I was having a conversation today with the Board of a not-for-profit organization and one of the participants noted that they “needed to have more younger people” on the Board. I asked “Why?”  Her response was that she was at an age (which I judged to be around 60) when she had a lot of commitments, she needed to keep earning money and just didn’t have as much time and energy to give. She went on to say that younger people had more time, less need for money, and lots more energy

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The Joy of Pain

By Shae Hadden | Bio

It might be said that existence isn’t possible without both pleasant and unpleasant experiences—without pain and pleasure. They are like a guidance system, helping us navigate through life and orienting us away from illness and danger and death.

We have pleasant, positive
emotional states like love, joy, sympathy, affection, self-confidence,
happiness. And we have unpleasant emotions like boredom, loneliness,
jealousy, fear and sadness.

I’ve been relating to the physical
pain I’m experiencing since my car accident as a source of learning.
I’m actually living ‘in joy’ with it —you might say ‘enjoying’ the fact
of being alive and being in pain. Many people I share this with seem

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The Four Horsemen

I was playing a trivia game and had to answer what the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are. I got three out of four, but had to go to go to Wikipedia to get them all — War, Famine, Conquest and Death. These traditional Biblical symbols mark the ‘end of time’, when all things are put right and presumably all karma is erased and this journey will be complete. In researching each of them, I learned that ‘conquest’ is best translated in today’s language as ‘corruption’. The ancient

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Saving the Best for Last

By Don Arnoudse | Bio

In his wonderful book From Age-ing to Sage-ing, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi notes that the Bible is lavish in its praise of elders. ”It considers gray hair a crown of glory and wrinkles a mark of distinction.” This really got me thinking. What if we regarded the last part of our life—let’s just say the years after our hair goes gray—to be the “crowning glory of our years”? Wow! What would be possible from that perspective?

On my 50th birthday, I
received cards, intended to be funny, about how I was now a member of
the “over the hill gang”. At 50! This year I will be 60. What if I
picture myself at the top of the hill—with the full intention of
staying up there for a good long time? What would be possible?

If our gray-haired years were truly our “crowning glory”, we would:

  • Be thrilled at finally being old
  • Continue to be curious (but with great calm)
  • Be free from striving and trying to prove ourselves
  • Take the time for deep reflection and contemplation
  • Be busy distilling wisdom from a lifetime of experience
  • Generously offer our legacy to younger generations
  • Be grateful for this stage of life
  • Make our peace with our mortality
  • Be quick to forgive and slow to blame
  • Often take the perspective of the “greater good”
  • Value a good dialogue without concern for who’s right
  • Leave the world a better place than we found it

mind is brimming with possibilities. The crowning glory of my years.
Not the fading remembrance of

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If I could give one gift to my children, I think it would be “acceptance”. It isn’t too hard to understand intellectually that we should simply accept life on life’s terms and not try to control what we can’t really control. Yet, it’s a hard lesson to learn. I think not accepting may be the source of most, if not all, suffering. When we live with the view that reality ‘should be’ other than it is, we are living in a dream (at best) and a state of self-deception and denial (at worst).

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At the End of the Day

The Christmas season is behind us and everyone is heading back to work. For many (including the self-employed), this has been a two or three-week holiday from before Christmas until the Monday following New Year’s Day. It isn’t always easy to get refocused and get back into gear. Nonetheless, inspired with new (or old) resolutions, I join the millions who are now focusing on what lies ahead.

I predict that 2008 will be the Year of the Optimist. I don’t know why. Not much has changed in the

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The Path of the Martyr

By Shae Hadden | Bio

This New Year’s Eve was a refreshing break from the past for me: a friend and I went to a local hall to listen to a concert of Buddhist chants and instrumental music while we walked the indoor labyrinth. The hall was crowded, filled with adults seriously intent on purposeful walking. Two little girls were dancing and skipping the labyrinth together—one following the other. Whenever they encountered an obstacle (that is, an adult moving slowly), they would weave around whoever was in their path. While all the adults were focused on meditating or intensely concentrating on their ‘experience’, these two girls were laughing and smiling, joyously taking whatever life placed in front of them at their pace, slip-sliding in their socks all the way to the centre and back out again.

What struck me was not only that all the adults looked as if they carried the weight of the world on their shoulders, but that they took three times as long to do one circuit. And not one of them was smiling. It made me wonder whether we assume martyrdom is part of ‘being an adult’ in our society. Do we really need to lose our sense of joy in living, our sense of play, by carrying our work, our relationships, and the circumstances we find ourselves in as obligations or

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Growing Older—A Team Sport

Tom Brokaw in a recent AARP op-ed piece pointed to the obvious fact that as the Boomers retire they’re going to change our social and economic reality in profound ways. Lots of others are predicting the coming crunch associated with questions of how to pay astronomical healthcare and Social Security costs with a shrinking workforce and tax base. Consider that about 4 or 5 of us have supported

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Depression and Self-Discovery

By Stu Whitley | Bio

what is to be done about depression? Much the same, I think, as
rediscovering the rational self in a time when emotions hold sway. Not
an easy task, but it’s done all the time. One disciplines oneself to
think. The brain is exercised through reading, or better yet, writing.
Journaling is a powerful tool to self-discovery, and one doesn’t need
to be a Joseph Conrad to diarize one’s thoughts. What better way to
explore the inner

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The Facts of Life

By Shae Hadden | Bio

One of my New Year traditions is to clean up some of the papers that have accumulated around me over the past year. Yesterday, I came across these “Facts of Life” that someone had given me and thought they were worth sharing. Unlike the ‘facts of life’ we normally think about (like ‘the birds and the bees’, death and taxes), these seem fitting for the beginning of a new year, especially since they actually challenge us to look at ourselves and others in a whole new way.

  • We are human beings.
  • We make assessments of ourselves and others.
  • These assessments are usually more or less grounded, but they are never ‘true’.
  • We live

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