|Title||Conscious Living, Conscious Aging:|
Embrace & Savor Your Next Chapter
|Publisher||Atria Books/Beyond Words|
|Formats Available||Paperback, Hardcover and Kindle|
|Available At||Amazon.com and Amazon.in|
Many of us will live much longer than the preceding generations, and we are likely to be healthier – physically and financially. So, ‘retirement‘ will be different. We need to approach our later lives afresh. However, retirement planning, even now, typically focuses on finances, health, place of residence, and (maybe) hobbies.
I am now in my mid-sixties. Earlier, I had (unconsciously), thought of retirement as pottering around the house, putting my feet up, playing sports, keeping fit, reading books, time with friends & relatives, lounging around, and so on. Basically, “chilling out”, and not having too many targets (self-driven or externally driven). And, I implicitly thought that I would be content – drifting through life in this mode. But in reality, I became restless, impatient, irritable, annoyed and sometimes angry and sarcastic. I sought and demanded attention from people close to me. I became oversensitive to my reducing capabilities, especially my memory lapses. I often slipped into despondence – “anyway, what difference does it make?”
I had read this book some time ago, without assimilating or absorbing it. Now, while examining how to make life more satisfying, I was reminded by my wife about the book. Somehow, I too had an urge to re-read the book, based on a faint recall. I read it again, and then made yet another pass of the book – very, very slowly – digesting and trying to figure out how to apply the concepts and ideas.
This time, something clicked – maybe because the time was ripe for me, or because I had read it multiple times. Or, maybe a combination of the gentle narration, no ‘boilerplate’ solutions, more focus on concepts, and guidance on what ‘may’ work (or what worked for others). One impactful message for me was – it will take time, it won’t be easy, but I need to keep at it – even if I get stuck or there are dark periods when I feel like giving up. The book gave me additional insights each time I read it.
Worth Reading For Me!
I am sharing below my thoughts and reactions in my current context.
The author uses the term elderhood, instead of the usual terms ‘aging’, ‘senior citizen’, ‘retirement’, etc. Elderhood conjures up images of patience, introspection, experience, wisdom and spiritual growth.
It became clear that there is no quick-fix – fulfilment needs introspection, patience, hard work and readiness for set-backs. Also, that there are stages that I need to gradually and consciously move through (called severance, neutral and reincorporation in the book). To feel fulfilled, I need to have intentions aligned with my capabilities, be of service to others (without intruding) and accept help with gratitude.
I now understand that one can’t gloss over the past and just ‘keep it aside’. I will need to explore and understand, and only then I can move ahead; if I just brush aside my hurtful experiences or negative past actions, they will remain just below the surface and pop-up and pull me back into the past. It requires conscious forgiving – of myself and others involved to genuinely move ahead.
I believe the book will be useful for people in their fifties, sixties, seventies and even eighties – to give purpose, satisfaction and peace to their lives as they age and reduce their despondence and frustration at their declining abilities. It covers necessary concepts and principles and provides detailed guidance and exercises for a better understanding and moving forward. It is written with substance and flair. It is deep, but not heavy to read and assimilate. And one gets new insights each time one reads it.
Please note that the book may not work the same way for others, and some may not need it at all.
More About the Book
Some of the aspects that are covered are – life review; healing the past; forgiveness; rewriting disempowering stories; coming to terms with the end of our lives; connecting with nature; creative expression; rebuilding connections with the community and strengthening our spirituality. And opening oneself to synchronicity (occurrence of events that appear connected but have no logical causal connection), e.g., I remember someone after many years, and he calls while I am thinking about him) .
There are exercises to help the reader through the processes. There are stories (“Story By the Fire”) narrated by someone highlighting his/ her experience of the topic covered, and I could relate to some of them.
A Quote from the Book
Here is a representative passage from book (at the end of the book):
“There is no greater legacy that we can leave for the generations that will follow us, and no greater gift that we can give to ourselves, than to aim high as we age, ever reaching for our best. The world needs the wholeness, wisdom, and gifts of conscious elders.“
This review (as on Amazon.com page for the book) by another expert on the same subject, summarizes the usefulness of the book:
“Ron Pevny’s book Conscious Living, Conscious Aging is a unique and valuable resource for those seeking purpose, service, and continual growth in the later chapters of their lives. Its uniqueness lies in its weaving together of Sage-ing and other conscious aging practices, deep wisdom about life transitions and rites of passage, and inspiring stories from those who have chosen to engage in this inner work, all with the goal of supporting the development of the conscious elders our world urgently needs.”
by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi,
co-author of From Age-ing to Sage-ing
About Ron Pevny (Author of the book)
Ron Pevny is the founder and director of the Center for Conscious Eldering . He did his Master’s work in Integral Counselling and Psychotherapy at the California Institute of Integral Studies, learning therapeutic and growth practices from around the world.
For many years, Ron has been providing guidance, life coaching and consulting, to help people create lives of purpose, passion and service. He brings to his work a wealth of experience, knowledge, processes and practices.
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