Preparing for the new year requires us to reflect on the past and envision the future although not necessarily to spend equal time on each. As I approach the new year, my focus has been sharpening on the meaning of consciousness and mindfulness. I commend Ron Pevny’s new book, Conscious Living, Conscious Aging, as a good read for those wishing to age consciously and purposefully. I found the stories, examples, exercises, and practices described in this book to be most helpful in living and aging more consciously. You may not be ready for conscious eldering but we can all focus on living and aging more consciously.
I resonate with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness: “awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” but I have yet to find a definition of consciousness that really aligns with my own thinking about conscious leaders. Consciousness and mindfulness are both about having a clear purpose and greater awareness but, as conscious leaders, we are also about intention, actions, and making decisions for a sustainable future. If you have a definition of consciousness, please share it with me via the contact page on this web site.
From all of us at 2Young2Retire we wish you a mindful, conscious, and purposeful new year.
– Paul G. Ward, Principal
Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States of America. It is a day when we remind ourselves of all the things we can be grateful for. As many of you know, my Mother passed away last month. She was 86 years old and married to my Father for 66 years. I am grateful to have been brought into this world by such a wonderful person. I am also grateful for the opportunity of staying with my Father, in the home in which I grew up, for much of the time since her passing. I know he is grateful for the 66 years of married life and is missing his life-long companion more than words can tell. For all of you who have lost loved ones, my hope is that, as you progress through these life transitions, you can feel and express your gratefulness for everything they brought into your lives.
At 2Young2Retire, gratefulness abounds. In addition to being grateful for all our family and friends we are grateful for the opportunity to serve those experiencing life’s transitions. I am also grateful for the kind thoughts, cards, and emails coming my way over the past few weeks and look forward to continuing our interactions. Happy Thanksgiving!
Paul G. Ward
The news that CVS will stop selling cigarettes has been received with acclamation and at 2Young2Retire we enthusiastically join in the applause for their action. But there’s more! Here is what Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark, said: “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.” (CVS Caremark press release, February 5, 2014).
This reference to purpose was overlooked in much of the press yet, for me, this was an essential part of the message. The CVS purpose is, “Helping people on their path to better health.” Living life on purpose is vital for people inside and outside of organizations, for people of all ages, and particularly for those of us in the second half of life. I don’t know how much the work of the leaders and employees of CVS is consistent with their stated purpose but I was impressed by Larry Merlo’s reference to purpose in the press release. I will be watching to see how well CVS people live according to their purpose: “Helping people on their path to better health. It’s our purpose, our promise, our passion … every day.”
How have you described your purpose? How well are you living on purpose every day? What does purposeful aging mean to you?
Wherever you are on your journey of transitions, I hope you will find time during this Thanksgiving week here in the US to take a mindful transition pause. Many of us are experiencing or anticipating transitions in our careers and in our lives. These transitions are rarely easy and we can easily fall into a period of depression where we feel disconnected from our past, dissatisfied with the present, and uncertain about our future.
To avoid the mindless transition pause where we feel lost between two worlds, letting go of our past identity without knowing our true identity, or unable to replace the job we recently lost, it is time to become more focused, more intentional, and more purposeful about the future. A mindful transition pause is a time of reflection, letting go of the past to allow space for the future to emerge, a place for you to simply be, in preparation for what is to come. An excellent place to start this mindful transition pause is in the place of gratitude. Expressing gratitude for the past and for the present creates the space for a more conscious, purposeful, and fulfilling future.
My thanks to Madisyn Taylor for introducing me to the mindful transition pause in her inspirational daily OM (http://bit.ly/I2bwpN). Continuing in the spirit of gratefulness, thank you for reading this blog and thank you for your emails and calls. These connections help us at 2Young2Retire to help you, wherever you are on your journey.
I will end this post with a Quero Apache Prayer: “Looking behind I am filled with gratitude. Looking forward I am filled with vision. Looking upwards I am filled with strength. Looking within I discover peace.” I wish you a mindful, purposeful, and happy Thanksgiving!
Congratulations to the 2013 Purpose Prize Winners! The seven inspirational purpose prize winners this year each demonstrate how they use their wisdom and experience to make a difference in the lives of others. Health, veteran support, and parenting behind bars are some of passions of these inspirational elders. They are role models for us all.
Marika and Howard Stone, founders of 2Young2Retire, are past winners of the Purpose Prize. We appreciate the service of all of the purpose prize winners and the many other elders who are Too Young To Retire® and are focused on improving their communities and the world. For more information on this year’s winners, visit: http://www.encore.org/prize/meet-2013-purpose-prize
Congratulations to swimmer Diana Nyad on her successful Cuba to Florida crossing. Diana’s success came on her fourth attempt at the age of 64. Emerging from the water at Key West on September 2, 2013, Diana is reported to have told waiting TV crews: “I have three messages: one is we should never ever give up; two is you are never too old to chase your dreams; and three is it looks like a solitary sport but it is a team.” After three previous unsuccessful attempts, this dream may have seemed impossible but Diane never gave up chasing her dream. Diane is the first person to swim from Cuba to the US without a shark cage. Whatever your dream, and however impossible is seems, today’s message is: dream the impossible dream then make it happen.
At 2Young2Retire, we are all about conversations that matter in the second half of life. Changing the conversation around aging is one of Karen Sand’s missions and her recent post on the multiple conversations on aging is well worth a read. Karen talks about conversations with ourselves, with our own generation, and with multiple generations. Convening these conversations is the work of 2Young2Retire facilitators. To read Karen’s article, go to: http://bit.ly/15djyDd
Increasing suicide rates among baby boomers has been widely reported in the press this week. Rather than analyzing the causes of the increase, my thoughts went to how the 2young2retire® community help those affected by suicidal thoughts and those left behind after such a tragic end.
Much of the work of 2young2retire® facilitators is in creating small communities for connection and conversation. Conversations can be about careers, health, financial matters, travel, relationships, or any other topic of interest. Members of the group can select the topic. Reflecting on the past is interesting but looking forward with purpose can stimulate positive thinking and new directions. We all face challenges in our lives but what can we do to help those in greatest need, those who think life is simply not worth living, find something positive?
Reach out to someone today. Create a conversation that matters between two people or a larger group and stimulate some positive thinking.
The next 2Young2Retire Facilitator Certification Tele-training has been scheduled to begin on May 22. If you or anyone you know would like additional information, please contact us via the 2young2retire link on the left of your screen. Recent courses have received rave reviews.
I met Martin Bayne a while ago. He is a wonderful person making the best of a difficult situation and certainly too young to retire from his writing. His interview in the New York Times is well worth a read:
Paul G Ward, Principal, 2Young2Retire