from The Inner Work of Age
now available for pre-order
Illness can be a divine messenger: It can lead us to shadow awareness, pure awareness, and mortality awareness. It can open the portals to depth, transcendence, and presence. It can even lead us across a threshold from our identification with the body to our identification with soul.
I have heard a man say, “Cancer changed everything. It set me on a different path.”
And a woman told me, “I had cancer. They took it out, and nothing changed.”
In the first instance, with diminished vitality to keep doing what he…
Let’s call for an age justice movement now
Age is a lens through which we can view other crises. This lens enables us to see the intersectionality of issues that appear to be separate. It also exposes the strengths, weaknesses, and inherent responsibilities of society for young and old alike.
• Demographics: In 2017, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicted that by 2050 the world’s population over sixty years old will reach two billion. In the United States, a 2017 Census Bureau report predicted that by 2050 the population over age sixty will be greater than…
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Excerpt from the Inner Work of Age
You own my heart. This love has been a surprise — and the most precious gift of my late life. I was not a Mommy. So, I did not expect to be a Grandma. But I married Neil and, when you came into the world, I became Grandma Connie — and my heart swelled with the sight, sound, smell, and touch of each of you. This surprising love has forced me to grow, opening my heart wider and wider,
as you grow too.
I see your radiance — and don’t want to do…
We have lost our guides for moving through the transitions of our older years and for becoming Elders ourselves. We are aging without a map. So, how can we find the treasures of this stage? In my workshops, most participants over 60 describe this identity crisis. They report feeling disoriented, without direction, groping in the dark. And they feel marginalized, invisible and unimportant, just as they finally begin to know who they are.
As we start to share the framework of this book — the idea that late life is a call to another rite of passage — and use…
I spoke with a woman friend while writing this page. At 89, she told me, “I walked six miles today. The Fitbit said that I did my steps.”
“How did you feel?” I asked.
“Tired,” she replied. “But then Bill wanted to have sex. So, I did that too.”
Grinning, I thought to myself, “This is not my mother’s old age!”
For some of us, an extended health span is catching up to an extended life span. In the past, this was not the case: Many years of decline, with chronic illness and loss of capacities, preceded the end of…
to Future Generations
We have explored together the many developmental tasks of being an Elder or a Spiritual Elder. But how do we pass on our wisdom to our children, grandchildren, mentees, and young friends?
I suggest that we need to 1) cultivate Absolute Wisdom or pure awareness; 2) identify our own Relative Wisdom; 3) identify how to transmit it; 4) identify our receivers; 5) and identify how to attune to our receivers.
When we imagine transmitting wisdom, we typically think about sharing Relative Wisdom. We imagine a grandmother teaching a young one how to plant a garden, a grandfather…
Like age, service is structured in consciousness. That is, the quality of our service depends on our connection to pure awareness and to shadow awareness. Our stage of awareness determines how and why we serve. It colors our hidden motivations to heed the call or to deny the call.
If our ego’s agenda is to gain value, recognition, or power, and to fill an inner emptiness, we may unknowingly heed the call to serve in an effort to meet those needs. We will be outer directed, rather than self-reflective, and we won’t be responsible for our own internal experience. …
With aging, a key part of emotional repair is learning how to live with our grief. As the losses keep coming, whether today from the Virus or another illness, a divorce, a home, a role, or the passing of our beloveds, we begin to inhabit grief. Or does it inhabit us?
Like aging in general, grief is an individual, subjective journey. It’s not a tidy, linear road with a beginning and end, with a right and wrong way to do it. It happens in contexts: alone, with families, with support groups. …
Connie is author of Meeting the Shadow, Romancing the Shadow, Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality. She is writing The Inner Work of Age