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Tree lighting

By |2019-12-08T17:27:31-04:00December 8th, 2019|Categories: News|

We held an amazing tree lighting ceremony this past Wednesday. Bill McBurney was kind enough to take some great photos of the day event.

Wellness Fund Grant Presentation

By |2017-02-01T17:05:37-04:00March 1st, 2016|Categories: WiseCafe|

On March 1st, Phyllis Fullerton (member of the WiseCafe Planning Team) joined me as Andrea Parker (Coordinator, Cobequid Community Health Board, CCHB), presented me with a cheque for $1,750.00. Through the CCHB Wellness Fund, this money was granted to St. John’s United for the WiseCafe program. This is the second year that WiseCafe has received this honour and we are very grateful to CCHB for their ongoing support.  WiseCafe uses these funds to cover program costs, supplement specials events and to cover honorariums for program in-house leadership and coordination.

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Aging as an Arch or a Staircase

By |2017-02-01T17:05:37-04:00February 24th, 2016|Categories: WiseCafe|

We were blessed with good weather again for February WiseCafe (although it was touch and go the night before). 13 of us gathered in the Blair Fellowship Hall where Grant Kerr led us in a brief, Lent focused, time of worship. In his words, “Lent, traditionally, is a period of 40 days of intentional prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – a time for deepening our relationship with God in prayer in its variety of expressions. We take time for ourselves to reflect on our faith and to renew our commitment to sharing ourselves with the community in which we live. Lent is a journey – a time apart – a time to review who we are and how we might express our faith.”

After this quiet reflection, we changed gears. Having had so much fun with the games at our last session, and given that we were still deep within the challenging months of winter, the WiseCafe Planning Team decided more games would be a good idea. This time the game of choice was Trivial Pursuits, the Junior Edition. Each table was a team and the challenge was to keep the other tables from shouting out the answer when it wasn’t there turn. It was all in good fun and there was a clear winner but we won’t give them a fat head by telling you who all was at that table ;-).

After about 20 minutes of that we moved onto the topic of the day by watching a TED Talk, Life’s Third Act by Jane Fonda. In this 11:20 minute video, Fonda refers to the three generations of your 60’s, 70’s and 80’s as your Third Act: “a developmental stage of life, with its own significance, as different from midlife as adolescence is from childhood.” Fonda goes on to explain that aging has traditionally been seen as an arch, beginning at birth, peaking with midlife and then declining toward death. Alternatively, she suggests that a better metaphor for aging is a staircase: “the upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness and authenticity.” To learn more about this topic see Fonda’s TedTalk by clicking here or by reading her book, Prime Time which is available through the Halifax Regional Library.

After the video, I asked folks which points were significant for them and then we roused ourselves from our chairs for snack. Today’s offering was baked red pepper with feta, sundried tomato dip with scoop tortillas and raspberry squares.

Then it was back to our tables to explore some questions, including:

  • Which metaphor for aging do you most closely identify with – the arch or the staircase?
  • Both Fonda’s book and her Ted Talk were published in 2011. Do you think much has changed in the 5 years since then in relation to society’s perspective on aging?
  • What do you think is the task of the Third Act?
  • How do you feel about Fonda’s comment, “when you are inside oldness, rather than looking in from the outside, fear subsides”? Do you feel that you are currently inside ‘oldness’? If so, have you become less afraid of aging?

The words of two other people where noted in this session. Firstly, those of Viktor Frankl (as mentioned by Jane Fonda) who, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning ©1946, wrote “Everything you have in life can be taken away from you except for one thing – your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

Secondly, a story about a Mrs. Jones, as written on a Facebook posting by Lindsay Hamre which landed on my Facebook page. The story about Mrs. Jones goes like this, she was a 92 year old woman moving into a nursing home with a very positive perspective in relation to happiness. She offered these 5 simple rules to being happy: “free your heart from hatred; free your mind from worries; live simply; give more; and expect less.”  Click here to read more of about what Mrs. Jones has to say.

Participants were given copies of each of these quotes to post somewhere at home for days when they might need to refocus their perspective!

Jane Fonda is a huge proponent of writing a Life Review and you can hear more about that on her Ted Talk or read about it in her book, Prime Time. In fact, in her book, Fonda dedicates a whole chapter to this process, Chapter 2 – A Life Review: Looking Back to See the Road Ahead. Ironically, I have also created a reflective process entitled Reflecting Back, Discerning Forward, the premise of which I offered through my LifeStory program at St. John’s United in 2014.  Next month at WiseCafe, I will offer a brief overview of how one might get started on writing their own LifeStory as well take folks through some reflection, both privately and in small groups, around what the task of The Third Act might be for them personally. Hope you can join us on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 at 2:00 pm at St. John’s United, Fall River, NS.

Finally, a further note about Jane Fonda. She is well known for her passion for fitness and we just happen to regularly follow one of her videos at WiseMoves which meets weekly upstairs at St. John’s United, 9:30- 10:30. No charge.  From what I can tell on the internet, she produced the video we follow at the age of 75 yrs!

Teasing the Brain

By |2017-02-01T17:05:37-04:00January 27th, 2016|Categories: WiseCafe|

Well, we weren’t sure that we would be holding WiseCafe in January, given the number of cancellations due to weather last year. But we did and I think it is safe to say that the 14 of us who gathered had lots of fun together!

When the weather was looking good for the 27th, I got busy pulling a plan together and what better for winter sluggishness than some activities to stimulate our minds and bodies.

We started off with a time of centering with poetry written by Marta I. Valentin and music by The Message followed by about 8 mins of chair exercises as per the Stronger Seniors Workout Program with Anne Pringle Burnell.

Physical exercise goes a very long way in keeping our whole body healthy, including our brain. Also beneficial are Brain Teasers so next up we switched to flexing our mental muscles by exploring some of the activities found on the Sharp Brains (embed link) There is much to do and learn on their website so why don’t you go there and have a look. http://sharpbrains.com/brainteasers/  . The exercises we had fun with were: #1, some of #5, #6, #8, #9, #10 and #12.

After a snack of Vegetable Chips, Spring Rolls and plum sauce, and homemade Molasses Cookies, we moved to the opposite side of the room which was all set for an entertaining game of Win, Lose or Draw. This involved 2 teams, a whiteboard & marker, a timer and a box of phrases downloaded from the internet. One member of a team would select a phrase and then attempt to draw it on the whiteboard. His or her team needed to guess what was being drawn before the timer went off. If they were unsuccessful, the opposing team would have the opportunity to guess. Lots of laughs and most people rose to the challenge to share their artist skills.

Needless to say, the afternoon passed by very quickly!