Ripen against the Grain

by evoker on October 13, 2016

in Ripening and aging well

slieve-l-6I did an un-American thing last month. I went on a 33-day trip to Wales, England and, mainly, Ireland. I walked the hills and listened to music and drifted and did nothing to add to the U.S. GDP. It was enriching. I slowed down to a crawl, and had no goals except to enjoy the current day with my wife, Patti. I saw amazing sights, like the sunset posted here, off of Slieve League, a cliffy sea coast in Donegal that yields spectacular views as the light plays over the ocean, across the clouds, and glances off the steep inclines of slanted land.

I turn 68 this month and I am ripening, a cool metaphor for aging into the later years of life. Aging is not a word preferred by many of us who are in the process of getting old, since it equates us with decline instead of vitality. Ripening sounds like a good thing—who wants to eat unripe fruit? Our fascination with youth, or looking back to our pre-50 years as our peak years, is a fascination with the still-green fruit of our lives, fruit that is forming magnificently perhaps, but not fully ripe for sure.  So these later years are the harvest years.

As I ripen I go against the grain of mid-life going-for-it, the kind of going-for-it that I used to love, and that is age-appropriate in large measure. But it also makes for lop-sided lives of unbalanced people, with lots of activity and maybe money, but not enough time and not enough meaning

In the meantime, let’s keep going against the grain. Especially let me say to the boomers, the ones who need the message like I do—don’t feel guilty about slowing down and going fallow. There is life purpose outside of production. We can admire hard work, but let’s equally admire long fruitless play. I like seeing older people busy and active in their ripening decades—many still want to work and produce, as they should. But I also like the against the grain, un-American, non GDP-adding activities of naps when you want to take them, playing with your dog, being idle and just being, maybe mindfully and maybe in a daydream.


Wisdom from a Master

by evoker on July 27, 2016

in Uncategorized

large mandalaPeter Block’s insights into our work and lives is so precious in this interview of a few months ago at the Hudson Institute’s annual meeting.


Things I can do only because I am old

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Ok, my most recent reading binge has been on ripening, aka maturing and aging, the 3rd 3rd of life. I am too far along for the “second half of life” term, though this has been and is still a very useful term in some contexts. All of this reading is on later-in-life psychology and even […]

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Depth Coaching: Co-Creating Action-Based Wisdom With Our Clients

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Enjoy this ICF webinar I presented on February 7, 2016.   If you want to coach leaders with a sense for meaning and calling as central questions of life and work, and an appreciation for the ethical/spiritual dimensions of leadership, then you may want to check this out. Deeper Coaching, Better Outcomes The Bigger Thoughts […]

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Hoping, and Depth Coaching, for Presidential Wisdom

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As we witness the United States’ process for selecting its next leader, we’re struck by the over-coverage, and at the same time fascinated by the endless character analysis of the candidates. Among other things, we look for who is the wisest of them all, not the brashest or the coolest or the best debater, even. […]

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