Doing Sixty and Seventy

Doing Sixty and Seventy book coverDoing Sixty and Seventy
by Gloria Steinem
Elders Academy Press (2006)

72 pages, $13.95 Softcover, plus shipping

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Gloria Steinem became a spokesperson for issues about aging quite accidentally after declaring to a reporter on the occasion of her fortieth birthday, “This is what forty looks like. We’ve been lying for so long, who would know?” Because of this casual comment about her age and about the collective societal pressure to lie about our age she received an avalanche of thanks and support from other women facing age discrimination. This caused her to realize the far reaching dimensions of age oppression.

In her inspiring essay, Doing Sixty and Seventy, Steinem shares her views on age stereotyping, the unexpected liberation that comes with growing older, and defines what she perceives as the fact that women become more radical as they age. The essay also sheds light on the forces that shaped her life and for readers who have only heard bits and pieces about her the essay offers a primer on her bold and logical theories.

In the essay, Steinem describes turning fifty as “leaving a much-loved and familiar country” and turning sixty “as arriving at the border of a new one” in which she looked forward to “trading moderation for excess, defiance for openness, and planning for the unknown.” In the Preface — written when Steinem is just past seventy and twelve years after the essay was first published — Steinem explains the development of her precious sense of mortality and time.

Elders Academy Press is proud to publish Ms. Steinem’s enlightening and thought-provoking essay — thus allowing it to appear for the first time as an independent volume.

About the Author
Gloria Steinem remains the United States’ most influential, eloquent and revered feminist more than three decades after founding Ms. magazine. A devoted activist and writer, Steinem continues, as she has for more than thirty-five years, to travel nationally and internationally and speak with a calm voice of reason and articulation about gender, racial, and other civil inequity issues.

Doing Sixty and Seventy
by Gloria Steinem
Elders Academy Press (2006)
72 pages, $13.95 Softcover, plus shipping

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Faces of Aging

Faces of Aging Faces of Aging by Nader Shabahangi book cover
by Nader Robert Shabahangi, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2002)

80 pages, $19.95, plus shipping

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Faces of Aging is a collection of essays and photographic images that address the challenge of aging in a society that is not sympathetic to older people. The result of this negativity deprives us all from interaction with a very valuable segment of the population.

Older people can provide us with experience, knowledge and affection if we change our attitude toward them and begin to see them as a resource rather than a liability. History and the humanistic tradition have shown us that when respected and valued, older citizens can continue to be productive and creative and can contribute to the quality of life.

Faces of Aging is a tribute to elders and is dedicated to removing the veil from the subject of aging. The book invites us to ask how we can remain conscious of the ways in which we impose our own fears of aging, of death, of the changes that invariably occur as we age, onto the elderly themselves: If we ask ourselves to face our own fears of aging and dying, maybe we can begin to understand how these fears express themselves in our work with and attitudes toward the elderly. How, in our interactions with the elderly, can we remain open to what they have to offer us, not only because they have more life experience than we do, but also because they are entrusted in our care? How does our contact with the elderly inform our awareness of our own inner elders? How is the whole topic of the elderly important to those of us in the younger generations?

Why do we age and what for? Of what are we afraid when we think about aging? How did it happen that we humans came to treat today’s elderly in such a disrespectful fashion? How would we like to be seen when we are old? This book is an invitation to look at aging and old age differently, to question our common cultural and personal assumptions about aging and old age. The writing, photos and poems presented will invite the reader to meet with the many images of aging and look anew for meaning in aging and old age, for the maturity and wisdom the Old Wise Guide, inside of us all, offers us.

About the Author
Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D., received his doctorate from Stanford University and is a licensed psychotherapist. His multicultural background has made him an advocate for different marginalized groups of society throughout his adult life. In the 1980’s he worked with abused children and teenagers and led anticipatory bereavement groups for Coming Home Hospice. In 1992 he founded the non-profit organization Pacific Institute with the purpose of training psychotherapists in a multicultural, humanistic approach to counseling and to provide affordable therapy services to the many diverse groups living in San Francisco.

Faces of Aging
by Nader Robert Shabahangi, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2002)
80 pages, $19.95, plus shipping

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Ambiguity of Suffering

Ambiguity of SufferingAmbiguity of Suffering book cover
by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2015)
230 pages, $24.95 Softcover, plus shipping

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Suffering holds one of the deeper meanings of life: the ability to connect with your soul, your deep humanity. This connection with suffering pushes us to become ever more aware. Rather than trying to eliminate suffering, we can celebrate it as an opportunity to deepen who we are. This book is my effort to re-introduce a love of philosophy to psychology. As Suzuki Roshi states, we’re beginning to look again at the world from a place of not knowing rather than knowing — a world full of possibility and probability, as opposed to fact and clarity.

