As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

New Year’s Commentary – Four Rivers of Life

My New Year’s Resolution is to commit to the Four Rivers of Life, as described by Angeles Arien in The Second Half of Life:

Many tra­di­tional soci­eties believe that the Four Rivers of Life—Inspiration, Chal­lenge, Sur­prise, and Love—sustain them, and con­nect them to great gifts.

Through the River of Inspiration we connect with our creative fire and what gives us meaning and purpose. The River of Challenge calls us to reach beyond our comfort zone. The River of Surprise keeps us curious, flexible, and open to possibilities. The River of Love shows us where we are touched and where we can serve.

As we age, then, we can seek “meaningful creativity, service, and engaged generativity.”

Drop-in Activities to Promote Creative Aging

Aging with spirit often entails both creativity and community.

Too often ignored,  drop-in activities foster both community and creativity among older adults.  For example, many retirees have a regular walking activity they can join when they wish – meet any weekday at the corner at 8am for a walk into town, meet at the park entrance at 2pm any Sunday for a hike.  A friend opens her home for meditation on Tuesday evenings, another for yoga on Thursday mornings.  Members of a group meet informally at a local coffee shop at 11 am on Wednesdays.  Libraries offer drop-in book or film discussions or writing groups; recreation centres offer specific drop-in times for pickle ball or basketball; senior centres offer drop-in times for painting water colours or making jewelry.

Such opportunities support older adults in physical and mental disciplines and also open opportunities for community strengthening.  People new to retirement or new to the community have a chance to participate and to find like-minded folks.  People can discover a group to support their creative interests or engage in a new creative passion.

Aging in Community News

Bus 7 and the Grandma in the Window

Not Your Mother’s Retirement Home

Aging with Spirit News

What Really Matters at the End of Life

Writing Exercise

Imagine your 100th birthday celebration, or your 80th.  What growth, contributions, service during later life will you be looking back on? What mentors will have been important?


Book Review

The Vintage Years: Finding Your Inner Artist (Writer, Musician, Visual Artist) After Sixty

Francine Toder; Palo Alto CA: Aziri Books, 2012.

Francine Toder headed into retirement after closing her psychology practice by taking a creative writing course and beginning lessons with her newly purchased cello. The Vintage Years evolved from her inquiry into the stories of others in later life entering upon new or renewed creative pursuits and from her psychological interest in the potential benefits to brain, body, and self of such endeavours.

After an introduction to aging and creativity issues, Toder presents intriguing vignettes of creatively productive older adults. Learning a new art form or a new application of an art stretches and opens the mind, protecting the brain from cognitive loss. Engaging for long periods of intense concentration (flow) exercises the brain in ways typical of the working life.

To read more, click here: Ryan-Toder12-VintageYearsReview


With this Christmas cactus shadow photo

I bid you adieu,