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Aging as Spiritual Practice: A Rite of Passage for Stepping into the Elder Archetype

Certificate Program in Conscious Aging with Dr Connie Zweig and other Authorities in Aging

June 4 – October 22, 2024

4 month course | 10 CECs | Offered Live via Zoom

Program Description

What you will receive:

  • 10 Live Interactive Discussion Groups (via Zoom) with Q&A (listed in Pacific time)
  • 10 Pre-Recorded Learning Sessions with Authorities in Aging
  • A Learning Resource Guide with Recommended Readings and Resources
  • A Private, online Discussion Forum
  • An Advanced Certificate in Conscious Aging from Pacifica Graduate Institute
  • 10 CEC’s

“The Afternoon knows what the Morning never expected.”

-Robert Frost

With our extended longevity and the wisdom of depth psychology, we now have the precious opportunity to extend our psychological and spiritual development. We can open the portals of shadow-awareness, pure awareness, and mortality awareness. We can release past trauma, regret, and unfinished business to step into the archetype of the noble Elder. We can face illness, retirement, and loss as rites of passage. And we can shift our identities from our roles in work and family to who we really are. This is aging as spiritual practice. As we learn to attune to our inner worlds and face unconscious internal resistance, we can break through denial, deepen our self-acceptance, enter a new stage of awareness, and find spiritual purpose in late life. Age is our curriculum.

This course is for you if:

  • You wish to deepen your exploration of shadow-work and the inner work of age.
  • You seek a spiritual orientation or outlook in late life.
  • You feel disoriented, invisible, or lonely as you move beyond midlife into late life.
  • You struggle to accept changes in your body, appearance, feelings, and self-image as you age.
  • You are contemplating or in retirement, losing a precious role or purpose, and yearn for more meaning.
  • You want to heal a past trauma or betrayal and give or receive forgiveness.
  • You are grieving the loss of a beloved person, purpose, or sociopolitical ideal.
  • You want to begin or deepen a spiritual practice.
  • You want to face death without regret and with peace in your heart.

Course Overview:

Module 1 – Introducing Shadow-work: How to Cultivate Shadow Awareness in Midlife and Beyond with Connie Zweig

  • “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”  – CG JUNG
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, June 4, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • The late poet Robert Bly wrote that when we are one or two years old, we have a 360-degree personality that radiates out from us like a globe. Then we notice that our parents don’t like a part of it. They tell us to be nice. So, we stuff it away into an invisible bag. At school, teachers tell us to behave, so we fill the bag with other traits and feelings. By the time we’re 20, we only have a slice of the globe remaining. But the bag we carry behind us grows heavier and heavier. We spend the first half of life stuffing the bag and the rest trying to get everything out again. This is shadow-work.
    The intention of this course is to begin or continue to unpack the bag, to reclaim from the shadow those talents, traits, aspirations, feelings, and behaviors that were lost along the way. This is especially crucial now, when we meet the shadows of age in disorientation, loss, illness, retirement, addiction, projection, regret, mortality. The aim of meeting the shadow consciously is to develop an ongoing relationship with it, reclaim a wider range of feeling and action, and gain insight into its deeper meaning. When we make a part of the unconscious conscious—a wounded child, a foody, an inner ageist, a victim, a controller– we heed the call to know thyself.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Describe how the personal shadow forms in early childhood.
    • Identify three common shadow figures.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • Meeting the Shadow by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams
    • Romancing the Shadow by Connie Zweig and Steve Wolf

Module 2 – Meeting Your Inner Ageist: How to Uncover Internalized Ageism to Thrive in Self-Acceptance with Connie Zweig

  • “We need to hack our unconscious beliefs about age. Once we see our own bias, we are liberated to see it in the culture and become culture warriors.”      — Ashton Applewhite
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, June 18, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • The shadow is like a darkroom in which our dreams and images lie dormant. Shadow-work is like the process of development in which our dreams and images come back to life. But if they remain outside of our awareness, then we are blind to them. So, in the context of age, we may deny our reality—both new limitations and new possibilities. Population surveys found that vast numbers of Americans have internalized ageism from the messages of our institutions and media, resulting in an unconscious image or shadow character that I call the Inner Ageist. This shadow shapes our physical and mental health as we age. This class explores how to uncover it and break free of its consequences.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Identify two cues of the shadow character–the inner ageist.
    • Name three health consequences of carrying an unconscious inner ageist through the lifespan.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul by Connie Zweig

Module 3 – Meeting the Doer: How to Shift Your Identity from Productivity and Success to Who You Really Are – from Role to Soul –with Connie Zweig

