Nader presented the following 11 vision statements at the CRD/OPS meeting on January 25, 2012. All feedback appreciated.
1. AgeSong and AgeSong Institute are vision driven organizations which believe in redefining aging as providing us with the possibility to mature into the role of the wise elder and how to love more deeply all that is.
What valuable service do you provide? In what ways can you improve the delivery of this service?
2. We work from a non-pathologizing model that goes beyond the simplistic split between good and bad – all phenomena are seen as important and waiting to be understood.
Think of a situation that challenged your recently. What unmet need did that situation address?
3. Every phenomenon has meaning waiting to be discovered and unfolded.
What skills do you need to learn to manage the challenges that present themselves to you every day?
4. The philosophical core or our organizations is based on existential philosophy and psychology, as well as process-oriented psychology.
Existential psychology emphasizes self-awareness, basic freedom, relationships, meaning of life and death, and anxiety associated with being conscious (awareness of the present). Process-oriented psychology emphasizes awareness of one’s unconscious (i.e., dreams, imagination), and integrating one’s unconscious and others’ perspectives of experiences on both a cognitive (intellectual) and somatic (physical) level. How do existentialism and process-oriented psychology relate to your work?
5. Curiosity and acceptance are foundational attitudes in the approach to everything we encounter in our work at our eldercare communities, both in the way we are with elders and with each other.
We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak. Think of one resident for whom you care in your work. What have you learned about that person by listening. How has that made you more accepting?
6. We continually try to develop the ability to deeply listen to others in order to better understand their world, as well as our own inner voice.
How does listening to others help you stay close to your own sense of aliveness and joy?
7. The skill of listening connects to learning and practicing the skill of being present in the here and now.
How do you focus, quiet your mind and pay attention (be mindful) by listening?
8. An attitude of ‘beginner’s mind’ is the basic stance that allows us to be together with love and respect for each other’s viewpoints and ways of being.
How do you cultivate a “beginner’s mind?”
9. All of us need to “walk the talk,” is, try to be congruent with what we say.
We are ourselves the change we want to see in the world. Walking our talk is embodied in every encounter – in our communities where we welcome those who are exploring the AgeSong lifestyle, as well as in encounters outside of our communities. The most powerful way to excite others about AgeSong is to speak about it from our hearts. One of our challenges is to refrain from talking about a resident or another staff member in a public place, such as on the community floors, in the elevator, or in the dining room. Think of an incidence when you spoke from your heart about AgeSong. How did you feel? Think of another incidence when you spoke from some other place (i.e., frustration, despair, other emotion). How is speaking from your heart a more satisfying experience?
10. We strive to practice responsible stewardship of financial and natural resources.
What kinds of accountability and integrity do you practice in your relationship to others, as well as in your relationship to the natural world and to finances?
11. We all create our own world through the way we see and experience it.
How are you a change agent, rather than a victim of outside forces, both within yourself and outside of yourself?