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Becoming a Wise Elder with Angeles Arrien
Led by Angeles Arrien, Mary Ann Brussat
More of us are entering the second half of our life than at any other time in history. As life expectancy continues to rise, we are living much longer as elders than did our parents and grandparents.
These extra years, even decades, extend the blessings of life, yet in many ways we are not prepared to live them fully. Unfortunately, a dominant cultural perspective is that latter life offers only decline, disease, despair, and death. Elders are not valued the way they are in traditional cultures around the world. Instead, they are marginalized or rendered invisible, their wisdom lost to future generations. Neglected, too, are the rites of passage that help us transition into being wise elders, living deep and fulfilling lives.
If we each are to embrace these years and flourish in them, we need to consciously shift our perspective. The more challenging our world, the more we need our elders to share the lessons they have learned, to lend us their problem-solving skills, and to enhance our lives by imparting their unique gifts. As elders ourselves, we need to embrace this role for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
The rites of passage from birth to fifty years of age are well defined. We may go to school, get our first job, find life partners, raise a family, develop a career, and contribute to our communities. But the skills we develop during the first half of life are not adequate, nor are they appropriate, for the frontiers we will cross as we age; the tasks and requirements for growth and change are completely different.
Becoming a wise elder demands from us very different attitudes, disciplines, and life skills. This new terrain promises to be both daunting and exciting, and we will need to be courageous in the face of our fears and uncertainties.
Many world tales and perennial wisdoms point to eight gates through which we must pass in order to fully develop into wise people. Each has its own gift, task, and challenge. They include:
Leading this exploration is Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., a cultural anthropologist, award-winning author, educator, and consultant to many organizations and businesses. She is the President of the Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research and regularly lectures and conducts workshops worldwide, bridging cultural anthropology, psychology, and comparative religions. She is the author of seven books including The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom, winner of the 2007 Nautilus Award for Best Book on Aging. She is profiled as one of the Living Spiritual Teachers at Spirituality & Practice.
For this e-course, Angeles Arrien explores the eight gates to becoming a wise elder in 18 emails. Each contains a short essay and suggestions for applying this wisdom in your own spiritual journey., including:
This Online Retreat is available on-demand. Once you click on the "subscribe" button, you will be taken through a sign-up process during which you can choose to pay the $39.95 fee by credit card or check. You'll be emailed a receipt with a link to your "account page" where you can choose when you'd like the e-course to begin and how frequently (daily, three times a week, twice a week, or weekly) you would like to receive it. 6 CEHs for Chaplains available.
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