Gaea Yudron is director of Sage’s Play, whose programs and creative expressions support well-being and conscious aging. Gaea turned 76 in April 2017 and is not inclined to hide her age or dye her hair.
She has enjoyed a varied career as a journalist, poet, environmental activist, mother, health care professional, nonprofit staffer, magazine editor, writer of educational materials, and much more. Since the mid 1970s, she has been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1978 she helped to found Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies, with which she is still associated. Buddhist meditation, philosophy and psychology are naturally present and form an important basis for her work and life.
At 53, Gaea felt impelled to begin a process of life review. She began recollecting, contemplating and processing events and patterns of her life, and this has gone on for many years. Some of the writings from this journey made their way into her book Songs of the Inner Life.
Gaea has been a writer and poet since the age of 11. Her latest book, Dharma Treasure in the Mountain Valley: A History of Tashi Choling is available at www.vimalatreasures.org. She co-authored a best-selling book on herbs (Growing and Using the Healing Herbs, Gaea Weiss and Shandor Weiss, Rodale Press). She contributed chapters to a number of books and produced a chapbook titled Words Themselves are Medicine. Her poetry, articles and essays have appeared in many publications, including Yoga Journal and The Oregonian.
Gaea has been active in the field of aging for nearly 20 years. She spent a decade developing educational resources designed to educate caregivers of elders for Medifecta Healthcare Training. During this time, she attended national aging conferences as a company representative. The “aging industry” milieu made her quite aware of our culture’s predisposition to pathologize and medicalize aging, focusing only on issues of disability, frailty and the need for care.
Gaea found this view of aging limited and disheartening. Elders have accumulated great bundles of life experience and have integrated many levels of understanding. She mused about the irony of people living longer and healthier lives, only to be marginalized or dismissed. Gaea found that she felt passionate about the need for fresh perspectives and programs to empower older adults. These reflections and the creative friction involved in them led her to create Sage’s Play as a vehicle for age-positive services and programs in 2008.
Since then, Gaea has been producing a variety of age-positive workshops, talks and events. In collaboration with composer Laura Rich, Gaea created A New Wrinkle, a musical revue on aging that debunks stereotypes and illuminates the opportunities of later life. The musical revue is consciousness-raising, witty, often hilarious and sometimes provocative.
Gaea’s focus on growing older with the emphasis on growing leads her to continue to create and take joy in the opportunities each day provides. Stay in touch with Gaea and Sage’s Play if you are an elder who wants to use the later stages of life to full advantage.
Sage’s Play director Gaea Yudron was a featured elder at the National Center for Creative Aging’s blog. Read the story here!