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Posts Tagged ‘Rainer Rilke

Streep at the 61st Academy Awards.Image via Wikipedia

Celebration of baby boomers

Last week, someone kindly took me to see box office hit, Mama Mia. Meryl Streep and others were looking good, singing and dancing on a Greek Island.

I think the show is intended only as light hearted frivolity. It is a celebration, though, of baby boomer culture – bell bottoms, pop, and liberation.

The dilemma facing baby boomers

I found it interesting because it has sufficient of a story line to address the dilemma facing baby boomers.

  • What should boomers make of their past lives and decisions?
  • Where is the fine line between reminiscing and treasuring the past?
  • What is our role vis-a-viz Gen Y?

Mama Mia – an example of moving on

The movie does offer an example of moving on gracefully.

  • The sixties are shamelessly celebrated in a beautiful setting with beautiful people.
  • The past is brought into the present without apology or aggrandizement.
  • The parents resolve past misdeeds allowing them to “let go”, plan their own retirement and allow Gen Y to plot their own course.

I’ve posted Rainer Rilke‘s poem (translated by J. Mullen) before about the challenge of approaching old age.

Lord: it is time. The summer was great.
Lay your shadows onto the sundials
and let loose the winds upon the fields.

Command the last fruits to be full,
give them yet two more southern days,
urge them to perfection, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Who now has no house, builds no more.
Who is now alone, will long remain so,
will stay awake, read, write long letters
and will wander restlessly here and there
in the avenues, when the leaves drift.

“Who now has no house, builds no more” is a tough line to understand, possibly because it directs our attention to our disappointments.  Mama Mia is a great movie for someone to watch to “get it”.

What is the house that we built?   In what way was everything a rehearsal for this?

Accommodate boomer at work

We hear so much about accommodating Gen Y at work.  What do we need to do to accommodate boomers?

Do you know of any systems, formal or informal, that build in this reflection and draw out of strengths of older members of an organization?

Would empowering boomers impower Gen Y too as it did in the movie?

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I’ve just joined Steve Pavlina‘s personal development forum. The posts are a bit reminiscent of “Dear Auntie Jane” though the younger people in the group won’t remember the one-to-many days when people wrote in to a newspaper or magazine. This is truly many-to-many in 2.0 spirit and people who join are knowledgeable about personal development and willing to share their ideas.

I posted a few replies to youngsters who felt disoriented and benefited in 2.0 spirit from reflections on my own life. I moved countries last year having done so five years earlier (so fourth city in five years). I was well aware how much time I was spending networking professionally and attending to functional things.

It’s really important to lead a full life with relationships close and social, casual and professional. Everyone should be pursuing a good range of sport, cultural and social activity. It reminds me of David Whyte quoting Rainer Rilke’s poem about the fire and the night. We don’t want to concentrate on the fire. It ignores the night. We want to look at the night which holds everything including the fire.

Hard as it can be when we are under pressure of immediate things-to-do, we need to cherish our wider night of activities we hold dear. Mindtools has an database system for building goals in all areas of our lives – though you can do it on paper too. It is well worth an annual springclean to check through our appreciation of the fullness of life and let the mundane details and work take their place in the wider scheme of things.

Minutes after  I drafted this post, I discovered MindGym, a coaching site with a fresh approach.  Oddly, they think it is a good thing to be taking work home with you.  Sure, we all do – but a good thing?  Must take that up with them.  And folks, the MindGym is British! Yeah!  Must definitely get in touch with them.


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