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02.14.24 | Sage Advice

Embracing the Art Haiku: A Window into Mindfulness and Creativity

At Sage Collective, we appreciate the power of expression in its many forms, and one of the most enchanting and accessible forms of poetic expression is haiku. Originating in Japan in the 17th century, haiku is a brief, structured form of poetry that offers a window into the world of mindfulness, simplicity, and the beauty of the present moment.

The Essence of Haiku

Traditional haiku is a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable structure, often focusing on images from nature and emphasizing clarity, intensity, and directness of expression. This poetic form is more than just a set of rules; it’s an invitation to pause and observe the world around us, to capture a fleeting moment in a few simple words.

Richard Wright
Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

Contemporary haiku, while still rooted in the traditional form and essence of Japanese haiku, often explores a broader range of themes beyond the natural world, including urban life, human emotions, and social commentary. In fact, one of the greatest practitioners of contemporary haiku was the legendary novelist and short story writer, Richard Wright. In the last two years of his life, Wright, best known for seminal works like Native Son (1940) and his autobiography, Black Boy (1945), turned his artistic expression to the haiku form, writing nearly 4,000 poems. A magnificent collection of 817 of Wright’s haiku was published in 1998 entitled, Haiku: The Other World.

These contemporary haikus reflect the evolution of the form, embracing a wide array of subjects and emotions while maintaining the essence of haiku — capturing a moment, feeling, or thought with depth and clarity. Wright’s works honor the tradition by conveying powerful images and insights in just a few words, demonstrating the enduring appeal and adaptability of haiku poetry.

Haiku as a Mindful, Creative Exercise

For us, especially as we embrace the golden years, writing haiku can be a meditative and insightful practice. It encourages us to slow down and notice the small details of our environment — the dew on a leaf, the play of light and shadow, or the quiet stillness of the early morning. In focusing on these details, we engage in mindfulness, which can enhance our mental clarity and emotional balance.

Despite its apparent simplicity, crafting a haiku can be a delightful creative challenge. It pushes us to distill our thoughts and feelings into their purest form, to find the essence of an experience or emotion in just a few words. This creative process can be incredibly rewarding, offering a sense of accomplishment and joy in our ability to capture the beauty of the ordinary.

Sharing and Connecting Through Haiku

Haiku writing can also be a means of connecting with others. Sharing our haiku with friends, family, or within a community group can spark conversations, forge bonds, and offer insights into each other’s perspectives. It’s a way to communicate deeply felt experiences in a concise and poignant manner.

Embarking on the journey of writing haiku is simple:

  • Start by observing your surroundings or reflecting on a recent experience.
  • Focus on sensory details and the emotions they evoke.
  • Experiment with the 5-7-5 syllable structure, but don’t feel bound by it. The essence of haiku lies in capturing a moment or feeling.

Embracing the Art of Haiku

In the art of writing haiku, we find a blend of mindfulness, creativity, and connection. As a form of expression accessible to everyone, it holds a special place in the world of poetry. We encourage you to try your hand at this beautiful, contemplative practice and discover the joy and tranquility it can bring into your life.

Embracing the Art of Hailu
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02.08.24 | Sage Advice

The Art of Storytelling: Langston Hughes

In our continuing series on “The Art of Storytelling,” we’ve journeyed through the narratives of luminaries who’ve masterfully woven the fabric of their experiences, cultures, and imaginations into storytelling. It’s an honor to now delve into the legacy of Langston Hughes, a pivotal figure whose poetic voice became a cornerstone of the Harlem Renaissance and a beacon for the African American experience.

Langston Hughes: A Storyteller’s Storyteller
Langston Hughes was a towering figure in American literature, known for his prolific output and for the depth and breadth of his influence. He rose in prominence during the period known as the Harlem Renaissance — the emergence of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the 1920s across urban America, particularly in Harlem. He focused on lived experience as the basis for his unique storytelling, resulting in a vibrant tapestry of jazz rhythms, social commentary, and a profound exploration of the human condition. Hughes had the unique ability to distill complex emotions and societal truths into accessible poetry, stories, and plays, making him a true artisan of the narrative form.

