Energy work & two pooches at Pike Place Market

Yeah, yeah, yeah – “there are no accidents.”  Sounds so trite.  But as the valedictorian at my sister’s 1980 NYU graduation said, “The reason it’s trite is because it’s right.”  Take the past few hours.

Five hours ago, I shared an adorable FB post & link – two couples walking with their dogs  through Seattle’s Pike Place Market were literally stopped in their tracks when the pooches made a beeline for one another, dropped to the floor for some serious playtime.  The couples were complete strangers, but it turned out the dogs were siblings, from the same litter, both brought into the country for adoption from overseas.

The joy in the dogs’ interaction, their complete connection with each other, felt delightfully familiar to me.  I commented, “this is so cool – there are people i feel this way about on first meeting, like we are long-separated siblings!”

It’s true – there are people I meet for the first time who make me feel like doing the human equivalent of rolling over with the sheer joy of recognition.  That was the meaning of what I wrote.

This afternoon, I had a luscious lunch with a dear friend.  As we were about to adieu, she asked me to watch her handbag while she adiosed to the ladies room.  Waiting for her, my eye caught – again – a trio sitting several tables away.

All through my meal, had been aware of them, a young man & his wife & someone who seemed older but I really couldn’t tell since the light beside her obscured more than size.  Sitting there by myself, something fully registered that had been flitting about my brain throughout lunch – the man was thoroughly enjoying himself with his two companions.

Being me, I went over to share how much I’d appreciated his pleasure in the two others – his wife & his mother-in-law.  After saying how much I’d enjoyed watching him almost preening with pleasure in their presence, the younger woman asked me if I was in energy work.

Her question stopped me in my tracks.  Am I in energy work?  Not like people who do Reiki, chakra healing or acupuncture, but YES – I am!

It gives me goosebumps realizing that the younger woman’s question came a few hours after seeing the two pooches of Pike Place Market, after I wrote (without realizing it) about my energy source recognizing kindred energy sources.  I’d never thought about it before, but getting the question so close to seeing those two dogs rejoicing in their reunion was world shifting, opened me up to an awareness that was both startlingly new & unexpected ~and~ familiar & fully anchored.

Pondering her question, I turned to look more fully at her mother.  The back lighting no longer blocked her.  I was amazed – her face, her attitude, her style sense all spoke of a high-energy spirit.  It was no surprise to learn she was a masseuse – natch.  Energy work.

Our paths might not cross again.  But I am forever grateful for the look of unfettered happiness on young man’s face, the younger woman’s question & the older one’s powerful presence.  Am storing up their energies, delighted at the chance encounter, empowered by their joy.

Midge Maisel & the Creativity Jam for Age Justice

Could not decide whether to publish this under Rx for Caregivers or Stuff & Nonsense or here so am including it on all three!

If Midge Maisel was an actual person instead of a fiction character on an Amazon Prime show, she’d be 86 & still killin’ it.  And just the sort of talent I’m hoping to include in the 05/15/18 Creativity Jam for Age Justice, the Philly event in support of the same day, same time Radical Age Movement rally in Central Park.

The Jam will have multi-layers & be multi-purpose, featuring pieces by 65+ (55+?) artists, musicians, singers, dancers – – and hopefully stand-up.  The focus goes beyond artists of a certain age to include dream catchers – creatives who have longed to have their work seen by others & are just now being given the opportunity, not in spite of their age but because of it.  The Jam will feature artists who’ve shown or performed before, but 1st timers will be given special consideration by the (tba) selection committee.  So, yes – Midge could have made the cut!

When I posted thoughts about this event on Facebook, the very first comment was, “Great idea. Sounds like a lot of work and money to get it going.”   Reminded me of the acquaintance who, on hearing about the Rx for Caregivers page-a-day calendar, said  “How will you fund it?  How will you monetarize it?” in a tone of inspiration-killing skepticism instead of the gee-whiz “Tell me more” response that  respects baby ideas, encourages them to take a next step, to grow.  Disappointments might come…  but, then again, they might just as easily take wings & fly into the stratosphere, leaving only fabulous, fully realized wonderful.

I’ve had four art shows over the past twelve years, two solo, two creativity jams with John  – one in Bryn Athyn, one in Princeton, two in Huntingdon Valley.  The HV photography show was such a smash, they held it over for the entire summer.  The only cost I had for any of them was for the opening reception’s delectable spread.

It will be a lot of work, but a lot less than the efforts of my Radical Age Movement colleagues up in NYC putting together the Central Park rally for Age Justice.  I won’t have the big names featured up yonder, but will have a power beyond what happens in Manhattan  – – fulfilling the heart’s desire of creatives who’ve dreamed of having their work seen by others.  Pretty cool.

Imagining some 73-year old finally getting the chance to kill it as a stand-up, getting his first taste of an audience’s laughter, their applause.  When it happens – whichever creatives jam with us – will see Midge looking on, hearing her say, “Yeah, he loves it.”

Yes, it will be a lot of work – but the joy hallmarking the Creativity Jam for Age Justice will be worth every moment!

 

“Wellderly” – new one on me

Seems I’m behind the times – until  a few ago, had never heard the term “wellderly.”  AKA “old people who are in good health.”

Per the World Health Organization (WHO), many developed countries hold 65 to be the augur of elderly, while the United Nations (UN) tags it five years younger – 60!  ARE they old, or simply 60+ years in age?

 

Back in Spring 2016, Eric Topol, MD, a geneticist at Scripps Health, published The Wellderly Study that looked at people 85+ years old whose lives had been free of chronic disease (except arthritis, “which is ubiquitous in folks 70+”).

