By Ruth Ann Wilhelm
Creative aging, the ability to live each moment with openness to its potential, to make choices for the richness that can be, is how I have decided to live the rest of my days. Believing in the possibilities for more of us to do the same is what calls me to share what I have learned. I see seniors, which includes me, portrayed in the press as on deteriorating trajectory in life or as busy trying to “not get old,” and to stop the aging process. I land somewhere in the middle. I believe that there is a lot that we can choose that will add to the quality and length of our lives. But nothing changes the truth that we will draw our last breath somewhere down the road.
And so creative aging, living with awareness, taking the time to enjoy life and doing what matters to us with those that matter the most to us becomes a direction. I came to this after a period of grieving the death of my husband when I was making the decision to build a new life for myself. That included learning to watercolour paint, writing classes and drumming for health. Through these, I found a renewed purpose in life. Becoming a Conscious Aging Program Facilitator was not something I had aspired to, but I am now a certified facilitator. My interest in the arts and the healing they provided with my grief made a very natural connection with the program concepts. With meditation came the specifics and the Creative Aging program was conceived.
One aspect of the Conscious Aging program is life review, exploring what you have learned from your cumulative life experience, what strengths you have to bring to aging, what strategies were not fruitful in the past and do not need to be repeated. This self-compassionate exploration combined with the fun and expression of the arts is but one example of the possibilities. Adding in self-care choices such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to support coping with the ongoing changes related to illnesses and the death of loved ones and ourselves adds to the continued quality of life.
The five-week series that I presented included Tuning into your Body, Letting the Inner Flow Out with Writing, Exploring Consciousness with Painting, Let the Music Move You and Celebration, Expanding, Sharing Ideas. As I reflect at the completion of the series what moved me most was the sense of community eleven of us created together and how the women inspired each other with their risks and sharing. On the final night as we reviewed together and went on to talk about each of our legacies going forward the theme was living with love and openness in daily life, whatever it brings and each in their own circumstances. I was in awe of the women, consciousness and the power of sharing creativity!
Originally posted 2016-12-21 19:35:06.