Longing for Belonging Article Image

Longing for Belonging

The desire to belong is something we all experience. Beyond the use of the word belonging connected to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the desire for a greater sense of belonging is widespread and is a driver of our thoughts and actions. Are you longing for belonging?

In a recently published article, I focused on belonging with: belonging with ourselves, belonging with others, and belonging with our environments, rather than belonging to something. I identified five ways to satisfy our longing for belonging.

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Seeds of Consciousness

Seeds of Consciousness

Our conscious mind is small in comparison to our vast unconscious mind. This unconscious mind is part of what Thich Nhat Hanh referred to as store consciousness. Describing consciousness as like a house, Thich Nhat Hanh suggested that store consciousness is the basement and mind consciousness is our living room. Mind consciousness is our active awareness, our conscious mind. Store consciousness, sometimes called root consciousness, is in the lower levels of our consciousness. This is where all our past experiences are stored along with the seeds of our reactions to the triggers we experience every day. Although we may not be fully aware of what is in our store consciousness, we can influence the manifestation of its contents in the conscious mind.

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Hope Blog Post Image


Hope is my word for the new year. I am sometimes weighed down by pessimistic perspectives on life’s challenges. This year I want to turn this pessimism around, going beyond simple optimism, to real hope for the possibilities of the future. This hope is defined as the belief that our future will be better than today and we have the power to make it so. Ecophilosopher Joanna Macy uses the phrase active hope.

In research studies of hope by Charles Snyder (author of the compelling book, The Psychology of Hope: You Can Get There from Here, 1994) and more recently by Casey Gwinn and Chan Hellman (authors of Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change your Life, 2021), three components of hope have been revealed: goals, willpower, and waypower. Goals need to be aspirational and realistic, built on imagination and possibility, and a belief that the goals are achievable. We need multiple pathways to follow from the present time to the desired future, with alternatives for when the inevitable obstacles impede our progress. And we need confidence, energy, and willpower, sometimes referred to as agency, to sustain us as we move along these pathways towards our goals.

We may also need help and collaboration from others rather than trying to go it alone. “Together we can; together we will” is Dr. Jane Goodall’s rallying cry in her new book, The Book of Hope, written with Douglas Abrams. In her invitation to hope, Jane acknowledges that we are going through dark times but believes the hope for our world is much more than wishful thinking. My invitation is to begin a new journey of hope, or reinvigorate an existing journey, with two or three aspirational yet believable goals to make our future better than the present, and a belief that we have the pathways of possibility and the energy and willpower to make it so. I invite you to take positive steps on your journey of hope today.

Hope Blog Post originally published on DrPaulWard.com website.

Is Buying A Home The Right Move Entering Your Golden Years?

After years of hard work, you’re finally at the time in your life when you can seriously start planning for what will happen when you can reduce the time spent working for a living. Every year, millions of people face the question of how to start planning for their later years. However, these years look different for everyone. Some may see themselves living in a vacation home. Others may choose to spend this time doing things they’ve always wanted to, such as traveling the world, climbing Kilimanjaro or motor racing. For those who never got to experience the lifestyle of being a homeowner, the golden years of their life may feel like the last chance before missing out on the experience altogether. But is buying a home as you enter your golden years actually a wise decision to make?

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Vocational Arousal

Vocational Arousal

I first heard the phrase vocational arousal from inspirational teacher Barbara Marx Hubbard. This is about emotional arousal not sexual arousal. In my book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership, I talked about combining our avocation (our personal purpose, what we want to do) with our vocation (what we are paid to do). Robert Frost, in his poem, Two Tramps in Mud Time, put it this way: “My object in living is to unite, my avocation and my vocation, as my two eyes make one in sight.” Identity, purpose, and calling are all important aspects to consider when combining our avocation with our vocation.

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Extreme E Off Road Motor Racing

Off road motor racing may at first glance appear to be a surprising topic for this 2Young2Retire blog page but read on and find out why it may be more relevant than you might think. In our new book about conscious living in the second half of life, we are exploring opportunities to make a contribution to saving the world. Environmental sustainability and social responsibility will be featured in a chapter on saving and savoring the world and the philosophy of Extreme E racing is perfectly aligned to this message.    

Extreme E is motor racing for a purpose. Founder and CEO, Alejandro Agag and motor racing legend, Gil de Ferran dreamt up the idea of using the power of motor sport to raise awareness of climate change, electrification, and equality. Revolutionary all-electric off road SUVs use emission free energy from batteries charged with hydrogen fuel cells. Each of Extreme E’s nine racing teams line up with one male and one female driver, all champions from different forms of motor sport, sharing the driving equally.

Leaving no trace left behind after the event is over, races are being held in stunning, remote locations around the world representing five endangered ecosystems: the deserts of the Middle East, the coastal regions of West Africa, the rainforests of the Amazon, the glaciers of the Arctic, and the glacier mountains of South America.

