The Spirituality of Age: A Seeker’s Guide to Growing Older (Paperback)
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A compassionate guide for transforming aging into spiritual growth
• Engage with 25 key questions guiding you to mine previously untapped veins of inspiration and courage
• Find a constructive role for regret and fear and embrace the freedom to become more fully yourself
• 2015 Nautilus Gold Award
As we enter the years beyond midlife, our quest for an approach to aging takes on added urgency and becomes even more relevant in our daily lives. Empowering a new generation of seekers to view aging as a spiritual path, authors Robert Weber and Carol Orsborn reveal that it is by engaging with the difficult questions about loss, meaning, and mortality--questions we can no longer put off or ignore--that we continue to grow. In fact, the realization of our full spiritual potential comes about not by avoiding the challenges aging brings our way but by working through them.
Addressing head-on how to make the transition from fears about aging into a fuller, richer appreciation of the next phase of our lives, the authors guide you through 25 key questions that can help you embrace the shadow side of aging as well as the spiritual opportunities inherent in growing older. Sharing their stories and wisdom to both teach and demonstrate what it means to feel energized about the possibilities of your later years, they explore how to find a constructive role for regret, shame, and guilt, realize your value to society, and embrace the freedom of your later years to become more fully yourself.
Coming from Catholic Jesuit and Jewish backgrounds respectively, as well as drawing from the latest research in psychological and religious theory, Weber and Orsborn provide their own conversational and candid answers to the 25 key questions, supporting their insightful and compassionate guidance with anecdotes, inspirational readings, and spiritual exercises. By engaging deeply with both the shadow and light sides of aging, our spirits not only learn to cope--but also to soar.
About the Author
Robert L. Weber, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and a former Jesuit. Recipient of the American Society on Aging’s 2014 Religion, Spirituality, and Aging Award, he is an advisory board member for the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology’s Center for Psychotherapy and Spirituality. He lives with his wife in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., is founder and editor-in-chief of Fierce with Age: The Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration, and Spirituality. The author of more than 20 books for and about the Boomer generation as well as popular blogs on Huffington Post, PBS’s NextAvenue.net, and BeliefNet.com, she has served on the faculties of Georgetown University, Loyola Marymount University, and Pepperdine University. She lives with her husband in Madison, Tennessee.
"Robert L. Weber, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School,and Carol Orsborn, founder and editor of the website Fierce With Age: The Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration, and Spirituality, believe that aging can be a meaningful and rich path to mature spirituality. The two authors come from Catholic Jesuit and Jewish backgrounds respectively but have written this cogent and illuminating paperback for a new generation of seekers, or those whom we call spiritually independent individuals. We were quite impressed with the book's foundation of 25 questions, the Twelve Exercises for Seekers and the extensive list of resources for Recommended Reading."
"These authors make the quest of aging into a journey in which one can take advantage of their expert and unflinching guidance. This can be a tool of extraordinary value to everyone, especially those of us whose memories have become longer than what is likely to be our future."
“Synchronicity brought these two authors together at a meeting of the American Society on Aging. They quickly recognized that they were on parallel journeys, seeking meaning in the second half of their lives. Drawing on both introspection and their conversations with peers, they began turning insight into practical guidance. The result is this book in which they make the case that, as boomers begin to age, society has begun focusing on anti-aging, diverting attention from the benefits older people can derive from facing the reality of aging and the shadow side that surfaces with that reality. Relating to readers from their personal life experiences as well as their Judeo-Christian backgrounds, they ask readers to face (rather than avoid) their fears about aging. They encourage boomers to embrace this new aspect of the life cycle with the same enthusiasm with which they have tackled other stages of life’s journey. They ask them to take a serious look at things like spiritually healthy visions of aging, gaining freedom from illusions, developing neglected qualities, and dealing with feeling disconnected from the Sacred. The book ends with Twelve Exercises for Seekers, which will give your customers the chance to put theory into practice and discover how they can learn to view aging as a blessing instead of a curse.”
