Older Generations Are Reclaiming Rites of Passage

Nancy Rhine, a gerontologist and marriage and household therapist in Mill Valley, Calif., has helped about 40 older adults put together for and course of late-life rituals involving hours of retrospection and introspection, artwork and music. “They’re looking at legacy, life review, taking stock,” she mentioned. “It’s that searching, a contemplative practice.” Her oldest such shopper was 81.

This spring, Kris Govaars was turning 70 and nonetheless mourning his spouse, Vicki Govaars, who had died in 2019, simply weeks after being recognized with pancreatic most cancers. “I was a boat without a tether,” Mr. Govaars, a former architectural advisor within the Bay Area, mentioned. “I was struggling, trying to figure out my next steps.”

He got here throughout the Middle for Aware Eldering, based by Ron Pevny, creator of “Conscious Living, Conscious Aging,” and determined to affix its weeklong retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M. His group of 14, which included folks of their 50s to their 80s, spent a number of days partaking in non secular practices, workout routines and discussions.

For his culminating ritual, referred to as a “solo journey,” Mr. Govaars chosen a personal spot on a riverbank. After passing via a portal fashioned by two bushes (and having a detailed encounter with a bobcat), he fasted, maintained silence, learn poetry, journaled and wrote “legacy letters” for his two kids. “I just spent a lot of time in thinking and meditation,” he mentioned, deeply moved by the expertise.

“The outcome is hopefully a greater sense of happiness and purpose,” he defined. “I feel calmer. I feel much more introspective. I listen with an open heart and mind. I may look the same, but I am different.”

Along with serving to folks see previous age as a part of life with function and rewards, together with the extra generally acknowledged challenges and deficits, rituals for older adults might have an effect on others, Ms. Leardi identified.