Searching for the Fountain of Health
Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. Doctor Ken Dychtwald has been recognized as a top authority in the subject of aging and longevity for more than 40 years. His career has lead him down a variety of roads, including the establishment of Age Wave, a firm that assists aging populations in transitioning to retirement, and the publication of over 18 books on topics such as aging, health, reinvention, meaning, and retirement.
Dychtwald takes a more personal approach to gerontology in his new book, Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Purposeful Life, which has received acclaim from both Dr.
In it, he reflects on his own life and shares some of the encounters that have led him to live a more meaningful life.
This is an excerpt from the book.
- She enjoys giving me a lecture on what she believes is wrong with Western medicine.
- “You just don’t get it, Dad,” she says to me.
- Following that, the following debate took place: My father is an expert in the body and the mind, and I respect that, but I’m curious as to why he is so adamant about not considering alternative ways to wellness.
- Ken: Allow me to begin by providing you with some background information.
- The medical office of Dr.
- If there was ever anything wrong, you went to Dr.
- Even if we were unable to leave the house for any reason, Dr.
A stethoscope was often used by the doctor to listen to your heartbeat and the sound of your lungs, which he regarded to be the most important vital indicators at the time.
That was pretty much the end of it.
Did you and your family have the impression that you were receiving excellent medical care?
Aside from that, anyone who went to medical school was generally considered to be an exceptional individual at the time.
As modern media and mind-expanding education began to expose the world to us in the late 1960s, we baby boomers were indoctrinated with the notion of challenging authority.
That movement, without a doubt, opened the door to a whole new can of worms.
After increasing my regular yoga practice from two to four hours a day (two hours in the morning, one hour in the late afternoon, and an hour before retiring to sleep), I discovered that Hindus do not view the body in the same way that Dr.
It is their belief that the body is composed of a vibrating, pulsating energy field that is arranged around seven vortices, which are known as chakras.
Maybe I was just being naive, or maybe I was just being foolishly gullible (or a combination of the two), but I started to wonder if our entire conception of medicine, with its emphasis on blood pressure, heartbeat, and lungs, as well as treatment with pharmaceuticals and surgery, was all a load of hogwash.
Progressive—or impressionable—cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco were experiencing an increase in this type of inquiry.
There was, however, a catch.
Approaches to mind–body wellness that were far more rapid were gaining traction, particularly in New York and California.
Wilhelm Reich, one of Sigmund Freud’s medical students, if you wanted to be mentally or physically healthy, you needed to free up your blocked emotions such as fears, trauma, or sexual frigidity through intense psychotherapy as well as by practicing a variety of energetic and expressive movements.
- Ida Rolf arrived with an altogether different technique that promised optimal physical and mental health via ten scheduled deep-massage sessions, just as everyone was attempting to combine the Hindu and Reichian—or Eastern and Western—approaches.
- Rolfed more than 150 times throughout those years, and I also became acquainted with the woman who introduced me to Rolfing.
- Given that you were in the thick of it all, didn’t it start to seem a little disorienting?
- Ken:You can’t even begin to understand the lengths to which individuals were prepared to go in order to discover a shortcut to the spring of health—or even enlightenment, as some have claimed.
- And the lines between mental and physical health were becoming increasingly blurred, which I believe I had a little part in contributing to.
- Casey: Isn’t it true that people’s common sense guided them in their willingness to try these new things?
- I recall debating whether or not I should do yoga, get acupuncture, be Rolfed, or try a primal scream as a kind of self-care.
Then, as a result of all of this, when I relocated from Big Sur to Berkeley, a diverse and high-minded group of doctors, psychologists, tai chi instructors, acupuncturists, psychics, biofeedback scientists, bodyworkers, and nutritionists got together and formed a study group to try to imagine a new model of medicine in which the mind and body were not separated and all therapeutic possibilities could be examined.
- In response to these discussions, Gay Luce, Eugenia Gerrard, and I founded the Holistic Health Council, which later evolved into the SAGE Project.
- A young Bay Area physician named John Travis, who had had training at Tufts and Johns Hopkins, was caught in by this extreme suggestion.
- He was the one who made the term “wellness” widespread in the first place.
- Casey: During this time era, did you writeBodymind?
- Dad, you’ve done a great job.
- Casey: This all seems really exciting, but it also sounds a little confused.
- and that’s exactly what I was thinking at the time.
After Nathan Pritikin’s diet, my friend Dr.
