Health is a Function of Participation

By Jim Selman | Bio

I remember this phrase from the est training in the 1970s. It was one of the maxims the people received at the end of the program in ‘the little book of aphorisms’. This booklet was filled with Werner Erhard’s insights on life and basically reinforced the idea that ‘this is it’—life is what it is and reality doesn’t care what we think. The point was to stop being victims and ‘make a difference’. It was a great experience for hundreds of thousands of folks looking for answers to life’s big questions like “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose?”, “What’s it all about?”…. and on and on. The fact is that, in spite of VietNam and a lot of social unrest, those were exciting times when young Americans were beginning to wake up and take responsibility for their world.

I bought into the whole idea, resigned a partnership in a big firm, and went to California to learn what the ‘New Age’ was all about. I ended up working for and with Werner Erhard for almost 12 years. The movement was all about transformation and how human beings could participate in bringing about real change by participating with others in various ways. We participated with Werner in the creation of dozens of initiatives including:

  • “The Hunger Project” (to create ‘the end of hunger and starvation as an idea whose time has come’, a project that is still working around the world to achieve that objective)
  • “The Breakthrough Foundation” (that delivered programs for youth at risk), and 
  • “Transformational Technologies” (that introduced transformation to the business world and first conceived the idea of coaching as an alternative to traditional command-and-control management).

Today I am continuing to work along with millions of others (many of whom never heard of Werner Erhard) to bring about a transformation in how we relate to each other, the future, and our circumstances in general.

In addition to my corporate work, my focus is on working to transform the culture of aging so that our later years in life are as meaningful and filled with possibility as when we were younger. I see ‘age’ as one of the aspects of living that we so take for granted that we never consider that it is just an interpretation and that we have a choice in how we experience living at every age. Moreover, it is something we all share that can bring older and younger people together in confronting many of today’s more intractable problems.

As I approach my 68th birthday, I am grateful for everything and everyone in my life. I am healthy and feel as much energy and enthusiasm for living as I ever have. I don’t know if it is just ‘good genes’ or the fact that I am still passionately engaged in and committed to the various interests I have. I do know that the more I participate in meaningful projects, the healthier and happier I seem to be. This is what ElderingTM is about—staying in the game, sharing the best of who we are, making a contribution to the people and the things we most care about.

I invite everyone who is committed to participating in bringing about the transformation of our institutions and our world to sign the Eldering Manifesto and then put your “wisdom into action”.

© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.