Discussion Topics

These  topics have been discussed by the Los Alamos Elder Circle over an eight-year period beginning in 1999:

June 26th, 1999
The topic of this month will be letting go of the denial of aging and beginning to accept ourselves as we are today.  You are encouraged to think about when in your life you have fooled yourself by denying your own aging.  How have you done this?  What safety mechanisms have you developed (perhaps unconsciously) to save yourself from having to face your own aging?  What support do you need in this arena?

July 31st, 1999
This month’s topic will be the first of several in which we begin to face mortality.  This time we’ll explore the overview of this arena and if we have time, we’ll write ethical wills.  If you have time, read up on these and try writing one.  Essentially, this is a letter to your family sharing your values, your philosophy, your view of life, whatever you might want to leave behind.

 August 28th, 1999
This month’s topic is a continuation of our efforts to face mortality. We’ll review how it’s going with setting up a loose-leaf notebook for all things about death and dying; and writing ethical wills.

September 25th, 1999
This month we continue the “facing mortality” theme and begin weaving more and more of the inner work tools into our discussion.  Please think about your own abilities and experiences with “inner work”, including meditation of various kinds, journaling, attitudinal healing, inner guidance, etc., and come prepared to share your experiences as well as techniques that work for you.  We’ll also be discussing mourning and the grieving process (and, of course, anything else that comes up!).

December 4th, 1999
This meeting’s topic will be the mourning process and related issues. Rabbi Chavah Carp from ABQ will be joining us and leading the discussion.

January 29th, 2000
This meeting’s topic will be the continuance of our discussion on mourning and related issues; and we will have a special guest, Judith Shotwell, who will be sharing her work in Music Thanatology, and will play for us as well.  For this month’s meeting, you are encouraged to think about your own tradition’s approach to death, dying, helping people during their death, and mourning.  What rituals are practiced?  Who are they for?  What have you experienced in your life that you wish to share related to the fields of hospice, helping people transition, mourning, healing after a death, and so forth?  What has helped you, what has gotten in the way?

March 4th, 2000
This month we will continue our delving into the meanings and rituals related to death, dying, mourning, and how these enrich life.  One of the 10 sine qua nons of Spiritual Eldering is coming to terms with one’s own philosophy of life, “How do I fit into the cosmic plan?”  So in relation to our recent discussions, please be thinking about your own view of life: what is the lens through which you see events, experiences, death, relationships, etc?  Come prepared to share your views.   We can all be enriched by each other’s understanding of how we fit into the big picture.

April 15th, 2000
This month’s topic is a continuation of our investigation into death and dying, including discussion of death when it’s not peaceful and surrounded by loved ones, and the coldness of the reality of many deaths where the body is not treated with respect in many ways.  It would be good for the group to share experiences of the biological death process, hospital experiences, mortuary experiences, etc.  This also ties in with our previous discussions about perspectives on death from our various religions, and of course, our philosophy of life discussions. This month we will also discuss “Hemlock Society” kinds of death – suicide or assisted suicide for those whose terminal illness is prolonged and painful. “Self-deliverance” is an important topic, especially because if your spouse knows you will do this, are there legal issues that make her/him liable? How do you feel about this?  How would you feel if you were given the choice and were dying slowly and painfully?  What if it were your spouse who was dying this way and wanted to do this?

 

June 10th, 2000
The topics will be as follows:
        – dealing with the recent disaster – how’s everyone doing?
        – the role of elders in events such as these
        – if we have time, let’s explore the topic of “evil”
          It was suggested that we share our views on evil, and in particular,
          how different traditions handle bad events in life.  Please think about
          your own tradition and come prepared to share both the formal ideas
          your tradition holds forth as well as any personal experience in this
          area.

