What does aging wisely mean? To most people in the West, “aging” is a word that conjures up dread and despair. Loss of beauty, youth and vitality are almost synonymous with invisibility. Even more reason to applaud the husband-wife team of George & Sedena Cappannelli who have co-authored Do Not Go Quietly: A Guide to Living Consciously and Aging Wisely for People Who Weren’t Born Yesterday.
This book not only celebrates the second half of life, it extols baby boomers as folks with rich life experiences who are custodians of a heritage. Divided into five sections, the book offers real-life stories of those who “harvested the wisdom” of their past and went on to shine light both for themselves and others who followed. The authors address relevant issues that a lot us struggle with such as the power of limiting beliefs, life purpose, befriending death, dealing with incompletions, forgiveness, living in the now, and much, much more.
This being a Grief blog, I will focus on some of what struck me as great advice and teaching from the chapter “Celebrating Life — Befriending Death.” My favorite part of this chapter is a quote from the wonderful Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: “It is the denial of death that is partially responsible for people living empty, purposeless lives; for when you live as if you’ll live forever, it becomes too easy to postpone the things you know that you must do.”
The chapter goes on to discuss how we fear death and therefore live in denial of what is an inevitable cycle of life. According to the authors, “We fear the loss of loved ones, of opportunities, and of what we think of as control over our lives. But the bottom line is that most of us fear the manner and consequences of our death far more than we fear the state or condition we call death.”
Another quote worth spending some time on is from Reverend Chariji, an Indian teacher. “Death is really a holiday from life. Babaji (his teacher) has used this beautiful analogy — that even the prisoners in the dungeons are let out for one or two hours every day to go up in the sunshine in the courtyards, to have fresh air, to have some exercise, so that they can face the next period of incarceration in the dungeon. Therefore, death is not a punishment. Neither is death an end. Some Occidental writers on the subject treat death with contempt, with fear. And many people have been educated into thinking that death is to be avoided, even by committing suicide, which is ridiculous. You cannot avoid death by dying. You can only avoid death by living properly.”
The best way to savor this book is by nibbling on tiny morsels of wisdom at a time. But every chapter is worth its weight in gold.
I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purpose.