Celebrating our lives COULD make them even better!

A current Next Avenue article argues that a core reason ageism continues to dog our culture, even as Boomers edge into their 70s, is that too few embrace one of the hottest trends – telling personal stories, a la The Moth or StoryCorps.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t describe the Next Avenue article.   Sorry to say, it  was a major disappointment.  Seeing the title & subheading – How to Change the Narrative of Aging in America; a 2917 Influencer in Aging says documenting getting older could lessen ageism – had this legacy-building cheerleader pumped!  And how true, that documenting, sharing our life stories & current day experiences WILL help reduce the ageism that still pervades our American culture.

If only…  Turns out, the article’s ONE & ONLY reference to anything resembling legacy writing a al Nancy Murdoch was the opening sentence – If I could change one thing about aging in America, it would be that my fellow boomers would seize what is a historic opportunity by compellingly documenting the joyful experience that is getting older. Through their numbers and influence, the remaining 65 million boomers are in an ideal position to change the narrative of aging in America.

The noise you hear is me banging my head against the wall.  The author could have written an exceptional piece on continuous care retirement communities starting their own Moth-like groups or recording stories a al Storycorps,  podclubs using their listens to inspire their own story telling, groups writing collective stories for display or personal entries in private journals.  He didn’t – the rest of the article is about how our current her & now is potentially the BEST time, in the history of our nation, to be 65+.  Seriously?

Bottom line – the author is spot-on that being over a certain age (which seems to start as young as 40 by some standards) would be less stigmatized if more oldsters elders ancients wrote about their LIFE experiences.  They’d would provide youngers with a road map of what to expect & a connoisseur’s guide to living.  It would broaden the awareness & appreciation of life’s layers richness substance.

The author, Lawrence R. Samuel, PhD is a highly respected psychologist, the founder of Boomers 3.0,  working with businesses & organizations to “create meaningful relationships with baby boomers in their third act of life.

The light dawns.  Dr. Samuel’s looking at the lower end of the upward aging demographic (he’s 61), at least a full decade younger than our clients.  His opening is spot on, but the rest of the article leaves his first sentence a stand-alone, not the start of a related conversation.  And leaves me silently aaaarrrrrrggggghhhhing, because it’s a conversation that needs to be shared, and often!


Not complaining about Next Avenue’s advocacy of legacy writing – this just turned out to be way different than its description.  If I want to see another article on the importance of legacy writing on individual families & the larger culture, maybe I better get writing!


Turns out that the person closing the 11/10/17 northern Virginia caregiver’s conference opened by  Jolene Brackey is set to be closed by RON CULBERSON, a FUN!sultant & my newest super hero.

Like Steve Gross, Ron is a clinical social worker; like Steve, he’s discovered that HUMOR is a sure way to defuse stress & promote health, well-being.

Ron Culberson doesn’t use the term in any of the literature I’ve read, but I can tell he’s a certified Grade A playfulness coach – and John & I are psyched to hear him, at my Keet’s first conference experience!!


Always time for JOLENE BRACKEY!

Heads up  – there’s a NEW edition of Jolene’s awesome, Creating Moments of Joy!  Should NOT be limited to families-friends-care partners with loved ones/clients experiencing dementia/Alzheimer’s.

Reading, writing to Jolene, helped spark my mission to gather a band of eldercare experts creatives families, crafting ways for ALL older people & their support teams to make fun joy smiles a regular part of every day, no matter what the age health circumstance.

Demand universal access to OPTIMISM! 

Looking to Jolene to lend her revolutionary insights experience victories to the fight against the loneliness & isolation that hits every segment of the equation, from oldster elder ancient to administrators, family to aides.

How To Be An Adult/Shadow Dance face off ~ You Come Too

Like James Corden & Neil Patrick Harris doing a riff-off of Broadway tunes to determine the best Tony host of all time, am doing a face-off between the two David Richo books vying to get onto my list of book mentors.  This first post features stand-out bits from How To Be An Adult (1991).  Let the face-off begin!

We bring our ego into a functional whole through psychological work.  This work leads to insight and, when we are ready for it, to change.

We can trust that we will see only what we are ready to face. 

A loving balance between psyche & circumstances let us know our work only when we have the power to do it.

By psychological work, we are changed.  By spiritual work, we are revealed.

Move with a powerful ego (able to handle both fear & desire) to a transcendence of ego that makes us unconditionally loving.

Circumstance & crises help us advance on our path, as long as we integrate them rather than interrupting them.

Our task is to let go & hold on at the same time.

Our effortful steps are advanced by an effortless shift…  (It) defines the truly heroic – putting out the effort to live through pain & to be spontaneously transformed by doing so.

Our problem is not that as children our needs were unmet, but that as adults they are still unmourned.

Neediness itself tells us nothing about how much we need from others;  it tells us how much we need to grieve the irrevocably barren past & evoke our own inner resouces of nurturance.

The love & pain of the past are directly connected to the love & pain of the present.  A relationship can put us in the best possible position to do personal work.  Our partner stimulates the love & pain and then – optimally – supports us in healthy responses to them.

The past is grieved fully only when the present is healed, too.  The energy one tied up in past hurts has finally become available for reinvestment in new ways of living.

The true healing power of griefwork extends to the past -and- present.  Each issue to be grieved addresses these two areas of concern: the loss or neglected experienced in the past -and- the lifetime habit that may have sprung from the original hurt.

