conscious aging –
- from the Latin conscius or “to know”
- perceiving with a degree of controlled observation
- aware of, especially of something within one’s self
- to become older
- to show the effects or characteristics of increasing age
*From the Conscious Aging Institute
Conscious Aging as a practice is about growth. It is about witnessing and experiencing the dance between integrating and celebrating pieces of our past while we continue to chart our course toward growth and examine our relationship to death. It is about finding our wholeness and being a vessel of peace.
How to Start Practicing
Practice Mindful Attention – Bring your attention toward greater self-awareness through simple activities such as meditation, contemplative prayer, journal writing, walks in nature, gardening with mindfulness, and somatic subtle-energy body practices. What do you need to surrender or leave behind? How can you conserve your energy for what has heart and meaning? What still needs healing or forgiveness?
Set Intentions – Ask yourself, “What matters most? What values do I want to adhere to?” Based on these reflections, you can craft an intentionality statement so that when challenges and opportunities arise, you will have developed an inner compass with which to navigate and make more conscious life choices.
Build New Habits – Challenge your brain with new learnings, explore new activities, dance often, connect with people of different generations, ask a child about his life, or do something new every day. Neuroscience offers us hope that such new habits are possible as we lay down new neural pathways that can help us see the world and ourselves in new ways. As Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Move from I to We – While aging is a personal process, conscious aging is more than a personal quest. It can infuse your life as you promote the transformation of your community. Altruism and compassion born of shared destiny, rather than duty or obligation, can emerge and add joy and purpose to your actions.
Find Guidance – Find a skilled teacher, a study group, and/or a social network that supports your explorations. Whether in virtual or proximal social settings, connecting with others offers a way of living into new patterns and behaviors.