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New Beginnings

Friday Jul 06 2012

By Jim Selman Bio 

One of the toughest things we ever learn is to ‘let go’.  I can’ t remember all the times I have made resolutions or tried to ‘reinvent’ myself or start over in one way or another. Every time we end a relationship or a job or some deeply ingrained habit (whether voluntary or involuntary) we must confront the break between the certain past and the possible future. And as far as I know there is no way to create and experience a ‘new’ future without letting go of the past.

But what does it mean to let go? 

First we must ask what is ‘there’ to let go of. The past is made up of thoughts, feelings, embodied patterns, beliefs, moods, memories, and habits. Together they comprise the ‘story’ that we’re attached to and is, in most cases, bigger than we are.  It is probably not an accident that we call the past history --- HIS STORY.  So the answer is that what we have to give up to let go of the past is our story --- the nonstop narrative about the ‘way it is’, ‘what it means’ and ‘why everything is the way it is’. 

But letting go of our story isn’t so easy.

The reason letting go can be difficult is that we actually believe that our story is true is the sense that it accurately describes what happened or what caused the present to be the way it is.  If something in our story is not accurate then we believe just as fiercely that it must be false. What is not so evident is that while we can acknowledge poor memory or critique our analysis of why something happened or what it means, we rarely question our mega-belief that the past is the CAUSE of the present and therefore the future. This belief then becomes the basis or our practices of forecasting or predicting what will happen in the future and then organizing our actions and commitments around what we predict will happen.

For example when planning budgets in most organizations, the starting point is to  project a trend to determine what we expect will happen in a year and then based on that forecast, plans are made and resources allocated to achieve a goal given that forecast. The results will inevitably validate the planners assumptions or when they are not forthcoming a plausible explanation of causality anchored in the past is required to keep the process going.

The result of this belief and associated practices is that we are continually living ‘into the past’ that we project as a prediction that in turn makes it virtually impossible to ever really let go of the past. This structure of thinking is tantamount to trying to get out of our own skin.

As we get older we need to appreciate that the more we let go the more time and experience we have left. I think that the key to ageing well and just about everything else in life is the ability to ‘be present’ to be fully ‘in the moment’. When we’re attached to our story or the past we are not present and time is always proportional to the past and how long we’ve lived. That is why a year can be forever for a child and is the blink of an eye for someone who is very old. When we are living in present time, then our experience is not related to anything else and is for all practical purposes ‘timeless’.  As the old proverb goes, we can live one experience ten thousand times or we can have ten thousand experiences.  The key is learning to ‘let go’ so that each day is a ‘new beginning’. 

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging

Tagged with: aging breakthrough conversations go healthy letting living

The Geezer's Crusade

Thursday Feb 18 2010

   By Jim Selman | Bio

David Brooks wrote a very compelling New York Times op ed piece recently called “The Geezer’s Crusade”. His point was that the elders in our society hold the future for everyone in their hands (so to speak).  Since 1980 when I was serving on the California Commission on Aging, one of my biggest concerns has been that, as a society, we are turning older people into constituents competing with their grandchildren for scarce resources. David Brooks shows how this kind of trend affects us all and today we spend about $7 on older people compared to about $1 on younger people. I am not arguing for what the amounts should be: however, I am agreeing[Read More]

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging

Tagged with: aging boomers david_brooks entitlement geezers_crusade obama

7 Reasons Why Elders Make Great Lovers (and have better sex)

Tuesday Feb 02 2010

   By Jim Selman | Bio
There is an old joke that says, “Sex after 60 is better than ever, but the mounting and dismounting aren’t so pretty.” If you’re laughing, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you’re still young enough to have something to look forward to. I attended a conference recently featuring Steve Pavlina, the number one blogger on personal development. The topic was about expanding traffic to your blog and one of his ideas was to write about something ‘timeless’, something that lots of people have in common and that breaks the mold of everyone’s expectations. Well, my writing has been about transforming our notions of growing older and to encourage intergenerational dialogue, so what better topic to muse on than SEX.[Read More]

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging

Tagged with: aging being conversation development ecstasy elders feeling giving growing intergenerational judgement love lovers older patience pavlina personal present receiving relationships satisfaction sex sexual-satisfaction steve wisdom

Creating Home in the Nursing Home

Thursday Jan 07 2010

The Pioneer Network, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will be hosting Creating Home in the Nursing Home, a one-day symposium, on February 11th in Baltimore. This second national symposium on culture change will focus on  Food and Dining Requirements and will feature a keynote by Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recommendations from the 2008 symposium, which focused on environment requirements, resulted in several proposals to the National Fire Protection Agency and new CMS interpretations of 11 environment and quality of life regulations.

