November 2015

Spirit logo

A newsletter from the
California Lutheran Homes and Sunny View
Centers for Spirituality and Aging
Beyond Care: Exploring the Glorious Adventure of the Spirit with Wendy Lustbader 
Tuesday, February 2, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

This day-long workshop reflects Wendy's deep experience in the field of aging and invites us to potentially life-changing growth and self-discovery in later life.  She uses as an example Carter Catlett Williams' quest as an elder to excavate a grief from childhood, using excerpts from recorded interviews and from portions of  Williams' book, Glorious Adventure.

In the first part of the workshop she leads participants in exploring our own lives, making real for us the many ways the soul enlarges when we move through explorations that may have seemed daunting previously.  And through this we experience for ourselves how grief and vulnerability can become doorways to spiritual wellbeing.  In the second part of the workshop we learn how to apply these personal learnings in our work with older adults.  Doing our own enlarging soul work enables us to journey more deeply and meaningfully with the elders we serve.  As we experience the healing and transformation that comes from participating in this journey, we are able to invite others to embark on the "Glorious Adventure" with open hearts and a readiness for discovery.

Wendy Lustbader, our distinguished presenter of this workshop, was one of the very first speakers that the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging brought to Southern California.  It is a joy to welcome her back for this 15th Anniversary Celebration.  Wendy is a much sought plenary speaker and workshop presenter.  She is the author of many papers and books, including Counting on Kindness:  The Dilemmas of Dependency (1991), What's Worth Knowing (2001) and Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older (2011).

The CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging is celebrating 15 years of providing programming and resources that support the spiritual journey of aging.  During these 15 years hundreds have participated in workshops and seminars.  Relationships have formed and blossomed and thousands of elders have been blessed as a result of the knowledge and skills gained by those participating.  
The Center's programs have had two foci: 1) to provide resources for congregations that support stellar ministries with and to the senior adults  and 2) to equip and encourage staff at all levels and all positions in residential settings for seniors to encourage and support the spiritual journey of those  the aging in their care.

by Susan McFadden
Most of us have attended many conferences, but as the years pass, I think we will recall the gathering in Los Angeles in October of 2015 as formative and transformative.  Personally, I feel deeply grateful for time spent with dear long-time friends and people I met for the first time here, all of whom I hope to remain connected to through the coming years.  A small conference like this affords such a rare opportunity for meaningful learning and the renewal and formation of relationships that can profoundly affect our lives.

Recent Articles and Posts 

We live in a culture where people are valued by what they produce and how well they think. Often, our primary identity is characterized by what we do. Upon no longer being identified by a job title, older adults often have a hard time recognizing the meaning of their lives.

This is amplified by not being productive in the ways our culture values. This leads older adults to questions such as, "Why am I still here?" Chaplains in long-term care homes often hear these questions. That is often followed with, "I can't do anything anymore, so what difference does it make that I'm still living?" This is a deep, existential question that is at its heart a spiritual question.

6th International Conference Sponsor Front Porch Communities posted an album of photographs from the conference - check it out here

Rev. Ronald Nakasone, Ph.D, Venerable Thepo Tulku Rimpoche and Venerable Ajhan Phramaha Prasert's discussion of "Aging in Asian Cultures" at the 6th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality is available on YouTube

Carol Orsborn and Robert Weber, authors of The Spirituality of Age, discuss growing old in a youth-obsessed culture.

But there's a fourth bucket, the one we have been exploring together since that memorable conversation on the stairwell. That is, aging as a spiritual path. In this vision of aging, growing older takes on added meaning as a life stage with value and purpose of its own. The key is embracing rather than rejecting or denying the shadow side of aging.

6th International Conference Plenary Speaker Mary Catherine Bateson is interviewed in "On Being with KristaTippett."

We talk in this country often about property rights. We talk more rarely about the shares people have in each other's lives, and about people's rights to participation and pleasure, especially at the moments of passage.
We are still basking in the afterglow of the 6th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality that the Center hosted in earlier this month.  I hope you'll take a moment to look at the pictures, read Susan's reflection, and sample links to some of the presenters and presentations that we provided above.  

I also hope that you'll consider joining us on February 2 for our next day-long event.  It's the wrap-up to our Center's 15th anniversary celebration and it's going to be a "Glorious Adventure!"

Many blessings!

Nancy Gordon, Director
California Lutheran Homes and Sunny View Centers for Spirituality and Aging