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Interview With Deborah Briggs

Deborah’s Briggs is a certified Sage-ing Leader for Sage-ing International  (https://www.sage-ing.org), an organization “committed to transforming the current paradigm of aging to ‘sage-ing’  through  learning, community building and service.”

Her Sage-ing skills are rooted by her MA in organizational psychology from Columbia University and the study and practice of spiritual, physical and intellectual approaches to aging with joy, compassion and meaning. She has created numerous NYC based businesses and nonprofits in Los Angeles and Florida–all focusing on helping people find their power and best selves and putting their wisdom into action. Through engaging interactive workshops and small groups, Deborah guides participants to create meaning in their lives today and be energized for the next stage of life.

I met Deborah online, as a student in her 4-week course Sage-ing Aging through the Charter for Compassion Institute (https://charterforcompassion.org). The course was interesting and inspiring, and Deborah was a terrific facilitator. After completing Sage-ing Aging, I approached Deborah about doing an interview for WomanPause. She accepted the invitation!

I had the privilege of interviewing Deborah by phone last January. Please join me in this conversation, as Deborah shares her wisdom with great personal honesty—and lots of humor!

(The nature photographs in this post—all taken by Steven Sullivan—have been captioned with some of Deborah’s favorite inspirational sayings.)

“My businesses have always completely aligned with where I was in my life cycle”

Diane: Good morning, Deborah! So glad that you’re doing this interview today. I first “met” you in your role as the teacher/leader of the Sage-ing Aging course I took online a few months ago through the Charter for Compassion Institute. Could you tell the WomanPause readers a little bit about Sage-ing International and how you got involved with the organization?

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are–E.E. Cummings

Deborah: Sure. I came to know about Sage-ing International serendipitously because I have a background in creating “businesses,” for the lack of a better word, that really serve people. More to the point, my businesses have always completely aligned with where I was in my life cycle. Before I had children, I worked in corporations because that’s all I knew. Then when I had my first child, I started a business called Gymboree.*

Diane: Okay. I just have to stop you there. When I read that in your bio, I was like, “Oh my God! Everyone who’s reading this who has had kids went to Gymboree.”

Deborah:  Right, exactly, that’s the whole story, that I am you. I am the stereotype of everybody. I had my first child 36 years ago. There was no place to play or for me to make friends who had babies, so I started NYC’s Gymboree to serve those needs.

Diane: That’s amazing.

“What’s the next question? ‘When are you going to die?’”

Deborah: Then it was, “Okay now my kids are in school, and my daughter’s having some academic challenges.” I didn’t want to pay for tutors just to keep my kid artificially alive academically. It’s hard to keep kids academically aligned when their basic skills are not in sync with their academic demands. So that’s why I started NYC’s Huntington Learning Center,* to identify children’s academic baselines and to rebuild their skills – starting from their strengths.

All throughout, I was on my own journey until I got to a point where I’m in my 60s and found that there’s nothing for old people in terms of having a clear life plan. When you’re a little kid you’re asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up” When you’re older, the questions become, “When are you getting married? When are you having kids?” Then, “When are you retiring?” What’s the next question? “When are you going to die?”

Diane: That’s right, interesting.

“Sage-ing is about finding the wisdom that has been potentially asleep in all of us”

Deborah: Let me go back to the history. When I started Gymboree in NYC it was to solve the problem of having no place (outside of our small apartments) for children to play with other children. When my daughter was having trouble  in school, I found another solution—the learning centers. Now I’m at the point where there’s no cultural norm for how to age with any kind of consciousness, so that’s why I looked and found Sage-ing International, again the antidote to a need that I felt personally wasn’t being met. So, then it became my new calling!

Diane: I love it.

Deborah: Sage-ing International for me is the same as Gymboree, and it’s the same as the Huntington Learning Center because it is a service (and this is the same for all three of the businesses) that identifies the spark and light in each individual and then finds a way for that light to shine.

Sage-ing is about finding the wisdom that has been potentially asleep in all of us because it’s been overshadowed by our parents, our education, our siblings, our peers, our needs to survive, our marriages, our kids. Now we are post-being identified by either our work, by our marriages, and in some cases by our children. Without those external definers, some people just stay busy, so they don’t have to deal with their anxieties and fears, or they just retreat and become sad and depressed, alienated and lonely.

