it?
Louise Dorfman 15:59
wasn't for me, I have one or two really, really close friends it wouldn't matter how, in fact, they weren't living right where I was, I was living in the country, north of Toronto, and I'm still close with them. But I had a lot of people that maybe I wasn't as open with them. They weren't that close at the time but they were friends. So yes, when we got here, we knew nobody. And I think you look, you start to not depend on your inner resources, but honour them, you know? And then of course, it's COVID now, so. I'm a pretty independent person anyways, but I, for some people like it would be, it would be really difficult for some people who are more social, and, you know,
Debra Jones 16:51
what would you say to someone who, they don't have a partner, and in this time where we can't be with our friends in the same way? What would you suggest?
Debra Jones 17:04
I would say, don't be reclusive, reach out, you know, reach out, even with zoom reach out often. You know, Man does not live alone, neither does woman. Man's not an island, what was that expression? Yeah, it is much harder. And I would say more to the people who are friends of them, reach out to them. Because it's not always easy to ask for what you want. Especially if you're a woman. And it's a very difficult time, there's no doubt about it. But do push yourself to reach out and get involved in the things that you love to do. The creative things that you love to do, if it's writing, or, I mean, what a wonderful time COVID is open to us. We can spend this time searching, you know, over the Internet of things that we enjoy, and listen to and go to concerts and all kinds of things. And we can learn more about ourselves. And you know, it's given us a respite, instead of running around and not really realizing what's important to us. We can start to begin new projects begin new things that excite us, read, you know, it's actually a blessing.
Debra Jones 18:30
With some couples, when big changes happen. So perhaps retirement has been a choice, and you're really creating a whole new life for yourself. And sometimes you don't feel supported by your partner. And if you have that urge to reinvent yourself, but you're expected to be the same old, same old, how would you, what advice would you give to somebody in that situation?
Louise Dorfman 19:07
Well, you can't have a strong partnership if you don't have two strong individuals in it. And if I had them come in as a couple, then there are certain kinds of things that we would have them take a look at, like, what are the principles that they have agreed upon for living as a couple, and you flesh that out. Like, does it mean that you're my number one? Let's say, you're my number one, you're my go-to person. So if you're my go-to person, what does that look like? So if I just feel like doing something else, and it's really not working for you, are you my number one, or am I my number one? You know, being in a relationship is very complex. So, getting them to create a foundation for how they're going to move forward, they can deepen what they have. Trying to deepen yourself, you have to go to that same place, you have to say, What am I about what's important to me, and have an agreement with yourself that you know, a moral compass, you're not going to do this, or you're not gonna do that? Well, in a relationship, it's the same thing. You have to really, not necessarily write it down, but have very concrete ideas about what it is to take care of each other. And one of the agreements might be we allow each other breathing space, we allow each other to grow, we promote each other to grow. That might not be comfortable for me when you're growing, but I want you to go there, I want you to feel you can be the most of yourself. So how do you support your partner, and you can't do it, if you don't have a really good grounded full self, the more you work on you, the more you can reach out to your partner, and help them work on them. And then you'll feel close.
Debra Jones 21:12
yeah, beautifully said. And that's where you come in, that's what you offer, is helping people get that inner strength within themselves so that the next few 20, 30 years, can actually be maybe the most authentic?
Louise Dorfman 21:30
Absolutely, I really feel it. Nothing makes me feel better than when I'm working with women, I have to tell you, it's like, I have this wealth of life to offer good and bad and the ugly, I have so much interpersonal experience, I have experience with relationships, I have had experience working in a trauma center, I keep studying, so I have more and more new knowledge to offer. And in my studying, I'm practicing with people all the time. So whatever I'm learning, whenever I experience goes into my next session, it's like, it's very vibrant. If that's the word, you know, it just, it's like, Yeah, I just got that piece yesterday. And believe me, it just comes naturally it ends up in the next session. So where I had an aha, the next person gets an aha. And it's like molding and creating, if I were an artist that worked with clay, it's the same thing. I'm just massaging it and learning from everybody. It's a wonderful thing. And, and I guess it's all about connection, which is one of the most important things when people get older. The people that thrive the most are people who connect, they don't have to have a one on one personal, deep relationship. It's great if you do, but the people who connect, the people who keep busy, who keep their minds busy, who tap into their creativity, who find some sort of spiritual world, who are in touch with their emotions. These are the people that really do well. And doesn't mean we're not going to have to deal with health issues or COVID issues or world issues or you know, but you learn what's important to you, the older you get. And for me, it's learning not to be stressed.
