Dear Friends Committed to Living and Aging Consciously:
With the arrival of Spring, all living beings rise from the cold and darkness of Winter to yet again reach for the sun. After its necessary time of hibernation and gestation, the pulse of life quickens and the indomitable life force begins to move toward its fullest expression. So it has been in all of life's communities, and so it is in the human community, where Spring takes two forms: A yearly season of the year that attunes us to renewal, and a season in the inner life whose transitions often do not correspond with the seasons in the earth's passage around the sun.
In this Spring issue of our newsletter, we present two pieces of writing which we hope will inspire you. One is a meditative practice from Ron Pevny to help you tap into your inner wisdom about what most authentically seeks to come alive in you in the elder season of your life. The other is a personal account from a man in Australia who is passionately committed to employing conscious eldering principles as he begins his journey from mid-life adulthood toward the growth-filled elderhood he envisions.
You will also find inspirational poetry, resources we highly recommend, and a listing of the workshops and retreats we offer in 2018 as supports for you to reach for the sun of your highest potential.
Envisioning Your Ideal Elderhood
An Inner Journey Toward Wholeness
By Ron Pevny
I invite you to use this guided meditative journey in whatever ways work best for you. You can have a friend slowly lead you through the process. Or you can record yourself slowly reading the script, and then periodically set aside time to take the journey and see what arises. Or you can use the sections as prompts, slowly reading each one and then in a relaxed state seeing what images arise. However you use this evocative imagery, I encourage you to pay special attention to images and feelings that evoke a strong inner sense they are showing you something important about the wholeness that is possible for you in the elder stages of your unique and precious life’s journey.
A magnificent life stage characterized by your commitment to wholeness awaits you
. These next moments are a time to let your spirit soar, to ask your most authentic inner knowing however you understand and name it, for glimpses of what this wholeness can look like for you. As you choose to let go of doubt and attachment to your younger self, you have the opportunity to co-create with the divine spirit within you the fulfillment and fruition of your growth in this precious lifetime. You live in a unique time in known human history, have unique resources at your disposal, and have precious opportunity to embrace an elderhood of growth and fulfillment beyond what you have been able to imagine. So I invite you to allow yourself to get in touch with your soul’s dream for you as you look toward your future.
Begin this journey with several deep in-breaths and exhalations.
Breathe in the energy of life and possibility, and exhale stress and limitation that keep the eagle in you grounded. It’s time to rise up and gain your soul’s-eye view of your next chapters. Imagine yourself soaring on the warm air currents, relaxed, free, joyous—and looking down at the elder you can become.
As you soar, focus your attention on the elder you doing all you can to enjoy health of body and mind.
See and feel yourself gratefully supporting the best health possible for you in that elder body that has served you so well and enabled you to experience so much of life for so many years. Envision yourself thriving in your elder body, and feel how important it is for you to do all you can to make such thriving possible. Solidify your vision by making mental notes of this experience.
Now it’s time for a shift in focus. As you soar through the sky of possibility, see the elder you living a life enriched by meaningful relationships.
See and feel yourself thriving, as you find the right balance for you between truly supportive relationships and private, quiet reflective time. See what having true community in your life looks like. Feel how important it is for your wellbeing to do all you can to make such life-enhancing relationships possible. And make mental notes of this experience.
Now another shift. As you savor the freedom of seeing your life as your soul sees it, see and feel how beautiful is the life of the elder you can be as you live unburdened by emotional baggage which distorts and saps life energy and keeps you bound to your past
. See and feel the elder you enlivened by freely flowing life energy pulsing through you in each present moment and guiding you toward your future. Feel how important it is for your wellbeing to do all you can to make such healing possible. Make some mental notes of this experience.
It’s time for another shift in perspective. See your elder self waking each morning with eager anticipation of a day lived with commitment to service
. There are so many possibilities each day to be of service. So many needs that you can help meet. So many ways to serve the community as elders have done throughout human history. Many of these will come in delightfully unexpected ways, and while others may be reflections of your abiding sense of an ongoing contribution that is uniquely yours. See and feel how important purpose and meaning are to your elder wellbeing. Feel how important it is for you to do all you can to make such a life of purpose possible. Make some mental notes of this experience.
Now, with only a slight shift in focus, you look down and see yourself as an elder whose days are brightened with laughter, joy, pleasure, excitement.
You see yourself doing things that exhilarate you, that give your body and mind exciting, enlivening, and sometimes new, experiences. At a time in life that becomes bland and dull for many people, you add rich spices with your commitment to feeding yourself experiences and emotions that help you to feel alive in your body, mind and emotions. See and feel how important laughter, joy, pleasure and excitement are to your elder wellbeing. Feel how important it is for you to do all you can to bring such qualities and experiences into your life as you grow older. Make some mental notes of this experience.
