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Community for Conscious Aging
Lunch & Learn Gallery

Here you can find audio recordings of past CCA Lunch & Learn events.
Join us each month and bring your lunch to an hour that always provides food for thought.

June 2024

The Emergence of the Sage: Introducing Sage-ing International

Marilyn Loy Every

Sage-ing International is a community of life-long learners exploring new ways of aging. At the time of the organization’s inception, founder Zalman Schachter-Shalomi envisioned a networking organization for professionals dedicated to a revolutionary approach to growing older based on his 1995 book From Age-ing to Sage-ing. Join The Jung Center’s Community for Conscious Aging for this introduction to our friends at Sage-ing International – a like-minded community providing resources for any generation interested in embracing a new paradigm for aging by actualizing our individual and collective potential.

May 2024

Grace-ful Aging: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

Drew Leder

How might Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, and Judeo-Christian traditions all suggest more comprehensive models of positive elderhood? Contemporary Western models of "successful aging" – with their focus on physical well-being – leave much to be desired. We are also drawn toward contemplation, contribution, compassion, and creativity, and these soulful, meaning-making qualities are seldom accounted for in popular ideas of what it means to age well. Join us as we challenge these societal models of "successful aging," and explore other visions from around the world that are more creative, spiritual, and wholistic. Contrary to our "ageist" fears, we will look at archetypes of grace-filled aging that can lend fuller meaning to the second half of life.

April 2024

The Labyrinth as Tool for Inspiration, Meditation, and Prayer

Jay Stailey

The labyrinth is an iconic design that has been used for thousands of years in religious, spiritual, and artistic endeavors. Ancient examples can be found across a variety of cultures, woven into religious texts, art, and architecture. After a revival of interest in the late 20th century, the labyrinth is again being used as a tool for inspiration, meditation, and prayer. In this Lunch & Learn, author and educator Jay Stailey will share detailed information about the history of labyrinths, the multitude of designs, where to find labyrinths in the Houston area, and where the most unusual labyrinths can be found throughout the world.

March 2024

Mini-Moves: Aging with Feldenkrais

Gika Rector

Are you spending a lot of time sitting? Do you find yourself holding tension in your neck, shoulders, or lower back? Are you holding your breath? Try the Feldenkrais Method! Developed by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s, these slow, gentle exercises give us the opportunity to explore how we move – perhaps unconsciously – and to rediscover more graceful, easier ways of using our bodies. Join Gika Rector to learn some simple movements that can help you sit more comfortably, and maybe help you with lots of other movements too. All you need is a chair with a firm seat, and to be able to place your feet on the floor while sitting.

February 2024

Older, Wiser, Sexually Smarter

Jim Benton

Join us on Valentine's Day for this introduction to the idea of "sexual scripts" – ideals we learn in our formative years that not only instruct each of us how to think and feel about sex, but also condition how we act and identify as sexual beings.  Many life changes – the loss of a partner through death or divorce, the experience of a major illness, encountering different attitudes towards sexuality held by our children (or even grandchildren) – can call us to identify, challenge, and transform our sexual scripts.  Through reflecting on our own scripts, and comparing the scripts from two different societies, we'll explore the ways that these sexual narratives need to change as we age.

January 2024

Elderhood in Fairy Tales: Returning to the Magic of Childhood

Allan Chinen 

Join us for this hour of storytelling! Psychiatrist and author Allan Chinen will lead us through the twists and turns of two fairy tales, each featuring elders as their main characters. How does elderhood affect the outcomes of these stories? What do these tales teach us about the possibilities inherent in aging that can return us to the senses of awe, wonder, and enchantment that were readily available to us in childhood? Bring your own wisdom into the conversation, and partake in the age-old experience of gathering together and being transported by the power of story.

