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Older Generations Are Reclaiming Rites of Passage


Nancy Rhine, a gerontologist and marriage and household therapist in Mill Valley, Calif., has helped about 40 older adults put together for and course of late-life rituals involving hours of retrospection and introspection, artwork and music. “They’re legacy, life assessment, taking inventory,” she mentioned. “It’s that looking out, a contemplative follow.” Her oldest such consumer was 81.

This spring, Kris Govaars was turning 70 and nonetheless mourning his spouse, Vicki Govaars, who had died in 2019, simply weeks after being recognized with pancreatic most cancers. “I used to be a ship with out a tether,” Mr. Govaars, a former architectural marketing consultant within the Bay Area, mentioned. “I used to be struggling, making an attempt to determine my subsequent steps.”

He got here throughout the Center for Conscious Eldering, based by Ron Pevny, writer of “Conscious Living, Conscious Aging,” and determined to hitch its weeklong retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M. His group of 14, which included folks of their 50s to their 80s, spent a number of days participating in non secular practices, workouts and discussions.

For his culminating ritual, known as a “solo journey,” Mr. Govaars chosen a personal spot on a riverbank. After passing by means of a portal shaped by two timber (and having an in depth encounter with a bobcat), he fasted, maintained silence, learn poetry, journaled and wrote “legacy letters” for his two youngsters. “I simply spent numerous time in considering and meditation,” he mentioned, deeply moved by the experience.

“The consequence is hopefully a higher sense of happiness and objective,” he defined. “I really feel calmer. I really feel rather more introspective. I pay attention with an open coronary heart and thoughts. I’ll look the identical, however I’m completely different.”

In addition to serving to folks see outdated age as a section of life with objective and rewards, together with the extra generally acknowledged challenges and deficits, rituals for older adults might have an effect on others, Ms. Leardi identified.

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