Tag Archives: wisdom

The Next 10 Years

EI 1006

Another year. This year’s resolutions looked pretty much the same as last year and the year before that so I’ve resolved to stop making New Year’s resolutions. Nonetheless the year-end (or beginning) is a time that calls for taking stock and reflecting on the past and the future. This year the big questions for me have to do with the next 10 years.

I have laughed a lot about how easily I can fall into making just about anything significant. I even made

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Reconnecting Generations

This blog post is reprinted with the kind permission of Grace Lee Boggs. It was originally published in the Living for Change Newsletter, published by the James & Grace Lee Boggs Center in Detroit.

The older I grow, the more I am convinced that the human race can only continue to evolve if we overcome the age segregation that has contributed so much to our dehumanization over the last few decades.

When I was an undergraduate in the early 1930s, I heard Ira D. Reid speak at a weekend college

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Wisdom 101: A matter of time

By Jim Selman | Bio

The older I am, the more I reflect on the aphorisms all around us and wonder why it is so difficult to accept and live with this obvious wisdom. Robert Fulghum memorialized many of them in his bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. All of these little ‘nuggets’ of wisdom we’ve accumulated over the years are generally, well, wise. It is befuddling why so few people take them to heart.

Why do so many spend a lifetime learning these kinds of lessons the hard way? Actually, why is it that any of us continue to act badly, do things we know won’t work, or become engaged in behaviors that, in any of a hundred different ways, are harmful to ourselves and others?

Theologians, psychologists, teachers, philosophers and parents have been occupied by these questions for a very long time. The larger underlying questions at the heart of this inquiry are:

  • “Who am I?”
  •  “Do I really have a choice about what I do?”
  • “Is it really possible to learn from our experience?”

If by ‘experience’

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

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.

I know it’s kind of weird to think about our parents and grandparents ‘doing it’, but the fact is that they do. We just tend to avoid discussing that it happens among our Elders. While Elders are usually older than we are, that’s not always the case. In some cultures, the young are the Elders, since they are more connected to what is important to the community than the old. As I have been saying on this blog for the last few years, we need to get real and be open across

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A Taste of One’s Quality: 3 Rules for Good Temperament (Part 2)

By Stuart James Whitley | Bio

Continuing on from yesterday’s post….

2. Be patient
As the Biblical injunction provides, all things good come to those who wait. This precondition for good temperament has two elements to it: time and wisdom. Part of wisdom is the understanding that active listening is a form of generosity, a key element in a mature temperament. Waiting for the other point of view, the various possible perspectives, or even the depletion of emotion, takes discipline.


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

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 a hunting camp one brilliant fall day this September, each of us with our new son-in-law. It was a spot of extraordinary beauty, near the confluence of the Stewart and Yukon Rivers. It was about as close to nowhere as one can get without a GPS fix. It had been a glorious full day, and sitting on the high riverbank at sunset, scotch in hand, it was hard not to think that when God decided to put His hand to world-building and started to

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Elders and the Environment

By Shae Hadden

I attended the David Suzuki Foundation’s first Elders for the Environment Forum today in Vancouver, Canada. The event drew 200+ people, including Elder representatives from several First Nations and concerned ‘older’ citizens from Canada and the U.S. Following are some of the highlights from an inspiring talk given by Miles Richardson, former Grand Chief of the Haida Nation and a member of the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation.

  • "We are all in the same canoe, and we have to begin paddling together in the same direction."
  • "An Elder is very importantly and universally recognized as a knowledge-keeper. But we look to them for more than that. We depend on them for wisdom, the distillation of that knowledge gained from living and experieneces, and we depend on them to pass that on from generation to generation. We look to them for guidance when we face the huge challenges that life puts in front of us. We look to them for validation when we are doing what we believe is right when others can’t understand or cannot see what we see."
  • "Being an Elder is not about age. You don’t become an Elder because you’ve grown old. An Elder is someone whose integrity I trust and whose wisdom I respect. That must be earned and real."
  • "Talk is good. Actions are stronger."
  • Overheard at the 4th World Wilderness Congress: "Economic growth is an interpretation. The environment is a matter of survival."
  • Wisdom from an Elder given to Miles when he was complaining about the loss of his native culture: "Before you take another step forward, take a step back and listen."

Check back later this

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Giving Up ‘Giving Up’

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’

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Harold’s Story – Part 3

By Stuart J. Whitley | Bio

I read somewhere that good decision-making—indeed, good relations—depends upon a virtuous cycle of respect, trust and candour (which takes some time to establish, but which can easily be interrupted). Attitude, after all, is everything. Perhaps that last statement needs a bit of refinement: the ethical attitude is everything. By that I mean the determination of the answer to the age-old question: who is right? Was Harold right to express his annoyance

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Positively Stinking Thinking

By Jim Selman | Bio

Julia Baird has a nice piece in the September 25th issue of Newsweek called “Positively Downbeat”. She’s commenting on Americans’ obsession with being happy and the billions we spend to learn “the secret”. It’s all about quick and easy fixes for life’s dilemmas and the not-so-small industry of consultants, motivational speakers and authors that are standing in the wings to offer answers and potions. She rightly points to the grand daddy of all self-help offerings, “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale and its latest incarnation “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne as archetypical examples of this genre.

I am not against the intentions behind our quest for happier and richer lives. Like millions of others, I can nod my head in agreement with most of the wisdom contained in these offerings.  I have been a self-help junkie myself in the past. But as I get older, I have learned that I am not my ‘thinking’ and the little voice in my head is not always my friend. Most recovered alcoholics and addicts will tell you that it was their ‘thinking’ that took them to their

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