A Legacy, A Journey.

January 15, 2024

A Legacy, A Journey.

May 29, 2023

Chip’s Editorial Comment: Diane has been an active part of our MEA community and has traveled down to Baja three times. I always appreciate hearing her perspective.

“Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political, or economic changes. In this sense power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice. One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites. Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

On this day when we recognize the amazing impact, influence and legacy of the civil rights movement and spiritual leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I feel an interesting combination of humility, inspiration and profound challenge. Our current times and the parallels between the societal problems of sixty years ago and now — war-torn countries, capitalism and economic inequities, divisions related to racial social identities, and the dire need for peaceful resolutions to global conflicts — call upon our hearts, hands and minds. The extraordinary level of dis-ease within the U.S and across the world, accompanied by vitriolic discord make my insides contract and my heart sink. And today, we are invited to reflect upon contributing via public service, consider nonviolent social change and assiduously assert the essential nature of civil and human rights. 

As an African-American, US-born, ordained progressive Christian minister (yes there is such a thing), who is culturally Jewish, a national organizational development/change management consultant, a practicing Buddhist, an earth-based spiritualist, and DEIB practitioner, this holiday has particular saliency for me, my values and my life choices. In the early days of my second career, I was extremely active in the national community service movement.  We often heralded Rev. Dr. King’s opinion that “[e]verybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”  In these times, hearts full of grace and souls generated by love are sorely needed.    

What we teach, learn, dialogue and ruminate on at Modern Elder Academy programs and workshops is a core belief that midlife is an opportunity to spread wisdom and navigate life’s transitions within a community. We aspire to build and reveal hearts full of grace and souls generated by love. During 2024, many of us find ourselves seeking instruments of reconciliation, connection and access to wisdom for the communities we find ourselves in.

The legacy and remembrance of Rev. Dr. King reminds us of the evolution of one’s vocational, philosophical and personal lives. Dr. King’s evolution as a spiritual leader, scholar, activist and social movement builder affirms that our lives are full of transitions and changes. During the later years of his life, Dr. King became deeply radicalized as he integrated his learnings and contemplated wisdom — speaking to the role American capitalism played in perpetuating structural racism; articulating how white Americans sought to annihilate Native Americans; and how it was immoral for the U.S. to continue in the Vietnam war; and asking for a minimum guaranteed income in his platform of the Poor People’s Campaign (in the 1960s!). These are facts most often overlooked in the romanticizing of Dr. King today.   When he was alive “he was the most hated person in America” [Gary Dorrien, author of Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Social Gospel]. Quite a journey for a world reknown wisdom keeper and elder.

-Rev. Dr. Diane J. Johnson, Ph.D.

Rev. Dr. Diane J. Johnson, Ph.D. is a “sistah” - one of the thought-leaders, catalysts and co-designers of the Black MEA cohort program. The second cohort of Telling Our Stories, Celebrating Our Spirits, Visioning Our Future will take place in Baja Mexico, June 10 - 15, 2024. Please forward this blog post to Black/ African-American/ People of African Descent who would enjoy this experience. Financial aid is available. 

P.S. from Chip: I will be on “Good Morning, America” this morning around 8:35 am with one of their three hosts, who are all solidly middle-aged: Robin (63), George (62), or Michael (52).

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

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Apr 22, 2024
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Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

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A Mastery Week with the World’s Leading Evolutionary Astrologer, Steven Forrest

May 20, 2024
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Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

Apr 22, 2024
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Baja, Mexico
Apr 22, 2024
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Baja, Mexico

Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

April 22, 2024
 to 
April 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Apr 22, 2024
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Baja, Mexico

Life Begins at 50: Embracing Your Second Adulthood with Jeff Hamaoui

April 29, 2024
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May 4, 2024
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Radical Transitions: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself with Stacy Peralta, Christine Sperber & Teddi Dean

May 6, 2024
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May 11, 2024
Baja, Mexico