A “mind and heart-opening conference” sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Giving yourself the gift of time to consider a more mindful, conscious, and wise way to live? Joining up with like-minded people to hear and evaluate new life strategies that inspire and empower? Yes! That’s just what was needed for this road-weary traveler who was hot off her annual trip around the sun…this time for one of those milestone birthdays that ends in a 0. And it is just what happened to be on the calendar of events at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe when I got here, and tickets were still available.

I love to read. Among my bookshelves at home are many books on leadership, public speaking, writing, financial management, organization, and other professional and personal development topics. New authors I explored in the past year were Gay Hendricks, Thomas Moore, and Kyle Cease. I was beyond thrilled to learn that these three were going to be presenting at an Ageless Living conference that was going to be filmed for a 2019 PBS television series. How lucky can one girl get?

The conference was book-ended with prayers and blessings for humanity and a more spiritual understanding among us by an Indigenous Elder of the Americas Grandmother Flordemayo. She set the tone for us to open ourselves and receive the healing that is possible. She was accompanied by Arlen Asher on flute, an amazing jazz musician.

The first discussion was on sustainable ecology by David Suzuki.  Many people are saying that Earth cannot sustain the usage of its resources at our current level, and humanity will cease to exist in the next several decades. The main message I got from him was that we don’t have enough information to say it’s too late to change the way we use resources, but we can’t wait either; we need to be actively making changes already.

Next up was Lee Zlotoff, creator of television’s MacGyver, talking about connecting to our gift of intuition. He shared his 3-step process for solving especially his creative challenges as a scriptwriter, producer, and director. It was engaging enough and promising enough that I bought his book after the session, and I’ve already read it. It’s about more than solving the world’s crises with paperclips and duct tape, but it is about avoiding conflict (and seeking harmony), turning what we have into what we need, and living/doing with humanity and humor. The book is titled The MacGyver Secret. You won’t be disappointed.

Sedena and George Cappannelli then presented on living life outside the boundaries that culture imposes on us with traditional definitions of what it means to age. They posed their Big Life Question: if you had a magic wand and could wave it and make whatever seeming challenges and limitations you now believed disappear, what words or images would describe your new ideal life? I loved their reference to Olders and Elders, and how they pressed the idea that aging is not a disease to be cured.

This was followed by Thomas Moore, a former monk, and author of Care of the Soul, talking about becoming an authentic person over time and how our sense of self rises from the deep soul. He said that each of us has a young person and an old person in us, which is why some young people are said to be “old souls” and some older people are said to be so youthful. At times one is stronger than the other, regardless of our age, but that we are both, always. In his view, aging is simply moving ahead. We were encouraged to be interesting, to know life, to respond to life’s invitations.

Gay Hendricks and his wife Katie then gave us insights on continuous renewal instead of “ruts of routine” in our relationships. One key to this is to stop thinking there is a limit to how much love we can handle; we need to regularly remind ourselves that we have the capacity to give and receive more love every day. If we think of ourselves as “evolving works of art” instead of “personal improvement projects,” we can solve the #1 relationship issue, which is blaming (ourselves, others, and the world). It was a joy to watch them playfully co-present this session. Gay’s book The Big Leap has been one of my favorites for a long time, and his message was reinforced here.

Closing out the program was Kyle Cease, a comedian who blends comedy and personal evolution, sharing ways to do the things you love to do through our hearts. He also has a book I like: I Hope I Screw This Up. One of the key messages that stayed with me was “you are the apple tree, not the apple.” He meant that we keep living and producing regardless of that one bad apple (or mistake we made).  He urged us to pay attention to how life works, not how society works, and that we should stop focusing on surviving and focus instead of thriving.

It was perfect timing for me, which proves the old proverb that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And how cool is it that my prior choice of authors should be the teachers now? Be on the lookout for the PBS series next year (2019), and see for yourself what Ageless Living is all about.

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