Embracing Elderhood at 66

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After attending the Embracing Conscious Elderhood workshop, scholarship recipient Janett Forte says she's excited about her vision for positive aging and has begun participating in elder activist groups.

What vision do you have for your life as you age? This question is central to Ron Pevny’s work. It is at the heart of the Embracing Conscious Elderhood workshop he teaches at Omega because, as he says, the world needs elders who are authentic and willing to share their gifts.

Janett Forte, from Richmond, Virginia, attended his workshop on a scholarship in August 2018. She retired from the 9-to-5 working world as a social worker at age 60 and describes this time as her “freedom years.” For the past six years, she says her life has been full of friends, family, travel, volunteering, and exploring more of her interests.

She came to the workshop inspired by the opportunity to continue to grow, explore, find purpose, and share her gifts at this point in her life.

She now sees the concept of aging as a holistic experience. The individual and group time during the workshop allowed her to go deeper and listen to her “small inner voice.”

“I particularly enjoyed the guided imagery Ron shared. It provided a framework for individual exploration of the dimensions of wholeness and practices I can put in place to focus on my inner life and positive aging,” Janett said.

Janett says she enjoyed the structure, rituals, and group process that Ron clearly and carefully designed to maximize her immersion in the experience.

“Early on, I had a sense of the foundations of eldering he described and how the workshop would provide a chance to delve deeper into the power of our beliefs, the importance of examining the past, healing, letting go, releasing, and finding purpose, as well as the necessity of a community of kindred spirits,” she said. “We explored what makes for a fulfilled elderhood, having a vision for positive aging versus just drifting through life at this stage.”

Since the workshop, she has continued to explore her own conscious aging and has participated in several aging-related workshops and activities in her area, including a Wise Aging workshop and a small study group on aging with wisdom at her Quaker Meeting.

She’s also become involved with the Gray Panthers elder activist group and participates in the local Age Wave initiative, which brings together public and private organizations, businesses, and community members to help make the Richmond region a great place for all people to grow old. She volunteers on two nonprofit boards Midwives for Haiti and the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, too. 

“The workshop helped me define my current purpose and allowed me to acknowledge that deepening my spiritual life is a worthwhile pursuit,” Janett said. “That yearning for wholeness is a lifelong pursuit.”