Take a moment to allow yourself to feel the joy of soaring in the realm of possibility. And now see your elder self experiencing the satisfaction and challenge of learning new things and developing new talents
. Can you identify what you are committed to learning? Can you see what talents you are striving to develop. Can you feel the satisfaction of knowing that you are stretching beyond your perceived limits—that you are growing and not allowing limiting, disempowering ideas about age to stop you? See and feel how important continual learning and stretching are to your elder wellbeing. Feel how important it is for you to do all you can to continue growing in knowledge and talent throughout your elderhood. Make some mental notes of this experience.
As you soar on the updrafts, you become aware of the incredible beauty, power, diversity and interconnectedness of life in the world in which the elder you is privileged to live.
And you see how the wellbeing—in fact the very existence of yourself and the generation to follow you—is threatened by your fellow humans not realizing how vital is a strong, mutually supportive relationship with the natural world which is truly our earth mother. See and feel how important it is to you to regularly be enlivened and healed by the energies of the natural world, and to find your ways of helping to support the health of our mother. Make some mental notes of this experience.
As you continue to soar, reflect on the reality that the currents that allow you to rise above the limitations of your personality self are the currents of the spirit in you expanding your vision and amplifying the life force that flows through you.
Look down and see your elder self embracing that spiritual dimension that is your source and your essence. See and feel the elder you continually deepening your relationship with your spiritual essence as other aspects of your younger self are gradually shed. And then look ahead to the time of your death and see your inner self alive with the peace of knowing that, as your body and personality end your life’s journey, the spirit in you is shining brightly as you fulfill the ultimate purpose of your life. See and feel how important your spiritual deepening is to your elder wellbeing. Feel how important it is for you to do all you can to support your spiritual growth. Make some mental notes of this experience.
And now this experience of soul-soaring is coming to an end.
There will be others if you allow them, because soaring is part of what you are built for. As you gently make your way back to the earth, and this room in this time, you have been blessed with glimpses of what your inner self knows to be your ideal elderhood. Now your task is to remember these glimpses, and to begin to transform them into the goals and commitments out of which wholeness in your elderhood can be shaped. So take one last minute to remember the joys of soaring. And then take three deep breaths and feel the privilege of having a body and personality, here on this beautiful planet with so much support for enjoying the wholeness that can be your elder destiny.
A Life-Enhancing Experience of Ritual
to Support My Living Consciously
by Shaun Dempsey
Conscious Living as described by Ron Pevny in his book
Conscious Living, Conscious Aging
is an approach that he sees as the key to transitioning from mid-life adulthood into the final third of life as elders in the community. However, these principles can also be seen as a general aid to living with awareness and intent at all points in life. In this article I will describe an impactful recent event where I attempted to enact the principles of conscious living to help support me at what feels like the beginning of significant transition in my life.
Celebrating my 50
birthday was never going to be cause for pomp and ceremony. I’m not one to party at the best of times and as the day approached I felt a welcome sense of calm and tranquillity settle into my being most likely as a result of being happily married, with two beautiful children and working for myself in a profession I love. Over the last 10 years I had become aware that I wanted to let go of some qualities that had served me well enough in the past, but that were impeding my progress in the future. Consequently, with the support of my wife and children I arranged to set off into the bush surrounding our home the day before my birthday for some thinking and writing time with the view to sleeping in a tent in nature behind my house overnight and waking in the morning to greet my family. On my journey into the bush for the day I took a book from a family reunion from my mother’s side which broadly outlined the story and culture of the previous six generations as they left Ireland and settled in Australia.
After about an hour I came to my first stop in the bush where I spent a long time observing the birds soaring nearby and occasionally feeding off the wing on flying insects. It was at this time I began to
examine and consciously reflect on the past in an attempt to ‘take the good and leave behind the bad’ in terms of unhelpful truths and personal characteristics.
I read my family history book and realised that so much of my family’s story for many generations had been characterised by extreme poverty and destitution, which I felt had shaped a lot of my immediate family’s negative behaviour (ie the behaviour of my parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles) over my last 50 years. Consequently I became aware that it was a quality I wished to leave behind. I spent some time writing a legacy letter to my children about my experience of being raised by my parents and the role of poverty in shaping their parental tendencies.