Doctor Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Diseasebecame a best-seller, and even President Clinton expressed support for Dean’s method of heart disease treatment and prevention.
One “holistic” approach seeks to outdo another in terms of effectiveness.
Additionally, the once-simple world of yoga practice has evolved into many other types of styles and variations, including hot yoga, vipassana, hip-hop yoga, yin yoga, and Yang Yoga as well as Kundalini Yoga, earth and sea yoga, and indigo yoga, among others.
Casey: Are you implying that these individuals are charlatans?
Ken: Some people are frauds, while others are not—and it is not always simple to tell the difference between who is and who isn’t, as well as who is simply full of shit.
The last fifty years have seen and heard a thousand different “experts” make the case that they have discovered the “secret sauce” or medication that can heal practically everything.
Those are the words I’ve heard from nutritionists, supplement salespeople, energy medicine practitioners and practitioners of anti-aging medicine, as well as psychologists, chiropractors, life coaches and biohackers.
It may be quite perplexing and daunting, though, because there is so much information available and so many options to choose from.
Do I believe that everyone should be able to practice medicine on their own?
Consider the following: Do I believe we should have another age in which Dr.
Yes, I do.
I believe it is about forming a partnership.
In addition, I see an acupuncturist on a daily basis, have received nutritional counseling, receive numerous types of massage and chiropractic treatments on a regular basis, and try to practice yoga and work out every day.
I also take drugs because I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are both related to diabetes.
If I did, I’d find a more qualified physician.
In other words, you’ve been there and done that for a number of things that I’m only now learning about.
What do you think the future of medicine will be like?
With literally thousands of variables to monitor and thousands of strategies to enhance one’s health available today, how can anybody know for certain which technique or combination of approaches—along with which practitioners—will produce the best results?
I believe that this is impossible.
It could also be far more effective at precisely diagnosing what isn’t working right and then proposing the optimal constellation of solutions for each individual if the AI is informed by a diverse range of potential solution paths, including allopathic, naturopathic, homeopathic, Ayurvedic, and others (which are constantly evolving based on outcomes research).
- Casey: Is this new health platform going to be available to the general public?
- If perfect health were available to everyone, that would be wonderful; yet, if it were only available to corporate billionaires, that doesn’t seem fair in the least.
- Casey: Thank you, Dad, for your kind present.
- Ken:And thank you, Casey, for your interest in and willingness to listen to what I have to say.
I’m madly in love with you. Ken Dychtwald PhD’s book Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Meaningful Life has been adapted for this article (reprinted with permission, Unnamed Press April, 2021).
‘Radical Curiosity’ Book Excerpt from author Ken Dychtwald
KenDychtwald, author of Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Meaningful Life, shares his own experience of losing a parent to Alzheimer’s disease in this extract from his new book.
Read an excerpt from Radical Curiosity below.
As a part of his book Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Meaningful Life, author KenDychtwald shares his own experience of losing a parent to Alzheimer’s disease in this extract.
Excerpt from Radical Curiosity: My Dad’s Final Days – MT Senior News
KEN DYCHTWALD, Ph.D. is the author. The 1950s and 1960s were my formative years, and I grew up in a lower- to middle-class, largely blue-collar neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. Our resources were limited, but no one else’s were, either. My father, Seymour, was a tenaciously dedicated individual who aspired to achieve success. He didn’t go to work to “find his pleasure,” but rather to fulfill his responsibilities as a good husband and parent. While the Depression was in full swing, his father had abandoned him and his siblings as well as his mother for over ten years.
- Eventually, my father progressed from selling apparel and home furnishings out of the back of his truck to being the owner and operator of The Dress Rack, a successful network of women’s clothing boutiques.
- We had a loving, though sometimes tense, connection throughout my childhood and adulthood.
- But dad cherished my wife Maddy and our two children, Casey and Zak – his only grandkids – and they were his pride and joy.
- My parents’ lives were going along swimmingly until, in the 1990s, my father began to lose his vision and, with it, control over a significant portion of his daily activities.
- However, as the sickness worsened, he was no longer able to write, balance his checkbook, operate his car, or locate his belongings in his home.
- My das adored my mother to such an extent that he became outraged at the loss of her memory and mental faculties.
- Eventually, as time passed and my mother got increasingly perplexed, my father began to inform me that he was considering ending his own life in conjunction with my mother.
“If I die before Mom, she’ll suffer much, and if she dies before me, I’ll go insane,” says the author.
