I am always on the lookout for interesting articles, books and movies about aging, and I often link to them on the Sage's Play Facebook page.
Here are a few articles that have captured my attention recently.
This Interesting article from The Atlantic reviews research about how having a positive perspective on aging supports health and wellbeing. The article also discusses a study in which subliminal positive messages about aging worked to change people's negative beliefs on aging more effectively than writing positive stories about aging did.
"When seniors were led to subconsciously absorb positive stereotypes about old age, their physical health improved along with their self-esteem," the article's author writes.
This says a lot about the power of the subconscious mind, something that I am well aware of as a hypnotherapist and rapid eye healing practitioner.
Subliminal or "implicit" positive messages could be assimilated more easily because the person didn't have to go through the measuring, comparing and critiquing that the conscious mind is always doing, bringing up negative stereotypes or beliefs to counter the positive ones in a steady inner dialogue.
I'm not surprised by these results. And I do strongly wish for cultural change in our attitudes towards aging and old people. But I find the subliminal message method too Orwellian. Why substitute one form of brainwashing for another? Why settle for exchanging negative stereotypes for positive ones? Either way, it is still operating with stereotypes, and stereotypes reduce the variety of experience and flatten it until it is something distant from the experience of the present moment.
Collective and individual hypnosis certainly is happening all the time in the course of everyday life. But it does seem that waking from the trance, whether it be social or personal, is an essential part of maturing.
Another writer whose articles I enjoy is Dominique Browning. Recently she published an article titled "I'm Too Old for This" in the New York Times. In it, she points out the advantages of letting go of a variety of things that once were vexing, telling us that she is too old to be bothered in those ways any more.
"And let’s just start with being an older woman, shall we? Let others feel bad about their chicken wings — and their bottoms, their necks and their multitude of creases and wrinkles. I’m too old for this. I spent years, starting before I was a teenager, feeling insecure about my looks," Browning writes, going on to reflect on her long history of concern about her appearance. It's a sweet article, in which she says " A goodbye to all that has done nothing but hold us back."
Because we're too old for that.
I am also interested in what Wendy Lustbader has to say about aging. She wrote an article recently titled "Thoughts on The Meaning of Frailty." In it, she examines our fear of becoming frail, less a human being than an object of medical attention, at the mercy of strangers. "To behold another is a spiritual act," she writes in the midst of her exploration. And she asks questions, like this one. "Are there ways to become more as the body becomes less? Over the years, we become accustomed to taking our worth from other people’s regard or the satisfactions of our accomplishments."
She speaks of the value of being stilled, and she investigates the rich potential for inner work that may come with frailty. A wonderfully tender, thoughtful piece of writing. Here is the link to Wendy Lustbader's article
Ashton does her usual wonders with the topic, and the article is fascinating, witty and highly readable. Raise your consciousness and have a good read, too! Here's the link to
Ashton Applewhite essay on ageism That's some of the news from the ElderBeat at least in terms of articles. Then there's the movie scene. I haven't seen the new Meryl Streep movie, or the new Lily Tomlin movie. Have you? It looks as if the wild old woman archetype is coming out to play in both those flicks, which I look forward to whether in movies or so-called real life.
Last but certainly not least.....Here is a Sage's Play news flash: In September, we will be presenting two exciting new monthly programs, Gathering Together and Free as a Bird Frolics. One of them may be just right for you. To learn more and to register, visit the Sage's Play website.