Older generations restore rites of passage

Nancy Reign, a gerontologist and marriage and family specialist in Mill Valley, California, helped approximately 40 seniors prepare and conduct their later life rituals, including hours of flashback and introspection, art and music. “They look at heritage, analyze life, take stock,” she said. “This is a search, a contemplative practice.” Her oldest such client was 81 years old.

Chris Gowars turned 70 this spring and was still mourning his wife, Vicki Gowars, who died in 2019, just weeks after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “I was a boat without a leash,” said Mr. White. Gowaars, a former architecture consultant for the Bay Area, said. “I struggled trying to figure out my next steps.”

He stumbled Center for Conscious Agingfounded by Ron Pevney, author of Conscious Living, Conscious Aging, and decided to join his week-long retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. His group of 14, which included people aged 50 to 80, spent several days of spiritual practices, exercises and discussions.

For his final ritual, called “solitary journey”, Mr. Govaars chose a secluded place on the banks of the river. After passing through a portal formed by two trees (and having a close encounter with a lynx), he fasted, remained silent, recited poetry, kept a diary, and wrote “hereditary letters” for his two children. “I just spent a lot of time thinking and meditating,” he said thoughtfully. touched by experience.

“Hopefully the result will be a greater sense of happiness and purpose,” he explained. “I feel calmer. I feel much more introverted. I listen with an open heart and mind. I may look the same, but I’m different.”

In addition to helping people see old age as a milestone in life with purpose and rewards, along with more commonly recognized problems and flaws, rituals for the elderly can affect others, Ms. Kane said. Leardi remarked.