Of course, I’m not talking about everybody! Nothing is ever the same for any two people, so I don’t mean to imply that there’s one way for all people to live their lives. There are many people who are spiritually high functioning, well grounded, surrounded by love, manifesting the best of who they are, and yay for them.

This is not for them. This is for the people who kind of fall into the descriptors that I just gave before. Sage-ing International is a social movement that says, “If you’re still here after you’ve been already useful in your marriages, careers, parenting, or whatever you have been useful in up to this point, if those roles are now gone or diminishing, you are still of value.”

“It’s about going and seeing all the accomplishments you’ve made, and really seeing what you can do now to take that to the next level”

If you are here, you’re here for a purpose, and your purpose is to access your wisdom and to apply it to your life, the people around you, to your community, and maybe to the planet. Whatever realm is appropriate for you, that’s the realm where you should be putting your wisdom into action.

It could be as simple as sharing your best self with your neighbors, the waiter at the restaurant, or the customer service person on the phone. It doesn’t have to be grandiose. It just has to be you connecting to the best of who you are and taking that unique beauty that you have out into the world, manifesting that in the world.

A fool thinks how to save time: a sage how to use it–Leo Tolstoy

When I read about Sage-ing International in my own search, I was struck by the community spirit of it, because it’s about having the old people … and I say old with no cynicism or irony, because it’s like, so what? We’re old, let’s own it.

It’s about hooking into the lack of shame for being old and stepping into our power and our accomplishments as a source of fuel to even be better. It’s not about false pride and going around talking about when you were in the football championship and living on that accolade until you die.

It’s about going and seeing all the accomplishments you’ve made, and really seeing what you can do now to take that to the next level, as much as it is about going back and seeing some of the joy that might have been squashed out of you due to the realities of life up to this point. It’s also about accepting your losses and disappointments with forgiveness to clear up space in yourself for more joy.

“At that point, I was 50. It was like, Well, I know who I’ve been, but I don’t know who I am now”

For me, when I retired and came to Florida, it was very strange because I was divorced and my kids were on their own. My parents were dead. I had retired from my job, and I had sold my house. I came to Florida without any job, relatives, or friends.

At that point, I was 50. It was like, Well, I know who I’ve been, but I don’t know who I am now, because without external responsibilities or demands, I have to wake up every day to the question “Who am I?”

If you have a house, a job, a husband, a kid, you’ll wake up and you say, “I’m a wife.” You wake up and say, “I’m an employee.” Or, “I’m a caretaker.” You wake up and you can say all these things, but take all that away, and then the question is, “Well, now who are you?”

Sage-ing is about empowering who you are before or after all your definers to fall away.

“They say, ‘May he rest in peace, may your soul rest in peace.’ I say, forget that. Live in peace now”

The reality is, we’re all going to go through a journey of loss. We all know where our journey will end, we just don’t know when.

Sage-ing says, “Let’s be proactive, so we can empower ourselves, build internal strength, build internal confidence so that we can live with grace.  We don’t need to be sucker punched. We don’t have to be wiped out; we can ride the waves as they come … because they’re coming.”

There’s no need to wait until we’re on our deathbeds to start the healing, to let us die in peace. Let’s live in peace. They say, “May he rest in peace, may your soul rest in peace.” I say, forget that. Live in peace now.

Diane: Right, so how does the course do teach people how to do that?

“If I’m more than all that, what am I?”

Deborah: Well, the course does this in many different ways. The way I do it online is different than I do it in real life. In all cases, what the course does, regardless of format, is wake up students to understand that they are more than their circumstances and the stories they tell themselves.

They are more than the people around them, more than their fears, and more than their bodies, so that all that more-ness can become a source of beginning to ask the question, “If I’m more than all that, what am I?”

Diane: Right. What would be the differences to how you approach this with an online course or with a workshop? Do you do one day workshops, or groups, or how does that work?

Deborah: I’ve done them in many different ways. The introductory course is a six-hour workshop, with a lunch break and breaks throughout the day or conducted in 2 or 3-hour blocks over the course of a week or weeks.

