Tag Archives: freedom

12-Step Program for America: Step 1

By Jim Selman | Bio

I work with organizations that are attempting to change. At the beginning of working with a new client, I point out what’s missing for any organization that has recurring or seemingly intractable problems: what’s missing is a different way of observing. Whether we’re talking about a company, a community or a continent, a new perspective always gives us an opening to create new possibilities, have new choices and take new actions: a new way of observing the world effectively gives us a different future than some variation of ‘more of the same’. =&0=&. When we do, we begin to realize that we have a paradigm problem. Until we deal with that, none of our seemingly intractable problems—from staggering debt to unending war, climate change to the underlying causes of the mortgage crises—can be solved. Albert Einstein expressed this concisely when he said that sometimes our problems cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.

Paradigm problems are like addictions. They are ‘self-referential’ structures that, at some point, disconnect us from a larger ‘reality’. Once disconnected, we begin to follow self-destructive patterns of behavior until we ‘hit bottom’ or have some form of crisis that ‘breaks the paradigm’ and opens possibilities for making other choices. In AA and most ‘recovery’ literature, the self-destructive behavior is understood to be the symptom. The ‘disease’

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

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.

First, it pisses us off that the people in charge are squandering away the opportunities they had to make the world work, or at least be a better place. For example…

  • Thinking we get stupid as we get older
  • Growth at any cost
  • Short-sightedness
  • Self-righteousness
  • Special interests
  • Contrived controversy
  • Bullying, greed and intolerance
  • Turning an economic mechanism like capitalism into an ideology
  • “Us versus Them”ism

N.O.P.E. could have both positive and negative strategies. For example, when we’re talking to someone who is speaking baby talk to us or raising their voice so we can hear, we could shout

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Lent and the Strangeness of Letting Go

By Shae Hadden | Bio

I’ve been looking for a way to be free all my life. My entire search has, unfortunately, been focused on the practical aspect of ‘holding on’ to whatever I thought would give me freedom: a belief in some system or way of thinking, money, possessions, favorite books that contained ideas that were ‘liberating’, any activity that loosened up my body and mind, people I loved. But now almost nothing is certain in my life, and a deep desire to let go of my attachments to everything and everyone propels me forward.

This sensation is visceral. It’s like a snake wriggling out of its skin, a baby bird struggling to climb out of the nest. What to do when my whole being wants to do something I thought impossible: drop everything I’ve gathered around me (including my clothes and possessions), take one step to the side, and then begin again…buff naked and unencumbered?

A friend was reminding me this is the time of Lent, a time of letting go of what no longer serves us. For some, the focus

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What’s the Game?

By Jim Selman | Bio

The early Boomer retirees are rewriting the book of what ‘freedom from having to earn a living’ means. Of course, there is the rush to enjoy some of the perks of our new-found freedom. But once the lustre of all that unscheduled time wears off, we’re faced with the realization that retirement can also mean the freedom to take on those issues we either didn’t have time for when we were younger or were afraid to risk what we had going at the time for. But for most

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Futurists

In the 1970s, I belonged to The World Future Society. I even toyed with the idea of becoming a ‘futurist’. I vaguely recall that there was a magazine on the subject and various intellectuals were trying to get prediction raised to the status of a science. According to Wired magazine, the Society still exists and there are people who call themselves professional futurists, but the numbers are shrinking and their status seems to be less than in the past—primarily because the future

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Choice and Trust

By Shae Hadden | Bio

My life is my game—no one else’s. And I create the rules. What freedom, what choices, what responsibility! Playing ‘by the rules’ means playing according to choices I’ve made about what’s ‘best’ for me. And that’s left me in a quandary, because many ‘old rules’ don’t fit anymore. It’s time to examine them, keep the ones that still suit me and replace any unworkable ones. So here I am, wondering how to pick and choose from the rules I have been playing by.

Yet is it possible for us to know what choices, what rules will be ‘right’? We may very well be blind to possible consequences and dangers of what we’re choosing for our game. We may have committed to creating many new things, things that aren’t real yet. We can’t predict others’ reactions to these creations or what might happen with them based on past experience, because they have not existed in the world before. We may place ourselves in new situations, in circumstances

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Guilt

I was speaking with a friend recently about age in general, how we ‘remember’ our lives and the power of memories to affect our day-to-day experience. From one perspective, I think that living in the present is the point of living—experientially at least. When we are present, our memories are just memories and don’t affect us either positively or negatively. Our memories are our ‘story’, and we can relate to our past as just that—a story. On the other hand, our moods and our memories

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Foolishness

Today is the day for fools, foolishness and merry pranks played on friends, colleagues and neighbours. Because of the abundance of April Fools’ hoaxes in the media, many people distrust news reports and advertisements launched on this day. No such luck here at Serene Ambition…although, as in some countries like Britain, we do believe that jokes pulled after noon turn the prankster into the ‘fool’. Instead, we’d like to share a few famous insights into learning how to live wisely.

Life

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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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Just an Interpretation

I had a great conversation this past weekend with my son Clarke. We were talking about the differences between ‘his generation’ and ‘my generation’ (the Boomers), and he shared a perspective I thought was extraordinary and which made me realize our two age groups advocate two very different interpretations of reality.

He believes that one of the biggest problems his generation faces is themselves—because they have grown up in a time in which they have been constantly bombarded with the

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