  • “Whoever carries over into the afternoon of life the law of the morning must pay for it with damage to the soul.”  — CG Jung
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, July 9, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • The transition into late life has many stages. But the underlying psychological shift is in identity: Who am I if I am not a role at work or in the family, if I am not a provider, therapist, writer, doctor, heroic striver? Who am I if I am not independent, competent, quick, successful? But these traits are fleeting and may disappear as we retire, grow ill, lose a loved one, and face limitations. These changes can feel frightening and disorienting if we don’t hear the call to a deeper purpose and use practices to move our identities from what we do to who we really are. I call the inner obstacle to this shift the Doer, the unconscious part of us that wants to be seen as heroic and triumphant and cannot slow down to self-reflect or release past roles and identities. Rather, the Doer fails to heed the call to Elderhood.
  • Learning Objectives
    • Name your shadow character that resists letting go of past roles.
    • Give a name to your deeper identity beyond roles.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul by Connie Zweig

Module 4 – The Hidden Power of Dreams in Late Life with Rick Moody

  • “Sometimes we accomplish our greatest deeds in dreams.” — C.G. Jung, The Red Book
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, July 23, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • Dreams show us what we already know but do not yet see. Rick Moody will present dreams from film, literature, colleagues, and his own psyche that reveal the meaning of later life events, such as midlife transition, retirement, health challenges, life-review, and end-of-life. In the discussion, participants will interpret examples of dreams to see how people can find meaning in their own lives.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Describe two common themes in late-life dreams.
    • Identify a dream about a late-life issue that needs attention.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • Moody, H.R. “Life Review and Dreams,” in Vern Bengtson and Merril Silverstein (eds.) Spirituality, Religion and Aging, Routledge, 2018.
    • Moody, H.R., “Dreams and the Coming of Age,” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, (43:2), July, 2011, pp. 181-207.

Module 5 – The Heart of Forgiveness in Troubled Times with Vince Cullen

  • “How do we love our enemies? First, we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, August 13, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • If we wish to live and die with a peaceful heart, forgiveness is an essential practice. It enables the healing of our own wounds and broken hearts. Vince will explore ancient and timeless universal precepts not as rules or commandments but as gifts we offer to ourselves and others. He will teach meditations that cultivate an ongoing forgiveness practice for everyone, regardless of religious, spiritual or philosophical affiliation.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Describe through the lens of the Five Precepts how harm is caused and how it can be avoided in the future.
    • Describe two meditation practices that facilitate ongoing forgiveness.
  • Recommended Reading:

Module 6 – Walking Each Other Home: What Death Can Teach Us About Being Fully Alive with Mirabai Bush

  • “Dying is the greatest frontier. Loving is the art of living as preparation for dying.”– Ram Dass
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, August 27, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • Mirabai will bring her lifelong experience of contemplative practice to the acceptance of death and what death can teach us about how to live. She will offer practices for letting go of the fear of death, as well as for being present with those who are dying.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Describe how to break through denial and open the portal of mortality awareness.
    • Identify two practices for being present with the dying.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • Walking Each Other Home by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush

Module 7 – Meeting at the Intersection of Our Personal and Collective Crises: Grief and Loss as Initiation with Martha Crawford

  • “Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close.”– Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, September 10, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • The work of grief, loss, and aging is profoundly shaped by the dominant cultural myths of individuality and community, failure and success, power and weakness, victory and surrender. Martha will examine some of those myths that shape and misshape our beliefs about ourselves and others as we navigate elderhood, grief, and loss as initiatory experiences. How do incomplete myths affect the transition into elderhood? How do dominant myths shape our personal and institutional responses to collective challenges, such as climate change, ageism, inter-generational tensions, social injustice, and authoritarian threats? Martha will offer alternate archetypal images of elderhood, grief, and loss from non-Euro-American and indigenous communities to reimagine more “complete” cultural myths.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Identify two currently dominant “incomplete” Euro-American cultural myths that influence our processes of grief, loss and aging.
    • Describe how the cultural devaluation of vulnerability (or “proximity to suffering, dependency and/or death”) affects our ability to address collective social challenges.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • The Old Fool and the Corruption of Myth by Adolph Guggenbühl-Craig
    • Hospicing Modernity by Vanessa Machado de Oliviera.

