“Old age is not a defeat, but a victory, not a punishment but a privilege. The test of a people is how it behaves toward the old . . . man’s potential for change and growth is much greater than we are willing to admit and old age (can) be regarded not as the age of stagnation but as the age of opportunities for inner growth.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
The primary vehicles for Wise Aging’s exploration are peer groups led by trained facilitators who structure sessions based on a comprehensive curriculum developed by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. The foundational text for Wise Aging peer groups is Wise Aging: Living With Joy, Resilience and Spirit, by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal (published by Behrman House, June, 2015). Participants are guided through reflective work that enables them to come to new understandings about their lives, their selves, and their values. Learning modalities include text study based on active listening, exercises, reflection, and journaling. Topics include: exploring this stage of life; becoming one’s authentic self; a life review; relationship one’s body; revitalizing and nourishing healthy relationships, cultivating qualities of soul; practicing forgiveness; learning to live with loss, change, and death; creating relevant rituals, cultivating wisdom, and leaving a legacy.
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Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit
Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal’s Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit, is the guidebook for Wise Aging groups. Grounded in mindfulness and spiritual practices such as meditation, journaling, movement, and blessings from Judaism and other faith traditions, Wise Aging offers social, emotional and spiritual insights to help individuals meet the challenges of these years with a sustaining spirit.
In addition to its use as a foundational text for the Wise Aging program, Wise Aging can be read as a standalone book, and serve as an excellent resource for clergy- or lay-led book groups, lifelong learning groups, and other places where ongoing learning, reflection on experience, spiritual practice, and pursuit of wisdom define the agenda.
Wise Aging provides the road‐map for the journey we are all on, and that is especially relevant for baby boomers: achieving a fulfilling older age. No subject is off limits. Rabbi Cowan and Dr. Thal explore a wide range of issues including relationships with adult children and spouses; body image; romance and sexuality; living with loss and cultivating well-being.
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