Allow hurtful events from the past to become neutral facts by fully grieving the pain & so letting go of them.

As grief is processed, new levels of realization about the loss continually appear.  In this sense, grief is truly a lifelong work.

Grieve the irretrievable aspect of what we lost, the irreplacable aspect of what we missed.  We finally stand clear of the insatiable need to get whatever from parents (and/or family).

Transform emptiness into capacity.

Our psychological work is to journey from the chaos of our personal unconscious to a coherent conscious integration.

Be informed by others behavior rather than affected by it.

Assertive people simply ask, without inhibition of themselves or pressure on others.

Helpful Principles…

  • Show real feeling
  • Give & receive openly
  • Ask for things directly
  • Tell your real opinions or keep them to yourself
  • Take care of your own interests
  • Say NO to what you do not want
  • Act as if you deserve abundance
  • Admit mistakes, offenses & oversights & make amends.

Acting respons-ably always leads to the revelation of our next best step.

What we are not changing, we are choosing.

The experience of choice combined with support from others offers the best conditions for departure from the depressing sense of being a victim.  Instead, you get on with life in a powerful, adult & confident way.

There are three ways that rationalization maintain fear…

  1. The “reason” is meant to keep us in control by “protecting” us from surprises.
  2. The “reason” blockades access to adult solutions – all defenses are up to protect long-held (often since pre-verbal days) beliefs that are utterly off base.
  3. The “reason” directly maintains the inertia of fear, since we go on fearing what we refuse to confront.

When change & growth are frightening, still choose them.  Act with fear, never because of it.

Overcome the urge to retreat on the brink of discovery.

Wholehearted engagement with circumstances releases irrepressible liveliness.

In a healthy person, loyalty has its limits and unconditional love can co-exist with conditional involvement.

Practice shrewd fondness – “I love you unconditionally & I take care of myself by not hanging out with you.”

Stay in touch & intact!

Maintain a bottom line, a limit to how many times you will allow someone to say no, lie, disappoint, or betray you before you will admit the painful reality & move onto mutual work or separate tables.

Allow every feeling & thought to pass through us as good hikers through the woods – taking nothing, leaving nothing behind.

With true change, we increase the positives & decrease the negatives.


Wholeness is completeness, not perfection.  (Jung)

It doesn’t matter how much a person wants to identify/address/resolve core issues if s/he is living in an environment that won’t or can’t allow it.

We expend effort & then grace takes over.

The ego’s ultimate work is to create enough sane ground so that the Self can grow its single unperishable Rose that lives by light.

We move ourselves an we are moved onward as a rider spurs a horse & is moved in the direction the horse is going.

What wounds can also sanitize us.

We need all of our life experiences to become as emotionally & spiritually rich as we are.

You can interpret your journey -or- advance it.

The starting point of our love for others is our sane & fearless love for ourselves.  

We love ourselves by showing our feelings, by being tender toward the places in ourselves that we do not like or that scare us, and by not staying in abusive relationships or circumstances, but move onto horizons that offer nurturance & that honor our deep lovability.

Against all odds we go on loving, making a door of every gaping hole. 

We are given the capacity to take what fate chooses for us & to make a choice of love in return.








Mentor Circle – writing prompt

This is a WHOPPER of a writing prompt – directed at ME!  Tim Ferriss’ release next month of  Tribe of Mentors is a swift kick in the butt to making progress with my own book.  Tim’s is a compilation of wisdom nuggets from every sort of mentor, from sports to spiritual, big business to creativity, mine is a thank you to the authors who helped me move from a mess to meshed.  A book 41 years in development!

How to cut down the countless books that turned me from social nebbish to consistently effective to just 24?   #1 is a lock –  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective wasn’t the first book personal development book I read, but it’s the ONE the jump started my intentional journey to Now.

Which others to include?  My criteria – honed this morning – is to include both books like Covey’s classic, ones that deeply affected my view of self & the world, and ones that provided a single Eureka! insight, like There’s Something I Have To Tell You, which revealed my well-meaning, unintentionally booby-trapped set-up of a monumentally disastrous encounter with a sister-in-law.

My current list, in no particular order, includes:

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • There’s Something I Have To Tell You
  • David & the Phoenix
  • Point Zero
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • From Aging to Saging
  • In the Shelter of Each Other
  • Callings
  • Still Here
  • Rising Strong
  • Enchantment
  • How to be An Adult
  • The Pig Plantagenet
  • Creating Time
  • Excuses Begone
  • Counting on Kindness
  • The Creative Mind
  • You are a Bad Ass
  • Play
  • Taming the Gremlin
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World
  • When Things Fall Apart
  • Creating Moments of Joy
  • The Happiness Project
  • Seeking the Sacred

Three – – Die Empty, Boomer Reinvention, Engagement From Scratch – – stand alone.  This past spring, the impact of reading these three, one after another, shredded my old brain into bright bits of confetti showering my mega Eureka! realization, “John & I  are playfulness coaches!  

One more stand alone, stand apart, stand head & shoulders over my previous life – LIFE IS GOOD, which untied the bow around the gift of BEing, bring it all finally home.   Quest’s end, journey’s beginning.

Now, THAT‘s a writing prompt!  Am blocking out my story – get writing yours!


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou