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Goose Bumps from the Thrill of Hope April 18, 2010

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Ageless Dreamer.
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When did you last experience the goose bumps from the thrill of hope?  It’s enough to make your heart skip a beat.  For us the thrill of hope arrived in an email announcing Ageless Dreamer as a semi-finalist for the www.ShowUsYourGoodness.com Program.  Imagine being one of 33 non profits out of 2800 applicants? And the ONLY New Hampshire non profit.  Any one can vote, just once, at the website above or through the www.AgelessDreamer.org web site.   $ 20,000. is the top prize, with two $ 5,000. prizes, and twelve $ 1,000. prizes. But the thrill of hope is one heck of a prize in itself.  We’re elated at the possibility.  Voting ends on April 30, so if you have 45 seconds to spare, please VOTE for Ageless Dreamaer to become one of the most inspiring charities.  You might also get to feel that utterly delicious thrill of hope!  Thanks for your vote, dear readers.  P.S. Don’t forget to try the Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps put out by the sponsoring company called RiceWorks.  Tough to select a favorite but the Parmesan & Sundried Tomato is a huge favorite with Sweet Chili next on my list.  Will try another flavor this week!

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The Secret of Life according to Philharmonic Conductor Ben Zander September 14, 2009

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Books.
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Yes, I’m hooked on the book: The Art of Possibility.  I keep finding the brilliant nuggets that keep bringing me back to how it relates to Ageless Dreamer.  Ben writes about a Taiwanese student who, “in a brilliant flash”, had hit upon the secret of life. This student realized that the “labels he had been taking so seriously are human inventions — it’s all a game.”  The student explained it this way: “I was number 68 out of 70 student. I come to Boston and Mr. Zander says I am an A. Very confusing. I walk about, three weeks, very confused. I am Number 68, but Mr. Zander says I am an A student….I am Number 68, but Mr. Zander says I am an A. One day I discover much happier A than Number 68. So I decide I am an A.”

And so today, I am going to give the idea of Ageless Dreamer an A.  A great big giant A.  If it’s all invented anyway, I’m going to choose to invent something that, as Ben Zander says, “brightens our life and the lives of the people around us.”  It may be that Ageless Dreamer is re-inventing itself so that it will spring board up, instead of spiral down — as he calls it.  In the “university of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.” That’s exactly what I intend to do with Ageless Dreamer. 

Thank you, Ben!

Assumptions about Old Age challenged by Benjamin Zander September 12, 2009

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That’s where Ageless Dreamer and The Art of Possibility naturally come together.  In his book, The Art of Possibility, Ben Zander writes about a talk he was invited to give at a Jewish home for the elderly (pg.64).  When he arrived at the rather dingy hall 10 minutes before he was to begin only one person was sitting in the fifth row of a bank of folding chairs. The woman, Sarah, chatted with him for a moment and he asked her to move up to  a seat nearer the front. Sarah declared: “I always sit here.”  Ben good-naturedly challenged her, saying, “who knows, Sarah, if you change your seat maybe something new will happen today.”

“Are you crazy? At my age?  I’m eighty-three!”  By now, Ben writes, she was standing, and, as if to prove him wrong, she actually moved, from the fifth row to the fourth. After wondering if anyone else would be coming to hear him speak the remaining chairs gradually filled and shortly after he scheduled time to begin a sizable group was ready to begin.  It turns out, Sarah was by no means the oldest; one member of the audience was 103.  The topic was “New Possibilities”. 

Ben shared some heartfelt stories  about his Father and his wonderful sense of humor. The audience laughed and sang with him “igniting the air in the once-dingy room.”  And this is where I yellow highlighted another sentence he wrote: “We challenged assumptions about old age and pointed toward some new beginnings.”   So does Ageless Dreamer.

That’s what Ageless Dreamer, since January 2006, has been working to do – challenge assumptions about old age. Encourage our oldest generation to dream out loud and remind caregivers and adult children to engage them in conversations that enhance their quality of life.  And, as author Elizabeth Coatsworth wrote when she was in her eighties, “When I dream, I am ageless.”  So am I.

The Art of Possibility and Ageless Dreamer Go Together like a Fluffanutter September 10, 2009

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Oh my gosh, I’ve been reading the book by  Rosamund Stone Zander and her husband/Conductor Benjamin Zander: The Art of Possibility  and the first practice – It’s All Invented – begins like this:

A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying,

SITUATION  HOPELESS  STOP  NO  ONE  WEARS  SHOES

Th other writes back triumphantly,

GLORIOUS  BUSINESS  OPPORTUNITY  STOP  THEY HAVE NO SHOES

How does this relate to Ageless Dreamer you might ask?  If I change the word SHOES to DREAMS it helps me realize this non profit is on the right track reminding caregivers and adult children to encourage our oldest generation to dream out loud.  The author “had me” in the first paragraph of the first chapter.  To some, who see no shoes (DREAMS), all the evidence, as he says, points to hopelessness.  To others, the same conditions point to aubundance and possibility.  He ends the paragraph as follows: “Each scout comes to the scene with his own perspective; each returns telling a different tale. Indeed, all of life comes to us in a narrative form; it’s a story we tell.”

So if I use me, the Founder of Ageless Dreamer, as an example, and I’m open to shifting my underlying assumptions (page 15), I would ask myself the questions he poses:

What assumptions am  I  making,

That I’m not aware I’m making,

That gives me what I see? 

That is not an easy question,  but  I’m working on  the  answer so that I can work on “What might I now invent, That I haven’t yet invented, That would give me other choices?”