Plenary Session: World Café: Shifting the Aging Paradigm to Sage-ing Opportunity: Christina BaldwinAccording to US census data, about 13% of Americans are currently over age 65. By 2030, more than 20% of Americans will be in that group. By 2050, about 89 million Americans will be over age 65, more than double the number today. These statistics lead to repeated media coverage about how hard it is going to be, both for all these elders, and for the poor young people who are burdened with us all!
But what is the potential in our collective aging for renewed leadership? for expanded spirituality? for levels of cooperation and collaboration beyond our current imagination?
This plenary session, housed in the heart of the Sage-ing Conference, is an invitation to open our current imagination to the highly generative pattern of World Café. It goes like this: the whole room is set with small café tables of 4-8 people each. Christina Baldwin, conference Storycatcher and facilitation guide, will host the café, offering 3 rounds of questions. Every table has its own conversation about the question, then all but one person (the host) move to other tables, and the conversation continues in new configurations. World Café generates synergistic narrative to guide us forward.
Engaging the three generations of elders at the Conference—Boomers, Builders, and Great Ones—What is your response to aging at your particular stage of life? What are the gifts and needs of each generation of elder? How do we find/build a common language to bring our wisdom into public arena to hasten the paradigm shift?
Now that's a challenge—hastening paradigm shift! So once we have harvested our insights, we'll take on a round to support Sage-ing Guild leadership questions about our emerging threefold purpose of learning, service, and community embedded in our core identity of spirituality. It's a whole community in conversation—come to the café!
Christina Baldwin, MS, Educational Psychology, comes to circle facilitation and storycatching with four decades experience as a writer, seminar presenter, and community leader. She began her national career as a founder of the journal writing movement in 1977 and wrote the classic, Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice in 1991/rev. 2006. Her work on the nature of life narrative led to writing Storycatcher: Making Sense of our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story in 2005. Her understanding of the need for places to speak authentically and listen ourselves into wisdom led to her book, Calling the Circle: the First and Future Culture (1998) and to co-authoring with Ann Linnea, The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair (Berrett-Koehler, 2010).
Since 1994, Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea have maintained their own educational company, PeerSpirit, Inc., dedicated to introducing circle practice, shared leadership, and storycatching into mainstream settings. They teach and speak from their home on Whidbey Island, WA, across North America, and around the globe.