There are sixty-five hundred more people over sixty-five in the United States every day. Yet, Elderhood, the potential culmination of human development, is not being described that way by very many people. Without a vibrant and expansive vision of Elderhood, many people 'get old,' missing their working lives' joy, purpose, and meaning. Grandparenting is not advanced parenting, and Neither is elderhood advanced adulthood. The scenery changes dramatically, from an emphasis on doing to one of being. Many people have a difficult time negotiating that transition.
Having a hard time making transitions in life is not new. Being human has always involved times of significant change when we need help. Traditional cultures throughout human history have provided Rites of Passage to carry those negotiating critical times. Rites of Passage were practiced throughout the ancient world for the sake of, and survival of, the whole community. This practice, long forgotten by most of the modern world, helps individuals release patterns that are no longer working in their lives and carries them into transformation, something they can't do for themselves and that no one else can do for them. It is the work of Mystery and Grace.
Leaders in the Kansas City/Lawrence area are preparing to offer Coming of Age for men and women approaching retirement or already in their elder years. These Rites of Passage will include three intensive weekend gatherings separated by two 12-day interims. For these interims, participants return to their daily lives, reflecting on meditations provided in an Elder Guide. The Rites use ritual, teaching, storytelling, music, conversation, and solitude to help people:
- review, celebrate, and say goodbye to their adult 'working life and younger years.
- wrestle with their brokenness and losses, grieve them and release unnecessary burdens -be transformed and returned to their diverse communities as conscious elder members who bless the world with authentic, transforming elder energy.
Coming of Age is a transforming, organic, affordable, immersive experience that addresses the whole person— heart, mind, body, imagination, soul, and spirit. Coming of age makes generous use of resources of the Western Christian tradition, but it also opens up the rich gifts of other global traditions for today's more diverse culture. Coming of Age is portable and led by a volunteer staff. It is replicable and meant to be shared, intending to help form local elder circles throughout the central part of North America. These Rites of Passage intend to draw participants into living abundantly—sharing their gifts freely for the sake of the world.
Coming of age is a three-weekend intensive experience:
-First Weekend SEPARATION (starting the Friday right before the new moon in late September or early October): Saying goodbye to work, adult baggage, and an old way of living.
Friday: Introduction to Rites of Passage; celebrating and saying goodbye to work-life.
Saturday: Pilgrimage, life review, claiming one's story, identifying wounds, and death ritual.
The interim 12 days: Daily meditations from an Elder Guidebook.
Self-examination to get behind the masks and discover the true self.
Presenting and respectfully paying attention to pain.
-Second Weekend TRANSFORMATION (two weeks after the first weekend, right before the new moon).
The fluid space and time to become the people we were meant to be.
Friday: Holding pain, releasing burdens, and grief ritual.
Saturday: The identification of personal gifts and ritual of initiation into Elderhood.
The interim 12 days: Daily meditations from the Elder Guide for listening and letting the heart speak.
We will be initiating conversations with others to discern an elder vocation.
-Third Weekend REINTEGRATION (four weeks, 28 days, after the first weekend).
We are emerging from transition to reenter our communities with a new identity and role.
Friday: A hurting world healed with Sovereign energy, reimagining elder vocation.
Saturday: The Holy Fool, crowning ritual and reentering and blessing the community as an elder.
Pilot—First Full Intensive at Trinity Lutheran, 1245 New Hampshire St., Lawrence
Friday-September 23, 2022 2:00-9:00
Saturday-September 24, 2022 8:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Friday-October 7, 2022 2:00-9:00
Saturday-October 8, 2022 8:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Friday-October 21, 2022 2:00-9:00
Saturday-October 22, 2022 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cost for registration: $150 for general registration- includes meals, staffing, and all materials.
This nominal charge is supplemented by generous gifts from local Coming of Age staff and friends.
Housing: Out-of-town participants may wish to make Friday night reservations in a local hotel Enrollment is limited to 64.
Meals are all vegan, with options for dairy and meat.
Facilities are all handicap accessible.
Parking is in the church parking lot east of the building.
Please check back soon!
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