How Did I Get to Be 70 When I'm 35 Inside: Spiritual Surprises of Later Life

Overview

Have the courage and curiosity to face the inner changes of aging—and learn how they can help you find meaning in your later years.

"I used to think that age sixty-five was the start of a slippery downward slope to the cemetery. But inside, I felt a surge of enormous energy, with the potential to approach aging as an uncharted adventure instead of a prison sentence."
—from the Introduction

Unlike other authors, spiritual director Linda Douty discusses the challenges and ...

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Overview

Have the courage and curiosity to face the inner changes of aging—and learn how they can help you find meaning in your later years.

"I used to think that age sixty-five was the start of a slippery downward slope to the cemetery. But inside, I felt a surge of enormous energy, with the potential to approach aging as an uncharted adventure instead of a prison sentence."
—from the Introduction

Unlike other authors, spiritual director Linda Douty discusses the challenges and surprises of aging by talking about how you actually feel, not what you're supposed to feel. In a warm, down-to-earth voice, she offers a spiritually grounded method to adjust to the unexpected as you grow older. There is no one-size-fits-all here, but a variety of responses to the inner and outer transformations of aging and new ways of looking at them. She looks at surprises, welcome and unwelcome, concerning:
• Self-image • The physical body • Relationships • Spiritual life

Questions for reflecting on who you are in this period of your life—or who you would like to be—will help you live each day more purposefully and joyfully.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yiddish speakers often accompany the word emes with the hand over the heart to emphasize its meaning as "absolute, clear truth." Emes best describes Douty's third entry in her "How..." series (How Can I Let Go If I Don't Know I'm Holding On?). Douty, 65, a spiritual director, interviewed more than 50 elders ages 70 through 99; she rose above platitudes by asking about self-discovery, outside versus inside age, and the changing image of God. "These folks... kept giving me answers that I didn't expect," she writes. "Surprise," the operative word in the interviews, defines Douty's eight chapters, including surprising gifts, challenges, wisdom, the body, and the sacred. To be open to surprise, Douty notes, is to grow, not resist, and to nurture souls and skills. Although Douty quotes experts from Benedictine nun Joan Chittister to Jungian analyst James Hollis, this is not a how-to book: it is about ways old people have plowed through pain—the physical inseparable from the spiritual—toward "winnowed wisdom," paying homage to the holy in everything to leave a legacy of true love in something. (June)
From the Publisher

"Kudos for Linda Douty! She has written the most engaging, honest, rollicking, helpful book on aging I've seen in a long time—quite possibly ever, in fact."
Phyllis Tickle, compiler, The Divine Hours

“An honest, wise and practical user’s manual for 'growing into age,’ brought to you by experienced guides who are personally making the passage. It’s a book that’s long been needed: deeply spiritual but never sentimental or agenda-driven.”
The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, author, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, Mystical Hope and Love Is Stronger Than Death

“Takes unflinching aim at some potentially scary territory—the unspoken fears, challenges and joys of aging…. Will provide robust guidance for the later years and be a source of compassion in dealing with the elders in your life.”
J. David Forbes, MD, president, American Holistic Medical Association

“With engaging, witty and refreshingly unvarnished prose … guides us through the psycho-physical-spiritual challenges of life’s later years…. A profoundly wise book that satisfies both mind and heart.”
Marjorie J. Thompson, pastor; author, Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life

“Candid, clear and full of surprising wisdom about the things we dread or deny. I’d buy it for any friend over fifty.”
Marjory Zoet Bankson, author, Creative Aging: Rethinking Retirement and Non-Retirement in a Changing World

“Thoughtful, insightful, helpful and timely—exactly what I expect from Linda Douty.”
Robert Benson, author, The Echo Within

“Delightful…. [This] book has inspired and motivated me to continue my aging journey with confidence and optimism.”
Molly Srode, author, Creating a Spiritual Retirement; co-author, Keeping Spiritual Balance As We Grow Older

“You don’t need to be seventy to treasure this book!”
Nancy L. Bieber (www.nancybieber.com), teacher, retreat leader and spiritual director; author, Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way

“Authentic, down-to-earth, inviting—this book helped me regard my own aging process and that of family members with grace, dignity, humor and tenderness. Hats off to Linda Douty for a fresh, honest, spiritually based perspective on aging!”
Margaret Benefiel, author, Soul at Work and The Soul of a Leader

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594732973
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 640,063
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Douty, a leading speaker on the topics of meaningful aging, personal growth and spiritual formation, is author of How Can I Let Go If I Don't Know I'm Holding On? and How Can I See the Light When It’s So Dark? She is a spiritual director, a contributor to Presence (the journal of Spiritual Directors International) and a dynamic retreat leader. She is on the faculty at the Academy for Spiritual Formation.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Opening to Surprise 1

Two Doors 1

Don't Believe Everything You Hear 4

Changing Your Script 13

2 Surprises of the Self 25

I'm Still Me! 28

Your Orphaned Creative Child 35

The Vanishing Social Filter 39

Buried Dreams 43

3 Surprises of the Body 47

Who Is That in the Mirror? 49

Listening to the Body's Wisdom 52

Coping with Pain and Illness 56

Libido and Longevity 61

Are Limitations Limiting You? 64

4 Surprises in Relationships 71

Friends Who Feed Your Soul 72

Renegotiating Partnerships 77

Adult Children: To Speak or Not to Speak 81

Honoring Memories 85

Beyond the Front Door 88

5 Surprises of the Sacred 93

God and Me 94

Rethinking Prayer 98

Heaven, Hell, or Something Else 101

Hearing the Spirit's Guidance 103

Motives and Methods 107

Trusting the Mystery 110

6 Surprising Challenges 113

Learning to Fly Solo 114

Setting Boundaries 118

Tying Your Shoes and Giving Up the Car 121

Sleeping Dilemmas 123

Fear and Faith 125

Fallacies of Forgiveness 129

Accepting the Life You've Lived 131

7 Surprising Gifts 137

Being Real 137

The Healing Power of Play 140

Gratitude Is More Than a Thank-You Note 143

Delight in the Details 148

Time: Friend or Foe? 151

The Many Faces of Freedom 154

8 Surprising Wisdom 157

Living through Loss 158

Say It Now and Do It Now 161

Clearing the Clutter 162

As Simple as a Smile 165

Learn to Receive 167

Fan the Brightest Flame 170

One Who Never Leaves You 174

Epilogue 177

Acknowledgments 178

Notes 179

Suggestions for Further Reading 182

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