The process of aging is
not a smooth, continuous trajectory from youth to old age. It happens in several distinct, identifiable
steps or stages. These stages are
actually demarcated by significant life events—the last child leaving home, a promotion,
retirement—but colloquially and emotionally we tend to think of aging’s stages
as decades: our fifties, the sixties, the seventies, the eighties, and
beyond. A birthday with a zero—my God,
I’m fifty!—is a major, often bittersweet, signpost. While everyone’s path of aging is unique,
each decade has characteristics common to most people in them.
In my book-in-process Men Aging Well, I have … Read More
My upcoming book MEN AGING WELL springs from two premises: first, that men and women experience aging differently, and second, that to understand men’s aging we need to ask the question, “What does it mean to be a man?” Men aging today—those fifty and over—were raised at a time when boys were socialized according to traditional gender roles. There were certain catch phrases—taunts even—that boys heard constantly. I certainly did.
“Boys don’t cry.”
“Don’t be a sissy.”
One of the salient dramas in today’s society is a questioning and re-envisioning of gender roles, at the same time that … Read More
In connection with my upcoming book MEN AGING WELL I have created a contemplative inquiry which I call Every Breath, New Chances as a way for men (or women) to move beneath the surface of thinking about aging to the “subterranean river” of emotion and intuition where the deeper changes and transformations of growing older actually happen. The name of the inquiry, “Every Breath, New Chances” points out that while we may imagine that our waking self is a fixed, static entity, in reality we are changing all the time. Every breath is a chance to re-invent ourselves anew. This … Read More
My previous book on aging, AGING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE, was published 6 years ago and approached aging as the spiritual culmination of our whole life’s journey. The book addressed aging from a Buddhist point of view, and each of its chapters concluded with a “contemplative exercise” drawn from my experience as a Buddhist meditation teacher. Some of these exercises are available on MY WEBSITE as audio or video teachings, and in these blogs I will sometimes refer to them.
EVERY BREATH, NEW CHANCES, my new book on aging, is focused on men’s aging issues. Its approach is … Read More
I am most pleased to announce that my new book on Men and Aging, tentatively titled Every Breath, New Chances: A Guide to Aging for Men will be published in 2020 by North Atlantic Books. This book follows on my award-winning title Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser, published six years ago. That book was a first-of-genre approach to aging from a spiritual perspective, drawing on my many years as a Buddhist meditation teacher. In researching Aging as a Spiritual Practice, I discovered that men and women tend to experience aging differently, and … Read More
My book Aging as a Spiritual Practice has been out for six years now, and has garnered a wide readership among Buddhists, Christians, leaders and members of aging study groups, and many others. The concept of aging as a spiritual path is still fairly new; my book is one of the few out there that really makes the case that the aging process itself has spiritual dimensions.
So as I resuscitate this blog for a new year and new look at this topic, I thought it might be good to begin by discussing why and how aging and spirituality … Read More
This month is the sixth anniversary of the publication of my book AGING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE. The book has been quite successful. It continues to sell steadily and will keep doing so as new people discover it and discover their need for what it has to offer.
So I have decided to resuscitate my Aging Blog to provide a forum for readers of the book as well as the interested public to read about my latest thoughts about aging as a transformational process, as well as hear about the latest aging research.
Come back and visit the … Read More
The last post on aging parents garnered more comments than any other in the history of this blog, so clearly this is a topic that touches many people. The experiences people have range from the touching and poignant (“Do you know who I am, Mom?” “Yes, you’re my baby”) to the heartbreaking (the father whose dying words were obscenities). As I said in my last comment to the previous post, “These posts explore the pain that is at the very center of what love is, and what life is.”
The cultural context for our Western way of dealing (or not … Read More
Recently on the Tricycle “Aging as a Spiritual Practice” forum which I moderate there has a been a lot of discussion about elderly and aging parents. Certainly there are a myriad of practical problems that come up—nursing homes, dementia, medical decisions, and so on—but underlying these there are more basic spiritual issues. How do we feel about the sudden reversal of role… Read More
Loneliness often increases as we grow older. Certainly when those we know begin to pass away (which may start when we are in our 50s) there is a kind of loneliness that comes and cannot easily be assuaged. Their loss is permanent.
I have a thumbnail summary of Buddhism that I have mentioned here before and that goes like this: “Everything is connected, nothing lasts, and we are not alone.” … Read More