“Would it be brave or cowardly if I took my own life and Mom’s life at the same time?” he asked me one night.
As for what I’d think or do if I were in your shoes, it is impossible for me to fathom.
My father, on the other hand, never took the action he had pondered.
It was normally approximately 120; on that particular day, it was 600.
Alan was already on his way to Florida, where he would see if he might be of assistance to our family.
The next morning, my father’s doctor promptly admitted him to the critical care unit.
During his stay in critical care, my father was violently tearing out the wires and tubes that had been strung around the hospital room.
Alan and I were in the middle of a conversation when he discovered his two sons had arrived to help him.
Get me out of here as soon as possible!
My father began to relax a little, and Alan and I returned to our hometown to visit our mother.
It was our father, asking with us to return and save him from the wolves in the woods.
We took him into our arms and attempted to calm him down.
Who are all of the folks in my immediate vicinity?
“Your father is definitely losing it,” the nurse stated to my brother and me, as we looked at her.
When I returned to the hospital, we inquired as to “Dad, what do you require?” The man said that he was nervous, but added, “I know this: I’ve spent my entire life walking on my own two feet, and I’m not going out on my hands and knees.” Please, Kenny and Alan, assist me.
Please assist me in bringing this to a close.” Alan and I had an appointment with our father’s doctor shortly after that conversation.
Were we going to fight to keep our father alive for a few more days, even if it meant doing it in a horrific, ghoulish manner?
What an intense and yet easy decision that needed to be taken right then and there, without any further delay.
We immediately had Dad transferred to the hospice ward, where the kind nurses and aides carefully removed all of the IV lines and tubes, gently sponged away all of the blood, and even shaved and combed his hair.
Following that, they began administering a mild amount of morphine to alleviate his anxiousness.
As I pondered on my father’s passing, I realized that, despite the fact that we had our disagreements, there was not a single moment in my whole life when he wasn’t there for me when I actually needed him.
After all, I had already tuned in and switched on and dropped out; grown my hair and beard; begun wearing an earring and had a variety of opinions on life that were considerably more “alternative” than those held by my father, who was a staunch believer in traditional values.
My mother had gone to bed by the time it was late Saturday night in 1971, and my father and I were having a disagreement over something.
I went head-to-head with him in a heated exchange.
Because I didn’t want things to spiral out of control, I dragged my heels into the bedroom and banged the door shut.
Okay, it wasn’t that high — maybe six feet over the ground — but it was still impressive.
With torrents of rain pelting me from every direction, it would take me around two hours to ride my motorcycle back to my residence in Pennsylvania.
“The hell with you — I’m going to do whatever it is that I’m going to do with my life,” I thought to myself.
Last but not least, I turned off Highway 78 at the Fifteenth Street exit in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and took the back road to my apartment, arriving at roughly 2:00 a.m.
Despite the fact that it was pitch black, I observed a car parked a long distance down the road near the corner.
As I crossed the street to come to my flat, I caught a glimpse of this automobile, which was turning around.
In order to make sure I was safe, he had followed me all the way to Pennsylvania, and now he was secretly turning around and driving all the way back to New York.
I wanted to show him proper respect and kindness, but I didn’t know how to approach the situation with my father on the verge of passing away.
Express your gratitude for everything he has ever done to offend you, and then tell him you will always have a fond memory of him.” That’s exactly what I did.
He woke up and kissed me back.
Finally, after years of fighting, we were able to forgive each other and even joke about our past disagreements.
The two of us hugged each other for a long time before I exited the room to give my brother some peace to do the same thing.
She requested us to snap a picture of her as she kissed him farewell for the last time.
Towards the end of the evening, after the rest of my family had returned home, I sat down with my father for a very intense and private talk.
“I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it, Kenny,” he said in response.
My father did not hold any religious convictions, although I did.
All of the individuals you’ve known and loved are gathered at that spot.” As I began to explain what had happened to him, he became quiet and began to weep.
I asked him if I could record the remainder of our conversation on my phone so that I could watch it whenever I missed him.
“I’m prepared for it, Kenny,” Dad says.
That is correct.” Kenneth: “So, the only thing you’ll need to do is to let go, to submit, and to not be concerned about anything because Alan and Mom, and I, and Maddy, and Zak, and Casey, are going to take care of everything.” Simply being peaceful and tranquil while drifting off into the white light is all that we want of you.
- “I adore you, Pops.” Ken: “I adore you, Pops.” “I adore you, Kenny,” says Dad.
