A growing area of my garret bookshelves is books about aging, about living as an elder.
The book I return to over and over is Joan Chittister’s The Gift of Years, Growing Older Gracefully, and another ongoing favorite is The Grace in Aging, Awaken As You Grow Older by Kathleen Dowling Singh. Both are rich and, in fact, offer even more riches as I grow further into elderhood, but lately I have been immersed in a 2021 book, The Inner Work of Age, Shifting from Role to Soul by Connie Zweig.
Here’s what is written on the back cover:
With extended longevity comes the opportunity for extended personal growth and spiritual development. You now have the chance to become an Elder, to leave behind past roles, shift from work in the outer world to inner work with the soul, ad become authentically who you are. This book is a guide to help get past the inner obstacles and embrace the hidden spiritual gifts of age.
The author, Connie Zweig, PH.D, is a retired psychotherapist who is known as the “Shadow Expert.” Many years ago I read her now classic work, Romancing the Shadow, Illuminating the Dark Side of the Soul (1997).
I am reading this new book slowly, taking time to respond to questions she offers for reflection, along with the guided meditations and other spiritual practices presented at the end of each chapter. The chapter that has resonated with me the most so far is “Retirement as a Divine Messenger,” but this morning I finished reading “Life-Changing Illness as a Divine Messenger,” a rich preparation for when illness enters my own life.
I am hesitant to say much more about this book, except that it feels momentous to me. The right book at the right time–both opening me to new thoughts and information, too, as well as reinforcing what seems to be unfolding in my own aging process. I am certain this will not be the last time you will find references to this book in my posts. Stay tuned.
An Invitation: If you are an elder or approaching that time of your life, what books do you recommend to support and enhance this Third Chapter state. I would love to know.