Super, Natural – Proof of Progress

TIME magazine’s cover story on women of accomplishment, who have & are changing the world – the majority of them over fifty, with quite a few over seventy – is proof of the USA’s progress in stepping olders elders ancients out of the shadows & into the mainstream of our culture.  Especially with Sylvia Earle, 82, nailing it as a cover subject, bagging a full page spread AND featured in a double-page Rolex ad!   Dr. Earle was one of twelve women featured on the cover, five (5) of them over 60.

This morning, came across my own proof of progress.

My description of the past two months – since attending the International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics (IAGG) 21st quadrennial World Congress – has been super, natural.  It has felt souped up super, yet natural.

Background:  Forty years ago, I drew a picture of a swan on a pond, with the water layered under her with my goals of getting from a place of disconnection, where I felt I was in 1976, to the bottom layer, my goal of being fully engaged with life.  My visual image was a desire to get the swam strong enough, determined enough that it could defy its buoyant body’s natural RESISTANCE & dive all the way down from the surface to the very bottom, because if felt like it would be that tough to achieve the goals illustrated at each depth.

Today:  Came across a journal dated Jan 2006, on the book POINT ZERO – creativity without limits.  By that time, I sensed that I’d reached that once distant goal.  Instead of resting on my laurels, I drew a new picture with a new swan gliding atop a new pond, layered with new goals dive to & through, down down down all the way to the pond floor ~ from familiar habits through not-quite-so familiar to less familiar,  from even less familiar to a bit more natural, more natural, more & more natural, delightfully natural, all the way to the final NATURAL.

Using the phrase “super, natural” to describe my here & now is my own proof of progress that it took 1/3 the time to accomplish my second slate of mega goals.  Time to draw a new a swan skimming across a pond layered with my newest most daunting goals.  While I’m at the drawing board, maybe this woman of accomplishment will design my own TIME cover, write my own featurette & work up my own Rolex ad!

Leader of the Band – night capper

Always feel close to Dad at this time of year, as Mom was making final preparations to be reunited with her O! Best Beloved.  Dad was not close to me like he was to my considerably older sister, Mim; she had his affection, while I had something hard to define but precious – I was the only one to whom he confided his exhaustion;  for the first time, he felt like he NEEDED a vacation & hoped the upcoming trip to California would be the ticket to feeling restored (he kept silent about the excruciating headaches).

It didn’t wound me that a deeper connection was never possible – even as a kid tween teen, I understood that things in families could be complicated.  His times (born 1911) & long-past histories created a distance that could not be bridged before he died at 63;  your classic two-of-a-kind who didn’t connect.   But my earliest lessons in speaking straight & loving with strength & tenderness, I learned from Dad.  And he hoped his children would follow their stars, as he & Mom had.

Dad was not wealthy when he died, but the business he started 10+ years before was hitting serious stride.  He was generous with money, love & caring.  He modeled prosperity.

The older I get, the more I look to him, gone these 44 years, as someone to whom I can turn in times of questioning challenge celebration.  Like John, “He didn’t tell me how to live;  he lived, and let me watch him do it.”  Today, am thanking Raymond Lewis Lockhart for the gifts he gave as I hold him close.

A musical based on Dan Fogelberg’s music is about to open in Nashville – every night they’ll be singing THE  LEADER  of the BAND.  Sweet…

Dan died even earlier than Dad – at 56, of prostate cancer.  Diagnosed in 2004, he thought by his birthday on 08/05/15 that therapy treatments had succeeded.  Although he didn’t start writing music again, he left open the option he might.  Sadly, the cancer returned & Dan died on 12/16/07.

Dad, who loved Maine sojourns with Mom, would have been appreciated Dan dying at home, on Deer Isle, overlooking Eggemoggin Reach.

 

Yikes! THIS is “elder coaching”??

Am praying that I am not googling the right phrase & there actually ARE fabulous coaches delivering great expansiveness services & counseling to all ages looking at extended life expectations that would have struck two generations back as more science fiction than real life.  What I’ve seen is gosh awful – not running the risk of sharing the links to sites that lead off showing debilitated elderly people.  There has GOT to be great resources that I’m missing because this reality is a big deal that’s getting BIGGER every day.

I’m off on an online exploration this weekend, looking for the men & women out there offering hands on services that help the upwardly older preserve protect restore VERVE to their lives & those of others around them.

Are YOU aware of great life expansive, wholehearted living coaches in your area? Flesh & blood HUMANS that goes beyond virtual to actually.. REAL?  Not care providers – spirit zoomers, happiness sowers.

Let me know!

 

TIME ~ Proof of Progress

Yesterday saw John & I headed to NYC for the 2nd time in two days!  Wednesday was a members-only reception & meeting of the Radical Age Movement, which co-sponsored Thursday’s event – – a reception at Senior Planet paired with a viewing of Ashton Applewhite’s remarkable TED talk, then a q&a featuring Ashton & Susan Fisher, founder of the Radical Age Movement.

