Creative Aging

By Ruth Ann Wilhelm

Ruth Ann Wilhelm is a retired social worker who began her career at Windsor Roman Catholic School Board. She then opened a private practice in psychotherapy while working contracts with a number of agencies in Windsor. She enjoyed the creativity of taking her skill from one setting, learning about the new one and developing programs that would meet the needs of each new population. Simultaneously she was interested in and studied creative writing, basket weaving, and photography. Ruth Ann has dedicated herself to a life-long healing journey that has included bioenergetics, polarity therapy, reflexology, reiki, myofascial release and qigong. In retirement Ruth Ann added djembe drumming and watercolour painting to creative interests. She was drawn to the Conscious Aging program http://www.noetic.org/education/conscious-aging through the Institute of Noetic Science. She is certified to facilitate groups and is beginning to offer them where there is interest.
Ruth Ann Wilhelm is a retired social worker and the founder of a private practice in psychotherapy in Windsor. Ruth Ann has dedicated herself to a life-long healing journey that has included bioenergetics, polarity therapy, reflexology, reiki, myofascial release, and qigong.
In retirement, Ruth Ann added djembe drumming and watercolor painting to artistic interests. She was drawn to the Conscious Aging program through the Institute of Noetic Science. She is certified facilitator.

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.

Creative Aging
“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”  John W. Gardner

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.

One thought on “Creative Aging

  • December 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm
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    Wonderful thoughts and affirmative choices to live by… Congratulations on reaching out for healing and finding a new path to honest wellness and wholeness.
    Thanks for sharing this experience with your readers and friends.

    Reply

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