Embracing the Human Experience
Hughes’s storytelling was deeply rooted in the African American experience, capturing its joys, sorrows, and resilient spirit. He celebrated black culture in his work, took a defiant stance against racial injustice, and shared a heartfelt portrayal of the everyday lives of black Americans. Through his famous jazz poetry, Hughes incorporated the rhythms and improvisations of jazz music, creating a dynamic and immersive narrative style that resonated with a wide audience.

The Power of Simplicity
Hughes used simple, yet profound language when he wrote, which became one of the hallmarks of his storytelling style. He believed that the power of clarity and accessibility would enable his stories and poems to speak directly to the heart. This simplicity was one of his greatest strengths, allowing him to convey deep emotions and complex societal critiques in a way that was both relatable and moving.

His approach to message, language, and cadence are powerfully rendered in the poem entitled, “I, Too,” which was published in Hughes’ first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues in 1926. To read this poem, and other examples of Hughes’ work, visit the Poetry Foundation.

Legacy and Inspiration
Langston Hughes’s legacy is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling to effect change, build community, and celebrate culture. His work continues to inspire new generations of storytellers, poets, and artists who see in Hughes a model for using narrative as a tool for social commentary, cultural affirmation, and personal expression.

For us at Sage Collective, Hughes’s storytelling is a reminder of the profound impact that stories can have on our understanding of ourselves and each other. His life and work encourage us to explore our own narratives, to find beauty in our experiences, and to share our stories with the world.

Inr Langston Hughes’ work, we are reminded of the transformative power of storytelling. His ability to capture the essence of the human spirit, to challenge societal norms, and to celebrate the richness of the African American experience is a beacon for all who believe in the power of words to shape our world.

Let us take inspiration from Hughes’s example, weaving our own stories with honesty, empathy, and a deep appreciation for the diverse tapestry of human life.

Langston Hughes by Jack Delano, 1942
Portrait of Langston Hughes by Jack Delano, 1942. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collections.
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01.04.24 | Sage Advice

The Importance of Setting Resolutions in the New Year

Now that 2024 is upon us, it brings an opportunity for reflection and renewal. At Sage Collective, we understand the importance of this time as an opportunity to set resolutions – not just as a tradition, but as a meaningful practice in our journey towards vibrant living.

The Power of Resolutions
Resolutions are more than just yearly promises we make to ourselves; they are declarations of intent and pathways to personal growth. They provide us with a chance to pause, assess our lives, and decide what changes we wish to make. For us in the older adult community, this is particularly powerful, as it aligns with our ongoing pursuit of vibrant living at every stage of life.

Setting Achievable Goals
The key to successful resolutions lies in their realism and attainability. It’s about setting goals that are challenging yet achievable, and that contribute to our overall well-being. Whether it’s adopting a new fitness regimen, learning a new skill, or dedicating more time to a beloved hobby, each resolution should be a stepping stone towards a fuller, richer life experience.

The Importance of Health and Wellness
Many resolutions revolve around health and wellness, and for good reason. As we age, taking care of our physical and mental health becomes increasingly important. Resolutions can serve as commitments to ourselves to nurture our bodies and minds, whether through healthier eating, regular exercise, or mindfulness practices.

Staying Connected and Engaged
Resolutions can also foster social engagement and community involvement – key components of vibrant living. This might mean resolving to spend more time with family and friends, participating in community events, or engaging in volunteer work.

Lifelong Learning and Growth
The new year is also a perfect time to commit to lifelong learning. This could be through reading more, enrolling in a class, or even traveling to new places. Each of these resolutions enriches our lives, keeps our minds active, and supports our overall sense of joy and fulfillment.