Extreme E off road motor racing is supporting environmental awareness, promoting electric mobility, and affirming gender quality. At 2Young2Retire, we are completely aligned with this philosophy. Even if you are not a motor racing enthusiast, visit the Extreme E website to be inspired and learn more about their contribution to efforts aimed at saving the world.

Image source: Sky Sports


Surrender is my word for the year 2021. Rather than new year’s resolutions which frequently get diluted within the first few days of January, I advocate setting clear intentions. Not so much specific goals or outcomes, but intentions for how we wish to show up in the world. So, my intention this year is to surrender to life as it unfolds.

During the past year, I read The Surrender Experiment written by Michael Singer, the creator of a thriving meditation center and founder of a highly successful medical practice management software company. Singer’s philosophy of “surrendering yourself to Life itself” was an inspiration to me during the early days of the pandemic where the uncertainty about the future and loss of control of the present was paralyzing for a time.

According to Michael Singer, “The practice of surrender is actually done in two very distinct steps: first you let go of the personal reactions of like and dislike that form inside your mind and heart; and second, with the resultant sense of clarity, you simply look to see what is being asked of you by the situation unfolding in front of you. What would you be doing if you weren’t being influenced by the reactions of like or dislike? Following that deeper guidance will take your life in a very different direction from where your preferences would have led you.”

My intention is to surrender, devoting myself to the present moment, allowing life to unfold and not trying to force things to happen. Surrender doesn’t mean we won’t have to make decisions or chose between different options but, with clarity of intention, we can, in the words of Christina Baldwin, move at the pace of guidance.

Article previously posted on the Dr. Paul Ward Blog

Truth and Lies

There are many kinds of lies we hear and sometimes use in life. They come in all shapes and sizes. There are little white lies such as we use to teach children, “Stop that or you’ll go blind!”, and of course big fat lies such as we hear from politicians and salespeople, like “Buy this and get rich!” or “You can keep your Doctor!”  Lies can be shaped in very creative ways like gift-wrapped presents to mask the truth or enhance it.

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The Bonus Years – Health and Wellness – Part 2 (My Approach)

In Part 1 of “The Bonus Years – Health and Wellness”, I discussed the importance of understanding our life goals for our “bonus years”, and then using that motivation to define the health and wellness activities that will help us to best meet those goals. In Part 2 of this story, I share with you my approach for developing and executing my health and wellness plan.

For me, a big part of healthy living is bringing a positive mindset and positive energy to my health and wellness activities.  Whether rehabbing an injury, wanting to spend a long lifetime with family and friends, or mitigating the risk of disease, the more positive the energy put toward setting and achieving these health and wellness goals, the more likely the goals will be met. Have fun with the goals! Make them achievable! Don’t beat yourself up if at times you fall short! For example, if your goal is to eat more fruit during the day, make sure that those fruit options are visible and readily accessible to you.  The more you must search for oranges, apples, or grapes in the back of your crowded refrigerator, the less likely you are to select these options.

To sustain that positive mindset toward my health and wellness activities, I focus on the following:

  1. I visualize the health and wellness goal I am trying to achieve; what I need to do to set-up a successful outcome and what success looks like. 
  2. I look at each activity, big or small, as trying to achieve my personal best as opposed to a world’s record. 
  3. I make sure that I plan time in my day for these health and wellness activities; giving me something to look forward to throughout the day.

Each of us has our own approach to health and wellness that will hopefully allow us to achieve our life goals in our “bonus years”.  My approach is currently working for me, and by sharing it, I hope that it will be helpful for you.

Contributed by Don Fries, Retirement Coach, Certified Too Young To Retire® Facilitator

The Bonus Years – Health and Wellness – Part 1 (My Motivation)

Until recently, when I heard the words health and wellness used together, I started thinking about the need to eat healthier (those 8 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, for example), to get to the gym, to schedule an annual physical, to sleep more, and so on.  Throughout the years that random approach has led to very mixed outcomes. As a result of my coaching journey, I have learned that it is most important to recognize that health is a means and not an end.  People want to be healthy to experience life the way they desire. Once we figure out what we really want, we can then choose the best health and wellness options for attaining that goal.

Once I focused on the “why” of my health and wellness efforts, my motivation became clear. Both of my parents suffered for years with dementia-related diseases and passed on in their late 70’s / early 80’s. Watching the impact on them personally, living the caregiving experience with them, and recognizing the hereditary nature of these diseases has provided a clear purpose to focus on activities that may help mitigate the risk of contracting a dementia-related disease in the future.

With that added clarity and purpose, I now have a reason to exercise my mind and body, to eat healthier, and to sleep more. These are all activities recommended to help delay or hopefully deter the onset of dementia-related diseases. Gaining that clarity was a tremendously positive experience for me and I hope it will be the same for you as you plan your health and wellness activities in the bonus years. What is your “why”?

Finding your motivation toward health and wellness is the first step in the journey. In Part 2 of the “Bonus Years – Health and Wellness”, I will share with you my approach for executing a positive and effective health and wellness plan. It is one that works very well for me and will hopefully be helpful for you.

Contributed by Don Fries, Retirement Coach, Certified Too Young To Retire® Facilitator