- He was able to stand on his own two feet with the assistance of all of us.
- At the end of the day, his discomfort was negligible.
- He was well aware of how much we cherished him.
- In fact, he got the impression he was getting glimpses of his brothers Milton and Carl, and his sister Ethel, as well as his best friend and brother-in-law Marty Marcus.
- Hopefully, Maddy will kiss me farewell and at least one of my children — perhaps both — will be present to tenderly escort me out of my body when the time comes.
MSN Excerpted with permission from Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Meaningful Life by Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., published by Unnamed Press with the permission of the author. Ken Dychtwald’s copyright expires in 2021.
Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Purposeful Life
Taking readers on a journey from his working-class roots in New Jersey to the “tune in, turn on, drop out” cliffs of Big Sur and the pinnacles of the human potential movement; from founding his company Age Wave to coming to terms with his own aging process, Ken Dychtwald’s Radical Curiositymakes sense of his first 70 years of life, offering invaluable life lessons through the lens of a man who is constantly seeking truth and self-discovery— giving readers a glimpse Despite the fact that Dr.
Ken Dychtwald is generally recognized as one of the world’s greatest specialists and visionary thinkers in the fields of aging and longevity, he has written a book that is radically different – and far more personal – than his previous works.
Dychtwald’s research into the importance of leaving a legacy, as well as his own cutting-edge research into the importance of leaving a legacy, inspire this book.
Praise forRadical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Purposeful Life
In this crucial field, I have learned a great deal from Ken Dychtwald over the years. I am certain that he is one of the most inventive and unique minds working today. Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States “He is a brilliant storyteller who takes us on a wild and vast voyage through his self-examined life. Ken Dychtwald is an award-winning author. This is a true hero’s journey, packed with hippies and presidents, psychology and stardom, success and failure, and the most valuable of lessons learned along the way.” “I’m a neuroscientist and the best-selling author of ‘Still Alice,’ Lisa Genova, Ph.
It’s a mix of intimate autobiography, action-packed adventure fiction, and cultural anthropology, among other things.
This is a modern-day version of the narrative of Siddhartha.
This is a fantastic book.” “Ken Dychtwald maps out where success intersects with meaning in order to help you find your own unique crossing.” — Michael Murphy, Founder and Chairman of the Esalen Institute, Best-selling author of “Golf in the Kingdom” and “The Life We Are Given” “Ken Dychtwald maps out where success intersects with meaning in order to help you find your own unique crossing.” The medical doctor Deepak Chopra, M.D., “As a result of the engines of curiosity, compassion, and a relentless pursuit of self-improvement, Ken Dychtwald has emerged as one of the world’s foremost trailblazers in the pursuit of untapped human potential — at every stage of life.
Throughout Radical Curiosity, we are privy to Dychtwald’s experiences with remarkable people as well as life lessons on topics such as love and family, money and job, risk-taking and achievement, as well as the aging and death of loved ones.
Peter H. Diamandis, MD, founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, executive chairman of Singularity University, and author of the books “Abundance,” “BOLD,” and “The Future Is Faster Than You Think.”
Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Purposeful Life
What Is It About Growing Old That Makes Me Nervous? Introduction: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Part I) is a fantasy novel. Metamorphosis 25: Leaving a Legacy: Life Lessons and Values 30 Going from Newark to Big Sur without Kenny is difficult. 33A Leap of Faith 42A Day with the Angels 52A Day with the Angels A Letter to My Mother and Father on the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence 57 Creating a mental image of the Bodymind 60 The Importance of Being in Tune 70 According to Ravi Shanker The Advantages and Disadvantages of Appearing Naked 73Part II: Confronting the Paradox Destiny Knocks 79 is a video game.
108 Part III: Caught Between the Tao and the Dow Jones Industrial Average What Is the Most Memorable Day(s) of My Life?
In an attempt to transform himself, Age Wave has 133 The Age Wave and the Business Incubator: A Good Idea, but the Wrong Time 151 My two favorite teachers are as follows: 155Part IV: Being in the Room Where the Action Is Taking Place Intention, Will, and Drive: A Lesson from the Terminator 165What President Reagan Taught Me About America 170The “Greatest Generation” Looks to the Future: The 1995 White House Conference on Aging 173Big Life Lessons from Jimmy Carter, America’s Role Model 174What President Reagan Taught Me About America 174 “How Bill Clinton’s errant penis squandered a golden opportunity” Eugene Kleiner gives blunt advice on quitting, fighting, winning, and losing.
