What Do YOU Know For Sure?

tribe-2

Dear Friends,

Oprah asks a question of the people she interviews
That question is: “What do you know for sure?”

I always love hearing what people answer to this question.

Really, the very deepest and most simple teaching of many wisdom teachings stresses that our work is always interior. The inscription over the archway at the ancient Temple of the Oracle at Delphi said simply “Know thyself.”
“DO YOU” is another way to say it. It is a message that resonates from classical wisdom east and west all the way to Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons and beyond.. But the process of becoming truly ourselves can take a lifetime..

The Latin root of the word Education means “to draw out”, and speaks to drawing from our deepest selves the essential gift that is uniquely ours to share. Rather than pouring information or manipulative bromides into students, great teachers work to encourage life long learners. The philosopher Socrates developed a method of teaching through asking wise questions of his students. Knowing how to ask a good question is really an art form. So Oprah asks “What do you know for sure?” And that is a great question.

In September of 2014 I entered the 2015 class of Leadership Long Beach, pretty sure that I wanted to loop back around to a deeply cherished project of mine of several years ago, to address the high number of middle school dropouts by creating a Conservatory Level Arts Academy for under served middle school youth in Long Beach, CA. I know the power of the Arts to teach critical thinking, augment academic learning, to engage and empower..and I am still passionate about somehow opening the door to success through that medium.

I have always done work I love, so the concept of retirement has never really resonated with me, but I was fascinated when not one but several friends asked me- as I entered the challenge of a new program of skill building through the year long program of Leadership Long Beach-, “are you the oldest person in the program?”
Huh? It never even occurred to me! But when they asked, I started to psych myself out. “AM I???” the oldest person?? Is that bad? Is that good?” You know…the basic madness of a paranoid moment.

So over the months, I have really been working with my own ideas about aging, How do I feel about becoming an elder? I know that I will continue to be vital and alive, physically active and curious, open to new ideas and challenges.I have a lot of projects I am excited about, and am writing not one but two books too. I even helped to develop a curriculum for a gerontology program at a college in Southern CA some years ago, but I wasn’t thinking about ME when I did that!

There is a lot of cutting edge work on longevity, and on what is actually a whole second adulthood many are experiencing. Jane Fonda calls this new thirty year extended adulthood our Third Act. It is a whole new developmental cycle that we haven’t looked at before, because it hasn’t existed before, and the possibilities are intriguing.We are living on average thirty four years longer than our grandparents did. (although my grandmother lived to almost 101 so…)

Anyway, you can imagine my delight and gratitude when Mayor Robert Garcia appointed me to the Commission on Senior Issues for the City of Long Beach, CA. Not only will I have the opportunity to talk about this stuff with others who are equally interested in the topic, but I will have the honor of being part of yet another cutting edge set of questions being entertained by one of the coolest 21st Century cities in the U.S..And best of all, I will truly be able to be of service, which is the best gift of all.

So what do I know for sure?
One thing I know for sure is…that more is always revealed, if we stay open at the top.
And another thing I know for sure is that I am a Baby Boomer. And the Baby Boomers are rapidly becoming older. It is my hope to also open opportunities for us to become not just older, but elders. Any healthy society needs elders to bring wisdom and balance to the community. We have some work to do in America to get a sense of this sacred role back in perspective.

And honestly, this Boomer generation is a good one to take this on. We have made new models in each stage of our lives. and I know this new frontier of transforming attitudes about aging is going to be no exception.

I read an article in New York Magazine years ago in which the author observed that you could ride the subway and see where people had “stopped’ by how they were dressed. He suggested that you could see when people had become stuck in an era. and he thought this may have been the happiest time for them.
There are so many adjustments to make and losses to grieve along life’s path. It is easy to understand how we might become a little stuck sometimes. But with friends and community, and the all important self knowledge, there should never be a reason to have to stay stuck.

In the meantime, check out the work of the amazing and youthful eighty four year old Barbara Marx Hubbard, of Dr. Mario Martinez’s Mind-Body Code and Jane Fonda’s ‘My Life So Far.” You will love what you discover, I promise you that.

So…What do YOU know for sure??
I’m all ears.

Sending love across the quantum field,

Jane
JaneHeadshot

Advertisements

Who do YOU say that you are?

tribe-2

Dear TRIBE ,

Becoming a minister in an African American denomination made me extremely sensitive to how we as humans see one another. I honestly did it in part to challenge white friends and colleagues whose routine racism and ethnocentrism I was tired of hearing. I want there in part for that reason, but I re-discovered my own soul in the process.

The idea of centrism is something a lot of people don’t think about at all….Afro-centrism is a totally different LENS from Euro-centrism, from Sino-centrism etc. We live in a Eurocentric country, and so most people who cross over into a different world are subject to projection (another film term!!)

What this means is that you project your way of seeing the world onto whoever you are viewing…So a Eurocentric person or cultural lens says that people of color are…fill in the blanks…you know the stereotypes… It is a huge challenge to even educate Eurocentric Americans to care about other possible ways of looking at the world. Trust me on this one!

Body type, gender roles, worship styles, styles of expressiveness, deepest values about individual vs collective cultural norms are all DIFFERENT in different cultures. I REALLY discovered this in attempting to lead any truly transcultural churches…forget the denominations…it is the race and culture factor that predominates, and the POV of the family of origin almost always wins.

As part of an exercise at a session of Leadership Long Beach the other day, various points of presumed “Identity” were placed around the room…Race, Class, Ability status, Age, Religion etc…and people were asked to go to the sheet with which they identify in a certain element of their life. I was so interested to realize that while at one point in my life I might have chosen one or another,  I say “might” because i really don’t know, I related to none of the “definitions” that were presented as IDENTITY…which is how the question was posed. This has to do with a SPIRITUAL perspective, and many years of lifting of ones consciousness above the definitions society imposes…

It is CRITICAL for people to understand that “It is not who you call me, but what I answer to that counts” And this has to do with what we call OURSELVES, yes?

Your subconscious mind hears everything you tell it, and it has NO SENSE OF HUMOR. Don’t answer to anyone’s definition of you if it doesn’t fit YOUR definition of you.

Identity is a BIG DEAL….HUGE.

So who do YOU say you are? And as you contemplate that…Ask yourself where you got that idea…Parents? Teachers? Media?

Who YOU say you are is what counts.

Here’s lookin’ at cha:)

Love,
Jane
zjaneg@gmail.com
http://www.tribealive.org

JaneHeadshotClass

What Time Do You Keep?

tribe-2

Dear TRIBE Friends,

Time, my friend has said, can be a very fast illusion.
I’ve been thinking about time lately, and reading about it too.

Linear time is dominating the lives of a lot of folks these days. It is clock and goal oriented, We tend to wear out eventually running our lives by that model.
Natural Time is what everyone went by until the electric light was invented. Parents of infants find that if they go by natural time, they are more in sync with their babies’ circadian rhythms. Just one hundred years ago people would not have considered working after dark, because there were only candles to do that by.
Then there is Spiritual Time. Spiritual Time isn’t linear, draws from multi- dimensional layers of reality and past/present/future are all part of the mix. the arts deal in that zone.
And Aboriginal people of Australia understand Dream Time, where communication with the ancestors and the multi dimensional universe happens.

This is a time, a moment, of transition according to linear time and certain cultures and calendars, and really another moment in the ever present Now according to liminal zone time keeping. There is great value in honoring moments like this, when times come together.

What time do you keep?

Sending love across the quantum field.
Happy New Year,
Jane

JaneHeadshot