July 29th, 2000
This month’s topic is a continuation of our investigation into the role of elders in a disaster, and how the Cerro Grande Fire has impacted our community.  It is interesting to look at how different people handle such events and how they cope.  We have discussed philosophy of life in relation to death and dying, perhaps we can now look at such philosophies in relation to this fire.  Certainly we’ve all seen a wide range of viewpoints and reactions.  It may be very helpful to investigate how well (or not so well) some of these viewpoints work to help folks cope and go on with life, etc.  I think this would be helpful not just for those who lost homes, but for everyone dealing with the emotions and impacts of this fire.

 September 9th, 2000
As for topics this time, we’ll wing it as we did last meeting.  That was really great!  Please think of what you would like to see happen this time, and also how you would like to see the group evolve during the coming months.

 October 14th, 2000
Topic for this month will be the continuation of the fascinating discussion we began last month on the Art of Happiness.  Bob B. will continue to lead us down this path (thanks, Bob, you make us very happy!).

 November 18th, 2000
The topic for discussion this time is the role of faith in our lives; its role in creating happiness; its relationship with fear, gratitude, and other attitudes; how it affects our relationship with and response to life, and the role it plays when adversity comes our way.  We can also discuss its relationship with health (physical, emotional, and mental), response to pain, etc., anything that comes up!

January 27th, 2001
The topic for this month’s discussion will be “the role of uncertainty in life.”   What’s the relationship between uncertainty and faith?   What’s the relationship between uncertainty and fear?   Is uncertainty the “spice of life?”  Why does it matter?   How do these relationships help to shape our lives?  What’s your relationship with uncertainty?

 February 24th, 2001
The topic for discussion this time is the role of empathy in Eldering. How can we learn it?  How does one develop skills in using it?  How do we deal with diminishments as we grow older?  What is empathy for oneself? How can we live fully while diminished in some way?  What about the pain of unlived life? Bring stories and experiences to share.  Have a little empathy for those of us who aren’t able to empathize yet!

 March 24th, 2001
The topic for discussion this time is dealing with the enhancements of aging.  What does it mean to be an elder from this perspective?  What are the joys and difficulties that come from these enhancements?

 April 28th, 2001
The topic for discussion this time is the relationship of family to the Elder, and all family-related issues in aging, Eldering, mentoring, preparing to die, etc.  Please bring stories and ideas to share.

 June 2nd, 2001
The topics this time will be the role of mentoring in Eldering, how to be a mentor, how to receive mentoring, why mentor, what makes a good mentor, what are the things to avoid in mentoring,  who should be mentored, and all related subjects.  In addition, since several of us are dealing with ill parents or are grieving the loss of a parent, we may touch again on the issues related to parental loss, mourning, hospice, and families in crisis — if/as needed or appropriate.

 June 30th, 2001
Although we will be missing Rick once again at this meeting, let’s dedicate the morning discussion to Rick and his family.  Please think of a topic you would like to discuss.

 July 28th, 2001
This month’s topics include continuation of whatever you did last month (it’s a secret to me!), along with discussions of the role of the elder during one’s own death, the roles of organizations like Hospice, and all related topics.  As usual, we’ll let the group energy guide the discussion.  (If there’s interest, I can share what I went through with my Dad, and some writings I did during that time.)

 August 25th, 2001
The topic this month is the role of the elder in community:
– What responsibilities to elders have in regards to setting examples,
  demonstrating how to live, how to die, ethical behaviors, societal
  interactions, etc?
– How does our role in society change as we become elders?
        When does this happen?  Why does this happen?  What happens
        when it doesn’t happen?
– What other responsiblities do elders have in relation to society,
  the community, etc?
        Who defines these?
– How do “new elders” get into this?  How do they learn their roles
  and responsibilities?

 September 29th, 2001
The topic this month is “How to have people experience you differently from their expectations of you?”  This is the arena of the roles we play in our families, organizations, and community, and what it means to be ourselves in those roles.  And it’s part of the different lives we live in these differing roles.  This promises to be a fascenating and inspiring discussion.

 October 27th, 2001
The topic for this month is the role of the Elder in promoting and creating World Peace.  What are our responsibilities?  Where do we begin?  In times like these, what should Elders be doing?