From the Preface

The legacy of this book – lived through Nader’s teaching, his numerous elder-focused writings, his groundbreaking work in elder care, and ever rippling into new realms of possibility – is evidence of the vibrancy and passion that reside between its pages. This is not surprising, considering that the ideas put forth in this book are essentially a preface to the decades of Nader’s service to elders. Just as Freud’s Project became an underlying treatise for his later intellectual contributions to psychology,parallels abound between this writing and Nader’s later contributions to existential and process-oriented psychology, as well as his revolutionary impact on elder care.

Nader is acknowledged in the field for his promotion of a new language for what is traditionally known as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond simply reframing these phenomena as experiences of “forgetfulness,” this new language is infused with an appreciation of the utter mystery and depth of the forgetting experience, rather than focusing solely on what is tragic.

 

“A clarion call for those of us privileged to call ourselves awareness workers, psychologists, counselors, social workers, process workers and psychiatrists alike. Nader Shabahangi’s words invite us into a challenging dialogue with Freud and Heidegger, two thinkers whose ideas forever changed our way of understanding the inner and outer world. Above all, Ambiguity of Suffering alarms us to awaken from the prevailing narrative of positivism, and to enter a world rich with ambiguity, mystery, and meaning.”
— Troy Piwowarski, Psy.D., LLP, Licensed Psychotherapist

“In this inspired re-contextualization of psychological epistemology, Dr. Shabahangi problematizes the very grounds upon which mechanistic influences of human behavior are predicated. Categorical diagnoses of the many forms of human suffering reflect an effort to eradicate pathological mental conditions, and yet, as Dr. Shabahangi demonstrates, the experience of making meaning as a human in the world compels suffering — just as the ambiguity of suffering, and all that accompanies its existential significance, nourishes the meaningfulness of being. From the orientation of Heidegerrian philosophy, Ambiguity outlines historical and present-day mechanistic conceptualizations of the human experience, problematizes a reductive understanding of the human mind and spirit, and advocates for a more holistic conceptualization and treatment of the “problem” of psychopathology.”
— Stephanie Rothman, Ph.D.

 

 

Ambiguity of Suffering
by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
230 pages, $24.95 Softcover, plus shipping

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AgeSong: Meditations for Our Later Years

AgeSong: Meditations for Our Later YearsAgeSong: Meditations for our Later Years
by Elizabeth Bugental, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2005)
83 pages, $20.00, plus shipping

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AgeSong: Meditations for Our Later Years is a heartening, insightful companion for reflecting on the journey of aging.

Growing old is not an option. But how we age is a choice. At least we like to think so. AgeSong gives us a pleasurable nudge and a little inspiration to take charge of our aging. None of us knows how many years this final life-phase will last, but it’s a pretty good bet that it will last at least as long as our adolescence.

If we can remember back that far, unlike this life-phase, those teens and early twenties seemed to go on forever and we sure didn’t have a plan. Now we’re old enough and maybe even wise enough to decide how we’d like to live before we die. And maybe we even have the guts to make the choices we need to make to do it in style.

The style, of course, needs to be our own, not one planned out for us by society, our children, our peers, or even our personal habitual mind-sets. We’re finally old enough to consult our deeper selves and do it our way.

AgeSong can be taken in small doses to direct our thinking toward the possibilities ahead of us rather than the life we’ve left behind. It offers us a look into a world that, for many of us, has always been available, but which we may not have had the physical or mental luxury of enjoying. It provides us a simple, yet profound, breathing space to take in the richness within our reach that could fill our last days with wonder and gratitude.

About the Author

Elizabeth Bugental spent her 20’s and 30’s as a Catholic nun in Los Angeles. She taught on all levels and was, for over a decade, Chairperson of the Department of Theatre Arts at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Her second career, lasting into her sixties, was as a psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay Area, in private practice and working jointly with her husband of thirty-six years, James Bugental, noted Psychologist and author. She held a doctorate in Speech and Drama from Stanford University, a Masters Degree from Catholic University of America and practiced as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

AgeSong: Meditations for Our Later Years
by Elizabeth Bugental, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press, 2005
83 pages, $20.00, plus shipping

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Encounters of the Real Kind, Book 2

Encounters of the Real Kind: Musings, poetry, stories about elders, forgetfulness and life, Book 2Encounters of the Real Kind Book 2 cover
Edited by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2014)
240 pages; $16.95 Softcover, plus shipping

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This is the second volume in the series of Encounters of the Real Kind. These stories, poems and musings are shared by the 2012/2013 participants in the AgeSong Gero-Wellness training program. The Gero-Wellness Internship program emphasizes that we need to ‘see’ and care for the whole human being, that we learn from our elders about what really matters in life.