At Chautauqua Institute in New York, I discovered that teaching over a period of days or weeks is preferable than teaching in just one day.  Reports from my classes indicate that there is added value in building community – which takes days … not hours.

Participants in my workshops become so conscious of the love that’s in the room, and they feel empowered by that love. They want to stay connected. They’re building real life connections.

I leave people wherever I go with an experience and model for an ongoing structure called wisdom circles, where people can stay together and then do the deep work that was introduced in the Sage-ing workshop.

“It’s so important to, first, spend time really looking at what your belief systems are about aging”

Diane: Tell me a little bit more about the wisdom circles.

Deborah: Well, wisdom circles are groups of people who have gone through the intro, so they all have the same language, understanding, and desire to do Sage-ing work. They then delve into the different topics, such as examining their beliefs about aging, forgiveness, creating a legacy, etc..

It’s so important to, first, spend time really looking at what your belief systems are about aging. If not, you’re going to be living at the effect of those beliefs, without even knowing that these are just stories that you have made up, that may or may not be true. It’s good to consider what you really think about aging, so that you can revisit these beliefs and say, “Do I want to think that? How can I think differently?” Or, “How can I make up a new story,” if those stories aren’t working for you.

If they are working for you, it’s good to acknowledge that these are choices you’ve made. Acknowledging that you’ve made a choice is very empowering, as opposed to being passive about it.

Diane: You do this, at least online, through prompts …

“We are so much more than our brains. We are hearts, and we are our bodies, our minds, our spirits, our feelings”

Deborah: Yeah, through prompts, through videos, and giving content about what it means to have an image of age.

Diane: Right, and poetry. You use a lot of poetry.

Deborah: There’s a lot of poetry, because poetry goes to people’s hearts as opposed to their brains. It touches parts of you that feel, as opposed to parts of you that think. My desire is to be as multisensory as possible.

Diane: I was just going to say that.

Deborah: We are so much more than our brains. We are hearts, and we are our bodies, our minds, our spirits, our feelings.

They’re all players at this game that is us. If we want to really be our best selves, we must develop all aspects of ourselves, which means not just intellect, not just hearing more words, because we’ve all had enough of that, in my opinion.

What we need more of is heart. What we need more is awareness of our feelings, so that we can use them as our guides.

“I had to go back and say, ‘Well when was I last really joyous and happy?'”

Diane: In terms of getting in touch with our bodies, we did some meditation exercises in the class. But in your bio, it says that you chose to do some dance.

Deborah: That was really important for me, for my journey.

Diane: Can you talk about that?

Deborah: When I came to Florida, and I said, “Okay, who am I?” I had surrendered my social roles. I had nothing. It was invigorating, but also terrifying, because if I’m not a wife, not a spouse, employee, then what the hell am I?

I had to go back and say, “Well when was I last really joyous and happy?” It was when I was a little girl and taking dance. But I was fat and 50 at that time. Dancing, are you kidding me?

Today is the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be. Make the most of it–Nicky Gumbel

It was kind of like, “Well, screw you, negative voice! I want to have joy.” It was scary, but I went, and I started ballroom dance. Ballroom dancing was the most spiritual, cosmic thing I had ever done. It was a complete integration of my brain (how to follow the steps), my heart (the beauty of the music), my body (moving in ways that were completely unfamiliar), and my spirit (the complete integration of all my senses). I was really in the moment.

You can’t think about shoulds, woulds or coulds if you’re trying to follow the steps, listening to the music, and connecting to another person.

Talking to you now, I’m thinking, “Oh my God, I really have to go do it again.”

“To learn how to follow without becoming submissive is the ultimate expression and experience of creating synergy!”

Diane: Right, you have to go back. Also, I would imagine taking that risk, and dancing with people you didn’t know must have been an amazing experience.

Deborah: It was. It was life changing, and life affirming, and terrifying, As I said, here I was with my negative voice saying I’m old, I’m fat, I’m not a dancer, and, yet, here I am dancing body to body with some strange man who is a dance teacher. It was the integration of everything.