 December 1st, 2001
The topic for this month is understanding the interdependencies of the  “support group”, Eldering, and ourselves.  We’ve been providing an  “eldering support group” in the form of these meetings – even though the structure of our meetings is not that of most support groups.  Yet, the Sacred Space we create and the way we interact with each other creates something special.  What is that, and how does that help our Eldering?  What is its basis?  Why is this so important?  What is the role of the group in the outside-of-the-group aspects of our lives?  How does this relate to the discussion we had last month on creating World Peace?

 January 26th, 2002
The topic for this month will be an exploration of “right livelyhood” — the discovery of spontaneous right action, knowing when to act, acting without knowing why, living in connection with life.  How do I know what’s right? What role does inner guidance play in this?

 February 23rd, 2002
The topic this month will be a continuation of the discussion we began last month regarding “right living,” spontaneous right action, and aligning our lives to our highest good, etc. This month we’ll focus on the role of inner guidance in this process.  What is it?  How do I know which answer is the “right” one?  How do I know when I’m getting inner guidance and not just desire or some negative influence?  What forms does guidance take?  What is “support of Nature” and how is it related to guidance?  What is the “flow of Life” and how do I know when I’m in the flow or out of the flow?  How does this relate to inner guidance?  How does all of this relate to my own belief system, prayer, and the way I interact with others?

 March 23rd, 2002
The topic for this month will continue the flow of thought of the past couple of meetings by exploring “taking stock –  determining how well I’m living my life” and related areas:
        – what’s the definition of a “well-lived” life?
        – how to refocus my life
        – Reb Zalman’s recontextualization of the past – can we recontextualize the present and the future?
        – what’s important, what’s not?  how do I know?
        – thoughts on techniques, methods, and approaches

 April 27th, 2002
The topic for this month is the transformative nature of beauty:
        – “seeking beauty” in life and how it changes the seeker
        – what is the nature of beauty?
        – what is the role of beauty in Eldering?
        – what is the healing power of beauty?
        – what is the relationship between beauty and love?
        – how can these ideas become practical aids to conscious
          living?

 June 29th, 2002
It is time for us to review again some of the central points of Reb Zalman’s “Spiritual Eldering,” and in particular, death, life, and how we handle both.  So for this month, let’s again explore the death rituals and meaningful practices of various religions, traditions, and cultures of the world.  If you have time to research other cultures than your own, that would be great to share with us all.

 August 3rd, 2002
The topic for this month will continue our discussion of death and dying. Terry Foxx will share a video tape (35 minutes or so) on “Why talk about Death?”   And the discussion will go from there.

 August 24th, 2002
The topics this time will be “transitions” – how to deal with life changes, and how to “let go of our state” when we change states.  Life is full of change. And, big changes often cause significant upheaval in our lives.  How can we minimize the pain while smoothing our transition to a new way of living? Food for thought:  What roles to the following play in this?
    – attitude
    – religion and philosophy of life
    – family and friends
    – age
    – education
    – mentoring

 September 28th, 2002
The topic this month is the role of ritual in eldering, and in our lives as elders.  Some starting points: What is ritual?  Why is it meaningful? What rituals are specifically beneficial to elders?  What rituals can elders perform for the community?  How does one explore ritual?  What are the relationships between ritual, spirituality, life outlook, Eldering, and community service?  What rituals can we do as elders to enrich our own lives and those of others?

 October 26th, 2002
The topic for this month is possibly the first in a series in which we explore how we connect with others, how to communicate heart-to-heart, how to open up a channel connecting one human being to another.  This meeting will focus on this topic through the lens of eldering in a society of “exclusive membership” subgroups – religious or other organizations that require specific beliefs or practices in order to allow others into their fold.  Another title for this might be:  eldering in a multiculture society in which cultural purity is maintained.  What are the barriers to communication?  How can these be overcome?  What is the role of eldering and elders in such a society?