December 2023

The Ancestral Unconscious & Its Impact Upon Us

John Schuster

There are layers of the collective unconscious – that part of the psyche described by Carl Jung as containing powerful energies and symbols that relate more to the universality of being a human than to our own personal histories – and each of those layers impacts us in different ways. Join John Schuster and the Community for Conscious Aging to discover the phenomenon of the ancestral unconscious, that layer so named for the ancestral memory that we hold and are either dimly or keenly aware of within us. For many of us, exploring this level of our psyche and attempting to integrate its images and symbols – the whispers and murmurings of ancestral energies – is an important part of becoming more self-aware, and a key element in Jung’s writings about aging. As modern humans, a kind of ancestral amnesia is often encouraged, and we need to work diligently to find what there is to learn from our ancestors. This session, borrowing on Celtic and indigenous spirituality, Jungian work, and the journeys of the presenter, will explore how searching for and through ancestral memory can add depth and richness to the journey of aging. 

November 2023

Streamline and Rediscover Your Life through Organizing

Janice Simon

What can we do to make the tasks of processing paperwork and handling valuables easier for our children, our loved ones, or ourselves? Ask Janice. Janice Simon, leadership practitioner at MD Anderson Cancer Center, is also an expert on organizing and clutter. She has been a certified professional organizer since 2001. She believes in quality over quantity, and that anyone can become organized if they want to be. But emptying and preparing her parents’ house after their deaths gave her new perspective. The task of disbursing and throwing away is always daunting and emotional, whether the “stuff” is yours or a loved one’s. Join us as Janice offers suggestions to make it easier on all in the family, and introduces us to resources for recycling or giving things away. Discover how organizing can help you streamline – and rediscover – your own life.

October 2023

Cognitive Changes with Normal Aging

George E. Taffet

Ever notice that sometimes things take longer to mentally process than they did when you were much younger? Ever get lost going somewhere that you have been to before? Ever “blank” on someone’s name and worry that you have had more frequent “senior moments” or “brain freezes” as the years pass? Join Dr. George E. Taffet and The Jung Center's Community for Conscious Aging for this Lunch & Learn that kicks off our fall series, Hope in the Hard Conversations about Dementia and Alzheimer's, and explore the ways that the brain changes naturally as we age.

September 2023

Wising Up: Perspectives and Prospects on the Science of Wisdom

Dilip Jeste

How can older adults contribute to increasing wisdom in the world? To start, it might help to take a step back and explore just what "wisdom" is. Join Dr. Dilip Jeste, a leading scientific researcher, for this exploration of scientific and cultural ideas of wisdom through the ages. As Dr. Jeste says, “Most of us agree that wisdom is a complex trait. It’s not just one thing – it’s not like 'optimism' which is a single, specific trait. Wisdom is far more complex, comprised of different components.” Along with Dr. Jeste, we will bring the wisdom of aging to some of the world’s most pressing topics – such as the climate crisis, social determinants of health, digital technologies, and intergenerational relationships – and learn how, together, we can enhance our collective wisdom.

July 2023

The Gifts of a Life Review: Exploring Our Lived and Unlived Life

Connie Zweig

The traditional life review is the ego's life review – the story that we consciously lived. But we know that the personal unconscious, or Shadow, carries its own stories. Join Connie Zweig and discover how to add the dimension of the Shadow to a life review, and to bring a deeper perspective to this practice. We will explore the many ways of connecting what we've expressed in our individual life with what was repressed and unlived. In this way, we can give a voice to our unlived life, and help it to move into conscious awareness. Through presentation and self-reflection, learn how a life review can help you discover, and maybe even reclaim, some of what was sacrificed in our pursuit of greater consciousness – lost dreams, talents, and opportunities for reconciliation and healing.

