Planning Your Life’s Encore

Planning Your Life’s Encore
Saturday, September 30, 2017 9:00 am – 3:30 pm                                                                             Center of Compassion, Omaha, NE

I will explore the elements that constitute a full and successful
retirement. Participants will leave with an understanding of the importance of finding “purpose” in the retirement years.  In this phase there is an opportunity to nurture ourselves–body, mind and spirit–while developing a legacy to pass on the world.  Cost $45 which includes lunch.  Register online at or call 402-951-3026.


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The Mission of the Servite Center of Compassion, located at the Servants of Mary Motherhouse in Omaha, is to be “a sacred space in the city welcoming all with compassion and hope.”

Inviting the New to Emerge

In order to allow for something new to emerge in the Third Chapter of Life, it is necessary to let go of what was, i.e. the Second Chapter.  The sense of importance that marks the mid-life coming from the responsibilities we carry, the salary we earn, the prestige of titles, the recognition that we  “made it”—-these are all the things that fade as we enter the Third Chapter.  Our very identity shifts.

For those who are less conscious, this feels like unrequited loss.  However, the loss is not without rewards. This self-dissolution is required in order to have self-transcendence.  In other words,  to be more than we have been, we must let go of what has been.

In making a conscious passage deeper into the inner life, we cannot continue to cling to the acquisitions and pre-occupations that take all our attention in mid-life.  They served their purpose and now is the time to release our grip so something new can happen.  Now is the time to see, savor, enjoy whatever has meaning and purpose for us now.  Watch for it!  If we are awake, it will surely come.

What is Wisdom?

A wise woman I know who is 90 has said to me that she does not know what wisdom is even though people tell her she is wise.  Been thinking of this question as I prepare some talks for upcoming events.  I do find it is hard to define wisdom.  However it is not hard to say that “you know it when you see it. ”

Here are some earmarks of wisdom that we can use when looking at our own experience or listening to others.  The voice of wisdom is compassionate toward both ourselves and others.  It is spacious; when practiced, our heart relaxes.  When we are listening to the voice of wisdom, we have a gentle good humor about ourselves or the situation.  There is a generosity of spirit, a kind open-hearted view of people and situations.  And finally there is a sense that all is well in the big picture.  This is, of course, the opposite of being uptight, defensive, humorless and fearful of impending doom.  (These ideas are adapted from Maria Nemeth’s excellent book, “Mastering Life’s Energies.”)

As I review this and think about my own reaction to world affairs, I see that I am not so wise.  I have been quite uptight and fearful when I watch the news.  I don’t think listening to the voice of  wisdom means that I should not stand up for what I believe but I do think it means that I must take the long view.  Trusting the forces of good more than the forces of evil may be the wise thing to do at this time.

What do you think??






70th Birthday Reflection

As I celebrate my 70th birthday, I think about a piece I wrote in November when I was taking a day for reflection.  It is a metaphor that fits today.

I walk around the lake I visited in late spring. It is different now.  Most leaves have fallen and I find it easier to keep my bearings because  I can see further and glimpse the lake and the buildings in the distance.  When I walked on these paths in May, I got turned around and had to backtrack to find my way.  The bushes, trees and weeds were so thick I had to go by trial and error.

This is a beautiful metaphor for the life cycle.  In youth and middle age, we find our way as we go.  When one path takes us in circles, we try another.  Eventually we learn.

By the time seven decades have passed, we enter the autumn of life.  We have learned so much that it is easier to stay the course.  We have perspective from the many years we spent negotiating the thickets of life.  We move a little slower because we have less pressure and anxiety.  We have time to look at the sky and notice the changing colors.  We have a better understanding of where we are going and how to get there.

We celebrate the fact that we can walk, hear the birds, see the sky through the bare limbs and breathe fresh air.  Yes, winter will come but right now the joy is being in the moment when all is well.



Trying to Make Sense

Following the election, I have been trying to make sense of what has happened, why and what my role is in balancing out the negativity and pain I hear, see and feel. I have found some wise elders who are thinking deeply on this very topic. This quotation below is from Ron Pevny, author of Conscious Living, Conscious Aging.
Will share more in coming days.

“Throughout this seemingly endless election cycle, I have tried to look beneath political ideologies and personal characteristics to see the types of consciousness that are at play in the polarization in modern society. And alas, I recognize that same polarization within me–a conflict that I experience as essentially a struggle between fear and trust.

I have seen my inclination to see and expect the worst, and how easily fear arises within me. When fear predominates, my moods, attitudes, choices and perceptions are colored by it, and I feel disempowered, vulnerable and hopeless. I become self-absorbed, my heart closes, I see others as enemies, and my vision of the larger picture is constricted. My energy goes toward holding on to a familiar past rather than embracing the possibilities of an unfamiliar future. When such survival consciousness reigns supreme in me, I lose sight of the expanded life that is possible for me and others.

In strong contrast, when trust is strongly present, I am hopeful, I feel strong, my heart is open. I am in touch with the best in me and others, so that I can support myself and others in contributing our best to creating a healthy world in which we all thrive. The actions I take seem to be more likely to help build bridges than to further strengthen walls…”

“Using whatever ways work for us, I believe our commitment to conscious aging requires us to strive to be aware and intentional of the consciousness–fear or trust, survival or thrival–that we choose to feed each day. Do we feed our bodies, minds and spirits food, images, activities and relationships that bring out the best in ourselves and others? Or do we feed the consciousness of fear that closes our hearts, numbs our spirits and blinds our vision?

Strengthening the consciousness of trust is possible. It takes commitment and effort, but I believe it is crucial if, rather than just surviving, we are to thrive as hopeful, inclusive, resilient, big-hearted elders, and to do our part to help create a hopeful, inclusive, resilient, compassionate society. Doing so is what can help us remember that there is indeed a fountain that can bring us solace and strength when hope feels lost.”