With his humility, strength and incomparable experience, Tom holds sacred space like none other. He makes everyone feel safe, welcome, and valued.” – Glen, film maker

One ceremony with Tom is like 10 years of psychotherapy.” – Candace, 20 year old college student

My gratitude for Tom can’t be put into words, my entire world-view and perception of reality now reflects something much closer to truth. There isn’t a much bigger gift you could give someone, so thank you Tom.” –  Ian

“Tom is such a valuable presence in the world. I can’t think of any men I know that hold the kind of space that he holds.  His years of dedication from his heart in your apprenticeship with the work he does has created such a strong center in him.  It’s very unique and so needed.” – Isabelle, therapist

“I wish I had taped that conversation with Tom. What I would give to sit and talk one on one with him for an hour. He really knows how to communicate with people.” – Mary

“This couple has traveled all over the world and they have never met up with anyone that could convey a message that they connected with. Tom got thru to them….he has a way of delivering messages  that is a gift.  The more people Tom talks to the better our world will be…. how many others are there out there that don’t believe the fundamental truth that they are worthy and sacred at their core? Thanks for having the patience to get this message thru to my friends, and to others.” – Nancy, business owner

“Dear Tom, 

I’m holding great Gratitude for your presence in my life. It felt wonderful to be in the presence of older and newer friends! It revived many latent memories and images of special events – some of which may have seemed ordinary when they occurred, but in retrospect, they were not only the glue which bound us in the past, but continues to bind us in the present, and which resulted in a marvelous ceremony.

My preparation for the Recognition Rite was a TOTALLY EXCELLENT experience for me. Beginning with the series of meetings, one-on-one with you Tom, allowed me (with your guidance and encouragement) to completely review and explore, re-live, savor, and assess, my entire life in an organized manner and provided a fuller understanding of my personal richness.

I loved the process! The sessions were amazing! Through them I was able to unearth, discuss and understand my journey in greater detail, understanding myself (and appreciating myself) more fully.

In a life full of change, this process let me see how I got to be where I am now, and, knowing that, makes the rest of my life more tangible, somehow – like I can see that I did pretty good during it all and so the best I can do is to just continue doing it, and to just be ME. Thank you so much.” – Don

Dear Tom,

Don and I wanted you to know how much this ceremony meant to us, and all who were invited who have a special place in our hearts. I had many tears over the special rememberings for Don revealed that day. You helped to make this one of the most memorable days of our life together.

We were really touched that over 80 were able to attend.

Thank you Tom, for the many days of beautiful work you did with Don, going through “his Illuminating Life”, and helping him see how very important his “being” state is—-how much you acknowledged and appreciated his elderhood—–helping him realize the special gifts he has developed and can give to others, and he’s looking forward to this opportunity.  This was a very rich, deep and gratifying experience.

Thank you so much for being in our lives and showing up so beautifully for us.”     – Susan

Tom, you did such a beautiful job in bringing together 75 years worth of Don’s friends and family, stories from every part of his long life, music, prayer, joy, tears, laughter and a standing ovation for Don and for you.  It is amazing to hear so many people share stories about a person I feel I know so well.  Each story described different people,  different decades, different corners of the globe, different ventures but everyone described the same essence, the same twinkle, the same generosity, competence and love of and for the man we know and love.

It was very powerful to experience so many layers of one person’s life, to travel through time in all of those stories, to see a life path described in all its turns and bumps and glory, to cry and laugh and celebrate WITH HIM. The beauty is that we now know Don even more deeply AND we still have years ahead of us to continue on down the road with him.

EL – Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher for 35 years.”

“I’m a retired nurse and I have observed many families and friends of patients gathered in hospital waiting rooms, or circled around hospital beds awaiting medical updates, or quietly holding vigil.  Some of those visitors hadn’t seen each other or their ill family member for long periods of time, and sometimes they came long distances to be there for the sick one, or to be there for each other for their shared loss. These reunions appeared to be weighed down by the gravity of the moment and the shadow of hospital ambience.

I also worked in a nursing home where most of the residents had some form of dementia, and many were unable to receive or respond lucidly to visitors. Underneath the effort to simply greet and attempts to connect with declining patients,  there was  often a notable substrate of melancholy and sense of dispirited loss.  The accounts of elders in diminishing health leading to despair and hopelessness has become ubiquitous in our culture.

In complete contrast, I recently participated in a recognition rite of passage for a 75 year old friend of mine, created and directed by Dr. Tom Pinkson called “A New Vision of Aging.” The experience was one of the most positive, uplifting, emotionally satisfying celebrations I have felt and witnessed.   My friend was surrounded and honored by a large group of people from all aspects of his life – his wife and children, grandchildren, coworkers, friends, neighbors, people from his past and present – and he was  swept up in our rejoicing of him at this celebratory event. Transported by the love pouring out to him, his joy was radiating and shining on the rest of us. I can still feel the glow when I picture his rosy face with it’s giant grin.

As I reflect on this experience and recall my years observing people in hospitals, I imagine turning back the clock, and then picture  all those patients and their families working with Tom.  In that parallel universe I picture them reclaiming their wisdom and revitalizing their dreams, as Tom puts it.  I envision the participants of the honoring ceremony listening to their elder  father, mother,friend, brother, sister, aunt or neighbor, answer the question, “have I lived a full life?”  And see them glowing, as my friend did, as he and others tell the empowering stories that illuminate the value of all those small things that seemed to have gone unnoticed but have touched others, as well as those grander accomplishments.

I can see it in my mind’s eye and wish for this special gift to be bestowed on many many more people, and also for myself. Thank you so much. – Sharon

“Like so many people, my connection with my mom has been transformed since her death. All of the tension and conflict vanished and I could see and truly appreciate the deep, unfaltering love that was really at the heart of everything she did. I only wish that transformation could have happened while she was still here. Making that possible is what this work is about.

Faced with life-threatening illness everyone from Steve Jobs and Bill Clinton to one of my best friends has talked about the profound transformation their life has undergone. Priorities get straight, relationships get healed, what matters most in life becomes crystal clear and of paramount importance. I don’t want to wait for a life-threatening crisis to get in touch with those things. I want to start making sure every day counts right now.

Making that possible is what this work is about.

Some of my closest relationships with family and friends have been strained or broken over time. I don’t want to wait until I’m on my death bed to heal those connections. At Don’s Honoring ceremony I saw two of his grandkids who had a long history of antagonism embrace each other. That’s the reconnection I want in my life. Making that possible is what this work is about.” – Barry F., Business consultant

“I was privileged to attend a New Vision of Aging Recognition Rite honoring a dear friend of mine. It was a very personal and joyous celebration that reflected the hours of work that Tom had done with the whole family. I am so glad that my friend had the opportunity to speak about the sum of his life to us all in attendance and for him to hear how much he was loved and valued by his family, past co-workers and friends.” – Diana S., Travel Agency Owner

Learn more about Recognition Rites

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