Module 8 – The Dharma of Aging with David Chernikoff

  • “Live in joy, in love, even among those who hate. Live in joy, in health, even among the afflicted. Live in joy, in peace, even among the troubled. Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, know the sweet joy of the way.”– the Buddha
  • Live Zoom Session – Friday, September 20, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • The aging process involves directly encountering what the Taoists call “the 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows.” When wisely understood, our own life experiences become a pathway to profound spiritual realization. Buddhist teachings offer practical and liberating guidelines for seeing the changes inherent in the aging process as a curriculum for discovering our true nature and the nature of ultimate reality. David will discuss the important roles of spiritual purpose, compassion, and joy, and teach pertinent meditation practices. Together, we will explore our heartfelt aspiration to “wake up,” live with integrity, and find lasting fulfillment.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Identify the purpose of a human life from the perspective of the perennial wisdom traditions.
    • Analyze the Buddhist teaching of “the two truths” as it relates to key insights into meditation practice and how to live daily life.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • Life, Part Two: 7 Keys to Awakening with Purpose and Joy as You Age by David Chernikoff

Module 9 – Transforming Spiritual Suffering for Healers, Caregivers, and Those Who Are Ill with Richard Groves

  • “May you have the commitment to know what has hurt you, to allow it to come closer to you and, in the end, to become one with you.”– The Celtic Book of Living & Dying
  • Live Zoom Session – Tuesday, October 8, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • Drawing on thirty years of Richard’s work with Elders who face chronic illness or the end of life, this workshop explores universal patterns of suffering and time-tested ways to relieve them based on ancient teachings and contemporary research, including mindfulness, art, music, coma work, guided imagery, and ritual. It draws on his unique non-denominational Spiritual Health Assessment Tool, which measures the dimensions of meaning, forgiveness, relatedness, and hope, to evaluate and improve spiritual well-being for doctors, nurses, caregivers, chaplains, mental health professionals, and those who are ill.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Describe two sources of spiritual pain for both care providers and those we serve.
    • Identify a best practice for transforming spiritual suffering that anyone can use.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • The American Book of Living & Dying: Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain and The Alchemy of Grief by Richard Groves
    • Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path by Connie Zweig

Module 10 – Stepping into the Archetype of the Elder with Connie Zweig

  • “Elders are the jewels of humanity that have been mined from the earth, cut in the rough, then buffed and polished by the stonecutter’s art into precious gems that we recognize for their enduring value and beauty.” — Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi
  • Closing Ritual and live online discussion – Tuesday, October 22, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM PT

Description

  • Our society offers no rites of passage for the transition into late life. This explains why we feel disoriented, as if we are between trapezes, unable to let go of the past or grab an uncertain future. This talk reviews the essential practices needed to become an Elder, the inner work of age that enables us to shift from Hero to Elder, from role to soul – and to live fully present, giving our gifts and practicing gratitude in our hearts. It will include a visualization to Meet Your Inner Elder.
    The final class discussion will include a rite of passage to cross the threshold that you can do at home.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Identify three developmental tasks to become an Elder.
    • Name three traits of an Elder vs. a Senior or Hero.
  • Recommended Reading:
    • The Inner Work of Age by Connie Zweig
    • Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path: The Dance of Darkness and Light in Our Search for Awakening by Connie Zweig

Program Details

Live Session Dates:

All sessions from 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PT

  • June 4, 2024
  • June 18, 2024
  • July 9, 2024
  • July 23, 2024
  • August 13, 2024
  • August 27, 2024
  • September 10, 2024
  • September 20, 2024
  • October 8, 2024
  • October 22, 2024

Registration
$1,095.00  – General Rate
$895.00     – Pacifica Alumni, Full Time Students, & Senior Rate
$695.00     – Pacifica Student Rate
$30.00       – Continuing Education Credit (CECs) Fee

You have the option of putting down a 50% deposit when registering for the program and paying the remaining balance in installments of your choice until August 6, 2024. You can select this on the registration form.

Limited scholarship and reduced tuition opportunities are available for this program. Please email retreat@pacficia.edu to request a scholarship application form. The deadline for scholarship applications is May 7, 2024.

Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

All of the live Zoom sessions will be recorded and made available to everyone registered for the program. If you watch the recordings and keep up with the online discussion forum you will qualify for the certificate of completion. Live attendance to the Zoom sessions is not necessary unless you are looking to obtain Continuing Education Credits.

About the Teachers

Connie Zweig, Ph.D. is a retired Jungian therapist and coauthor of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow. Her award-winning book, The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul, extends her work on the Shadow into midlife and beyond and explores aging as a spiritual practice. It won the 2022 Gold COVR Award, the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, the 2021 American Book Fest Award, and the 2021 Best Indie Book Award for best inspirational non-fiction. Her recent book, Meeting the Shadow on the Spiritual Path: The Dance of Darkness and Light in Our Search for Awakening, explores spirituality through the lens of depth psychology. Connie has been doing contemplative practices for more than 50 years. She is a wife, stepmother, and grandmother. After all these roles, she’s practicing the shift from role to soul.

