July/August Tone Magazine Article

From Adult to Elder – the Wisdom of Slowing Down

I’ve recently realized how much we want quick answers even to profound questions. We promote and reinforce the multi-tasking, frenetic pace of life such that if we can’t do two things at the same time, we’re not operating at maximum efficiency and there’s something wrong with us. I think we’ve all been there, done that.

As we enter the fall season of our lives, many of us have been so busy being busy that we are worried and some even petrified of having nothing to do.  A client of mine said she was clear she would never get busy to the extent she did while working and is now spending much of her time meditating and meeting like-minded people talking about philosophy and spirituality.  She loves telling people at parties that she is doing nothing because they often gasp, or take a step back in shock that anyone could wish that for themselves. This person is obviously doing something worthwhile, quiet contemplation, engaged from the inside out. It is often not seen that way.

I was certainly one of those who could not see the value of inner contemplation nor have the patience to do so. With time, I got to experience the profound revelations that show up when sitting with a particular problem or question, in the quiet, and allowing the answers to come up rather than forcing them.  The problem with busyness and quick answers is that it keeps us on the surface of our life, at the superficial plane and does not allow depth. When we get an immediate answer it stops the inner query.  When allowed to engage, our inner Self very often reveals to us a much richer and deeper view of a problem as well as much more viable options.

As we age, it seems to become a stronger need to connect to our soul which seems to communicate much louder in the silence.  To explore deeper questions such as what is my inner wisdom, what brings meaning to my life, what is my legacy, are questions best answered by sitting with them for a while and on a regular basis. Having been the ‘queen of quick answers’ myself, it took a lot of perseverance to do this, however, it has definitely been worth it.

Thérèse Kelders offers personal consultations and programs to facilitate people transitioning from adult to elder, to realize a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

I would love your opinions on this article.  Please go to my Website (www.lifeintransition.ca), under Blog, click the title of this article then put in your comments.

I will be at the Ottawa Valley Midsummer Herbfest in Almonte on Sunday July 28, 2013, giving a presentation on:  a Major Life Transition – from Adult to Elder:  Harvesting our Wisdom. Hope to see you there!

 

April Tone Magazine Article

Society’s View of Elders

In my March article, I talked about how we don’t have a tendency to see the elders amongst us.  The other impression that I have is that society has a tendency to see many older people as demanding and self-centered rather than wise.  Does this mean we have fewer elders than previous generations in our society because we do not ‘see’ or respect it and therefore does not get fully developed or expressed?  Or is it because we have become more ego-centric and therefore not as interested in developing our wisdom or interest in how we can make a difference in our society? I suspect the former is the greater culprit. Without a ‘fertile ground to flourish’, the potential atrophies. 

The media has not demonstrated much interest in showing us the elders amongst us.  I have seen very few articles in magazines, newspapers or television about elders’ contributions to society although I have no doubt there are many amazing ones.  They rarely use people over 40 in advertising other than for promoting seniors’ residences or medical conditions.  They seem invisible.  The fact that a few movies have come out recently about older people and have had great reviews from the critics and the public, I think is an indication that we are interested.     

Society seems to attach value only to those contributing in the workplace.  Once they leave, they belong ‘out to pasture’, out of the way.  Many of us, however are not interested in the leisurely retirement of just staying home, golfing and/or travelling, we want to participate. 

The fact that society does not recognize elders affects those of us who are transitioning from adulthood to elderhood (usually between 50 and 65) as we experience a sense that we no longer belong where we used to have a very strong sense of belonging.  I assume it affects as well the generation just before us, who are already elders and feel separate from society, not experiencing being an integrated part of it.

All of this is happening at a time when our lives have been extended 25 to 30 years at the end of our adult years and likely to be in relatively good health.  In addition, the boomers are the first generation to outlive all previous ones before us as well as being the largest cohort of all time.  

Why does all of this matter? Because how society views us impacts how we will experience our elder years ourselves. We will need to change society’s views of us, starting with our own perspective on aging. Although we are seen as the generation that had the most opportunities, the most privileged, most of us lived a full and active life, we worked hard, and wanted the best for our children and actively involved in their lives.  We were demanding of what we wanted in life, we had high expectations and we fought for what we believed in. I think we learned a lot from what we lived and as a result, have a lot to give back.

Furthermore, as we transition into elderhood, we have a tendency to shift from busyness to meaningfulness. Our interests turn more towards our heart’s/soul’s needs than those of our ego. We are less interested in doing more than doing what matters.  I believe this is a very worthwhile endeavour.

