In the effort to make good on my desire to accept and move through the aging process, I got a hold of the book, From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older. Written in 1995 by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the guru of the Jewish Renewal movement still active today at 88 years of age, it is chocked full of stories to convince the mature reader to make a conscious effort to take on the role of elder and then specific steps to make it happen:
Spend time unearthing the source of your aging consciousness. Eliminate the negative images and target the active good role models.
Develop a timetable of the memories of your entire life in seven-year cycles. I did this at the suggestion of The Grief Recovery Handbook when my father died and can attest to the power of this step.
Revisit the highlights of your personal history and the turning points in your life to discover and contemplate the unfolding patterns. Envision a projection of yourself where you want to be five years from now.
Visualize your Inner Elder. Count from your current age to 120- the biblical age of wisdom. Ask that 120 year-old Inner Elder a question that has been troubling you. Hear the guidance offered and begin a process to incorporate this wisdom.
Heal from a painful memory by revisiting it. Take your Inner Elder with you and acknowledge your strength to move beyond the pain and inadequacies in your past actions.
Create a testimonial of each person who has wronged you. Describe the injustice. Describe all of the unforeseen benefits you received from their actions.
Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. Pick one of the hurtful relationships from above and resolve to forgive both the other person and yourself for the parts each of you played. Imagine you are together with this person in an auspicious encounter with inner peace and healing.
Research and then define your believe about your soul, your life purpose and your afterlife.
Face your mortality. Make sure all of your affairs are in order. Make a last will and testament that scripts your final moments on earth before you die. Who should be there? What do you want to be said or have done? How should your body be disposed of?
Write letters of appreciation to all of your life teachers expressing all of the sentiments that you were not able to articulate at the time.
Become the Elder Sage in your community by bearing witness to enduring values and transcending shortsighted political partisanship.