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!


POINT ZERO – You Come Too

It continues to amaze me, that the surge of personal development books started the same year John came into my life.  It leaves me a bit awed that Point Zero – creativity without limits  was released the year Mom died.

Coincidence?  I think not – without John as a positive mirror, I doubt Stephen Covey or Wayne Dyer would have connected;  ditto Michele Cassou’s wondrous book on creativity – it feels like it came out at the same time that I was finally able to stand up & apart, as an individual.

When I first started my quest for an emotionally healthy, whole sense of self, the image in my mind was of a swan.  In 1976, I felt like a swan, able to only skim along the top of a pond;  I wanted to become powerful enough to dive through the water to the pond floor, then back up.  I even drew a picture of a swan, atop a pond with layers of water, each layer with a goal.

Do I still have that picture?   Can’t find it.  As I recall, the layers related to drawing deeper & deeper into connection, relationships.

By the time I read Point Zero, it felt like I’d met a semblance of that goal, but more needed to be drawn up from below.  So, I redid the drawing!  Still a swan, still atop a pond with layered water – the swan skims through my familiar habits, below which is not-quite-so-familiar, followed by less familiar, even less familiar, a bit more natural, more natural, more & more natural, delightfully natural, NATURAL.  Me myself & I.

Point Zero was one of the first books I journaled after my first read through.  Bits & pieces that stood out include:

What happens when matter stops?  Reality begins.

The Universal ENERGIES are constantly desiring to clue me into the reality that The Way is cleared for me.  Yet, I have to find my own way.  I have to start at POINT ZERO.


Once begun, always complete worthwhile projects.  Think “midwife.

Move through & out of Life’s highs & lows by opening the door to the mystery of the Unknown.

Creativity transcends learned techniques.

Point Zero aims us toward Authenticity, Personal Style, Aliveness.

Release teachings; move beyond knowing.

Dissolve patterns of Knowing; melt into Mystery (chrysalis).

A creative quest takes us into the Wilderness of our Soul, into the UNimaginable & UNexpected.

Point Zero is a place of no interference; it’s the background of all that is.  It’s where the real FUN begins!

Would you rather live with a fossil of happiness in your pocket than with an untamable flow of Life in your blood?

At Point Zero, our will surrenders & we move into the greater picture; we sail so far out, we lose sight of land – the unexpected lives in DEEP waters.

To CREATE, we do not need a plan, but rather that taking away all plans gives NATURAL originality, style, and wisdom a chance to manifest from our intuition.

When we orient our questions toward Point Zero, they stimulate us to come back to the place of ALL possibilities, allowing our intuitive self to bring forth unimaginable combinations.

When patterns of knowing dissolve, the heart becomes engaged.

Inside us lives the worst judge & the most tyrannical ideas of what we SHOULD do & HOW something should be experienced.

DRAGONS resist change & exploration.  They feed on criticism, comparison, evaluation.

Dragons use any means at hand to keep us distracted & to draw our attention & awareness AWAY from realizing that the most powerful thing anyone can do is to get out of the way & let things happen, naturally & spontaneously, at their own rhythm.

Let INTUITION guide, not the limited mind.

What needs to appear does not come when it is expected.

When we plan, we create in the past.  Creation follows natural rhythms.

Intuition is never tied to reason; its outcome is mysterious & unexpected.

Creation is a response – we deliver the colors & shapes that the Great Postman of Creation entrusts us to carry.

Intuition is not reasonable.  To create is to move in the unknown.

Unfold at our own rhythm.

Don’t ask our mind for its opinion – don’t speak to our dragons.  Good questions speak to our heart.

We EXIST to give form to what is hiding inside us & let our DREAM world unfold.

Feel the JOY of unending possibilities.

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ~ Dostoevski ~

Live in the Nowhere that you came from even though you have an address here.

How can reason alone lead to anything spiritual?  Not possible.

Instead of going inward to what already is, go outward to what isn’t yet.

Don’t approach creation; let creation SEIZE you.