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, let’s embrace the tradition of setting resolutions with optimism and enthusiasm. Let these resolutions be reflections of our aspirations and values, guiding us towards a year filled with health, happiness, and vibrant living.

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Let’s approach our resolutions with flexibility and kindness towards ourselves, understanding that each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory in its own right.

View of the sky looking up through a stand of trees
Credit: Ken Lane (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License)
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12.07.23 | Sage Advice

Embracing Our Rights, Living Vibrantly: Honoring Human Rights Day

At Sage Collective, we recognize that vibrant living is deeply intertwined with the respect and recognition of human rights. As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of Human Rights Day on December 10th, it’s a poignant moment to reflect on how these fundamental rights underpin our collective journey toward a more just, equitable, and vibrant society.

Reflecting on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Seventy-five years ago, the world came together to adopt the UDHR, a groundbreaking document that set out the inalienable rights and freedoms belonging to every person. This historic declaration forms the bedrock of what we at Sage Collective consider essential for vibrant living: the right to live with dignity, in equality, and in a community that respects and values each individual.

While not legally binding, the UDHR’s influence is unmistakable. It has been a guiding light in shaping a world where the rights to health, education, and freedom from discrimination are increasingly recognized as essential to living life in its fullest, most vibrant form.

The Continued Relevance of Human Rights Day

Today, Human Rights Day is more than a historical commemoration. It’s a call to action. It’s a reminder that our pursuit of vibrant living for all ages, especially for us in the older adult community, is ongoing. In advocating for senior rights, from combating ageism to ensuring access to healthcare, we are upholding the very essence of the UDHR.

This day also reminds us that vibrant living is nurtured in a society where the rights of all are protected and respected. It encourages us to stay informed, to engage in meaningful dialogue, and to support initiatives that promote equity and justice.

Living Vibrantly by Upholding Human Rights

At Sage Collective, we believe in the power of community and connection in fostering vibrant living. Observing Human Rights Day aligns with our commitment to nurturing an environment where everyone, regardless of age, can thrive. It’s about building a community that not only respects human rights but also celebrates the rich diversity and potential of each individual.

As we mark Human Rights Day, let’s renew our commitment to these principles. Let’s continue to educate ourselves, engage in our communities, and advocate for a world where every person can live vibrantly and with dignity. This is how we honor the legacy of the UDHR – by living it every day in our actions and interactions.

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10.26.23 | Sage Advice

5 More Books You Have to Read This Fall

With autumn back again, there’s no better time to dive back into the art of reading. Last year, we recommended 5 books to enhance your fall reading, and this time around, we’re back with five more. Our selection this season includes captivating memoirs, enthralling collections of stories, and thought-provoking manifestos. These literary treasures are your passport to new worlds, fresh perspectives, and endless inspiration. So, let’s dive into this season’s must-reads:

How to Say Babylon, Safiya Sinclair

How to Say Babylon, Safiya Sinclair

Found on nearly everyone’s fall book list, How to Say Babylon is a story that resonates deeply with our values at Sage Collective. Sinclair’s memoir illustrates a powerful story of a young Jamaican girl, who, even through a life of strict abuse, discovers her voice and the power of sharing her story. For anyone who loves a tale of liberation and one rich in moving storytelling, this is the book for you.

Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant, Curtis Chin

Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant, Curtis Chin

In another recently acclaimed memoir, Curtis Chin shares his experience growing up as a gay Chinese American in 1980’s Detroit. The memoir is filled with laughs, heartfelt moments and vivid memories of Chin’s past. For anyone who holds an appreciation to the community around them and belief in its power to shape us throughout life, this should be at the top of your list. 

Our Strangers: Stories, Lydia Davis

Our Strangers: Stories, Lydia Davis

Author Lydia Davis’ latest collection of short fiction stories poetically explores a variety of topics from marriage to what we put in our coffee. Anyone who loves the ability to revisit the same story a handful of times and with each time, coming out with a new perspective will appreciate Our Strangers: Stories. And in a move to support small businesses, the book is only available to purchase form online independent retailers and bookstores. 

