It’s so refreshing to have little getaways that take us away from our daily lives. They give us a chance to change routines, enjoy a different environment and possibly have a more complete perspective on things. I guess that’s what vacations are for, but I want something more, possibly a vacation with some focus.
As we age, it may be important to learn as much as we can about these later years and how to live them well. There are many teachers out there who can help us make sense of this time, giving it some structure, some framework, some sense of what to expect and how to deal with it. Several retreats that deal with aging have recently come onto my radar, and they all look exciting.
There is the Great Compassion, Great Courage: Exploring Life, Death, and Freedom at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, focusing on living and dying. A new retreat center, Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, in northern New Mexico has many offerings for escapes with intention. I was signed up for the retreat on aging that got canceled, so I opted for a three-day hermitage personal retreat to contemplate things. This time away is for some writing, some thinking and just some being. It’s sad, but my life gets so busy, I sometimes must reserve space to have some quiet time alone.
There are countless mindfulness insight retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and right here at the Durango Dharma Center. And, there is the Tara Mandala Center near Pagosa Springs that offers personal retreat cabins. Who wouldn’t want to be out in the glorious woods at this time of the year, with some time to concentrate on whatever we need to?
Local author Ron Pevny is presenting his Conscious Eldering: Aging with Intention and Passion retreat in October in Durango. Ron has written Conscious Living, Conscious Aging: Embrace and Savor Your Next Chapter, which speaks to the later years as a deepening life stage of growth, purpose and passion. The retreat will help us identify and release old patterns that no longer serve us and open us to new possibilities for our remaining years. A powerful set of processes – life-review work, exploration of legacy, ceremony and reflective time outdoors – will be presented. The retreat will take place Oct. 16-18, with the choice to stay at the center or return home at night – perfect! Contact me for more information.
I think this kind of focused work of actually acknowledging our aging, learning how to embrace it and opening to new ideas for the years we have left is so critical. I don’t want to age the way my parents did, fighting their own demise and not being very happy about it. I want to use this time to the fullest, manifesting whatever physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual energy I have left to the maximum.
Our generation has always done things unconventionally, why should aging be any different?
Martha McClellan has been a developmental educator in early childhood for 38 years. She has moved her focus now to the other end of life and has written the book, The Aging Athlete: What We Do to Stay in the Game. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story has been corrected from an earlier version to correct the dates of Ron Pevny’s Conscious Eldering: Aging with Intention and Passion retreat.