Be a warrior spirit, wielding genuine questions as our authentic weapons.

Trust the timing; go where it’s ripe.

Go where the feeling is, rather than dwelling on future prospects.

NOTHING can release a creative block except a true movement toward your self.

Use blocks as wondrous stepping stones, genuine reminders to let go of attempts to get/maintain control.

To reach Point Zero, go to the place that was BEFORE judgments took over.

True intuition speaks with images, not words.

Point Zero – a place before stories are born.

Genuine creativity invites each of us to practice emptying our stories & letting go or perceived meaning.

Break away from what I think I am, away from my homemade life story.

Expressing a story only confirms what I already know.  Go to Point Zero & DISCOVER what I do not sense & cannot imagine.

Nothing can grow until the earth is turned over and crumbled. ~Rumi ~

Do you want a map & an agenda ~OR~ do you crave wild spaces, unexpected discoveries?

Creative passion is born out of using our self FULLY, all the way to the EDGE.

What would I do if I didn’t hold back anything at all?

Give dragons an opportunity to meet me along the way; to be loose enough for images awaken ancient or latent feelings; for the unknown & its mystery to enter my consciousness.

Dark & Light are at work; everything unfinished comes out when the time is right.  All is put in motion for healing, harmony & growth.

Let healing happen.

Questions take down the barriers we unknowingly set for ourselves.  They help us unzip our own being, let us be vulnerable. 

A rich imagination can come up with a multitude of possibilities & options within minutes; intuition knows but ONE answer at any moment.

Imagination & intuition do not mix; each is used for different purposes.  The one cannot survive in the other’s habitat.

Living from intuition, you never choose an action – it arrives, born naturally of your inner world.

Intuition calls upon us to DO only what we are genuinely interested in doing, what calls us, what pushes through us for unknown reasons.

Intuition guides, passion creates, workmanship completes.

What kind of question do I need to ask myself in order to live, to express, the the whole of me?

Do not attempt to force what is not ripe.

When an experience or a perception via the mind is finally understood in the heart; it comes directly from the meeting of my whole being with Universal Energies.

Intuitive creation stimulates the birth of natural wisdom because it puts old beliefs & patterns out of the way, allowing sight from new eyes.

The only way to contact wisdom is by letting things be as they are & letting them move us.

Instead of staying in the little schoolhouse where you learn only what others have learned, what has been passed down & recycled many times, you MOVE OUT & LEAVE that enclosed space.

Nothing is missing.

What prevents pure creation is attachment.

Spontaneous creativity can touch buried resistance, hidden feelings, spiritual perceptions at their core, all the way to our soul.  We are held in an amazing power that looks for harmony & happiness.

Every time intuition is used, the spirit dance starts & with it the love of the Universe minds the soul,

I must leave my personal history & knowledge of life behind.

Creativity looks for what is NOT known, beyond all imagination & stories.

The fire of the Great Unknown burns everything but the heat.




Pam Grout – TED Talk Friday

Yes yes yes – I said today would showcase NANCY MURDOCH’s podcast, but it’s just SO unnecessary!  Her wondrous website links to it & to her blog & to many other terrific treats, including an online store featuring a  book for men on how to sexually please a woman** (did not see that coming!)

The only thing I’ll add about Nancy & her tremendous talents as a story-finding,confidence-boosting legacy builder is a link to a page with posts of personal tales posted by her devoted audio story e-course students – they make me laugh & smile & weep.


Onto today’s featured podcast, TED talk or blog – Which leads us to the amazing Pam Grout, who rocked my world almost 20 years about with her JUMPSTART YOUR METABOLISM.  If I had used the life-altering lessons learned in that book, I’d be far fitter & probably more mentally balanced.  But my gremlin sidetracked me & I am the sorrier for it.  But, HA!  Take THAT, you wretched gremlin!  I still have the book & have incorporated it into my miracle morning, positively productive day!