To Free The Captives, Tracy K. Smith

To Free The Captives, Tracy K. Smith

Smith bluntly shares her views on where the state of the Nation is in her latest novel. Exploring every topic from the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 to her own experience as a Black woman, mother and educator in the 21st century, she presents a manifesto on how our country could come to a new, shared perspective of recent history. 

Wednesday’s Child, Yiyun Li

Wednesday’s Child, Yiyun Li

Award winning Author, Yiyun Li explores the unexplainable feelings of aging, alienation and grief in her latest collection of stories. Each piece, previously published as singular works by The New Yorker, Zoetrope and other publications over a span of a decade, shares a different perspective on the cost of living. 

Whether you prefer reading alone, with a companion or in a book club, don’t hesitate to pick one or two of these books up for yourself this fall. You can find them at your neighborhood libraries, local bookstore or online. And as with all good reads, spread the word to friends and family when you finish a book you really love!

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10.19.23 | Sage Advice

The Importance of Screen-free Time

There’s an undeniable charm in reminiscing about the times when activities like flipping the pages of a book, taking in the sounds and sights of nature, or engaging in heart-to-heart conversations didn’t involve any digital devices. Today, as we sit in the digital age, screens have seamlessly positioned themselves into the fabric of our daily lives. They connect us to distant loved ones, open doors to vast troves of information, and offer unprecedented convenience.

Yet, as much as we might appreciate the joys of instant connectivity, it’s essential to remember that there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. The pull of the screen, while captivating, often comes at the cost of neglecting the world around us.

Consistent exposure to screens has its downsides. Physically, there’s the all-too-familiar sensation of eye strain after a long day of scrolling. Our posture might hunch, and the blue light from screens can disrupt our precious sleep cycles. Mentally and emotionally, the constant barrage of information, notifications, and digital engagements can leave us feeling overwhelmed. There’s also the small shift in our social interactions, with virtual chats often replacing genuine face-to-face connections.

But stepping back from screens allows us to rediscover various joys that lie just beyond their glow. It’s similar to joyspotting, where the world reveals delightful treasures waiting to be noticed. There’s the tactile joy of sketching on paper, the rustle of leaves during a morning walk, the enriching depth of a live conversation, and the simple act of being present in the moment.

To strike a balance between the digital and the real, consider implementing some conscious changes. Set designated tech-free hours during the day, allowing yourself to disconnect and recharge. Dive into hobbies that don’t require a screen—be it gardening, painting, reading, or even just daydreaming. Encourage face-to-face interactions, whether it’s through a friendly game night, a shared meal, or a leisurely stroll.

In our fast-paced world, where screens continually beckon us, it’s a radical act of self-care to pause, put down the device, and immerse ourselves in the tangible experiences surrounding us. It’s not about dismissing the advantages of technology but about cherishing the moments that make life vibrant and genuine. So, while we continue to navigate and appreciate the digital realm, let’s also remember to frequently take a step back, breathe, and savor the world beyond the glow of screens.

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10.05.23 | Uncategorized

Understanding the Tradition of Walking Moai

We’ve all felt it: the comforting presence of a friend beside us, turning a regular walk into something special. That burst of laughter, that shared secret, or that debate over the best coffee shop in town. Now, imagine multiplying that by a few more friends, all walking together, with a shared sense of purpose. That’s the magic of a Walking Moai.

Originating from Okinawa, Japan, the term “moai” translates to a heartwarming “meeting for a common purpose”. It’s more than just hanging out – it’s about belonging to a tribe, each step echoing with shared dreams and aspirations. And when it comes to walking, this sense of unity turns every journey into a festival of memories.

And it’s not just about the fun moments. When we walk with our pals, we’re not just burning calories, we’re sparking joy. A study from 2020 whispered a sweet secret: walking with friends makes you healthier, happier, and more motivated. It’s as if our bodies and minds instinctively know: life’s better when we’re together.