 November 23rd, 2002
The topic this month continues our discussions about how we connect as human beings, this time focusing on societal pressures that require us to NOT be authentic. These are the pressures that make people not be themselves. Connected with this is the issue of denial – what is it that we don’t want to know, because if we did know we would have to face ourselves through facing the situation of the other person.  An example of this would be how to connect with a homeless person, and why we often react the ways we do.

 January 25th, 2003
The topic this month is the role of anger in eldering – and how can we as elders help others (and ourselves) best use anger to better our lives. Why are people so angry?  How can we help?  What’s the role of anger in the collective consciousness that surrounds us?  How does it impact us as elders, our families, our neighbors, our community?
What is anger, really?  What are its pros/cons to our lives?  How should we deal with anger – our own, others’ – to promote Life?

 February 22nd, 2003
We will discuss the role of story telling in eldering, and in how people connect as humans. The discussion will not be telling stories, but how stories connect us, and how they are important in the eldering process.  Please think about your own stories, your family’s stories, your mentor’s stories, all in this context.

 March 22nd, 2003
The topic this month will be a continuation of our discussions on anger and world tensions,  leading into the larger topic of justice in the world.  Please come with ideas not only about these topics in general, but specifically in relation to elders and eldering.  This month’s topic is not limited to the pending war in Iraq, rather it is a continuation of our work on anger in general.  But I’m sure it will lead into discussion of the current situation, so let’s just plan on including it as well.  The umbrella topic of justice (the role of eldering in justice and the role of justice in eldering), is related to anger, so we can open the door to this arena as appropriate.

 May 3rd, 2003
The topic this month will be transformative events and their role in shaping who we are.  In particular, it would be interesting to explore the role of eldering in such events, as well as the role of such events in the lives of elders.  What has happened in your life that in hind-sight truly transformed your way of living, your outlook on life, or your personal philosophy of life?   Please come share your own personal experiences, especially personal stories of transformative events and their resolution and integration into your life.  These can be powerful lessons for us all.

 June 28th, 2003
The topic this month is the role of passion in life, especially as it applies to Elders.   Passion is often the fuel that leads us to joy and a whole spectrum of other emotions.  We’ll explore the passions of our elder years with a brief, structured exercise from a recent eldering workshop to launch a discussion about our various passions.  You are encouraged to think about what excites you, what are your passions, why are these important to you, and how have they changed your life.

 July 26th, 2003
The topic this month is “shame” – how it affects us, how as elders we should deal with it, how it can be a teacher for us, and how we can mentor others in dealing with this area —  what is the role of shame in eldering?

 August 23rd, 2003
The topic this month is “hope” – how it affects us, how as elders we should use it, how it can be a teacher for us.  What is the role of hope in our lives? What is the role of hope in Eldering?  What is the role of Eldering in our hope? Why is hope important?

 September 20th, 2003
The topic this month will be sex and eldering – issues, conflicts, role expectations, changes in expectations, changes in societal roles, the role of eldering in mentoring related to sex issues, role modeling in this arena, and all related topics.  With teenagers in many of our homes, sex and sex-related living is an issue that is constantly in front of us. What is our responsibility as Elders in this media-controlled world?

 October 25th, 2003
The topic this month will be listening: why is it important, how is it different for Elders, how does this enhance Eldering, mentoring, healing, community service, relationships, etc?

 November 22nd, 2003
The topic this month is Patriotism – what is it, how important is it, how does it affect society, what is the role of Eldering in patriotism and patriotism in Eldering, what can and/or should we be doing about it?  Is patriotism something supportive of peace?

 January 24th, 2004
The topic this month will be creativity – its importance in our lives, its role in aging and in Eldering, its role in healing and recentering, how to reinstate it into Life when it’s no longer there, what is its role in the health of society and the community, etc.

 February 28th, 2004
The topic this month is “humor” – how it affects us, how it enriches our lives, the important role it plays in being human, and specifically in Eldering.  Bring some humor – a great joke or story – to share with the group.