As I discovered yesterday/today around midnight, unwinding after our mad dash to & from DC to attend the Aging2.0 Pint-0, Pam is way more than someone who preaches & teaches the bonus points of breath work.  She is a force of energy – literally.

As described in her Amazon bio – – Pam Grout is a hopeless romantic who still believes the world is a beautiful place, that people are noble and that anything is possible.  ~  For a living (and she always wonders why people think that’s such an important question), she writes books and articles for such magazines as People, Cooking Light and Travel & Leisure. She also enjoys writing bedtime stories for her daughter, but that’s more about making a life than a living. She’s keenly aware there’s a huge difference.

Although I’ve known about Pam for close to twenty years, it was just in the wee-ist of this morning’s wee small hours that I first heard her talk about money, making the point that the best way for creatives to generate capital is through – TA DA!creative capital.  She sure did – just look at her Amazon bio.

Hearing Pam’s talk was spooky wonderful.  It would have had a far different impact if I’d listened yesterday morning, when I first found the 2015 presentation.  Funny – the reason I didn’t listen right off the bat was because I was only using it as bait to reel people into an intro to Pam.  And WHY did I take the 14+ minutes to listen, since I was one bushed baby after the long to & from drive to DC?  But that’s how it rolled out.

Which is awe-some.  I soaked it in while still fully vibed, my funding underwriting backing energies jumpcharged by a group of remarkable innovators & enterprise promoters, all seeking to positively affect the lives of elders & their loved ones.  Before THAT moment, was not ready to hear that the best person to financially back underwrite fund my creative efforts in evolutionizing elder care is…  Oh my gosh – ME!

Everyone on the face of the planet should listen to Pam’s TED talk.  Add it to your baby’s lullaby downloads.  It is all about the importance of creativity for ALL of us, being shaped in the image of the Divine, making us – by our divine nature – wildly & infinitely creative.

It is within us.  Within every one of us.

Pam is old enough to hark back 30+ years, back to when we were kids, young adults.  Back when the only people who seriously worked out were actual athletes or ones wanting super buff bodies.  Now, it seems that all my under 55 friends have a gym, 40+ year old gal pals of mine compete in extreme sport events, while Dads who at best got in a Saturday basketball game with buds go into training for running marathons with their kids.   All of my younger friends either include some fitness routine in their day or keep quiet that they are not.

Pam’s set out to spark a similar revolution with our IMAGINATION, exercising building toning our creative muscle.

Artists aren’t the only ones needing creativity – it’s an overlooked core need for ALL of us, right up there with food & shelter.

It’s easy to see hear feel the pinging energies buttress Pam’s beliefs.  Tempting as it is to say to mysef, “Of course SHE found ways to transform creativity into capital – look at everything she’s done. Pam is especially graced with creativity.”

Except I am graced with abundant creativity.  And so are you!  Pam helps us connect with those creative juices.  Pam is one of us, not set apart on a higher plane.  She doesn’t get all puffed up with her accomplishments or seek special status for herself.  Instead, she beckons us to come, too.  To help, she includes an easy-to-take creativity self-evaluation form (see below) & a series of creativity exercises to strengthen our creativity muscle.  NOTHING she suggests takes special equipment or education;  ALL stir bolster boost our creativity muscle.

For all the people who know me, who know that I’m already hopped up on the importance of creativity at every point along our life span, always remember this – I discovered something life-shifting important listening to Pam’s TED talk.  EVERYONE, even those already regarded as creative clever innovative, has something to gain from what Pam shares.

I believe that Pam’s TED talk shifted my world.  She opened the way.  How it plays out – we will see.  How does it touch you?  Let me know!


Pam Grout’s Test of Creativity


Answer the following question.

1. Are you breathing? (‘x’ the appropriate box)

Yes______ No______


**  Nancy’s description –  This is NOT a book of bedroom tricks.  It is a book of awareness, self-realization and love that leads to deep intimacy.