In a collaboration between Scripps Research Institute & Scripps Health, Dr. Topol & his team collected 1,400+ genetic samples from “wellderlies,” data that is now available as a DNA data set to other scientists.

Known as the Scripps Wellderly Genome Resource, it offers priceless info for comparing wellderlies to their disease-prone peers.  Its long-term goal is to uncover the mechanisms that protect these healthy 85+ year olds, that let their systems apparently flick away the deterioration that besets most their age.

Radical concept, from medicine’s pov –  focus on the healthy instead of the physically and/or mentally diseased & deteriorated.   It’s not wasted on me that these studies are happening as my Boomer generation grows greyer & greyer, with no stomach for having the longer lives that improved medicine & medical technology offers if they are devoid of good mental & physical health.

Find myself thinking of my mother, of John’s, of the awesome Anne Hyatt.  Of the three women, only Mom Murphy was a by-definition wellderly – she was devoid of any chronic debilitation until the instant she died of a massive heart attack.  Mom had problems with a torn rotator cuff that left her without the full use of an arm, while Anne had advanced dementia.

But I’d tag all three as wellderly.  Mom was limited in her movements, but she was sharp as tacks to the very end.  Anne couldn’t remember from one moment to the next the day & the date, but no one was more ready for the next moment of joy.  THAT’s the sort of wellderly I want to be as I age ever upward.

How do we get samples, do studies that nurture those traits?  Worth a ponder.

Those three ladies are my sort of wellderlies!

My #1 goal for February

Not learning how to create a spiffy blog -or- find the moola to hire someone to jazz it up.  Not to brush up my computer skills & feel once again competent with basic programs that I aced back in my corporate days, when there was an IT team backing me up & a company that paid for me to take days off to hone my skills.  Not to create a home that’s warm & welcoming to humans as well as cats.

My #1 goal is to find at least three people interested in watching sessions from last week’s AWESOME Age Without Borders Global Caregivers Virtual Summit which was so utterly utterly utterly interesting insightful informative inspiring & a zillion other adjectives I haven’t time to write out.   There are so many caregivers out there – of every stripe – who would benefit so much from experiencing the wondrous array of speakers Kari Henley served up to us on silver platters;  all we have to do is watch in wonderment.

What better place to soak them in than the community room at Be Well, where we can take in the summit’s wowness while drinking one of Maia’s coffee confections & eating Gwyneth’s Lemon Almond Cake!

VIRTUAL GRANDMA – Christmas Gift #14

Virtual Grandma, by Alison Hillhouse,  could be a) a great stock stuffer for “grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, overseas military parents, traveling parents, and friends” (per the front cover) who already have a computer or tablet ~OR~  b) the perfect add-on if you’re planning on giving one to any of the aforementioned folks.

As I wrote in my glowing Amazon review, Virtual Grandma is “Practically perfect in every way! Short & not-too-sweet, Virtual Grandma is small enough to not intimidate, clearly written enough to register with the most tech timid, reality-based rather than airy fairy pipe dreams. Best of all, the ideas it shares are bound to give grands the confidence to come up with new projects to share with young kinder… and their own friends. Virtual Grandma gets five stars not only for what it shares, but for the doors it opens to more, much more.

Hard to imagine a better person to present a how-to on virtually connecting than Alison, who is the mother of a young son & VP, Youth Culture & Trends, MTV.  And a marketing genius!  Her book looks just the way it should – the cover graphic of a child baking with Grandma (via tablet) is quietly outstanding;  love that the child seems to be in sock feet, which sends all sorts of comfy messages.

Confession:  Alison had me at her dedication to her son’s four grandparents, where she wished for Charlie, “Gaga’s random creativity, Big Daddy’s goofiness, Mimi’s attentiveness, and Papa’s eye for how things work.”  (Big Daddy & Gaga live in Missouri, while Papa & Mimi are in Texas – Charlie lives in the Greater NYC neck of the woods)

The ideas are inspired yet down to earth – not surprising, Gaga (Alison’s mom) was the fount of many, with others contributed by grands, aunt & uncles from all over the USA.

Imagining all the ideas getting sparked by this wondrous book – sure has me scheming & dreaming of virtual crafting & cooking workshops with beloved youngers in the UK, NC, TX, CA, LA & NSW!

Loved one with dementia? Skip SKYPE! – holiday tip

Although Skype, FaceTime & other face-to-face computer apps are WONDERFUL for many oldsters elders ancients, it’s strongly recommended NOT using them with loved ones/clients dealing with memory challenges – – EVEN if a loved one has adorable children or a new baby they want Grandma, Poppy, or Auntie Nell to see.

Instead, give your older loved one a phone call OR send an audio recording.  Oh – and don’t include the little ones.

Am not being heartless.  It is very possible for someone with dementia to connect with a familiar voice – we sound surprisingly the same through the years – – but seeing Tommy at 35 is very possibly NOT going to register as the youngster she remembers.  And to include children in a phone mix can be especially disconcerting.

Today’s ability to “virtually connect” is a blessing to many, but to people grappling with dementia – not so much.  Remember to keep the focus on what’s best for the older – what feels meaningful to someone who’s sharp as a tack can be massively confusing for those struggling to process & understand.

Phone calls – great!  Audio recording – these can be special;  they can be played at any time (no scheduling a phone call), iincludes a way to get children involved by singing, reading stories or reciting poems (you can include favorite Christmas music, too).

But skip the Skype!