I am not old … she said …
I am rare.
I am the standing ovation at the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art.
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense.
I am the fullness
You think I am waiting to die …
But I am waiting to be found.
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are Imprints of my journey.
Ask me anything.
Like a fine wine . . .
As an “older” person, I can identify with the opportunities and challenges of aging. And I’ve been doing it all my life. You’d think I’d have it under control, right?
Aging comes with blessings and with curses. As Wendy Lustbader says in her book, Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Getting Older:
Rather than experiencing a decline from youth, aging people were happier, more courageous, and more interested in being true to their inner selves than were young people.
But there is a duality to contend with.
Life gets better and better in all ways . . . except for the body . . .
How do we maximize all the ways that life can get better as we age, and yet also meet the very real stresses of aging with as much grace and control as we can?
The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) has developed a Conscious Aging Program, dealing with this dilemma. In 1997, they began to research what happens to people during transformations and found that there are indeed common elements, which they describe in their book, “Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life”. They found that during transformation, there is a profound shift in perception, often resulting in an increased sense of purpose, meaning and pro-social behavior.
In November 2016, I was certified as a Facilitator for the Conscious Aging 8-session workshop series, which I will be presenting at a local senior center over the next couple of months. I am sure I will learn even more about aging — its challenges and its rewards — from the workshop participants. Everyone’s journey will be have been different, but I expect to find that there are commonalities, just as IONS did through their research. I will publish an update to this blog at a later date with my real-life experiences as the facilitator of the series.
IONS identified opportunities for meaning and life getting better, while also revealing the stresses of aging.
LIFE GETTING BETTER:
- Freedom from productivity demands
- Legacy leaving
- Mentor children and adults
- Heal old wounds and betrayals
- Harvest our strengths, love and wisdom
- Protect what has heart and meaning
- Making sense of our lives through a life review process
STRESSES OF AGING:
- Solo aging
- Death of loved ones
- Major life changes
- Loss of mental or physical abilities
- Loss of relevance, former roles and/or activities
- Isolation and loneliness
Desired outcomes from the workshop series include:
- Explore unexamined, self-limiting beliefs
- Develop self-compassion
- Discover and reflect on what has given heart and meaning to our lives
- Enhance connection and reduce isolation from others
- Reduce fear and increase acceptance in the presence of death and dying
I am really looking forward to delivering this series to the senior center. If you are affiliated with senior centers or retirement homes in the Portland, Oregon metro area, I would love to speak with you about holding the series at those places.
In the meantime, your comments or questions are enthusiastically received!
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