Goosebumps – NCCA

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NCCA – the National Center for Creative Aging.  I have no memory of how the NCCA first came into my life, how I came up with the cockamamie idea that it made sense for me – at that time virtually penniless – to go to the first NCCA Conference & Leadership Exchange in D.C., but the monies were raised for the conference & transportation costs, lodgings (with friends, outside D.C., in what turned out to be challenging to access Herndon VA) was arranged, and down I went.

Will never forget sitting in the intimate, circle-in-the-round auditorium in  the Arena Stage performance space, of having it hit me for the first time that the NCCA was based 4-square on the work of Gene Cohen, a man whose book, The Creative Age, drop kicked me into seeing the WHY for the vibrant oldsters elders ancients all around me in our little hometown.

Had I researched the conference at all online, it would have been OBVIOUS,  but I apparently went down, flying blind.

So, why did I go, if I didn’t even take a moment to check out the conference schedule? I arrived with a vague idea of where the main event would take place, virtually no understanding of where the pre-conference workshop I’d signed up for was happening, basically no knowledge of what was happening.  Mind you, I got my first smart phone (yes, in 2014) immediately before it so I’d have Internet access;  alas, I hadn’t a clue how to use it, had to keep asking smartly dressed young people bustling along the sidewalks for their aid with Mapquest.

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Long walks – those I remember.  Not having a clue of the shortest route from one spot to the next.  Hadn’t thought to get familiar with the area, to actually map out where event locations, to look over the schedule.

Had never been to a conference before.  The first time I saw the program was looking at the registration materials, the day AFTER the wonderful pre-conference workshop.

My most vivid memory of the entire conference was hearing Wendy Miller introduced, realizing she was Gene’s widow, having it HIT me right between the eyes – – DUH!  ‘Creative Aging: Exploring Potential in the Second Half of Life’ screamed Gene Cohen & yet I’d missed it!!

What made me think about goosebumps I’ll forever remember?  Dipping back into the wondrous book given to all conference attendees – Creativity Matters: The Arts & Aging Toolkit.

Confession time –  Gene’s book, The Creative Age, no longer sits next to The Mature Mind on my bookshelf – lent it to someone who never returned it.  That fate will NEVER happen to Creativity Matters,  because it will NEVER leave my possession!

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Talk about goosebumps – that priceless book continues to astound me.  It is packed with priceless information & inspiration ~  looking at how creativity nurtures an abundant older age, at the value of incorporating the arts into our  life, of the profound advantage of senior centers & residences, adult-day care programs & long-term care facilities, of families & friends in seeking, offering participatory arts programs that go beyond the “arts & crafts” that so often seem the norm.  To REACH &, in reaching, to satisfy.

It was in 2014 – at the pre-conference workshop? – that I first heard “Like” (Elizabeth) Lokon, director & founder of Opening Minds Through Art, explain that with older people, especially ones facing the challenges of cognitive impairment, “simple is complex, complex is simple” – trying to to duplicate an actual image was a struggle, frustrating, but to create a beautiful abstract painting looked difficult but was simple.

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Which brings us to last month’s IAGG World Congress & the wondrous talk by Marilyn Raichle, who spoke about the enjoyment that her mother – who has Alzheimer’s – drew from painting.  Although the subjects were defined, the delightful images her mother created were deliciously abstract, showcasing the processing from the delineated start to what showed up on the page.

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Which takes me to feeling sad.  Sad that I never asked for one of of the beautiful paintings that Anne Davis Hyatt created over her closing eight years.  Like Marilyn’s mother, from one moment to the next Anne could not remember the day or the date, but she did paint evocative hillsides & rivers & skies capturing her wonder & love of the sense of it all.

That’s what I learned from the NCCA, why I continue to get goosebumps remembering that I haven’t the vaguest recollection of how we first connected – – it shouts from the rooftops the importance of helping people of all ages stay anchored in the glorious sense of living, that the arts, from painting to poetry & performance & beyond, open the way & present a path to doing what I aim to provide for all my own clients friends family – living as expansively, as fully themselves, as possible in any given moment, feeling the thrill of goosebumps at the joy of it all.