Unlike Wednesday, when I completely bobbled getting to the Hamilton NJ train station from our Phila suburbs home, we had some spare time to check out the magazines at the lobby shop, hoping to nab the current issue of Philadelphia magazine (cover story is the trashing of civility).  YES!  They had it!  Oh… Look – TIME’s cover story is Firsts: Women Who Are Changing The World.  Bagged both of them, thinking, “Thar’s blog gold in them thar mags.”

While John checked out Philadelphia, I perused Time.  The importance of the cover photo didn’t hit me right off the bat, other than it was a vibrant woman in a wet suit looking happy to be near a crashing wave.  Checking out the featured article in my somewhat perverse style (back to front), turned down the corners of possible fodder for posting – among them Alice Waters, Rita Moreno, Rachel Maddow,  Maya Lin, Mo’en Davis.

Mo’ed – a Philly gal, just brushing 16 years old – had an entire right page all to her self!  Opposite from her, taking the entire left page, was the woman featured on the cover:  Sylvia Earle.

Now that I’ve set up the scenario, let me take you to the Senior Planet reception & event.  I was super psyched about the evening in part because it was John’s first substantial elder evolution event & he’d finally get to meet Ashton,  in part because it would be wonderful hearing Ashton’s TED talk with her in attendance, in part because we looked forward to her q&a with Alice Fisher, whom we’d met & talked to the night before.

For me, it was extra exciting, because it was held at & co-sponsored by Senior Planet.  I didn’t know a lot of about the Radical Age Movement, in spite of being a member for over a year (no Phila chapter – yet), but Senior Planet is a site I’ve used for some time.  I was hoping to have an opportunity to meet Barbara Aria, who does its website, & possibility have a chance to thank Thomas Kamber for such a valuable resource.

Well, not only did I meet Barbara, we talked & she pointed me toward techboomers.com for help beefing up my online skills.  As for Thomas Kamber, well…

Ashton & Alice presented a lively q&a from the multi-age throng.  I was the 2nd to last person to make a comment or raise a question.

Because I was sitting at the front – the better to see & hear Ashton – I rose to face the room, opening with, “As Ashton can tell you, I tend to be a cheerleader for the Now, for accomplishments we can celebrate & on which we can build.”

Holding up the copy of Time, I urged the crowd of people, “Buy the current Time!  Share it with everyone you know!  The issue is about women of accomplishment, and much more.

Showing off the cover, I announced, “The editors chose a 82-year old for their cover subject.  Not someone people would look at & recognize as Oprah Winfrey or Serena Williams, Danica Patrick or Selena Gomez – Sylvia Earle, the first woman named to chief scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association.”

Big smiles spread throughout the group.  I then flipped to the article about Dr. Earle.

John & I encourage expansive, wholehearted living across the age spectrum, so I was especially pleased to see the editors had Sylvia Earle, born 1935, facing Mo’en Davis, born 2001.  They were thinking – positively, constructively – within a wholesome context of age.  Way to go!

At that, a few people went past smiles to some shared high 5s & hand shakes.  Ah, but I’d saved the best, most telling “we are making a difference” for last.

“If you open the magazine, a Rolex ad**  is splashed across both the inside cover & the first page.  The featured subject of this mega pricey ad – SYLVIA EARLE!”

With that, the place erupted with celebration.  When modern-day Mad Men start recognizing the marketing value of older people, THAT is indisputable proof of progress!

As I sat down, Tom Kamber strode over & whipped the magazine out of my hands.  Yes, there it was – the cover, the inside feature, the big bucks ad.  Of course, we gave it to him.  (Hey, he’d sponsored the event – it was the least we could do!)

To everyone who has put her or his shoulder to the wheel of fighting ageism, of being part of the eldercare (r)evolution, in shaking up our nation’s woeful culture around aging – – Way to go!!  Seeing indisputable proof of progress is SWEET!

 

** for superb coverage on Sylvia Earle (& some terrific photos), check out, “Every Rolex has a story.”  Here’s the story, as they tell it, about SYLVIA EARLE:

For over 50 years, Dr. Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to exploring and preserving the oceans. She holds the depth record for untethered dives, helped develop the Deep Rover submersible and has authored over 200 publications. Now, with her Mission Blue project, the first female National Geographic Explorer- in-Residence is helping identify, highlight and protect the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Rolex is proud of its long-term relationship with a true pioneer, as she continues her inspiring quest to make a difference.

Internationally renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle has been a pioneer of ocean exploration for more than four decades. She is a committed advocate of the oceans and their vulnerable ecosystems, and her global initiative, Mission Blue, has ignited public support to safeguard marine Hope Spots. Time, she explains, is a measure of life and a reminder that each individual can make a difference. The Rolex watch she wears is not only a trusted timepiece on expeditions, but carries deeper meaning.