In today’s world, where loneliness sometimes sneaks up on us, Walking Moais are like a warm hug. They’re more than just a group – they’re a family. A circle where shared stories replace solitude and laughter keeps away the blues.

What’s even more magical is the transformation that happens when we walk, talk, and dream together. Those in the known “blue zones” have shown us the way. Walking isn’t just about movement; it’s about connecting, feeling, and living. A quick stroll can chase away stress, and brainstorming on the go? That’s where the best ideas are born!

So next time you’re lacing up your shoes, consider inviting a friend or two. Walk, chat, dream, and discover the world through the wonderful rhythm of shared footsteps. Whether you’re chasing health goals, seeking heartfelt conversations, or simply wanting a break from the daily grind – your tribe, your Walking Moai, awaits.

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07.13.23 | Sage Advice

What Amanda Gorman Teaches Us About Storytelling

At Sage Collective, we’re all about those personal journeys and the stories they create. And when someone like Amanda Gorman uses her talent to share those journeys, it’s impossible not to sit up and take notice. Gorman, with her poignant words and masterful storytelling, has offered us some great lessons on expression.

Telling Your Truth with Boldness

Gorman’s work brings forth an essential aspect of storytelling: raw, unfiltered honesty. A great example of this is her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” where she candidly paints the picture of a nation divided, and uses this as a canvas to craft a vision of unity and resilience. It’s more than a reflection on America’s political scene—it’s an intensely personal story of hope and unwavering determination. This courageous sharing of her perspective is a reminder for us all: the bumpy roads on our journey deserve as much recognition as our triumphs.

One thing that sets Gorman’s storytelling apart is her knack for weaving her personal stories into universal narratives. Despite being rooted in specific experiences, her stories strike a chord worldwide— a testament to the shared human experience we all are a part of.

So, when you’re sharing your story, remember, your unique journey is part of the much larger, grand tapestry of human life. Seek those threads that tie your personal experiences to the bigger narratives.

Harnessing the Power of Poetry

Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” also highlights the compelling allure of poetry in storytelling. The rhythmic cadence, vivid imagery, and intricate metaphors all come together to create a concise, yet deeply moving expression of her experiences and emotions.

When sharing your story, don’t hesitate to employ a touch of the poetic. It’s not about composing verses, but more about using language in an artful way to add layers and richness to your narrative.

Inspiring Change Through Storytelling

What truly makes Gorman’s work stand out is how it transcends the beauty of language; each poem, each story, is a call to action. “The Hill We Climb” is more than just a reflection of the present—it’s a clarion call for a better tomorrow. In this, Gorman teaches us that our stories aren’t just relics of the past, but catalysts for inspiring change. By sharing your experiences, you too can foster empathy, understanding, and even trigger action. Your story holds the power to inspire others and spark transformation.

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07.06.23 | Sage Advice

Digital Essentials: Navigating The Larger Web

For many older adults, engaging with digital technology is a journey of discovery and empowerment. It’s like learning to cook a new dish – it can be daunting at first, but with the right ingredients and recipe, it’s a joy to create something wonderful. Just as we advocate for a proactive approach to vibrant living, taking an active role in understanding and using digital tools can help older adults stay connected, continue learning, and contribute meaningfully in today’s digital age.

Digital Navigation: Walking Through the Web

Walking is fundamental to our daily lives. It’s how we get from one place to another. Similarly, browsing the internet is a form of digital walking. We navigate from one website to another, finding information, connecting with loved ones, shopping, or learning new things. Search engines like Google are the shoes that protect our feet, guiding us to where we want to go. However, remember to tread wisely and stay on safe paths, using websites that are secure (often marked with a small padlock icon near the URL) and avoiding clicking on suspicious links, just like you would avoid walking on a slippery surface.

