The Inner Work of Age

The Inner Work of Age : Shifting from Role to Soul

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A guide to working through the inner obstacles of late life and embracing the spiritual gifts of aging

* Award Winner in the Health: Aging/50+ category of the 2021 Best Book Awards sponsored by American Book Fest

* Award Winner in Non-Fiction: Aging and Gerontology category of the 2021 Best Indie Book Award

* Offers shadow-work and many diverse spiritual practices to help you break through denial to awareness, move from self-rejection to self-acceptance, repair the past to be fully present, and allow mortality to be a teacher

* Reveals how to use inner work to uncover and explore the unconscious denial and resistance that erupts around key thresholds of later life

* Includes personal interviews with prominent Elders, including Ken Wilber, Krishna Das, Fr. Thomas Keating, Anna Douglas, James Hollis, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Ashton Applewhite, Roshi Wendy Nakao, Roger Walsh, and Stanislav Grof

With extended longevity comes the opportunity for extended personal growth and spiritual development. You now have the chance to become an Elder, to leave behind past roles, shift from work in the outer world to inner work with the soul, and become authentically who you are. This book is a guide to help get past the inner obstacles and embrace the hidden spiritual gifts of age.

Offering a radical reimagining of age for all generations, psychotherapist and bestselling author Connie Zweig reveals how to use inner work to uncover and explore the unconscious denial and resistance that erupts around key thresholds of later life, attune to your soul's longing, and emerge renewed as an Elder filled with vitality and purpose. She explores the obstacles encountered in the transition to wise Elder and offers psychological shadow-work and diverse spiritual practices to help you break through denial to awareness, move from self-rejection to self-acceptance, repair the past to be fully present, reclaim your creativity, and allow mortality to be a teacher. Sharing contemplative practices for selfreflection, she also reveals how to discover ways to share your talents and wisdom to become a force for change in the lives of others.

Woven throughout with wisdom from prominent Elders, including Ken Wilber, Krishna Das, Father Thomas Keating, Anna Douglas, James Hollis, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Ashton Applewhite, Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roger Walsh, and Stanislav Grof, this book offers tools and guidance to help you let go of past roles, expand your identity, deepen self-knowledge, and move through these life passages to a new stage of awareness, choosing to be fully real, transparent, and free to embrace a fulfilling late life.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 23mm | 562g
  • Park Street Press,U.S.
  • Rochester, United States
  • English
  • 1644113406
  • 9781644113400
  • 4,452

Table of contents

Meeting the Shadow of Age by Harry R. Moody, Ph.D.

A Letter to My Fellow Travelers in Late Life

Age Is Our Curriculum

The Divine Messengers

1 Aging from the Inside Out
The Buddha's Divine Messengers
Rites of Passage What Is "Old?"
Telling the Whole Truth
When Do We Become "Old"?
Aging as Fate

2 The Three Portals of Age
Shadow Awareness: Portal to Depth
Pure Awareness: Portal to Silent Vastness
An Interview with Rabbi Rami Shapiro
An Interview with Kirtan Chant Leader Krishna Das Mortality Awareness: Portal to Presence

3 Meeting Ageism from the Inside Out and the Outside In
Meeting Your Inner Ageist: From the Inside Out
The Dramatic Consequences of the Inner Ageist
Meeting the Collective Shadow of Ageism: From the Outside In
An Interview with Ageism Crusader Ashton Applewhite

4 Retirement as a Divine Messenger
To Retire or Not to Retire?
Retirement from the Outside In
Retirement as Reinvention: Encore Careers
Shadow-Work for Retirement: From the Inside Out
Retirement from Clinical Practice: My Story as a Helping Professional Retirement as Spiritual Practice: From Role to Soul

5 Life-Changing Illness as a Divine Messenger
From Terrible Wound to Sacred Wound
Closing the Mind/Body Split
Illness of the Body: Cancer as an Answer
Shadow-Work for Illness: From the Inside Out
Caregiving from the Inside Out
Illness of the Mind: Depression or Disillusionment
Illness of the Brain: Memory Loss as Epidemic
Delaying Memory Loss and Enhancing Plasticity
An Interview with Buddhist Psychologist Rick Hanson
Illness as Spiritual Practice: From Role to Soul

Life Review and Life Repair

6 A Review of Your Lived and Unlived Life
Physician Rachel Naomi Remen on Seeing Her Life with New Eyes
The Ego's Life Review: What Was Expressed
The Shadow's Life Review: What Was Repressed
An Interview with Father Thomas Keating, Founder of Centering Prayer

7 Emotional and Creative Repair to Release the Past and Live in the Present
Emotional Repair: Reinventing Relationships from Role to Soul
An Interview with Jungian Analyst James Hollis
An Interview with Psychiatrist Roger Walsh
Lost Creativity Found: The Gold in the Dark Side

8 Spiritual Repair to Reimagine Our Beliefs and Reclaim Our Practices
Shadow-Work for Spiritual Disillusionment
Spiritual Work: Reclaiming Our Practices