 March 27th, 2004
Our topic this month is mentoring as an architype for aging.  During the Tao of Aging workshop in Albuquerque last month, one session dealt with mentoring by elders.   At this month’s Breakfast, Terry Foxx, Susan and Bob Benjamin will present a mini workshop on the elder as a wise guide and mentor.  The workshop will be experiential in nature.  We will all gain new insights as we process some of these ideas!  Should be very interesting, informative, and fun.

 April 24th, 2004
Our topic this month is the Elder as a Wounded Healer.  What is the role of sharing our own path?  What value is our own learning, our own wisdom, our own hard-earned knowledge of life?  What is the Elder’s responsibility in this regard?

 June 26th, 2004
The topic for this month will be “philosophical tricks of the trade” — what aspects of your personal outlook on life have helped you cope with specific personal challenges, and what aspects have you been able to share with others that has help them cope with difficult situations in their own lives?  As Elders, what characteristic elements of the way we live are, in fact, tools that can help others? What are your tools?   Are there specific catch phrases that define or encapsulate your philosophy/outlook, that make it easy to share with others, and hence make it into a nice tool?

 July 31st, 2004
The topic for this month will be a continuation of what we began last month as “philosophical tricks of the trade” — what aspects of your personal outlook on life have helped you cope with specific personal challenges, and what aspects have you been able to share with others that has help them cope with difficult situations in their own lives?  What are your “coping tools?”   As Elders, what characteristic elements of the way we live are, in fact, tools that can help others?   Are there specific catch phrases that define or encapsulate your philosophy/outlook, that make it easy to share with others, and hence make it into a nice tool for them?

 August 28th, 2004
The topic for this month will be a continuation of our “tools for coping” discussion that we began in June.  Last month’s chat interrupted this to discuss Lab issues, etc., but now we can continue to get into our personal “philosophical tricks of the trade” — what aspects of your personal outlook on life have helped you cope with specific personal challenges, and what aspects have you been able to share with others that has help them cope with difficult situations in their own lives?  As Elders, what characteristic elements of the way we live are, in fact, tools that can help others?
What are your tools?   Are there specific catch phrases that define or encapsulate your philosophy/outlook, that make it easy to share with others, and hence make it into a nice tool?

 September 18th, 2004
The topic this month will be preparing for death.  We did a good bit of work on this and related topics some 5 years ago when we first started up. It was suggested that some are very interested in exploring this again, so let’s do it!  Let’s begin with a review of various traditional rituals and practices related to death and dying, and then go into personal preparation and as well, the steps to avoid and escape the box of fear that paralyzes elders.   Please come prepared to share what practices and/or rituals are performed in your tradition related to all aspects of death and dying.  This is a rich and meaningful arena, and one that has proven fruitful to explore.

 October 23rd, 2004
The topic for this month is continuing the discussion about death and dying.  This time we will share rituals from various traditions, as we have done in the past, along with sharing our personal revelations and experiences that came up as we faced the writing assignments given below.  Nobody will be asked to share their writings (unless they want to share, of course), but of great value to the group will be the sharing of “what it was like to do the writing.”  And, as mentors and Elders with even more elder parents, how can we use this work to help our own eldering family members and friends?  Please also bring thoughts on your own traditions and rituals associated with death, dying, mourning, etc.  We learn a lot when we hear of each others’  paths in this regard.  As a way to help us face our own mortality, and to help us focus and get clarity on this topic, we agreed to spend some time between now and the next meeting writing one or more/all of the following:    
    -your own epitaph 
    – your own obituary 
    – your own eulogy 
    – the scenario of your own “perfect death” 
    – an ethical will

 December 4th, 2004
The topic this month will be “transforming diminishments” – how to deal with failing bodies, changing abilities, loss of skills, physical and mental diminishments that often come with age.  Let’s explore how we can creatively redefine ourselves when age takes away important parts of us, and how can we help others (like our parents) who are going through such changes.

 January 29th, 2005
The topic this month will be a continuation of what we began last time on “transforming diminishments” – how to deal with personal diminishments such as failing bodies, changing abilities, loss of skills, physical and mental diminishments, etc., that often come with age.  There are many approaches to this arena, and we can explore as many as the group likes.

