Published at last!

I'm thrilled to announce the publication of my new book -   CupOfWisdomCoverSmall.jpg

Warm Cup of Wisdom: Inspirational Insights on Relationships and Life.  I took a big risk on this book, writing about a topic I've never approached before. I think it could have a very big readership, especially among women 40 and up. 

After a certain age, I believe, many of us want to actively seek to be wiser people. But how? After consulting with several women friends about my age, I came up with a list of twenty questions, including healing difficult relationships, getting through tough times, pursuing happiness, emerging from dark places, rethinking aging, making a difference, and seeking peace and hope.

Then I sat down with nine wise women and asked them each these twenty questions. They inspired me with their openness and their helpful ideas about everyday issues. All were at least 72, and they've lived through a lot - and become wiser along the way. This book includes excerpts of what they said, in their own voices. I was surprised at the diversity of their personalities and responses.

I came out of this two-year project convinced that we could all become wiser - if we care to ask questions and listen to those around us we consider wise. Hope you'll find it inspiring, too!          -- July 5, 2014

Wise Women meet to celebrate

"Imagine you're having a lively lunch with nine of the wisest people you know."Wise Women at table

That's how my new book, Warm Cup of Wisdom, begins. But it's also what I did recently - or nearly so. I had a cool glass of iced tea and some tea sandwiches with seven of the wisest people I know, wise women I interviewed for this book.

Yes, after two years of interviews, transcription, polishing, organizing, and proofing, Warm Cup of Wisdom is finally ready to enter the world.

On a warm, sunny afternoon, we gathered on one woman's back patio and talked and laughed and celebrated the upcoming publication. I unveiled the "proof" copy - the first evidence any of us had seen that this book is for real. An exciting moment.

By coincidence, we also celebrated my entry into elderdom: my 60th birthday. One woman recited a poem she had written for me. Another recited a poem she knew from memory - altered to include my name. Others gave me cogent advice and inspirational insights on my midlife transition. Now that I've finished this wisdom project, I hope to get wiser as I age! We took a photo that captures the joyful spirit of the afternoon.

It was a warm, lovely occasion. A great shout of joy for the upcoming arrival of our new "baby."

What wise women - or men - would you like to cultivate in your life?

                - May 16, 2014

Wisdom of the Sages

Starting in July 2012, I began interviewing women I consider to be very wise. These are women I know, in my circle of acquaintances, in my community, people I admire as wise women. All of them are over seventy.  I talked to nine of them, although I know many more. I asked them each the same twenty questions about life wisdom and recorded their answers.   I call this my “wisdom project."

Are women wiser than men? No. I know plenty of wise men, as well. But let’s face it: Men are more likely to lecture, sermonize or write about what they know. Women tend to transmit their thoughts one-on-one, to their children or to people who come to them for advice. Most of the women I interviewed would never have given a lecture or written a book about their insights into life. In fact, several of them denied they were wise – and then proceeded to give me some absolute gems.

Why focus on older women? I know middle-aged women who are pretty wise, too, but I deliberately selected older people. Why? Partly because I happen to know an amazing number of sages over seventy. But I had another reason, too.

Women at midlife face a lot of choices and challenges. When the kids leave home and the nest empties out, their mom faces a question of identity: “Who am I, now that I’m not a day-to-day mother?” This midlife transition is especially intense for women who stayed at home and raised their children full-time. Sometimes women retire from their initial career at midlife and pursue a different type of work, paid or unpaid. A high-paid consultant starts her own consulting company. A poetry lover takes a job at a local bookstore. A biology teacher quits her job and takes up full-time volunteer work. One woman takes up acting, including paid jobs for television commercials.  Another goes back to school and gets a master’s degree in something she never studied before. Another sells her company and decides to fix up houses instead.

Life’s path after age fifty is uncharted territory, especially for women. We are living longer, healthier lives, so it’s now possible to begin a new career at midlife and keep at it for twenty or thirty years. Where do we look for mentors, wise women ten or twenty years older who have made a midlife transition? What can we learn from their experience? What life questions can they help us think through?

As a whole, I think we as a society tend to overlook the wisdom of women – especially older women. I’d like to be part of the movement to rediscover this.

Sages. Wisdom of the sages? That’s got a ring to it.

Have you ever sat down with an older person, man or woman, and asked about life experience? What wise insights did you pick up? What midlife challenges do you face?

I hope this book will inspire readers to start their own wisdom projects!

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