June 2023

Tending to Our Wisdom Seeds: Awakening & Nurturing the Inner Sage

Rees Robinson and Andrea Youngdahl

We all have seeds of wisdom within us. Join us for this interactive session as we explore and nurture our seeds of individual and collective wisdom. As we travel on our aging journey, we have the opportunity to consider our wisdom through new lenses. Bring your journal, a pen, and your open heart to this multi-faceted session, with time for learning, inner work, and community connection, co-faciltated by Rees Robinson (a certified Sage-ing Leader with Sage-ing International) and Andrea Youngdal (a certified Spiritual Director throught Chaplaincy Institute).

May 2023

Creating a Value-Driven Life — At Any Age!

Karen Waldman

Grab a couple of sheets of paper and a pen. Join us with a curious, open, playful heart and mind. In this fun and interactive workshop, Karen Waldman, PhD, a licensed psychologist for more than 25 years, will walk participants through thought-provoking exercises to help them not only identify their most important values, but commit to take purposeful action to create their most joyful, meaningful life ever (because it's NEVER too late)!

March 2023

"Sage-ing”: Zalman Schachter-Shalomi on Conscious Aging

Mark Ryan

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi – celebrated for his work in ecumenical dialogue and Jewish Renewal – was an originator of the movement for conscious aging, and was at the forefront in defining its aims and means. After a brief account of his extraordinary life, this presentation will review his vision of “spiritual eldering,” its potential role in personal and social transformation, and its promise of a more creative and fulfilling elderhood. Tracking his application of insights from contemplative traditions and transpersonal psychology to issues of aging, we will explore his notions of the value of elderhood in mentoring, healing, and the “art of life completion.”

February 2023

What I Wish You Knew About the End of Life

Cassie Manley

Psychotherapist and former hospice social worker Cassie Manley has strong feelings about the emotional and practical support people and their loved ones need at the end of life. There are some challenging and frequently unacknowledged realities inherent to the aging and dying process, as well as systemic gaps in the current US hospice system that paradoxically create additional, unnecessary suffering. Cassie will share her experiences as a hospice social worker, offer some practical things to think about, and discuss ways to prepare given these realities and challenges.  Cassie's robust resource list is below the video.

January 2023

How to Support an Aging Brain

Ann Friedman

Join Dr. Ann Friedman, Psychologist, and Certified Mindfulness Compassion Facilitator, in this mid-day session to learn about scientific studies on older adults using mindfulness. Studies have shown mindfulness can slow cognitive decline, improve memory retention, reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve coping skills when living with chronic illness – and even be used as an aid in pain management. Learn short practices that you might incorporate into your daily living to make each day better.

December 2022

Capturing the Magic in the Moment

Lee Coffee

Discover how to be resilient in the face of death, divorce, and other significant life events, rather than letting life’s difficulties overcome us and drain our resolve. Cultivating our natural resilience helps us find a way to transform ourselves, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward our purpose in meaningful ways, even in the face of adversity.  Join us for the final Lunch & Learn of 2023 - a preview of speaker Lee Coffee's upcoming workshop at The Jung Center - to learn how death can be a catalyst for personal growth and development, and to discover ways to live a more meaningful life.

November 2022

Coming Home to Yourself through Kindness

Pam Lewis

While we spend most of the year coordinating, compromising, and occasionally struggling to find opportunities to be with our families and friends, for many, the holiday season is a time for coming home, and for being together in warmth and kindness.  From the perspective of many mindfulness practices, kindness is a quality at the heart of our being.  It is a birthright.  Join Pam Lewis and the Community for Conscious Aging during Compassionate Houston's Compassion Week as we explore the power of kindness, its benefits to our relationships and the world around us, as well as to our own personal health and well-being.  Discover and cultivate simple, evidence-based practices to incline your mind and heart toward kindness, a state sometimes compared to bringing a musical instrument into tune, or to returning to your home within.

October 2022

Practicing Peace in Divisive Times

Ginger Clarkson

Ginger Clarkson, Community Dharma Leader of Insight Meditation Houston, speaks about “Practicing Peace in Divisive Times” and leads a guided meditation. Drawing on teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the recently deceased Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, the presentation will focus on the cultivation of inner peace. There will be a period for discussion about applying these teachings to challenging situations such as the upcoming midterm congressional elections.