Debra Jones 23:29
Yeah, those are really key statements that you've shared. That's really what it's all about, isn't it? It's that connection with others, because you're not alone in the world. No man is an island. We all are here together. And we all have an effect on each other. And it's interesting that you mentioned about when you're learning something new and then it shows up as something that you can use with your next client, I feel the same thing happens to me as well. And to give ourselves permission to just continually reinvent the way we do things and not get stuck in a rut or a pattern, is the spice of life. And without any spice. It just all tastes really bland.
Louise Dorfman 24:15
Yeah, and then you see people walking around looking like life is bland or complaining. I'm thinking of my father who learned how to oil paint when he was 50. And he was after a heart attack and he had to be quiet for a while. And he started oil painting, he did five paintings, that was it. But what was interesting to me was that he would put on a layer of some colour. And then he would put another layer on top of that. And then it was another layer it would start to look different every time and I didn't understand how he knew to do that. Like I would have probably just white, blue red and it's done, you know, but with oil painting, you can do that. You can mix it in You can change it and it's kind of creating your own oil painting in a way.
Debra Jones 25:05
And so that's what life is all about. Yes. Yeah. Creating your own oil painting masterpiece.
Yes. Hopefully you feel proud of it at the end.
Yeah, I'm not stopping until I've got it right.
Debra Jones 25:22
Yeah, my last painting ended up in the closet. And so it shouldn't stop me from starting again or painting over it. So that's really great, great tips and advice. Is there any lasting message that you'd like to leave our listeners with?
Louise Dorfman 25:44
Yeah, I think to be aware of your body changes and honour them and take care of yourself to be aware of the psychological and emotional changes that are happening with you and honour them. You know, to find some sense of spirituality in your life, I think is important for grounding. And basically, listen to yourself, listen to what your body is saying. Listen to what's coming up through your mind. That's your unconscious, it talks, real truths. Learn to trust in yourself more than anything, but reach out, learn, ask questions, connection with others is really important and most of all, allow yourself to receive. That's a very difficult thing for women.
Debra Jones 26:33
Yeah, that's a beautiful message. Yeah, that's exactly it. Well, thank you ever so much for joining us, Louise. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. And if anybody wants to follow up with how you can maybe help them if they go to
Louise Dorfman 26:50
vibrant beyond sixty.com. And again, they can spell it out, you know, s, i x, t, y, or 60. It'll still get you there.
Debra Jones 27:00
Oh, that's handy well done.
Louise Dorfman 27:03
And that my original intention when I thought of vibrant beyond 60 was to do podcasts. And this is my first podcast with you! Ha ha ha. But it's on my bucket list, I am going to do a podcast. So that's going to be part of the site.
Debra Jones 27:21
What is your hope for vibrant beyond 60?
Louise Dorfman 27:26
Oh, I just feel the energy going through my legs when you say that. My hope is to really have a wonderful following of women who want to offer each other real positive ways of living beyond 60, a resource for women, not about what clothes you're buying, or what makeup you're wearing, or anything like that, just about how you enrich your soul really, and also give each other support as they move forward. All over the world.
Debra Jones 28:03
Beautiful, it sounds like an exciting prospect and really well-needed in these times. That's for sure. So thanks, Louise, for joining us. Thank you.
Louise Dorfman 28:15
I really enjoyed talking with you. Thank you.
Debra Jones 28:18
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