There was no ego, no mind, no defense, no story. I was just literally present with another human being, creating beauty through connection, and again, this is maybe not relevant to the article, but it’s kind of interesting.

Diane: No, it’s all relevant.

Deborah: To learn how to follow without becoming submissive is the ultimate expression and experience of creating synergy!

Diane: That’s amazing.

Deborah: To be a ballroom dancer, women do have to follow, but when you follow in ballroom dancing, you still have to keep your power otherwise you become limp. If you’re limp, you become a drag and that is not being a good ballroom dancer. You have to keep your own core power.

Literally, to learn how to be a follower without giving up my power is a powerful metaphor for how I choose to live my spiritual life

Diane: Yeah, that’s amazing. I love that.

“Meditation does not mean sitting square, cross-legged on a little futon going ‘ohm’ for all people”

Deborah: It was amazing. Anyway, in terms of Sage-ing, you’re really not living a Sage-ing journey unless you are checking four boxes off every day, every week, every year.

There is an obligation for people to really take care of themselves physically, whatever that means to them and in any way that can give them joy.

Diane: What were the four things in the box again? It was the body, the mind, spirit, and feelings. What about spirit?

Deborah: Well, spirit is transcendent. In the context of the boxes, it means you’re spending time every day, or in a balanced way through the week, doing things that are building the strength and power of your spirit, which for different people are different things. It would include things like meditation, journaling, praying. It could be walking. There’s walking meditation, so many forms of meditation.

Ballroom dancing is a meditation. Meditation does not mean sitting square, cross-legged on a little futon going “ohm” for all people. Meditation can literally be writing in a gratitude journal every morning or every night before you get a bed.

Spiritual can be cooking in a kitchen, totally immersed in the process.

“In order for us to live our best lives, we need to start releasing the heavy burdens that are hampering us, limiting us, keeping us in fear, or keeping us scared to take risks”

Diane: In the course, one of the things I found very interesting was the focus on forgiveness.

Deborah: Right, because life is, and I can say this to anybody, filled with disappointments, betrayals, surprises that aren’t good, diminished expectations. We just roll with them as much as we can.

In order for us to live our best lives, we need to start releasing the heavy burdens that are hampering us, limiting us, keeping us in fear, or keeping us scared to take risks. That means unpeeling the things that we need to forgive. We don’t even know necessarily what they all are, but we all can probably find one or two things to start with that aren’t so big.

Forgiveness is one of the core concepts of Sage-ing . The others include looking at and challenging our images of aging. Then there’s harvesting the wisdom of your life, facing your mortality, and doing work on creating your legacy.

In Sage-ing, you’re doing all of those things, at one level or another, all the time because that’s what’s driving your life. Sage-ing is a concept, but it’s also a process of living.

For older people, it’s kind of a cool way of having a model for how to live from this point on. You wake up every day and ask, “Where am I on my Sage-ing journey today? How much am I working on my spirit? How much am I working on my body? How much am I working on being honest about my feelings?”

Then you can take one step. “I’m going to work on forgiveness, now, with this person. I’m going to work on harvesting my life’s wisdom, now, by thinking about that.” It gives you the language and the context in which to live the rest of your life in proactive ways, as opposed to just reacting to things that come your way.

“If I couldn’t figure out how to age joyfully, compassionately, and wisely then I was just going to die feeling confused, lost, and sad”

Diane:  You are the model of proactive, because wherever you felt a need, you went out and did something about it. Who were your models? Where’d you get this from?

Deborah: Well, that’s actually the thing. That’s why I did Sage-ing. I had no models. If I had parents who aged well, I probably wouldn’t even be talking about this.

My parents died when they very young. They were sweet souls, very funny and entertaining but also quite immature and negligent.

So, for me to discover Sage-ing, was a matter of survival. If I couldn’t figure out how to age joyfully, compassionately, and wisely then I was just going to die feeling confused, lost, and sad. I didn’t want to just sit and wait to die or keep having to prove myself externally to feel of worth. I wanted live and die in peace!.

Diane: Survival is a good teacher.

Deborah: Well, look at it, mother is the necessity-

Diane: That’s right.

Deborah: Yeah, whatever that phrase is.

