Aging Is An Inside Job

Aging Is An Inside Job

Aging Is an Inside JobIt seems like a hundred years ago that Sophie Lumen of The Art of Aging began to amass her spectacular following on Facebook. We stumbled across each other and immediately recognized that we were kindred spirits. We joined forces in heart and mind to take on the challenges of aging. An artist and spiritual guru she spread love and acceptance everywhere she went.  Even though Sophie has been on a bit of a sabbatical, The Art of Aging is still gathering followers, and she posts from time to time on her website Feed the Beauty. I have a feeling that she’ll show up again one day shining even brighter than before. I tell you about Sophie because one of my favorite quotes of hers has always been “Beauty is an inside job.” How very right she is!

I also believe that aging is an inside job. As we get older everything in and around us pushes us, and not so very gently I might add, away from externals and toward getting right with ourselves. We are being directed to start facing our fears, healing our wounds and traumas, figuring out what we truly believe and value and learning to start living congruently…aligning our insides with our outsides. We can’t do this by obsessing about our gray hair, our sagging breasts, our wrinkles, our decreasing strength. We can’t do this by focusing on externals. External concerns are only a diversion, an escape, a habit of avoiding the real issue at hand.

Are there real life concerns? Of course. They, however, must take a back seat to the inner work that needs to be done. The inner work will make the outer work more manageable and clear. Carl Jung outlines this process in his 7 tasks of aging. It’s a good place to start to see the basics of this process.

Carl Jung’s 7 tasks of aging

  1. Facing the reality of aging and dying
  2. Life review
  3. Defining life realistically
  4. Letting go of the ego
  5. Finding new rooting in the Self
  6. Determining the meaning of one’s life
  7. Rebirth – dying with life

These are no light weight tasks! Then again, we always complain about not wanting to waste our lives! The inner journey can appear daunting. No wonder we shy away from it. It doesn’t make it any less compelling or necessary. I’m pretty sure the alternative isn’t any better. We just think it is.

In the coming weeks, I will begin to address each of these tasks in more detail.  I hope you’ll hang around and offer our experience and insights.

Have you tackled any of Jung’s tasks? Where are you in this process? Where are you getting stuck? Please leave a comment if you have time. We have so much to learn from one another.

5 Replies to “Aging Is An Inside Job”

  1. It’s no secret that I’ve been around death too many times, from a young life. Once again I’m close to losing another loved one and the difference in age between my husband and I always scares me about the fact that I won’t be spending the rest of my life with him (if nature takes it course.) Certainly life and death thoughts become more prominent as we age.
    I look forward to this series. 🙂

    1. I have feared losing my husband for better than 10 years. He had a heart attack at 53, and it’s true women often outlive men. Before that I always hoped I’d die before he did, not a very good way to go about living or aging! So I totally get your concern. I knew I had to stare down this fear and have been working hard at it for some years now. I look forward to sharing more on the subject of our own mortality and look forward to hearing your thoughts as well.

  2. Daisaku Ikeda, among many other comments on death and aging, had this to say in something I read today:
    “If you think about it, although we may not be destined to die five minutes from now, we are all, without exception, going to die at some point. We can count on it 100 percent. There is nothing surer than this. Victor Hugo says, “We are all under sentence of death, but with a sort of indefinite reprieve.” Ideally, we should live every minute of our lives valuably, as if it were the last moment of our lives. Those who live aimlessly are left with a sense of emptiness at the end of their lives, but those who live all-out, striving right to the end, will die peacefully. Leonardo da Vinci says, “As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” One aware that death could come at any time will live each day to the fullest.”
    Yes, aging is an inside job and one that must be dealt with.

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