 February 26th, 2005
The discussion this month will begin with a continuation of “transforming diminishments” – how to deal with personal diminishments such as failing bodies, changing abilities, loss of skills, physical and mental diminishments, etc., that often come with age.  In addition, as we conclude this on-going discussion, we’ll move into our next topic which is “creativity and aging” – the relationship of the elder to creativity, how our creativity changes as we age, how creativity helps keep us young at heart, the relationship between creativity and health, tricks to help keep our creativity alive, how to inspire creativity in ourselves and in our own aging family members, etc.

 March 26th, 2005
The discussion this month will continue our exploration of “creativity and aging”:  the relationship of the elder to creativity, how our creativity changes as we age, how creativity helps keep us young at heart, the relationship between creativity and health, tricks to help keep our creativity alive, how to inspire creativity in ourselves and in our own aging family members, etc.  Be creative and bring some great stories and insights to share!  We began this last month, and many felt that we had a lot more to discuss in this arena, so we’ll continue looking into what it means to be creatively human.

 April 30th, 2005
Our topic this month should be really fun – exploring the impulse of Elders to be outrageous.  We will explore the benefits of this behavior and how elders can use it to help others.  We will also explore what it can teach us about ourselves, and what it means to be human.  So…
            – come in costume – the more outrageous the better
            – bring something outrageous
            – tell something outrageous to the group
            – share something of yourself that others would never guess
            – come prepared to have fun exploring who we are!

 June 25th, 2005
The discussion this month will explore visions of the afterlife, beliefs about what happens after death, and thoughts about how such beliefs affect our behavior, attitudes, and living on a day to day basis.  How do these impact our eldering?  What are the roles of such beliefs in our lives?  What does your tradition teach about this?  How has it shaped your life and your attitude toward aging?

 July 23rd, 2005
The topic for this month will be to explore the relationships between and among Tolerance, Obstinance, and Judgement.  Are we fooling ourselves when we say we “are tolerant” or “are non-judgemental?”  How honest are we really?  Should be a very interesting discussion.  Bring your open mind and wealth of wisdom, we’re going to need it!  By the way, how open is your mind?

 August 27th, 2005
The topic for this month will be:  Making friends during our later years.  Why do we want to?  Is it important?  How do we make friends?  (What common interests?  What places of meeting?)  What characteristics do we seek in new friends?  How do we support our friends and how do they support us?  Also, coping with aging as we watch our friends die off; and finding new friends when most of our friends are gone.

 September 24th, 2005
The topic this month is finding meaning and purpose during the second half of life.  In Leider’s book, CLAIMING YOUR PLACE AT THE FIRE (p. 122), he poses the question, “For the sake of what am I living in the second half of my life?”  Leider asserts that people fear the loss of meaning in their lives, so identifying one’s purpose helps to diminish this fear.  This time we’ll explore and discuss this arena along with any comments from Leider’s public lecture to be held in Los Alamos on Sept 21st.

 October 22nd, 2005
The topic for this month will be facing the question: “Is it ok for me to be happy when there’s so much suffering, war, hatred, violence in the world?” — Finding balance between helping others and living a beautiful life.  Let’s explore this entire arena and see what we can discover.

 December 3rd, 2005
The topic for this month will be  the role and advantages of Hospice, with Dick Lumaghi sharing his experiences at the Los Rios Hospice.  An open discussion/exploration of this topic will be included as usual.

 January 28th, 2006
The topic of discussion for this month will be how to be the Elder when you are ill, down, or the one with the problems.  How to live in grace, dignity, and joy during times of personal difficulty.  How to deal with family and friends, some of whom understand and some of whom do not.  What is the role of Elders to each other during such times?   What is the responsibility of the Elder who is ill?

 February 25th, 2006
The topic for this month will be a continuation of our most interesting discussion begun last time on what happens when you, the Elder, are the one needing help.  This time we’ll focus on letting go of control, the responsibility of the Elder to the community when the Elder is diminished, what are our responsibilities in general and how do they change?