After a couple of hours of thinking, writing and observing the birds I took my leave of that temporary camp and moved further up the ridge in search of some shade and a place to lie down. It was at this stage I became aware of another important principle of conscious living;
the importance of simply being rather than always doing
. In my day-to-day life at work and home over the last ten years, and particularly in the context of a busy family life with children, I had become accustomed to always being busy and always engaging in tasks or doing something. However, the feeling of being alone in the bush, with no pressing time limits and the support of my family back home who were ‘holding space’ for me while I did this work, was enough to free up something in me at that time, thereby allowing me to drop the need to
, and connect more with the feeling of
After a brief rest I moved further up the ridge to find a third space in which I could nestle against a tree and recommence my writing and thinking. I had been away from home for about 4 hours in total now and it was approaching the middle of a very hot day. It was at this point in the day I made an important decision to complete a full 360 degree circuit of the bush track. I had a part of me that wanted to take the safe option and retrace my steps back home, but I also had a younger, more adventurous part that was curious about whether I could indeed complete a circuit and link back in with the original track. I completed an internal check in – something I do regularly when I’m in tune with myself and which centres me and helps me connect with the larger power I feel in my life. It was during this process that I was both dr
awn to an activity I wanted to do (that felt whole or holy)
as well as feeling
acting as a channel to allow a larger power to do its work
. My experience of engaging with this energy is that it is an accumulated power – consequently, having made the decision to complete the 360 degree circuit, a number of other very important pieces of my experience that day fell into place.
For full article,click here
In Praise of the Earth
~ John O'Donohue ~
To Bless the Space Between Us
Let us bless
The imagination of the Earth.
That knew early the patience
To harness the mind of time,
Waited for the seas to warm,
Ready to welcome the emergence
Of things dreaming of voyaging
Among the stillness of land.
And how light knew to nurse
The growth until the face of the Earth
Brightened beneath a vision of color.
When the ages of ice came
And sealed the Earth inside
An endless coma of cold,
The heart of the Earth held hope,
Storing fragments of memory,
Ready for the return of the sun.
Let us thank the Earth
That offers ground for home
And holds our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.
Let us salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.
The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed's self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.
The humility of the Earth
That transfigures all
That has fallen
Of outlived growth.
The kindness of the Earth,
Opening to receive
Our worn forms
Into the final stillness.
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
By Diana Chapman Walsh
He asks me a question I’ve never considered before.
When is it that you know you have to go someplace else?
At first I think I don’t know, don’t go, never have,
just try to please, do what’s expected,
bloom where I’m planted.
But then the answer germinates in the soil of my mind.
I see a potted plant, roots protruding from the drainage hole
in the bottom, to go, bursting to grow.
After weeks or months or years of putting its root system down,
of consolidating its power, husbanding its resources,
it has reached a crisis point, lost its equilibrium,
has to go, has to grow.
I run down to the cellar and root around for a larger pot,
a little larger only, so my vulnerable plant won’t wilt in the
unstructured vastness of a new world without apparent walls.
I have to smash the old pot to rescue my restless plant,
impacted root system now naked in my hand.
A small sacrifice, but a radical operation
to deliver the plant from death.
When is it that I know I have to go someplace else?
When I have to grow or die?
The Trail of Age
by Robyn Plante
written during a Conscious Eldering workshop 3/27/18
Do the women of the Andes
Moisturize before bed?
Does the Zulu maiden
Have a Facebook page?
What cries go unheard
Between the lines of age?
Must the heavy cream of youth
Sour into crusted yogurt lids?
Or is there a way to refresh, refresh, refresh?
Plumb the inner spring
Drink deep, elixir
Of your passion
Some say it is possible to bubble
With zeal and enthusiasm
Even as the dying light of the moon
Narrows your path…
In this age you are learning
To see in the dark
Slow steps hone keen vision
Arms reach to embrace the holy,
Finger the night
Even now, my friend, even now
The ancient trail blinks
Night eyes rove in blessing
A friendly wind
Murmurs at your back.
Follow and lead
Lead and follow
Take a hand
My friend, you are not alone
On this trail of age.
The Privilege to Refuse our Flowering
By David Whyte
..I look out
growing so wild
and faithfully beneath
why we are the one
part of creation
to refuse our flowering...
By Randy Morris –2002
written while on the first
Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat
Elder love is a marvelous thing,
Coming, as it does, at the last
Born in darkness, hardship and pain,
Broken love and loss without gain.
It circles and swirls and constellates
When the spirits, in all their might,
Deem the time is right.
And when that time comes, as come it shall
The heart breaks open in love.
A love so strong and fierce and wide,
Your fear and resistance it will not abide
Your petty excuses, and calendars jammed
In this bright light are but a sham
Priorities are ordered according to fitness,
And all of existence becomes your witness.
Now elder love heals many ills,
Some too painful to mention.
When a wrinkled hand is placed in just the right spot.
On forehead or shoulder or anywhere too hot,
Love like a river pours into the bones,
And the child who receives it ceases to moan,
Knowing that she is the chosen one, placed above all.
