Throughout most of known human history, societies have had an honored role for their older members—a role that was recognized as critical to the wellbeing of the community. This was the role of elder. It was the elders who held the responsibility for mentoring the young; for telling the stories that communicated the history and most deeply held values of the culture; for seeing the bigger picture and from that perspective reminding the community of the importance in decision making of holding the wellbeing of the generations to come as a critical priority. It was the elders who were expected to have grown into a state of personal wholeness so they could serve their community as models for healthy human development.
While our contemporary, non-indigenous culture does not have an honored role for our older adults, largely consigning us to irrelevance once we reach retirement age, there nonetheless is an archetypal inner call in all of us to allow the inner elder to emerge, and to work to support this emergence. This inner work is the work of conscious aging, also known as conscious eldering. This is the work, done with awareness and intention, that can develop in us those qualities that have long defined true elders, whether or not we resonate with the term “elder.” This is the work that can lead to wholeness and fulfillment as we age, in whatever circumstances life presents us.
Conscious aging is a perspective that sees aging as life stage full of potential for purpose, growth and service to community, and is a path toward realizing that potential. Our beliefs, about what is possible for us, and the intentions that spring from them, hold great power in shaping who we become. A great many Baby Boomers, as well as those further along in years, are hearing an inner call to age consciously, and are seeking support in responding to that call. As our member organizations have worked to offer such support, we have come to recognize the importance of mutual support and collaboration in furthering our work and the larger vision to which we are all committed. Out of this recognition, the Conscious Aging Alliance was formed three years ago.
We welcome you to our website. Here you can learn about each of our member organizations and our diverse approaches to conscious aging. You can learn about a wide variety of upcoming programs and services by visiting our quarterly Alliance Common Calendar. And you can read articles posted by Alliance members about their ways of supporting your journey toward a conscious elderhood.