Harry (Rick) Moody, Ph.D., is Visiting Faculty in the Creative Longevity and Wisdom Program at Fielding Graduate University. He is retired Vice President for Academic Affairs for AARP and author of many articles and books about aging, including The Five Stages of the Soul: Charting the Spiritual Passages that Shape Our Lives. His forthcoming book, Climate Change in an Aging Society, will be published soon.

Vince Cullen has been associated with Wat Thamkrabok monastery in Thailand and Buddhist-oriented alcohol and other drug recovery since 1998. He founded the ‘Fifth Precept’ mindfulness group and teaches ‘Hungry Ghost’ meditation retreats internationally. He has held appointments as a Buddhist Prison Chaplain at both male and female prisons in the UK. Vince is currently based in Tipperary, Ireland.

Mirabai Bush is founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Executive Director until 2008. The Center introduced contemplative practices into social work, higher education, law, business, environmental leadership, the military, and social justice activism. She is chairperson of Love Serve Remember Foundation. She is co-author with Ram Dass of Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying and Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service, and editor of Contemplation Nation: How Ancient Practices Are Changing the Way We Live, and co-author of Contemplative Practices in Higher Education. She hosts a podcast on Be Here Now Network.

Martha Crawford holds a Master’s in Social Work and worked as a clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and clinical supervisor for twenty-five years in New York City. She now works as a mentor, teacher, writer, coach, psycho-spiritual director, group and workshop facilitator. She runs two large public dream collections: the 45 Dreams Project, collecting dreams of Donald Trump, and the Climate Dreams Project. She has had her work featured in NPR, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, New York Magazine, and others.

With his late wife Mary, Richard Groves co-founded the Sacred Art of Living Institute and an online healthcare education resource called Soul & Science for Caregivers. A teacher, author, hospice chaplain, and professor of world religions, Richard is also director of Healing the Healers International training series and executive director of The Anamcara Apprenticeship Project, which trains care providers in Celtic spirituality. He is author of The American Book of Living & Dying and Alchemy of Grief.

David Chernikoff is a meditation teacher, spiritual counselor, and writer who taught psychology and meditation at Naropa University for many years. His passion for inter-spiritual studies led him to study and practice with Ram Dass, Father Thomas Keating, Jack Kornfield, Yvonne Rand, and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. David is currently one of the guiding teachers of the Insight Meditation Community of Colorado and teaches retreats throughout the U.S. He is the author of Life, Part Two: Seven Keys to Awakening with Purpose and Joy as You Age.

General Information

Location

Hosted Online

Cancellations

Cancellations 14 days or more prior to the program start date receive a 100% refund of program registrations. After 14 days, up to 7 days prior to the program start date, a 50% refund is available. For cancellations made less than 7 days of program start date, no refund is available.

For additional information, including travel, cancellation policy, and disability services please visit our general information section.

Continuing Education Credit

This program meets qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education credit for Psychologists through the California Psychological Association (PAC014) Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Full attendance is required to receive a certificate.

This course meets the qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

For Registered Nurses through the California Board of Registered Nurses this conference meets qualifications of 10 hours of continuing education credit are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177).  Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.

Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs.  Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for each program and its content.  Full day attendance is required to receive a certificate.

Continuing Education Goal.  Pacifica Graduate Institute is committed to offering continuing education courses to train LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs to treat any client in an ethically and clinically sound manner based upon current accepted standards of practice.  Course completion certificates will be awarded at the conclusion of the training and upon participant’s submission of his or her completed evaluation.

CECs and Online Program Attendance: Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

For those who meet the CEC requirements, CE Certificates will be emailed out in early November.

For additional information, including travel, cancellation policy, and disability services please visit our general information section.

Registration Details

June 4 – October 22, 2024

Number of Classes: 10
Class Length: 60 min.
Class Time: 12 Noon – 1:00 PM PT
CECs: 10

The presentations will be recorded and shared after each session for those unable to attend live.

Participants requesting Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Online programs must attend all live sessions (offered via Zoom) in order to receive CECs. Please make sure that your Zoom account name matches the name of the attendee requesting CECs.

All of the live Zoom sessions will be recorded and made available to everyone registered for the program. If you watch the recordings and keep up with the online discussion forum you will qualify for the certificate of completion. Live attendance to the Zoom sessions is not necessary unless you are looking to obtain Continuing Education Credits.