Tuesday, August 25, 2015


I am always on the lookout for interesting articles, books and movies about aging, and I often link to them on the Sage's Play Facebook page.

Here are a few articles that have captured my attention recently.

This Interesting article from The Atlantic reviews research about how having a positive perspective on aging supports health and wellbeing. The article also discusses a study in which subliminal positive messages about aging worked to change people's negative beliefs on aging more effectively than writing positive stories about aging did.

"When seniors were led to subconsciously absorb positive stereotypes about old age, their physical health improved along with their self-esteem," the article's author writes.

This says a lot about the power of the subconscious mind, something that I am well aware of as a hypnotherapist and rapid eye healing practitioner.

Subliminal or "implicit" positive messages could be assimilated more easily because the person didn't have to go through the measuring, comparing and critiquing that the conscious mind is always doing, bringing up negative stereotypes or beliefs to counter the positive ones in a steady inner dialogue.

I'm not surprised by these results. And I do strongly wish for cultural change in our attitudes towards aging and old people. But I find the subliminal message method too Orwellian. Why substitute one form of brainwashing for another? Why settle for exchanging negative stereotypes for positive ones? Either way, it is still operating with stereotypes, and stereotypes reduce the variety of experience and flatten it until it is something distant from the experience of the present moment.

Collective and individual hypnosis certainly is happening all the time in the course of everyday life. But it does seem that waking from the trance, whether it be social or personal, is an essential part of maturing.

Another writer whose articles I enjoy is Dominique Browning. Recently she published an article titled  "I'm Too Old for This" in the New York Times. In it, she points out the advantages of letting go of a variety of things that once were vexing, telling us that she is too old to be bothered in those ways any more.

"And let’s just start with being an older woman, shall we? Let others feel bad about their chicken wings — and their bottoms, their necks and their multitude of creases and wrinkles. I’m too old for this. I spent years, starting before I was a teenager, feeling insecure about my looks," Browning writes, going on to reflect on her long history of concern about her appearance. It's a sweet article, in which she says " A goodbye to all that has done nothing but hold us back."

Because we're too old for that.

I am also interested in what Wendy Lustbader has to say about aging. She wrote an article recently titled "Thoughts on The Meaning of Frailty." In it, she examines our fear of becoming frail,  less a human being than an object of medical attention, at the mercy of strangers.  "To behold another is a spiritual act," she writes in the midst of her exploration. And she asks questions, like this one. "Are there ways to become more as the body becomes less? Over the years, we become accustomed to taking our worth from other people’s regard or the satisfactions of our accomplishments."

She speaks of the value of being stilled, and she investigates the rich potential for inner work that may come with frailty. A wonderfully tender, thoughtful piece of writing. Here is the link to Wendy Lustbader's article

Ashton Applewhite
Another writer whose work I follow is Ashton Applewhite, whose website is This Chair Rocks. Ashton is an eloquent and passionate anti-ageism activist.  She was recently asked to write a piece on ageism for the Playboy Forum. Her article is titled "Why Jerry Brown Can't Be President," which takes off from a show Bill Maher did in which he described ageism as the last acceptable prejudice in America.

Ashton does her usual wonders with the topic, and the article is fascinating, witty and highly readable. Raise your consciousness and have a good read, too! Here's the link to
Ashton Applewhite essay on ageism That's some of the news from the ElderBeat at least in terms of articles. Then there's the movie scene. I haven't seen the new Meryl Streep movie, or the new Lily Tomlin movie. Have you?  It looks as if the wild old woman archetype is coming out to play in both those flicks, which I look forward to whether in movies or so-called real life.

Last but certainly not least.....Here is a Sage's Play news flash: In September, we will be presenting two exciting new monthly programs, Gathering Together and Free as a Bird Frolics. One of them may be just right for you. To learn more and to register, visit the Sage's Play website. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Few of the Personas Living in My House

Dear friends: This blog contains the musings of Gaea Yudron, director of Sage's Play, which offers programs and resources for creative aging. You can find news about Sage's Play programs and resources in our newsletter. Sign up for it at our website, www.sagesplay.org

I know I have the key to this door.
The Personas
There are many, but right now I will limit it to three of them that are usually hanging around the house.  One of them is The Artist, one is The Healer, and the third is The Entrepreneur. Working with them involves plenty of creative play, improvisation, discarding, resting, enjoying the moment, caring for myself and others, cutting loose, strategizing, scheduling, organizing, networking, etc. Here's something from The Artist.

