The enterprise of conscious aging is about developing and maintaining integrity.
~ Robert C. Atchley
The impermanence of the body should give us great clarity,
deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes
of this mysterious existence we share
and are surely just traveling through.
Growth in our later years requires a shift in perception
and a growth in our personal compassion
~ Robert P. Johnson
How are we to find a path with a heart — especially in later life?
Perhaps by following our heart,
by following what is truly beautiful.
~ John Sullivan
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.
~ Mary Oliver ~
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
our eyes open, and our heads above water.
And I say, see who is in there with you…and celebrate!
~ Hopi Elder
Writing Deepens Spiritual Experience
I have always loved walking among trees. One day an oak tree never seen before connected with me in a special way. Years later, after learning about poetry, I was able to nurture and expand the meaning of the experience. See my poem, Rehab on Jerseyville Trail, recently published in Tower Poetry.
Related to spiritual enhancement through writing, an elder named Glinda recently decided to do acts of kindness for 60 consecutive days to celebrate her 60th birthday – And to write about the experience.
Writing Exercise for Community
Many spiritual authors recommend keeping a gratitude journal. How about keeping a kindness journal for a week? Write down your acts of kindness each day and reflect on your feelings – especially your understanding of how appropriate the acts were. You will find that this mindful attention increases your awareness of kindness acts and opportunities. Your acts of kindness will be enhanced naturally.
Conscious Living, Conscious Aging: Embrace and Savor Your Next Chapter
Ron Pevny; New York: Atria Books/Beyond Words, 2014.
Without physically guiding us on retreat deep into nature, Ron Pevny takes us on the next best journey – a stay-at-home version of the essence of his Choose Conscious Eldering retreats. Administrator of the fifteen-organization Conscious Aging Alliance, Pevny is a psychotherapist.
Pevny invites us to commit to conscious aging and indeed to pursue what conscious eldering might mean specifically for each of us. He has studied with Jan Milburn who has engaged over a long period of time with the Raramuri people in Northern Mexico. He teaches us what he has learned about the archetypal ELDER. This indigenous group employs a traditional 12-year training period for this honoured role – preparing elders to lead the people to live in balance with nature and other influences.
Conscious Eldering takes into account the messages of the Positive Aging movement — healthy aging, aging in community, life planning, seniors in service — but adds the spiritual dimension. An older person commits to the ongoing inner work required to enter the new life stage of Elderhood, with an enhanced sense of identity and a calling to serve. Both identity and calling must change and grow across later life and through the dying process. Pevny places special emphasis on the role of nature as healer and teacher. He also illustrates how rituals can embody the dramatic transitions required for conscious aging.
To achieve such a transformative spirituality, one commits to sustaining spiritual practices and finding (or creating) a supportive community. Pevny addresses a series of practices, including life review, re-writing our disempowering life stories, forgiveness, releasing the past, living in-between, legacy building, creativity, rites of passage, community, and service. The exercises in the appendix are especially suitable for writers – journaling on life review, legacy letters, no regrets, death lodge rite of transition, wisdom of dreams, and setting ‘ten intentions for ten years’.
Click for complete book review: Ryan-Pevny14-ConsciousLivingAging
Web Resources on Conscious Aging
With this shadow photo, I bid you adieu until next time.