Diane: Necessity is the mother of invention, something like that right?

Deborah: Exactly.

Diane: Somebody else could have just given up, but you took the challenges that you were faced with, and you did something with it.

Deborah: People have told me, “You’re so brave.” I say to them, “I had no choice.”

The creation of solutions to transcend fear began for me as an adult, when I went to my first baby exercise class, and my baby was like, I don’t know, a week or two old. It was pouring rain, the class was over, and my baby needed to nurse. Because I read the books, I knew (LOL) that with on-demand nursing, if I didn’t nurse right away, the baby would die. That’s what new mothers think!

I was in a panic, but the teacher kicked me out because there was another class coming. I was so freaked out: “How can I be in the world, and have this baby, and take care of the baby and have a safe place to be?” There was no place.

I didn’t want to be sad and alone, so I had to make a safe place. I had no choice.

” … men are as screwed up as we are!”

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending–C.S. Lewis

Diane: You made it! Let me ask you this. Do you see any special or specific challenges or opportunities for women in the Sage-ing process?

Deborah: The answer is … actually, no. I was going to start to say something, but men are as screwed up as we are! A man who has built his whole life on being busy and working, if he retires …

I can’t speak with a paintbrush, obviously, because everybody has their own story. Some men feel they have to work literally, until they die or they are paralyzed with fear.

However, If they’re working because they’re really manifesting the best of who they are in a pure, holistic way, and their souls are fulfilled, then I say, that’s what they should do, and that is great.

But they may also be working out of fear, because they don’t know what else to do. Then, it’s not so great.

Everyone has a different story. Women who were working have a different story than women who had been housewives, who have a different story from women who are single.

I don’t think as we get older, the gender stuff is part and parcel of the Sage-ing journey, because the Sage-ing journey is so personal. It has nothing to do with power, or money, or being alone, or being coupled, or being rich, or being poor. There’s no split between men and women because it’s about spirit and it’s so personal.

Diane: It’s just individual, personal.

“I know for sure that we don’t know anything about anybody’s journey”

Deborah: It’s 100% individual. You could be a married woman with lots of wealth, with lots of grandchildren, and still be the most miserable soul in the world. You could be a woman who lives alone with maybe a cat, has never been married, has no children, no grandchildren, no spouse, and maybe she’s living the most enlightened, joyous life possible.

Diane: It’s the cat.

Deborah: I know for sure that we don’t know anything about anybody’s journey. Only the person who’s journey it is knows.

Diane: Yes, and that’s important to remember, because sometimes we think that we know.

Deborah: It’s really important. I live in Boca Raton. There are lots of beautiful people and lots of money. Everyone here knows, if they’re friends with me, that if they ever say, “Oh wow, look at her,” I go, “Are you kidding me? Do not be jealous. You don’t know a thing.”

We all know of people who have everything, and then God forbid, something tragic happens. Nobody has it all and nobody knows the stories, nobody knows the darkness, nobody knows the reality beyond what people share with you. Everybody has their own spiritual journey, regardless of the stories or the pictures of their lives.

“I feel like part of my forgiveness is to reconnect with my children in ways that I hadn’t connected to them when they were younger”

Diane: On a personal note, what is next for you? Do you see any other needs popping up that you’re going to have to create something new?

Deborah: No, because I feel like I’m at the beginning of my Sage-ing journey as well. I have just recently started the process of getting a little place back in Manhattan because my daughter is there.

I feel like part of my forgiveness is to reconnect with my children in ways that I hadn’t connected to them when they were younger. Once they were in college and began their own independent lives, I moved to Florida, and we kind of all went our own way.

Because of Sage-ing, I realize the importance of creating legacy and nurturing connections.

Diane: Tell me about that.

Deborah: I think it’s important for all people to feel their lives matter. I don’t want anyone to ever hear about Sage-ing and/or legacy and think it has anything to do with children and grandchildren as a singular manifestation.

I can only talk about myself. In my case, I want to go back and really be a presence of love for my daughter. I thought, because of my own parents, that teaching my kids to be independent was everything. I raised my kids that way, and they are.