With backgrounds in psychology, gerontology, counseling, grief and loss support, and human development, interns come from a variety of schools and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. These interns show an authentic interest and passion in their work with the aging population. They are part of a movement that views aging with respect and awareness, a necessity to become a mature and wise human being. This is a view that looks at the gifts aging afford us.

Pacific Institute teaches a humanistic-existential, process-oriented approach to working with individuals in general and elders specifically. This approach refrains from pathologizing and labeling and tries to understand the appearance of symptoms as important messages to be explored and understood. In such a phenomenological approach, symptoms are understood as solutions to whatever ails or burdens a resident rather than a problem to be eliminated.

All residents at AgeSong Communities have an opportunity to connect with interns who provide emotional and therapeutic support individually and/or in group settings.

Interns spend two or more days a week in an AgeSong community and may accompany residents to group programs, share stories while on walks, connect in a painting class, listen to music, and read poetry together. They also plan trips to the opera or share in a quiet moment. Groups focus on meditation, expressive arts, movement, humor, national and international news, literature, travel and much more. Our interns follow the lead of elders; they show us what is important to them.

An elder once told me “We will all die. Why? Because we can’t take care of each other.”

~ Jacob Engelskirger, Doctoral Intern at AgeSong

I have seen amazing transformation of GeroWellness interns over the past year. When they started AgeSong’s Gerowellness Program, interns thought they were helping members of the community. Upon completion of the program, they came to the realization that they were learning more from members of the community than members of the community were learning from them. The stories in Encounters of the Real Kind (Book 2) document their learning.

~ Sally D. Gelardin, Ed.D., Engagement Director, AgeSong

“I bring the wood and the AgeSong Elders start the fire with their wisdom.”

~ Chaplain Rick, Ministry of Presence

 

Encounters of the Real Kind: Musings, poetry, stories about elders, forgetfulness and life, Book 2
Edited by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2014)
240 pages; $16.95 Softcover, plus shipping

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Encounters of the Real Kind, Book 1

Encounters of the Real Kind Book 1 book coverEncounters of the Real Kind: Musings, poetry, stories about elders, forgetfulness and life, Book One
Edited by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2013)

203 pages, $20.00 Softcover, plus shipping; $9.95 eBook – Epub & Mobi

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Elders Academy Press is excited to introduce a new series sponsored by Pacific Institute featuring the contributions of the Pacific Institute Gero-Welness Program interns training within the AgeSong Eldercare Communities: Encounters of the Real Kind.

Encounters of the Real Kind are exactly that: deep, life-changing meetings between human beings.

The Pacific Institute Gero-Wellness training emphasizes that we need to ‘see’ and care for the whole human being. It teaches that symptoms are meaningful and important signals for a deeper understanding of each person, that these symptoms need to be met with curiosity and respect, with an attitude of wonder and love.

There is never anything ‘wrong’ with a person. Rather, we ask: what is right about what is happening now? Where does it want to lead us? How are we to understand its message to us? We see our elders with eyes of love, not with eyes that look for pathologies and disease.

Elders, with all of their richness, depth and life-experience, are the most beautiful teachers in this world. These teachers provide our interns – but really all of us who take time to be with them – the privilege to deeply experience and understand what it means to live a life, to have lived a life. Elders give those who will allow themselves to be present with them an exceptional opportunity to grow into a full human being.

This is not an easy journey. Interns face the complexity of the question of human identity and the fear and anxiety of disability and dying. They begin to understand the difference between being-with and doing-to and learn the art of unfolding a person’s process. They experience the many forms of forgetfulness and states of awareness, the many ways of communication, verbal and non-verbal. They begin to appreciate the quality and subjective nature of time, of slowing down, of being present and of listening deeply. They learn to establish a trusting relationship and experience the richness and challenge of hospice work. They learn about mindfulness, about focused attention, building community, and the meaning of isolation and loneliness. They learn to be with coma, trauma, and the many other forms and meanings of dependencies. They learn about the finitude of life, about what really matters – to them and others. Interns begin to grasp the difference between information and knowledge, between knowledge and wisdom.

Hearing an elder speak about life, sitting quietly next to a forgetful elder holding hands, walking slowly with an elder noticing one’s breath, the breeze on one’s face – these are encounters of the real kind. They present us with an inkling of the dimension of the human soul and spirit.

These encounters change your life.

Encounters of the Real Kind: Musings, poetry, stories about elders, forgetfulness and life, Book 1
Edited by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
Elders Academy Press (2013)
203 pages, $20.00 Softcover, plus shipping; $9.95 eBook – Epub & Mobi

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