Anyone that knows me well, know that I love to learn. But after a 25-hour flight to El Pescadero in Mexico, I started doubting my sanity (just a little bit.) It is a long way to go to learn! I am very happy to announce that learning with Chip Conley at the Modern Elder Academy was worth every minute of the long journey!
The Modern Elder Academy
I have shared my four wisdom learnings on Facebook together with my retreat photo album (click here to access my Facebook page.) Honestly, the photographs just don’t do it justice. With his past hotelier experience, Chip has built a sanctuary on two acres of beachfront property where the desert meets the sea, under the gaze of nearly 2 000 km high peaks. He has managed to include the WOW factor in a truly authentic way with top quality service perfectly enhanced by the Mexican desert surrounds.
Our group consisted of seventeen people, diverse enough for challenge but small enough to create an intimate and friendly space. We all shared the same goal: to learn from our life experiences and apply this wisdom towards creating a meaningful next chapter, whatever that may be for each of us.
Although the retreat was challenging in that we all had to embrace our vulnerability, drop the body armor and bring our whole selves to every day, I quickly found the courage to let down my defenses and was ready to share and learn from the first day. The serene setting, being surrounded by waves crashing onto the sandy beach, spotting the occasional whale swimming in the bay and the stark beauty of the dessert scattered with cacti, aroused all our senses and prompted us to be fully present.
Exercises for transitioning into your next chapter
I want to share three exercises that Chip Conley and Barbara Waxman, international coach, author, speaker and also co-facilitator of the retreat introduced us to. I personally found them very useful, not only in my journey to becoming a modern elder, but as a valuable exercise for any transition that you may be contemplating.
- Compile your packing list
Barbara Waxman coined the phrase “Middlescene” and describes this as a new life stage, one where you can harness your experience and wisdom to revolutionise your life going forward. To guide you through midlife, Barbara introduced us to the “packing list”.Your packing list contains everything that you would like to take with you on your journey into the next chapter. Packing up also means decluttering, throwing away the old, discarding what no longer serves you and keeping what adds value to your present and future life.
As easy as it may seem, a packing list involves a whole lot of difficult decisions to make. We all have clutter! And everyone has a different battle with clutter. The process is one of introspection, and as you get clarity on what you don’t want in your life, what you do want also becomes clearer.
- Compile a list of your values
Your values reflect what you care about. Knowing what you value above all else in life is a powerful tool, it gives you a sense of control and power. Your values guide your behavior and actions and serve as a checkpoint when designing your life. With your values written down, you can continuously refer back and ask yourself if the decisions or action you are about to take, align with your values.
- Start a journal
I have always believed in the power of journaling. The act of writing down your thoughts, hopes and dreams, give them power. Journaling is a powerful architect of self-discovery – it gives you clarity, improves your problem-solving ability and guides decision making. I love this quote by Susan Sontag, American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, and teacher: “In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.”
I will leave you with a quote by Chip Conley: “Midlife, when approached with a more expansive or growth mindset, provides and unprecedented opportunity to recalibrate and design the life we want.”
Sharing my learnings
I will be sharing my learnings on recalibrating and designing the next chapter of your life journey to a small group on Wednesday, 12 June in Johannesburg. If you have six hours to spare, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your space.