Gerontologists study changes that occur with aging across the lifespan. Many of these areas of study and practice focus on the outside of aging: social roles, socioeconomic levels, and biological changes. However, it is equally vital to study the inside of aging and an effective way to do this is by way of a focus on biographical aging—the meaning of aging contained in our life stories. Much of my work has focused on this aspect of aging through research and practice in narrative gerontology. However, I have also discovered that the ability to create and discover meaning—our unique ordinary wisdom— can be enhanced by learning to find stillness.
In my book Pathways to Stillness: Reflect, Release, Renew (2016, FriesenPress) I gently invite the reader to relax-into-stillness with Tai Chi moving meditation, and then to explore a pathway that fits their own life.
Divided into three parts—Part A: Meaningful Aging, Part B: Tai Chi Wisdom, and Part C: Special Persons, Special Events—with chapters within each part, the reader is invited by candid anecdotes, thoughtful recommendations, and wise observations by those who have something to teach about stillness and finding meaning and peace. The stillness stories include my own personal experiences, as well as inspiring insights from my students, older adults in my community, and a selection of well-known spiritual teachers. I explore, from a stillness perspective, topics such as what it means to lose and regain our sense of “our story” in the midst and aftermath of loss, and our commonly shared misconception of the nature of time and how we usually experience it. I also discuss our negative beliefs about aging and how we can make them more positive, the difference between rushing toward destinations and making the journey itself the focus, and the restorative power of storylistening and storytelling.
The main message of this book is that we need only show up for our journey to begin to reap the many benefits of creating a refuge of stillness within the multitude of change that is aging.
Pathways to Stillness can be located at: http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000026930481/Gary-Irwin-Kenyon-Pathways-to-Stillness