 March 25th, 2006
The topic of discussion for this month will be “dealing with fear” – What’s hidden and fearful in life?  How can we live with fear?  What choices do we have when fear is present?  What role does love play in dealing with fear? What is/are the Elder’s role(s)?  How can an Elder help others?  How can others help Elders?  What benefits/detriments come from fear?   When should we let go of fear, when should we hold on to it?  How does one let go of fear?  How does one embrace it?

 April 22nd, 2006
The topic for this month will start with a continuation of the discussion started last month on dealing with fear, and move from there into the arena of grace:  What is grace?  How is it related to fear?  What is the role of grace in our lives?  How can we be more proactive in this process?  How does grace help, especially when fear is there?  What’s the Elder’s role in all of this?  What’s your experience with grace in your life?

 June 24th, 2006
The topic of discussion for this month will be delving again into the realm of dealing with change.  This time we’ll consider the role of our identity:  how does our identity change as we go through changes?  What happens to it when we retire?  How do we redefine ourselves when major changes (like retirement) happen?  What tricks and aids can we share to help others more easily handle retirement and other major life changes that happen to Elders?  If we have the time/options/freedom to choose, what should we take into account to help prepare for our new identity, new life after retirement (or death of a spouse, or …)?  How has your identity been affected by recent changes at the Lab?

 July 29th, 2006
The topic of discussion for this month will be the role of art in aging:  the impact of “art-full aging” on elders, and the connections between art, happiness, growth, eldering, living a meaningful life, etc. How does art fit into your life or your parents’ lives?  How has it changed your life or their lives?  How could it be used as therapy or healing modality for us or our parents?

 August 26th, 2006
The topic of discussion for this month will be “helping elders find meaning”.  This topic can be explored from a number of approaches:  helping our parents, our children helping us, helping other elders in our community, helping our spouses, helping ourselves.  Elderhood requires meaning to be lived, otherwise it becomes a sad existence.  What is our role as Elders to help other Elders find meaning?  What can we do, what should we do, when we as Elders need help?

 September 30th, 2006
The topic this month is an open exploration what’s important in life!  Big topic, I know, but let’s take it on.  To spur the discussion, here are some thoughts: 
    – who’s responsible for what? 
    – what spiritual approaches work for you? 
    – where does family fit in? 
    – what does it mean to “live well”? 
    – what aspects of living should be scrutinized often to improve them? 
    – what does it mean to repent?  to forgive?  to forget? 
    – how should we be with ourselves?  with peers? with parents? with children? 
    – where does joy fit in?  is it selfish to create joy in your life when others are suffering? 
    – what about social action?  helping others that you’ve never met who live far away? 
    – does any of this matter?

 October 28th, 2006
The topic for this month is Life Coaching and Conscious Aging:  Life coaching is a concept originally developed in the context of business and aimed primarily at individuals in the first half of their lives. However, the approach offers many useful perspectives and tools to enrich the second half of our lives, including values clarification,  personality and needs assessment, and conscious decision making.  Let’s explore this arena from the perspective of the elder – how can we apply such ideas meaningfully? Should we be teaching these concepts to younger folks? to older folks? to the community? How can this help us age and grow gracefully?  What is the role of the elder in this arena?

 December 2nd, 2006
The topic for this month will continue the discussion begun last month on Life Coaching and Conscious Aging:   This time I will be out of town, but Chris Hazard will be there to lead the discussion – which should be fabulous, as she is giving a keynote talk to some 400 people in ABQ this Thursday on this topic!   
Life coaching is a concept originally developed in the context of business and aimed primarily at individuals in the first half of their lives. However, the approach offers many useful perspectives and tools to enrich the second half of our lives, including values clarification, personality and needs assessment, and conscious decision making.  Let’s continue to explore this arena from the perspective of the elder – how can we apply such ideas meaningfully? Should we be teaching these concepts to younger folks? to older folks? to the community?  How can this help us age and grow gracefully?  What is the role of the elder in this arena?