Meeting Matthieu and Mark.

June 3, 2022

Meeting Matthieu and Mark.

May 29, 2023

The young mind is exceedingly focused but doesn’t often see the collateral benefits and costs of the decisions they’re considering. The older mind has developed the pattern recognition to imagine the less obvious tradeoffs that come with key life decisions.

When my “Baja aha” of MEA was “mid-wifed” nearly 5 years ago, I recognized that a collateral benefit of creating the world’s first “midlife wisdom school” was all the interesting people I would meet along the way: both students and teachers (by the way, there’s a very squishy line between who is the student and who is the teacher here).

Over the course of the past few years, we’ve had the great honor of hosting such a talented roster of thought leaders for MEA events from Anderson Cooper and Eileen Fisher (in an online event) to Lynne Twist and Paul Hawken (with Baja workshops). And, some - like musician Michael Franti - have both led workshops and been online teachers in our programs. This week, one of our cohort compadres (our students) said, “MEA is an exquisite container for life-changing conversations.” It is an honor to be one of the curators of these kinds of experiences.

Recently, we had Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and Oprah’s favorite living poet Mark Nepo here in Baja for back-to-back workshop weeks. I’m still buzzing from the experience. On Mark’s first morning with us, he penned this poem. As many of you know, this is fertile ground for epiphanies…and collateral benefits.


To Be an Elder
(in Mexico)

We are an hour north
of Cabo San Lucas and
I’m told the surf is slow
because the deep is close
to shore.

These waters have been
whispering this truth for
a thousand years:

if we live in the deep,
we will touch the world
slowly.

This is hard to learn.
It has taken me decades.

It is the deep and slow
that survive,

the deep and slow that
hold up the land on
which others come
and go.

It is why we are here,
together for a while:

to help each other slow
enough to hear the deep,
to feel the deep, to find
it in ourselves.

So we might live like
this surf, giving our all
in a gentleness that
receives all life as it
shapes the world.

—Mark Nepo

MEA co-founder Jeff Hamaoui and poet Mark Nepo who taught a recent workshop together.

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