I offer one-on-one process work as well as a six-month program. If you are ready to engage in this transition, please contact me to discuss which process is best for you.

I would love your opinions on this article – please comment below.

 

 

March Tone Magazine Article 2013

How to Recognize the Elders Amongst Us

Agism is an undercurrent that we don’t always recognize.  Since I’ve been researching and putting together a program and process work on how to transition from adulthood to elderhood, I considered myself rather ‘enlightened’ in ‘seeing’ an Elder, who in my definition, is an old wise person.  From the following encounter described next, I realized to what extent we unconsciously judge people passed a certain age.

I was waiting at the counter in a store to pay for an article when I noticed the woman who was serving the customer in front of me was arduously calculating something and it was taking her an inordinate amount of time (from my perspective).  I noticed that she was likely in her mid- 60’s or older and immediately thought she was very slow because she was too old to be doing this.  I realized how automatic that came.  If she had been a young person, I would have just thought she was slow.

A young woman, about 18 years old, came to the counter and the older woman continued concentrating on her calculations.  The young woman said hi and asked a hug from her.  She extended her arms and gave her a hug.  The young woman said she would come later.  The customer whom she was serving in front of me commented she must be her grand-daughter.  She replied:  ‘oh no, she used to work here and I just encouraged her because her family was too busy. I didn’t think she should spend the rest of her life working in a store and I encouraged her to go back to school which she finally did.  She saved the money and went back to school.  I probably nagged her too much’.  I replied:  ‘whatever works!’  The woman in front of me agreed. 

This older woman said all of this very matter-of-factly, like she was commenting on a movie she watched last night.  She did not seem to realize the profound difference she made to this young woman.  She just did it naturally, like there was nothing exceptional about it.  She continued serving us attentively; taking the time she needed to serve us well. 

If I had not done the research on how society, which means us, view older people (of which I a one at age 60), I would not likely have noticed what an amazing woman she was and the profound difference she made to that young woman who very clearly appreciated her.

How many of us truly ‘see’ people we consider old?  How often do we just assume they are too slow and should not be ‘seen nor heard’?

I would love your comments below on this article.

I offer one-on-one consultations and programs to support people transitioning into their third stage of life, from adulthood to elderhood, to realize a more meaningful fulfilled life.  Please contact me at 613-833-1988 if you wish to explore further.

Thérèse Kelders

 

 

Mining the Gold in the Third Stage of Life

Mining the Gold in the Third Stage of Life

Published in Tone Magazine, June 2012 Issue

We enter “new turnings” regularly as we move through our lives.  At each turning, we change how we feel about ourselves, our community and the future.  Between 50 and 60, we arrive at one of these turnings, when life offers us one of our last opportunities to evaluate and to transform who we are.

There is a new urgency at this time, as we have, at best, another 20 to 30 years before we become either physically and/or mentally unable to live the quality of life that we want.  Before it is too late, now is the time to excavate our lives, to see the journey taken so far, to give ending to what needs to be completed, as well as to originate what needs to begin, to access our deepest gifts and to reclaim what we have set aside, so that we may make the most of this third stage of life.

As we live busy lives, many of us do not take the time that is necessary to be present to this turning, or transition.  We continue living, pushing forward and take life as it comes.  We often just touch the surface of what is happening within us, not taking the time to go deeper, beneath the surface.

It is in these depths, however, that the gold lies.  As we know, gold is hidden deep in the dark.  By bringing the light of awareness to the darkness, we can then access the gold of our deepest wisdom, the wisdom that comes with age.

The act of excavating the wisdom of age flies in the face of a society that is obsessed with youth.  We are told that as long as we stay ‘young at heart’, we will beat getting old.  ‘Getting old’ is now interpreted to mean being dowdy, boring and discarded – nobody will need us if we are old.

Ironically, nothing could be further from the truth!  In fact, to become an elder is to step further into our lives, into our Purpose on earth.  As we fulfill our purpose, we not only feel more fulfilled personally but also enrich the lives of our families and our communities. When we grow into the role of elder, we continue to evolve, to deepen our rich fertile life including a depth of character where meaning is more important than wanting and having.

My work as a Life in Transition Coach is designed to support and challenge people to take on this transition to elder fully either in a one-on-one setting or in my program – New Life after 50: The Third Stage of Life (www.lifeintransition.ca). I believe it is our birthright and our responsibility to become elders.  Engaging with the transformation of becoming Elder will yield our most beautiful gold, enabling us to live our best lives, for ourselves and for the world at large.

Thérèse Kelders, Life Transition Coach
Provides individual and in-depth programs on the third stage of life.