I also realize that there’s a certain negligence in my wisdom. I felt neglected by my parents, who raised me to be so independent. I don’t want my children to have that be part of their story.

Thank you, Sage-ing, for giving me this new context. I have children who are 32 and 36, and in a weird way, I’m acting more nurturing than I ever did when they were growing up in my house.

Diane: How they responding?

“I was so busy being a ‘good mom,’ but I would tell them what to see, tell them what to hear, even tell them what to think”

Deborah: Like starving children, because I’m more present and loving because of Sage-ing than I was when they were growing up. For me, it begins with  integrating forgiveness into my behavior. Through forgiving myself I do not look to them to forgive me for all my negligence and any resultant trauma that they might have suffered. I know that I did the best I knew at the time and that my children experienced their childhoods through their own veils.

There’s so much guilt that some parents have—and righteousness. Parents sometimes think giving a legacy is telling children what to do. What I know, for me, is that legacy is giving them unconditional love, so that they can know what it feels like to be seen, and to be heard.

Diane: That’s beautiful.

Deborah: That, to me, is me giving a legacy to my children. I was so busy being a “good mom,” but I would tell them what to see, tell them what to hear, even tell them what to think. Again, all these years later, that’s another whole course I can do, on how not to ‘mother’.

Diane: I know. I hear you.

“I think forgiveness is about getting rid of all the stories that keep us from being connected to other people”

Deborah: I’m a professional in all the things you shouldn’t do. Yes, how not to. There should be “how not to” courses.

It’s about feeling and forgiveness. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. They don’t have to know that I’m doing all this work about forgiveness and healing for myself, because it’s none of their business. It’s my business.

Diane: People who didn’t take the class might be saying, “What? What do you mean forgiveness isn’t for the other person?” Can you just …

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are–Carl Jung

Deborah: It’s really a tough concept without going into the whole back story of forgiveness, but there are books on it, and TV shows on it, and workshops on it.

Diane: It’s about freeing yourself.

Deborah: Forgiveness is … let’s see if I can come up with a succinct sentence, with a one liner. Just give me a little grace here, because I’ve never tried to even answer this in a one liner before. I think forgiveness is about getting rid of all the stories that keep us from being connected to other people.

If you don’t forgive people, you’re shutting yourself off from that connection. Being alive is about being connected.

If you’re not connected, you might as well be dead. Otherwise, you’re a light bulb alone in a closet. If your light isn’t shining on the world, then you’re not living.

Diane: That’s right. It must be wonderful for you to connect with all these people in your groups, and watch them grow, and I bet you grow from each experience too.

“Sage-ing is about helping all these wise, beautiful older people to start connecting with each other and start putting their wisdom into action, being the solutions to some of the world’s problems”

Deborah: The only reason I did Gymboree was so my kids could have a loving and safe place to play, and the only reason I did the Huntington Learning Center was so my kids would appreciate and build from their best (academic) selves.

But Sage-ing is for me, so I can have a joyous journey of aging with wisdom while being surrounded by people who want to share that journey.

One thing I can really brag about is that I don’t have anybody in my life who’s not on the journey. How fun is that?

Diane: That’s really wonderful.

Deborah: There’s no human clutter in my life.

Diane: That’s great. That’s a whole other hour, how to lose the human clutter!

Deborah: Sage-ing is about helping all these wise, beautiful older people to start connecting with each other and start putting their wisdom into action, being the solutions to some of the world’s problems.  It’s also about inviting ALL older people to wake up!

Diane: We’re definitely an underutilized-

Deborah: Yes! Many older people have the experience, time, patience, lack of ego, and desire to fix the world. Because they have skills in all the different fields that exist on the planet they can put their heads together (using their wisdom and consciousness), there are great opportunities to solve big (and little) problems. That is what Sage- ing also focuses on.

Diane: How can people reach you?

Deborah: The link is so easy. www.Sage-ing.org.

Diane: No, but your particular … If somebody wants to-

Deborah: I don’t have a particular … I feel like this is more of a spiritual journey than a business for me. I haven’t done a whole big marketing thing, and I don’t have brochures. I don’t have my own website, because that’s not where I want to spend my energy.

Diane: Okay, so people can find you on Sage-ing.org.

