Eldering - A Webinar Series for Spiritual Companions & Seekers
SDI invites you to discern your own path
to life-long joy and resilience.
It's a way of living.
And you can start at any age.
(We'll be your guides.)
(Please remember, each session is recorded and you may watch these video recordings at your convenience. )
5 reasons you should join us
- The best time to discern your own path to elderhood is right now - no matter how old you are.
- Everyone ages. This webinar will help you decide how you want to do it. Many people grow isolated and fearful as they get older. But others seek a more conscious experience, embracing elderhood through spiritual discernment and by engaging with all generations. You can, too.
- Eldering is not about growing old; it's about becoming more open-hearted, more resilient, more giving and yes, wiser. Though our bodies are often less functional at age 60 than at 20, our spirituality is ripening beautifully. This webinar will help spiritual companions and seekers to use this precious spiritual gift to best advantage - building community and deepening practice.
- We've chosen outstanding presenters to lead this webinar. They come from different generations as well as different countries and traditions. Jane Kuepfer, PhD and M Div, is a Mennonite spiritual director who specializes in providing spiritual care for elders and focuses her research on spirituality and aging. Rabbinic pastor De Fischler Herman is a hospice chaplain, who trained with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the creator of the Age-ing-to-Sage-ing approach to spiritual eldering. (See their bios below.) In addition, Thomas Moore, former Catholic monk and best-selling spiritual author (Care of the Soul, Ageless Soul ), will be interviewed as a special guest in the fourth session of our series.
- Find your own path to purpose, resilience and joy. In this webinar series, we will encourage each participant, as Mary Catherine Bateson wrote, to compose your own eldering path through reflections, journaling, study and community. Questions, prompts, and resources will be provided to help further your journey.
Are you ready to get started?
Spirituality creates meaning at any age. It opens the door to mystery and helps us seek mastery in areas that will bring fulfillment. It makes us whole.
In the second half of our lives, our spiritual lives become even more important - both as spiritual companions and as seekers. Meaning. Mystery. Maturity. And yes, memory, too. These aren't abstract concepts. They are ways we thrive and find joy. They are ways we find life-enhancing connection to self, others, nature and the divine - however we name the ground of all being. Relationship, rituals, traditions, practices, stories, creativity, beliefs and values - these all can be informed by our spiritual practice and the deep wisdom born of contemplation. Our spirituality both sustains vitality and mediates acceptance. It can empower us to cope with crisis, transition and the vagaries of circumstance.
In this four-part series, we will wonder together:
- What it means to elder
- How to live with integrity, curiosity, equanimity and intentionality
- How to cultivate wisdom, resilience, love, and forgiveness
The sessions will offer experiential learning from beginning to end -- offering a grounding of wisdom from various traditions and moving on to reflective exercises, meditation and, above all, open-ended, open-hearted questions for discernment. Our aim - pure and simple - is to inspire personal discovery and growth.
We invite you to join us as we explore and experience eldering with grace, dignity and humor.
Jane Kuepfer is the Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging, a joint appointment by the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging and Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo in Canada. She has extensive experience as a spiritual caregiver in long-term care homes and in the community, as a registered psychotherapist, a spiritual director, and an ordained Minister in the Mennonite Church and the United Church of Canada. Jane completed a doctorate in Human Relationships (Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy) at Martin Luther University College with a dissertation focus in the area of Spirituality and Aging. She and her husband enjoy both the quiet, and the company of others on their rural property, which they offer for retreat space.
De Fischler Herman, RP, SD, SM, serves as a hospice chaplain in Washington, DC. She is an ordained spiritual director, co-president of the board of the Rabbinic Pastors Association of ALEPH -- Alliance for Jewish Renewal Seminary, facilitator for Age-ing to Sage-ing, and a Champion of the Center for Medicine After the Holocaust. She trained with Rabbi Salman Schachter-Shalomi. De is an artist, poet, educator, gardener, environmentalist, and bicyclist.
Thomas Moore (special guest, session 4) is the author of the number one New York Times bestseller Care of the Soul. He has written twenty-four other books about bringing soul to personal life and culture, deepening spirituality, humanizing medicine, finding meaningful work, imagining sexuality with soul and doing religion in a fresh way. In his youth he was a Catholic monk and studied music composition. He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Syracuse University and was a university professor for a number of years. He is also a psychotherapist influenced mainly by C. G. Jung and James Hillman. He often travels and lectures, hoping to help create a more soulful society.
Elders do not give up on themselves or the world. They don't withdraw as they age, afraid of being a burden. Instead, they stand their ground. They encourage and guide - sharing their vision, their patience, their love. They send down deep roots, so oncoming generations may grow strong and connected. How will you elder? This course will help you become the architect of your own spiritual elderhood.
Session 1 - Meaning & Memory
- Purpose + service = meaning. That's just one equation for finding fulfillment as an elder. We'll look at others, too. And also examine the role memory plays in the second half of our lives. We will focus on practical insights for spiritual companions to use as they sit with others.
Session 2 - Mortality
- Is death only to be feared? Or is it one of the best tools at our disposal to give our lives meaning and truly enjoy each day? We'll look at traditions both ancient and modern and whether fear is optional as we near the end. Lessons from hospice and long-term care.
Session 3- Mystery
- All spiritual traditions have mystic components. What role does contemplation (and connection with the ineffable) play in embracing elderhood? We'll look at the value of stillness for elders --especially in spiritual companionship.
Session 4 - Maturity
- Everyone can be an elder. It's about being more than doing. And it's about serving more than achieving. And that takes maturity. Nothing to do with your calendar age. Being an elder is about who you are, who you aspire to be and how you can foster connection and compassion as a spiritual human being. We'll examine spiritual companionship in this sense of maturity, consciousness and service -- for both the seeker and the companion.
- As a special feature, Jane and De will interview author Thomas Moore during this session, delving into his insights for honoring what he calls our "ageless soul."
Each webinar will last one hour and 15 minutes. We understand that the timing of the sessions will not be convenient in every time zone on the planet. For those who have trouble making this time, a recorded copy of each session will be made available to all those who sign up. CEU credits are available for all those who participate. (See below)
Invitation to write for SDI
All those participating in the webinar will be invited to write for Connections, SDI's quarterly newsletter written by (and for) spiritual companions. The editor, Steven Crandell, will assess each submission for suitability. but every webinar participant who submits a piece will get a personal response and editorial advice whether or not the piece is accepted for publication. In addition, all participants will be invited to write for the SDI blog.
The aim of this series of webinars is to give spiritual companions and seekers insight into the spiritual eldering. Participants will be invited to experience this learning opportunity in a personal way by discerning their own path to eldering no matter what their age. Those in listening and caring professions should gain deeper appreciation for how eldering can impact their approach to spiritual companionship as well as their own spiritual practice.
Who may join the webinar?
Everyone is invited to participate in SDI Webinars.
Are CEUs available?
SDI will provide a certificate of completion for self-reporting to agencies continuing education units (CEUs).
Tuition (4-part webinar package):
SDI Member Rate USD$59.00
Non-Member Rate USD$79.00 (additional $20 can be applied to membership after the webinar, reducing cost)
Tuition for webinar participation is non-refundable. All registered participants will receive access to the online recording of the SDI Webinar following the event.
A limited number of scholarships are available for those facing financial hardship. Please apply here.