From Hero to Elder

9 Elder with a Thousand Faces
What Is an Elder?
Becoming an Elder: A Rite of Passage
An Interview with Ron Pevny, Founder of the Center for Conscious Eldering
Letting Go: Inner Work for Resistant Heroes
Meeting the Inner Elder: An Initiation
New Beginnings: Reimagining the Elder from the Inside Out
An Interview with Mythologist and Storyteller Michael Meade
An Interview with Poet, Novelist, Activist Deena Metzger
An Interview with Jungian Analyst Lionel Corbett
Honoring One of My Elders: Jungian Analyst Marion Woodman

10 Elder Wisdom and the Call to Age into Awakening
The Final Divine Messenger: The Monk's Call to Awaken
Awakening into Higher Stages of Awareness
What Is Wisdom?
Transmitting Wisdom to Future Generations
An Interview with Integral Philosopher Ken Wilber
An Interview with Mystic Robert Atchley
An Interview with Buddhist Teacher Anna Douglas

11 Elder Activism and the Call to Serve Something Larger than Ourselves
The Call to Sacred Service and Elder Activism
The Shadow Side of Service
Heeding the Call or Denying the Call: Inner Work for Resistant Elders
An Interview with John Sorensen, Founder of Elders Action Network An Interview with Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Former Abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles Conscious
Grandparenting: Caring for the Souls of Our Young Ones
Climate Change: Collective Mortality Awareness

Life Completion

12 Moving toward a Completed Life
An Interview with Altered States Pioneer Stanislav Grof
An Interview with Transpersonal Psychologist Frances Vaughan

13 Reimagining Death as the Last Rite
The Shadow Knows: Its Secret Preparation for the End
An Interview with Spiritual Teacher Mirabai Bush, Coauthor with Ram Dass

Legacy Letter to the Grandchildren Acknowledgments

Shadow-Work Handbook for Aging Consciously


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Review quote

"As Connie Zweig points out in her deep and comprehensive book, it isn't easy to age well when a human life is seen as a problem to be solved. In this time of rapid change, we need more of an inner experience. This valuable book will help you sort out what is important in life from what is a distraction. Getting old is a challenge, but it can be a joy." * Thomas Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Care of the Soul * "The Inner Work of Age is an inspiring roadmap to uncover our motivations for what we do with our precious long lives. Even after many years of teaching positive aging and activism, this book has me questioning and exploring my inner self to consider my future choices." * Lynne Iser, president of Elders Action Network * "We need stories of possibility. This is a rare book distilled from Connie's deep and broad experience studying the leap from adulthood to elderhood. When I read it, I knew I was in the presence of a wise guide." * Richard Leider, author of The Power of Purpose * "Connie Zweig expands on my invitation to 'refirement.' The Inner Work of Age offers us a veritable resource book on healthy aging and refiring of the soul that honors the rite of passage that eldership is and that our society neglects to its peril. I highly recommended her diligent and insightful contributions!" * Matthew Fox, author of The Hidden Spirituality of Men and Julian of Norwich * "This is a profound book. Take your time with it. You will find a broad range of ideas, interviews, and spiritual practices pointing to the inner work that we need to undertake for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our planet. Choose from among the vast array of insights and practices that Connie makes available to you and get to work." * Thomas R. Cole, Ph.D., author of The Journey of Life and Old Man Country * "Instead of simply slipping into old age without an appreciation for the process, Zweig encourages her readers to mine their lives for all the gold and silver that's there. This is a book to take your time with, to savor the feelings and memories evoked and to dive into the wisdom you're bound to find within yourself. You'll learn not to just grow old, but to let yourself become an elder filled with vitality and purpose." Krysta * Krysta Gibson, New Spirit Journal * "Dr. Zweig reminds the reader that 'as each of us chooses not to merely grow old but to grow whole, to intentionally step across the threshold to become and Elder, we discover that aging can be a spiritual path." There is a lot of 'stuff' that comes up as one ages and reaches certain milestones that are too often associated with redundancy, where one feels relegated to the corner of the room, no longer viable, when one's 'doing' slows down and as such, one might be termed a liability to society and instead of an honored and revered member. This inner work, this move to self-awareness will greatly benefit the reader in particular - and one's community as well. Do the inner work necessary to transition to the role of elder-you've earned that crown. Wear it with pride." * Anne Greco, Musing Mystical *
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About Connie Zweig

Connie Zweig, Ph.D., is a retired psychotherapist, former executive editor at Jeremy P. Tarcher Publishing, former columnist for Esquire magazine, and contributor to the LA Times. Known as the Shadow Expert, she is the coauthor of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow and author of Meeting the Shadow of Spirituality and a novel, A Moth to the Flame: The Life of the Sufi Poet Rumi. She lives in California.
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Rating details

29 ratings
4.52 out of 5 stars
5 62% (18)
4 28% (8)
3 10% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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