This year's event offers an opportunity for eldercare providers, consumers, policy makers and researchers who are involved in culture change initiatives to explore barriers to implementing innovations in dining (such as buffet-style service, diets, and reductions in bib and supplement use). Public commentary is welcome at open mike sessions. Click here for more information or to register.[Read More]

Written by eldering at News

Tagged with: aging cms food nursing_home pioneer_network

Our Aging Population

Wednesday Dec 30 2009

The fact that our global population is aging is becoming a topic of major concern. Julia Moulden wrote in her Huffington Post article "The Aging Population: A Silver Tsunami" about the conversations at the Business of Aging Summit in Toronto, Canada earlier this month. It was hotly debated whether this age wave should be seen as an opportunity or a challenge. Ms. Moulden sees this as an opportunity to reshape the world. Read her article online to discover 5 people whom she believes exemplify those who are "riding the crest of this wave".[Read More]

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging

Tagged with: aging aging_population business_of_aging huffington_post julia_moulden

Aging through a Physician's Lens

Tuesday Nov 17 2009

For the past 20 years, Dr. Jeffrey Levine has photographed elders in his medical practice and across the U.S. His photos have been published in many medical journals and textbooks. This Thursday, he will be giving a lecture at the opening of his photography exhibition, Aging Through a Physician's Lens, in New York at the NY Academy of Medicine (1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street). The exhibit will be open for viewing from 5 to 7 pm and his one-hour lecture begins at 7.

The exhibit, which has been travelling through medical schools and libraries across America, combines the themes of art and medicine, and reveals geriatrics as the most humanistic of medical specialties. The photos selected present 4 aspects of human aging: Social Networks, Self-Expression, Spirituality, and Frailty. The show will be in the President's Gallery at the Academy until January 2010.  Advance registration required. No admission fee. Click here to register.[Read More]

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging

Tagged with: aging jeffrey_levine photo

Wolf's Theorem: Show Up, Work Hard, Let Go

Thursday Nov 12 2009

   By Stuart J. Whitley | Bio
I’ve been writing about the ethic of aging, which is an internal imperative obligating the transmission of values, ethics and wisdom from one generation to another. Usually, this is a phenomenon that occurs unconsciously, in a way nearly invisible against the tapestry of quotidian life. But now and then, it’s rendered explicit, often in surprisingly casual ways. An old friend Wolf and I were in[Read More]

Written by eldering at Wisdom in Action

Tagged with: aging ethics generation good_living rules success wisdom

Giving Up 'Giving Up'

Friday Nov 06 2009

  By Jim Selman | Bio
My partner and I were recently enjoying one of those lazy weekend mornings just chatting about life in general when we got onto the subject of getting older and how we feel about it all. I made the point that my passion and The Eldering Institute® is about transforming our culture’s view of aging and teaching people that we can change how we relate to the future—and, as a consequence, we can have more choices, more possibility and more ‘aliveness’ than what most people can expect as they grow older. Moreover, I reasoned, once people are empowered as they age, they are free to contribute more, build partnerships with the young and make the difference they always wanted to make—to even take on the world’s intractable problems. [Read More]

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging
Join discussion COMMENTS [1]

Tagged with: aging choice eldering giving_up possibility transformation wisdom

N.O.P.E.: National Organization of Pissed Off Elders

Monday Oct 26 2009

By Jim Selman | Bio
I want to create a new organization to stamp out stupidity and indifference and restore common decency and goodwill into society. I think I'll call it the National Organization of Pissed-Off Elders (N.O.P.E.).

What’s pissing us off?

A lot more than just ‘aging’ issues like Social Security, pharmaceuticals and our sex lives.[Read More]

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging

Tagged with: aging bureaucrats capitalism common_sense compassion customer_service decency drag_race elders freedom goodwill ideology nope politics power principles scooters sex slogan social_security zoomers

Toward An Ethic of Aging III

Wednesday Sep 30 2009

   By Stuart J Whitley | Bio
In my last post I wondered about whether or not there was an ethic of aging. Again, by ‘ethics’ I mean simply some general consensus or agreement about what is good about the way we relate to one another. This is a group or communal expression of belief, rather than an individual or moral outlook. The distinction is thus simply drawn between morals and ethics, terms which are often interposed. I should be more explicit and ask whether there is a reasonable consensus around obligations associated with the process of aging. One needs to be clear about such things because there are many ethical issues relating to this subject: the diminishment of worth of old people and their relegation to institutional repositories, the abuse of the elderly, the genetic or pharmaceutical tinkering with the aging process, and so on.[Read More]

Written by eldering at Fearless Aging

Tagged with: aboriginal aging cree duty elder elder_abuse eldering knowledge wisdom

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