The Good Enough Elder

I was asked to give a keynote address on the subject of elderhood at the World Elder Gathering IV in Houston, Texas, October 26, 2007. The full transcript of that talk is available as a PDF document that you can read or print with Adobe Reader.

The Good Enough Elder (PDF)


The following is a sample from The Good Enough Elder:

When I was asked several months ago if I would say a few words to a gathering of World Elders from the Mankind Project I said yes with a sense of adventure and joy and a certain sense of risk taking. My comfort zone is music and poetry in community...not public address. In the interest of total transparency if I were wearing boots right now I would be shaking in them.

I am deeply honored to be here and truly humbled by the opportunity.

Under a full moon in Texas, ready or not, here we go. I invoke once again a perfection free zone for us all. As Leonard Cohen says:

"Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."

In the Buddhist tradition I would like to offer up all merit from this brief discourse to those elders who I feel deserve our unending gratitude and respect. These are the hundreds and thousands of elders around the world who care for and nuture innocent children...who have lost the protective support and guidance of loving parents and family due to: senseless and cruel wars, epidemics of disease and addictions, criminal or political imprisonments and divorce...

View the full transcript (PDF)

“Being around Doug you can’t help but open your heart to his genius, his joy and his infectious passion for life.
Doug has been the inspiration and co-creator of “The Moon’s Delight,” a women’s choir in Mt. Shasta, CA, which grew under his mastery into a Winter Solstice concert. It was a standing room only event that became an unforgettable evening for all who were there.”

Nadine Aiello, artist/graphic designer


“There are three things
I was born with
in this world,
and there are three things I will have until the day I die: hope, determination, and song.”

Miriam Makeba

Doug von Koss with large Native American drum  at the 2002  Great Mother Conference
Doug von Koss, hands in prayer position, leading a song circle of men and women in Italy.