by Travis Wernet
In a wonderful anthology exploring links between Carl Jung’s Analytical Psychology and growing old, much value is given to the practice of creativity as we age.
In the section on “Successful Aging”, Lionel Corbett says,
“Creativity can be a form of spiritual practice; it opens us to whatever wants to emerge, trusting that there is something there that wants to be heard; it liberates meaning, renews life, and often allows us to uncover our unlived aspects.”
From “Jung and Aging”, Sawin, Corbett and Carbine, editors, p. 34
It turns out that aging is not, as contemporary opinions would have us feel, a literal kind of diminishment to be avoided at all costs. Growing old includes the possibility of becoming an elder. When the body begins to go into decline, the spirit and soul may emerge and take on entirely new levels of meaning.
It can be said that true wisdom will always have something of the spontaneous in it. To get old is no guarantee of becoming sagacious. No less, to maintain and develop creative disciplines as we age is a path towards tending a relation to surprising possibilities that want to make themselves known, and which provide a touchstone for acquainting ourselves with the very energies of transformation itself.
Change is an element that is present through the course of our days, and yet, if we look closely we see that it is powerfully pronounced both at the beginning and end of a lifetime – during the rites of passage we call birth and death.
Whereas the adult portions on up to midlife are largely taken up with establishing stable structures from which to base one’s life project, the start and end of life may appear as real invitations to apprenticing oneself to the letting go of previously built-up forms and as a preparation for the unknown.
A root aspect of the work I do involves recalling and honoring dreams and visions. Dreaming is one of the most creative states of being. Our nightly visitations involve ingeniously interwoven elements that often appear as unlikely to the waking mind.
Painting, breathing, meditating, dreaming, making music – creating in whatever form we choose – opens us to the availability of layers of subtle realities, spiritual dimensions and soul existences.
These practices offer portals through experience that help us continue to learn as we age and also assist us to find wisdom emerging from the ground of our lifetimes. Artful disciplines also prepare us for a rich, vital and meaningful death which can be approached via curiosity, rather than sheer anxiety and fear of the unknown.
Travis Wernet has been facilitating group and individual sessions professionally, assisting folks to contact and relate to their creativity for the past twenty years. He is a trained and certified Dream Worker, Professional Musician and Breathworker who also draws on a variety of shamanic tools and practices for the learning of the deep arts of living, belonging and dying. He is a published author and has traveled in Egypt, India and Australia while also offering vital transformational work and ceremonies.
For more information, check out www.TheDreamingWell.com