Deborah: Or they can just call or email me.

Diane: Call you. All right!

Deborah: Yes, I’m just a person. (917.701.7013 & dhbriggs@gmail.com)

I travel and do workshops where people want me to. I don’t really market. It’s just organic. It’s word of mouth.

Diane: O.K. Do you have any questions for me?

Deborah: No. I love that you’re interested. I love your spirit. I love your work.

Diane: Thank you.

Deborah: If there’s a way that I can support your work, or we can work together to make the world better, or have more fun, especially if I’m in the city, let’s play.

Diane: I would love that! I love your energy. It’s contagious. You’re just so positive and full of possibility and joy. This has been a real pleasure, and very enlightening and inspiring. I’m sure my readers are going love it.

Deborah: Well, I think that’s great. If we can just spread joy and positivity, then we’re both doing our jobs. I look forward to us both making the world better, right?

Diane: Absolutely. Thank you so much for this. We’ll be in touch soon.

If you are interested in challenging aging stereotypes, harvesting the wisdom of your life and consciously creating the legacy you want to leave to your children, grandchildren and communities please….

Contact Deborah: 917.701.7013 or dhbriggs@gmail.com

*(When Deborah reviewed the text of this interview, she wanted to make it clear to readers that she was a franchisee of the Gymboree and Huntington Learning Center programs not the creator of the concepts.)

As always, I’d love to hear from you! Please post a comment or send me an email!

Have a wonderful week!

Diane

8 Comments

  1. Greta Holt on April 18, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    What a fine interview. How right she is that our journey through life often feels like loss, and that change demands loss. Forgiveness does seem to be an action that is for the self.

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 18, 2019 at 11:13 pm

      Forgiveness really is for the self. When we hold grudges, we imprison ourselves. When we forgive, we free ourselves. Easier said than done, though!!

  2. Denise Polis on April 14, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Diane,
    I am amazed at how you find inspiring content and interviews each week!
    This was wonderful.
    We ARE more than our brains (our intellect/”success”).
    We ARE our spirits, minds/attitudes, heart, body, feelings.
    The best part of this stage in life is “not having to prove ourselves anymore” and “letting go of ego”.
    Loved it.
    I, too, as you know, am a cat person. 🙂

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you, Denise!
      And yay for cat people!
      And yay for the whole of us–and for not having anything more to prove! That’s freedom!
      Deborah is so inspiring!

  3. Sarita K Sid on April 13, 2019 at 2:53 am

    Diane,
    I was looking forward to reading your blog post today & you did not disappoint!
    There is so much interesting, wise, helpful, inspiring information here :))
    I’ll be here all evening if I list everything I loved about it, & I have people coming over (!) so these are some of the highlights for me:acknowledging

    “life is, and I can say this to anybody, filled with disappointments, betrayals, surprises that aren’t good, diminished expectations. We just roll with them as much as we can.” So important to be reminded of the universality of this.

    Forgiveness, of course. Especially the part about forgiving ourselves. Thank you.

    Yes!! The importance of recognizing & putting to good use, the untapped resource we older people are 🙂

    My visitors are here, so just want to quickly add that I didn’t know you also love cats Diane!!

    Such a powerful interview with a woman who has so much to teach us.
    I’m very grateful for all your posts, & this one really moved me.

    Apologies for typos my dear!
    xoxo

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 13, 2019 at 4:01 am

      Thank you, Sarita! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog, and I loved your take-aways. The universality of disappointments and betrayals–so important to remember (sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one who’s experiencing those) and forgiveness, of ourselves and others, frees up so much valuable space for more useful endeavors than holding a grudge. “We older people” rock!
      Hope you have fun with your guests!

  4. Nicky Mendenhall on April 13, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Hi Diane,
    The example of dancing and knowing how to follow without submission was interesting. The idea of not going limp. It is quite a skill to master in all of life.

    I smiled at your comment: It’s the cat!

    A very inspiring interview! Thanks!

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 13, 2019 at 3:55 am

      Thank you, Nicky! I thought the whole ballroom dancing thing was fascinating–the balance of following but keeping her power! And, glad the cat comment made you smile–I kinda liked it too.

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