Online Learning: Dressing Your Mind

Just as we dress ourselves in different clothes for different occasions, we dress our minds with knowledge for various scenarios. Digital tools offer older adults myriad ways to continue learning. Educational platforms such as Coursera, Khan Academy, or even YouTube provide a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, on topics ranging from history to cooking, to learning a new language. Donning this digital attire can enhance one’s sense of purpose, encouraging continuous learning and curiosity.

Digital Communication: The Nutritious Social Meal

Eating is essential for physical health, and social communication is food for our emotional well-being. In a digital context, tools like Facebook, Skype, or Zoom are akin to nourishing meals. They provide essential social interaction, enabling engagement with family, friends, and social groups from the comfort of home. Digital communication can also reduce stress, offering an easy way to stay connected and engaged, even when physical distance might make it challenging.

Setting Intentions: A Digital Agenda

In the same vein as setting life goals, having a digital agenda can help guide your online activities. This could be as simple as deciding to spend ten minutes each day learning a new skill on YouTube, or setting aside time each week to video call with family. Your digital intentions should serve your broader life goals and promote vibrant living.

Taking Control: Understanding and Mastering Digital Tools

Mastering the digital world might seem overwhelming, just as learning new daily tasks can be. But remember, it’s okay to take it one step at a time. Start with basic tasks, like sending an email or making a video call, and gradually add more complex activities, such as online shopping or digital banking. You are in control of your digital journey, just as you are in your daily life.

At Sage Collective, we believe that understanding and using digital tools can significantly enhance our model of vibrant living. It offers endless possibilities for learning, connection, and engagement. Just as we actively participate in our daily lives, we can also take an active role in navigating the larger network of the web, leading to a more enriched and vibrant life. It’s never too late to embark on this digital journey.

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06.08.23 | Sage Advice

Adapting to The Internet Highway: A User-Friendly Guide for Older Adults to Embrace the Digital World

We often refer to the internet as a modern highway. Imagine jumping onto the freeway of knowledge and connections, taking exits to destinations of choice, and disembarking when you’ve reached your desired location. The concept may seem daunting, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up in this digital age, but fear not! Just like learning to navigate any new terrain, once you understand the rules of the road, the journey becomes more manageable. 

However, the internet highway, much like any journey, comes with its share of challenges and potential roadblocks. But we firmly believe that it is never too late to embrace this digital world, and doing so can unlock new realms of communication, knowledge, and convenience. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth ride.

Learn the Basic Tools:

Your digital journey begins with understanding the basic tools. Computers, smartphones, and tablets are your vehicles on the Internet highway. Start by familiarizing yourself with their functionalities, like turning them on/off, charging, and installing applications. 

Understanding the Online Map:

Search engines like Google are the maps of the digital world. They help you locate the information or services you’re looking for. Entering words related to your topic of interest (keywords) will lead you to numerous websites, images, news, and more. On your journey, these tools within the online map will be useful resources in helping you better understand all of the directions you can travel. 

Safety First:

As on any journey, safety is paramount. Beware of digital road hazards like phishing (fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information) and cyberbullying. Always ensure you’re visiting secure websites (look for ‘https’ in the URL), avoid sharing sensitive personal information online, and maintain strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. 

Social Media as Scenic Routes:

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are excellent places to connect with loved ones, meet new friends, or join groups of interest. However, always be mindful of the information you share publicly. 

Embrace Online Learning:

Many institutions offer free or inexpensive courses online, from learning new languages to picking up cooking tips. Websites like Khan Academy, Coursera, or TED Talks are wonderful resources to broaden your horizons right from the comfort of your home. 

Tech Support is Your Roadside Assistance:

Finally, remember that there’s always help available. From the tech-savvy grandchild to the friendly helpline of your device manufacturer, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you find yourself lost on the digital highway.

Embracing the internet highway isn’t about leaving the past behind but about enriching our lives with the tools and resources of the present. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. Happy traveling!

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