In my early years as a scientist — diving, using submarines, living underwater, exploring the ocean, the joy of personal discovery was a large motivator. But now I am increasingly driven to not only explore myself but to try to get others to explore.  The more people can be engaged personally to actually get in the ocean, to see for themselves how beautiful it is, how vulnerable the ocean is, how much we’re changing the ocean, I think that gives us a better chance as a species to survive.

Every day, time is a measure of life. We have to be mindful of just the miracle of being alive and knowing that you have a chance in the time that you have to make a difference — why not make it a good difference.

Most watches are looked upon as jewellery or — for us explorers — as an equipment to tell the time, but my watch to me has a much deeper meaning. The concept of Rolex is supporting exploration, conservation, the arts and the best that humans can be. So for me, wearing it, it’s like a signature, you care about those things too, you share something with the ethic of caring.

I was inspired to acquire my watch, this very special ally in exploration, when I was diving with my best friend in the Florida Keys at the beginning of the 1980s. She was wearing this watch and when I saw it I looked at it and I pointed to it and shook her arm. I thought she had forgotten to take off her watch, but she just gave me this smile. Only then I saw that it was a Rolex and it was quite capable of diving, not just as deep as we were at the time, but it could go much deeper. And yet it could go to black tie parties, it could go out in the rain, it could go in the shower, it could become — as it has become for me, when I got the same one soon after — just an extension of me, something I would wear all the time, everywhere. It’s like having that sixth sense right there on your arm, as your guide.

The watch has been my companion now for many decades. It has been on expeditions around the world — to the Arctic and the Antarctic, to the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean, deep within the Pacific and aboard probably more than thirty submarines. It’s been with me to speak in front of the United Nations and to meet with people who have great influence — Presidents of the United States, members of congress, heads of state around the world. 

But do you know the most important time? It’s probably out there, somewhere in the future. As long as I’m breathing, I expect to be exploring. People ask me: “Do you still dive?” And my answer is: “I am still breathing.”

 

 

 

 

ACCIDENTAL CREATIVE ~ podcast

The past three years, particularly the last two – especially the past two months – bring home, over & over, what a fabulously super, natural life John & I are graced to live.  And how often I find myself wanting to shout in exasperated exhortation, “THIS is how we are ALL created to LIVE!!”   We are created to bring out into the world our own brand of WOW.

We are blessed by a happily high number of friends who knew & grooved to this Life 101 factoid from their early days, whose lives have grown flexed expanded over the decades, letting the archaic move OUT as they let the of-this-moment move in.  Some are in the careers they set out to ace from Day One, others were thrown by necessity into new ones & others revamped revised reinvented their paths (sometimes several times overs!).

In tribute to them ~ and for the many, at any/all age,  figuring it out ~ am delighted to share Todd Henry’s ACCIDENTAL CREATIVE podcast.  Todd was one of a treasured circle of writers  who midwifed my transition into DEEV 2017 & his podcasts make for mind-bending, spirit-expanding shares with John, help make us more effective partners on every level, dimension.

Blown away that Todd’s most recent podcast is on connecting with your creative communityy ~ aka what the past week+ has been all about!

Check out Todd’s podcasts, share your favorites & any others y’all hold to be “must hear”!!

 

 

CreativityPost.com

Perhaps the greatest struggle John & I face re-empowering older friends is what feels like an almost universal RESISTENCE to any suggestion that we, as a species, are inherently creative.  Praise be, we are unrelenting in shaking them OUT of that limiting & woefully wrong belief,  in connecting them to our literally God-given natural creative bend.

It ain’t easy.

CreativityPost.com is a godsend for those days when we feel down & close to defeated by some person – could be 25, 55, 85 – loudly exclaiming “CAN’T!”  The most heart-rending are the ones who were creative in younger years but think that AGE puts them beyond the Divine outreach of our creative nature.

How much more clearly can All That Is spell it out?  “And God created  mankind in the image of the Divine.”  God creates, therefore so do we because we are created in God’s image!  The Divine should not have to slow jam Genesis 1:27   for us to accept that we, at all ages, have creativity in our dna.

There are countless sites on how to do creative things; many of them are exceptional. What sets CreativityPost.com ~  quality content on creativity, innovation and imagination ~ heads & shoulders above the crowd for me is that it rejiggers MY heart mind spirit about how creativity makes us US.

Short & sweet – – in every article & story,  CreativityPost.com tells me, “Open your mind & say AWE.”

ARTS  ~  POP CULTURE ~ SCIENCE ~ TECH ~ PHILOSOPHY ~ PSYCHOLOGY ~ BUSINESS ~ EDUCATION ~ ACTIVISM