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2017
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Seniors

‘Conscious aging’ event

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Cleveland resident Mary Grigolia, minister of the Unitarian Fellowship in Oberlin, will present a workshop on “Conscious Aging” on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 9:30 a.m., at the Senior Center. All are invited. (Submitted photo)

Cleveland resident Mary Grigolia, minister of the Unitarian Fellowship in Oberlin, will present a workshop on “Conscious Aging” on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 9:30 a.m., at the Senior Center. All are invited. (Submitted photo)

In American culture, youth is elevated and elders are often dismissed. But organizers of this week’s workshop on “Conscious Aging” want to change that trend.

“Our culture sends the message that older people are irrelevant and invisible,” said Mary Grigolia, a Cleveland resident and minister for the Oberlin and North Olmstead Unitarian Universalist fellowships. 

But elders have significant gifts and talents to offer the culture, Grigolia said. According to one model of aging, the first half of life is spent creating a healthy ego and sense of individual identity, while the second half involves an opening to meaning, creativity and community.

“As we approach the end of life, a process is hard-wired into us for spiritual opening,” Grigolia said. “But why wait until the end of life? Once we have that first-stage ego in place, why not accept the second-stage challenge that allows participation in conscious ways of working together?”

And a part of working together in the last stage of life is confronting the hard challenges facing civilization, she believes. 

“There’s a consensus that elders play an important role in responding to the challenges of the times,” she said.

Grigolia will be in Yellow Springs this Saturday, Nov. 4, to present a workshop on “Conscious Aging” at the Yellow Springs Senior Center. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. with registration and coffee, followed by the workshop from 10 to 11:30 a.m., then a light lunch.

The workshop will include both small group discussions and large group sharing, according to Grigolia in a recent interview. 

Participants will reflect on how their own experiences line up with three approaches to aging in this culture: first, that older adults, especially women, are invisible and expected to be disengaged; second, that older people become isolated from other segments of society when they segregate themselves, or are segregated by others, with only others of their age; and third, that some engage with aging as another stage of growth, offering self-awareness and spiritual transformation. 

The workshop will include some journaling and singing along with the small and large-group sharing.

The event is sponsored by the local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

“We’re always trying to reach out to the community,” according to organizer Nancy Lineburgh, who knew Grigolia from Cleveland, where Lineburgh previously lived.

Many in the village, and in the Unitarians, are elders, and the topic seems relevant, Lineburgh said.

“I think it’s important, as an aging person, to know what my options are,” she said.

To RSVP to the event, or for more information, contact Lineburgh at lineburgh@gmail.com or call her at 330-618-0892.

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‘Conscious aging’ event

by Diane Chiddister