Receiving Praise: The Artist

Two readers spoke with me recently about my book Songs of the Inner Life. It is always instructive to hear what people discover in the book, what themes or passages resonate. Sometimes when I am listening to a reader, I find myself thinking, they just don't get that at all! Or it seems that the reader is fairly ho-hum in their response, either because they are guarded or because the book just didn't do much for them. Sometimes people are enthused and happy about the book, but their comments are quite pithy. So when two people are telling me within the same week that they read the book twice and say more than one sentence about their experience, it stands out.

The first woman told me, among other things,  that she thought the book was daring, that I was daring for being so intimate in writing about my life. People say that about me. It must be so. I like it when people feel more adventurous because of my own willingness to share my explorations. The second reader told me that she was reading the book out loud to her husband on the second read, which I found very touching. Reading aloud is such a beautiful way to share, and I know that my writing, at its best, is lyrical when spoken out loud. The second reader actually wrote something about Songs of the Inner Life, and I plan to put what she said on my website as soon as I can get The Entrepreneur persona to do it. Here is what she wrote.

"It is a rare delight to encounter a literary voice so wise, refreshingly honest, open-hearted and irreverent as that of Gaea Yudron in her candid yet magically surreal memoir Songs of the Inner Life. In gently lyrical, often astonishingly crystalline prose we re-live an intimate voyage of childhood from a simpler if not easier time, a coming of age in traumatically torn but rip snortingly hedonist '60's america, the blossoming of spiritual yearnings and utopian optimism into focused eco-activism and ultimately a rebirth into spiritual transcendence - & all this the mere runway of an 'ordinary' person's life onto the most transcendent human flight of consciousness - encountering one's own highest mission culminating in a life's work of service to others. Through the generous sharing of this gift I now feel Gaea Yudron as both sister-friend and potent artistic/spiritual mentor by example; both my husband and I (who read this book together) anxiously await the unique enfoldment of her next chapter in an ongoing saga of adventure, achievement, realization and love." 
                                        -- Rebecca Cintron Osvold

As an artist, I feel glad to make meaningful connections with other humans, and happy if something I do or say expands their life in some way. Yes, writers do like it when readers read their books twice, of course they do.

The Healer
Yes, grateful for every day, for the whole spectrum of life

The Artist and The Healer personas are often  hand in hand.  They have things in common--the Openness to Beauty for one thing and the wish to uplift and honor the innate harmony in life experience. Both of them wish to provide inspiration, wellbeing and refreshment.

One can often find them sitting quietly talking with each other, or sometimes dancing, or walking in the woods together.

The Healer views life as spiritual journey, and she knows that her gifts are for giving away. She is grateful for the opportunity to support others and to provide tools that open up new experiences,  perceptions and understanding.  Her intuition is keen. She meditates and prays for the wellbeing of others. A yogini lives in her. She continues to work on transforming her negative habits and patterns so that she can become a more evolved vessel.

The Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur is often thinking about money, raising money, earning money, creating programs that bring in money. She is pondering about how to find and talk with the tribe and the audience, how to build the mailing list, how to use new technological tools to relate to others. She thinks about creating priorities in terms of program development. She wants to network, collaborate, connect, become more visible. She does relax when she connects with The Artist and The Healer from time to time, tapping into inner knowing, trusting in the process of experimentation rather than rigidly expecting to have everything neatly fall into place and work perfectly the first time.

The Entrepreneur was very happy about Into the Mystery, the first e-course Sage's Play offered, which attracted 20 participants. Marketing types told her that was very good for the first time around. She is definitely the most impatient of the three personas that are hanging around the house right now. Maybe that's good, as long as she does some deep breathing and takes some breaks in Nature and just gets out of her head at times.  She is an important part of the mix.

Culture Change and Frank Language--Helen Mirren Speaks Out at 70
“... Of course I don’t look better than I did when I was younger, without doubt...The great thing that happens is that you don’t give a flying fuck so much, that’s the thing. Yeah, I don’t look so good but I don’t care…But that is the great thing about getting older, I hope, is that you lose the incredible insecurity of youth.”

It's all relative of course, in terms of how good we look. I for example lack the glamour and polish of Helen Mirren, not to mention the wardrobe.

That's the story here, as I try to keep the personas happy with each other in the midst of a big creative blast. (cliffhanger, but more details soon)  I have been mostly indoors the past 6 days because of very unhealthy air from large wildfires in the region. But I am going out this afternoon to have tea with someone I knew over 30 years ago, who now lives in Nepal. And I plan to head over to the Wild Goose to hear some Beatles and Rolling Stones songs this evening.

Hope your various personas are enjoying this beautiful summer too.