“For those of us heeding the call to spiritual deepening in our elder years, The Spirituality of Age is a unique resource. The questions that form the core of this inspiring book are those that many of us carry on this journey. And the rich, experience-filled responses of the coauthors as well as the exercises they suggest will be invaluable in helping readers understand the many facets of their own spiritual potential and development as they age.”
“At last, a book about aging that does not envision it as a problem to be solved or even as a challenge to be overcome! It greets growing older, as a gift and an opportunity. With age comes at least a little wisdom, and that wisdom is relevant for people in any age cohort. I savored this fine volume and commend it to anyone still searching, as I hope we all are, for the fullness of life.”
“Are you a Boomer on a white-knuckled ride trying to shift into reverse on aging? We all try. This knowing book will relax your grip. The authors illuminate the path of spiritual growth, leading us to come to terms with where we have failed and to make the passage to what really matters. Beautifully written, both from deep research and even deeper personal experience by the authors, a former Jesuit and a Jewish woman. Best book I have ever read on this most significant passage.”
“An in-depth look within by two specialists on aging, a woman and a man, aging Boomers themselves. It portrays aging as a spiritual experience, and unlike many current commentaries about people turning away from religion--particularly those who say ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’--they turn that phrase on its head. People across faith traditions as well as secularists will find the book engaging and eye-opening.”
“This wise and lovely book invites readers to take their aging seriously and honestly as a time for growing into spiritual wisdom. The authors ask us to ponder with them 25 questions that will help us to such wisdom. They reveal themselves as they strive to answer the questions they pose and in the process draw us toward developing our own spirituality of age. Readers will, as I do, thank them for their generosity and their wisdom.”
“The Spirituality of Age fills an important gap, not by telling people what they ought to think about this subject, but by posing a large array of vital questions that can fuel the readers’ own imaginations. The authors know that there is no single path to the spirituality of age and that we have to discover our own unique, energizing and motivating answers. Their modeling is eloquent, thoughtful, and useful. Time spent with this book can bring great insight and direction.”
“These days we often hear the word spirituality. The spiritual search is a vital and continuous area of personal reflection for these authors. They encourage each of us to define the meaning of that word for ourselves. This book opens the door for all of us to explore our own growth, insights, inner peace, and continued learning that is calling to us as we age”
“All of us get older, few of us get wiser. As we search for an ‘authentic’ spiritual practice we ignore the one we were given when we were born: aging. The Spirituality of Age places you firmly on this path. This is a book to be read, but more importantly lived.”
“The authors are compassionate guides on the journey of aging. They beckon the reader to face the path ahead with honesty and courage. Through their own hard-won wisdom, they shine a light of hope for all of us who will, sooner or later, leave health, illusion, and life itself behind.”
“The authors have created a masterpiece! This book is a must-read for all facing the quest for meaning and purpose in later life.With their honest, profound, and often witty point-counterpoint perspectives on 25 of the major challenges of the gift of years, this book will enrich and deepen the lives of all of its readers and will be especially helpful to those guiding older adults on the path of psycho-spiritual growth in the second half of life. I am buying copies for all of my over-50 friends for Christmas!”
“This little book, built around questions to which each of us will have different and individual answers, emphasizes by its very structure that in our era, old age can be a time of growth and spiritual discovery, a time of fulfillment of life, rather than its dreary aftermath.”
“The authors have penned an exceptionally wise and timely book. Wrestling with the hard spiritual questions that so often disturb our later years, they dig deep for personal answers and generously encourage the reader to do the same. Get ready, you may find yourself revising everything you think about aging and in the process making peace with your own answers. Perfect for personal growth, book clubs, and classes.”
“To my delight, this book prompted me to ask questions of myself that I had never posed before with so much clarity. The authors each respond to these questions themselves, a unique approach that is not ponderous or heavy-handed. I found myself leaving the safety of reader-as-spectator and entering the provocation of reader-as-participant. My own spiritual inquiry began to breathe more freshly.”