September 2022

How Love Changes through the Lifespan

Michael Winters

Loving is an essential act of fully-human being.  Join psychologist Michael Winters for this preview of his fall course, "I Love, Therefore I Am: Love as a Primary Condition of Being Human".  In this Lunch & Learn, we'll explore the nature of love and humanness, and the ways that love changes as we age. Discover different perspectives on the nature of connection, the meaning of love and life, the ways we live our love out into the world, and the positive effects that loving can have on our psyches.  Let's kick off the fall with some love!

June 2022

The Afternoon of Life and Conscious Aging

CCA Steering Committee 

What is the Community for Conscious Aging? What is conscious aging? Our mission is to develop and sustain an inclusive community in Houston committed to mutual support and connectedness so that we can live intentionally with vitality and purpose as we age. Join current and former CCA steering committee members as they discuss what conscious aging means to them, how the community came about, and what can be ahead for CCA.

May 2022

Accepting Mortality: What Matters Most

Sean Fitzpatrick

Can we prepare for death? To some degree, we can plan for the material effects of the dying process, through living wills, inheritance plans, prepaid mortuary services, and other tools. When it comes to the soul, however, we struggle mightily to hold death in our awareness - individually and as a society. In this conversation, we will explore the contemporary social vacuum around death and dying, and wonder, with Jung, what might be possible if we understand death as the goal of life.

April 2022

Hanging by a Thread

Christina Baldwin

Life hangs on a narrative thread. This thread is a braid of stories that define who we are, what the world is like, and how we make our way. In this interactive seminar, Christina Baldwin, co-founder of The Circle Way, and author of Storycatcher, will speak to her decades of work on the power and practice of story and its capacity to make meaning of life’s raw experiences. She believes personal narrative is the foundation for resilience and engagement in these times and that, as we “stand in our own stories,” we discover our place in a larger narrative.

March 2022

Pilgrimage and Poignancy: Aging as a Journey to Self

John Schuster

Aging with intention is a creative and courageous act – a path to wholeness – and makes artists of us all when it calls us to find and express our inner beauty, and to imagine life beyond our perceived limits. Carl Jung addressed the psychology of the second half of life, and many later thinkers and writers after him have offered additional models – and questions. In our time together, we will explore and apply some of these lessons to the challenges and opportunities of our own conscious aging journeys. The paths of growth in elderhood are laden with new joys and new burdens and, above all, new opportunities that could not have presented themselves in what for many of us was the busyness of our mid-life years.

February 2022

From Spiritual Aging, through Conscious Aging, to Soulful Aging

Andy Achenbaum

Dr. Andy Achenbaum explores spiritual development and aging for February’s Lunch & Learn. "I have spent forty years of contemplative meditating, the last two decades of writing and conversing about the connections between spiritual development and growing older,” says Dr. Andy Achenbaum about this talk to the Community for Conscious Aging. "As I am turning 75 on Texas Independence Day, it seems a good time for us to share a Lunch-and-Learn meal reflecting on the various ways our ideas evolve. Mine has grown less heady, increasingly heartfelt and soulful.”

January 2022

Blowing in the Wind: Music that Matters

John Price

Music has a way of acting like a beloved companion, supporting us when we are challenged by the suffering within our lives. Music may also act as a thorn in our side, reminding us of moments that we would rather forget. It is a time machine, a warm blanket, a good friend, a bad reminder, or the symbol of a cultural movement. Whatever it is to you, you have some kind of meaningful relationship with music. In this lunch-time presentation we will explore how music matters through a brief lecture on aspects of music that may surprise you, and we will also hear a few songs performed by Dr. John Price, both a psychotherapist and a musician, who will guide us into a process wherein each participant may work with meaningful psychological material through a selection of songs and a discussion about what matters most. I bet we find music that matters to you.

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