Basking in the glory of ecstatic free-fall.
Elder love has a countenance benign
That belies its stupendous might.
When friends and animals and gardens galore,
Even enemies and soul-suckers of yore,
Are brought into the circle of elder delight
All is forgiven, and balance achieved.
Each one basks in glory that won’t leave,
And knows the gift that each must bring
And knows their place in the order of things.
So when the heavenly choir sings your tune
In the midst of your darkest hour,
When age seems a burden and love in the past,
When the body is creaking and won’t seem to last,
That’s when elder love enters your heart
With the power to bless each exquisite part
Of God’s creation, a marvelous gift,
To have brought elder love into its midst.
Conscious Eldering Opportunities in 2018
Will 2018 be a year when your deepest commitment is to find the inner and outer support you need to grow into the wholeness of a conscious elderhood?
If so, we invite you to experience one of our week-long Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreats, weekend Conscious Eldering Intensives, or Ron Pevny's new special retreat offered in collaboration with Omega Institute. These inspiring and empowering experiences tap the loving support of strong community, the wisdom of skilled guides, and the heart and mind-opening energy of the natural world to open you to the rich possibilities of your later life chapters --- for growth, purpose, spiritual deepening, and supporting a healthy society and planet through giving your elder gifts.
Choosing Conscious Elderhood
June 24 - June 30 at Breitenbush Hot Springs, Orego
October 7-13 at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
Weekend Conscious Eldering Intensives
June 15-17 at Sunrise Ranch, Loveland, Colorado
July 13-15 near Milwaukee, Wisconsin
July 20-22 at Oceanside, California
September 7-9 in Indiana near Louisville, Kentucky
Embracing Your Conscious Elderhood
August 5 -10 at Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, N.Y.
Custom Designed Workshops
We are available to present our weekend workshops or custom-designed programs for groups who would like to sponsor one in their area. Contact us to explore possibilities.
for details on our programs and for registration information, please visit
"A beautifully written and important book about aging and elderhood. Pevny reminds us that consciously moving into our greater years is a major rite of passage, and he offers skilled guidance through the many questions and challenges, endings and new beginnings, that arise."
Meredith Little, Co-founder of the School of Lost Borders
Stories touch the heart, and the stories Connie Goldman shares in this inspiring book--the new companion to her acclaimed The Gifts of Caregiving--certainly touched mine, by making tangible and visceral for me life affirming responses to loss of health and ability which I have primarily understood conceptually. Each story she shares shines with the reminder that it is only by embracing the present moment that we know the preciousness of each of our moments.
No quality is more critical to aging well than resilience—the ability to bounce back from loss and adversity in such a way that we use these significant live events for growth. Developing such resilience involves consciously working to develop skills that will enable us to embrace life in whatever situations life’s changes place us in.
is an excellent guidebook for understanding and strengthening the skills that enable us to, not just adapt, but beyond that to thrive, as doors close and others open throughout our elder chapters. These skills are illustrated by inspiring stories from the author’s many years as a gerontologist, researcher and educator focused on how adults respond to challenging life events.
Sage-ing International's Global Conference
Sage-ing(R) International, one of the Center for Conscious Eldering's valued partners, will be holding its biannual Global Conference will be held October 25-28 at a beautiful conference center near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Featuring excellent keynotes, presentations and workshops by leaders in the conscious aging field, the theme of this conference will be
Elder voices Changing the World: our Stories in Action.
S.I.also offers one and two-day introductory conscious aging workshops, an excellent year-long program to train Certified Sage-ing Leaders, and promotes Elder Wisdom Circles around the world.
For information, visit www.sage-ing.org.
The Conscious Elders Network (CEN)
Our partner, CEN, is a growing network of individuals committed to creating a culture of conscious elders in today's world. Their focus is on the critical role of conscious and committed elders in reminding society of the need to take tangible actions to ensure our descendants have a life-supportive society and planetary ecology in which to grow and thrive. CEN is a strong voice for a "conscious activism" grounded in personal wholeness and an open heart. Their signature workshop,
The Empowered Elder,
is available in video-conferencing and in-person formats.
For information about CEN, visit www.consciouselders.org
The IONS Conscious Aging Program
The Institute of Noetic Sciences, another of our partners, offers a certification program for people who want to share IONS' eight-themed introduction to conscious aging in their communities. Involving self-study and group support via webinars and conference calls, along with optional but recommended imp-person personal practice and facilitation skills workshops, this program is an excellent application of IONS renowned research in the fields of consciousness and transformation. For information, visit
Ron Pevny, Founder and Director
The risk it takes to remain tight inside the bud
is more painful than the risk it takes to blossom.