183In Service to America: John McCain’s Hands 188Quitters, Fighters, Winners and Losers: Blunt Advice from Eugene Kleiner Self, Success, and Purpose: A Reexamination of the Fifth Chapter The Collapse of Civilization 197On the Precipice 202 Take a deep breath, learn something new, and then teach it to someone else.
He’s fantastic, but he stinks.
229A Humane Approach to Death 234A Humane Approach to Death We Are Responsible for Our Brothers and Sisters 237 God of the Day and God of the Night 242 Part VI: The Age of the Elders The Third Stage of Life 249 Huston Smith’s Lessons on Aging, Death, and Life After Death 251 Standing on his own two feet, 260 Zak’s Declaration of Independence (page 267 of 267).
Life lessons learned
In case you haven’t been reading theBeacon lately, or if you were a participant in our first Virtual 50+Expo last fall, you may already be familiar with Dr. Ken Dychtwald, the respected author of 18 books on aging, the founder of Age Wave, and a world-traveled consultant and public speaker on the subject of aging. In addition to being featured on the cover of our October 2020 edition, he also delivered the keynote presentation at our Expo. Our Virtual Expo website had more than 1,000 visitors who viewed his presentation, and we had many favorable remarks as a result of his appearance there.
He was gracious enough to provide me an early copy.
It is written in the manner of a compilation of tales and essays, with many of them building on one another.
However, his narrative places readers right in the heart of encounter groups and other New Age and mind/body (even out-of-body) experiences that were Esalen’s hallmark at the time, putting them in the thick of things.
Using the same straightforward and insightful style, Dychtwald explains how he (and perhaps many other Baby Boomers) transitioned from anti-materialism in the 1960s to a college education and early work life in the 1970s, to a “meteoric rise” as a business advisor and world expert in the 1980s, to a multimillionaire venture capitalist in the 1990s, only to be briefly left bankrupt, destitute, and suicidal by the collapse of the This book takes the reader on a rollercoaster trip from the Tao to the Dow and back again.
However, while a more traditional autobiography may be more coherent and more organized, I like Radical Curiosity for its obvious honesty, self-awareness, and sense of humor, even if readers may believe Dychtwald still has a few more life lessons to learn before it is all said and done.
Furthermore, after further consideration, I recognized that it included one of the most significant bits of advice contained inside the book.
Learning from “the Best”
Find out who you are and go about your business with a purpose. Dolly Parton is a country music singer and songwriter. People began to purchase audio self-help learning programs in the 1980s, when cassette tape players were introduced in automobiles (replacing eight-track players, but decades before CDs, DVDs, podcasts, or the Internet). These programs were designed to be listened to on the road as people commuted to and from work. A typical course consisted of six tapes, with each tape/module lasting around twenty-five minutes — this coincided with the normal commuting time, which saved time.
Having heard about my bodymind, wellness and peak performance workshops, they contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in producing a six-tape collection on the subject entitled The Keys to High Performance Living.
In a studio, I recorded the six sessions and then had them edited.
As a result of my frequent purchases of Nightingale Conant programs, I ended up on several of their targeted databases as the type of guy who was interested in a wide range of self-improvement topics, which I was not.
Even though I was presenting seminars on bodymind, holistic health, wellness, and peak performance, I found myself overburdening my life with more pressure and complexity than I could handle at the time.
Later, a brochure from the president of Nightingale-Conant, Dave Nightingale, arrived in the mail, which stated:Dear Mr.
is a full-service architectural firm specializing in the design and construction of custom homes.
Do you feel like you’re under a lot of pressure?
Do you find it difficult to strike a balance between your job and family responsibilities?
If this is the case, Dr.
This well-known specialist on high performance living will assist you in solving all of your issues and regaining control of your life with his new six-tape program, which is available now.
This letter was intended to indicate that if I were out of control, I might seek assistance.
After all, when the majority of us feel like we’re losing control, we probably don’t require the advice of a “expert” on how to proceed.
In many cases, the true problem is less about knowing what to do and more about accomplishing what you know how to do.
Ken Dychtwald contributed to this article.
Please contact us through email or letter, or leave a remark on our website, thebeaconnewspapers.com.
Thank you. You may reach us at [email protected]. Radical Curiosity is available for pre-order on Amazon.com for $28 in hard copy and $11.49 in Kindle format. The book will be available for purchase on April 6.