Tag Archives: aging

The Silver Gate – The Task

“The Silver Gate requires us to surrender our egos and begin the process of accepting the aging of the body and mind. (…) Our task at this gate is to move beyond the familiar and strengthen our capacity to develop curiosity, trust, and flexibility.” Angeles Arrien

I have been working on this acceptance for years – long before I found this book.  In fact, I have written about it many times on another blog. You can read my thoughts here.

For the purposes of this exercise I’m going to wander down the ego path.

If I acknowledge (which I have done) and rest into (in some ways) my aging, what will I gain and what will I lose? This is looking at it from the ego, isn’t it?

I have gained so much and as I move through this book, I realize that there is always more to come. More joy, more wisdom, more sharing, more ease with life, more alignment in spirit and essence.

And there are things that I might not give up so easily.

I hope that I can stay active throughout my life. I have had periods of illness and restricted activity but have always been able to work my way back. I don’t fast-forward toward the “what ifs” and so I don’t know how it will be to give up my strength and vitality.

I am used to how I look. I still feel attractive and winsome. Oh, I gain a few pounds here, a wrinkle there, and sagging lots of things; but, overall my changes come slowly and almost imperceptibly. I continue to try to look my best – and that idea of my best has changed through the years. I think of beauty differently and value a smile emanating from inner good will as an ageless magnet. Will I ever look myself in the eye and be dissatisfied with who I see there? I hope not ever because of superficial changes that we take on with aging. But who knows?

I love my independence. Although I am happy to volunteer and assist those who need assistance, I don’t really contemplate how it will be when I am the one who needs it. I hope I have the wisdom to ask for and accept help. And I hope there is someone like myself who offers their hand in a friendly way as an equal.

I don’t really worry so much about my mind. Of course, I don’t like forgetfulness. But, I have much experience with loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s. If the only way I can master “presence” is to be unable to remember the past or plan for the future…so be it!

The Student





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The Silver Gate

I would love to live 

Like a river flows, 

Carried by the surprise

Of it’s own unfolding. John O’donahue

The Task: “The Silver Gate requires us to surrender our egos and begin the process of accepting the aging of the body and mind.”

The Challenge: “…is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them.”

The Gift: “If we commit first to living ‘like a river flows/Carried by the surprise/Of its own unfolding’, the gift of wisdom emerges and reveals itself.”

This first gate will lead me into an adventure of learning. I will open myself to the next phase of my life thinking outside the box of my existence up to now.  I am challenged by this unfolding at an age when my culture sees my life as narrowing – my time growing shorter and perhaps less important.

This is a beginning that will move me more gracefully toward my ending.

The Student


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The Second Half of Life

I was late in discovering Angeles Arrien. My first introduction was through a class on her book, The Four -Fold Way. It resonated with me immediately and so I went on a library search recently for lessons I had not yet learned from her.


As I delve into her book on The Second Half of Life, Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom, I know that I will become richer with new insights as I work my way through it. And since I am a visual person, I have decided to do my lessons in writing so that I can re-discover my lessons when I am feeling a bit wonky about life.

She tells the story of the eight gates in the voice of a gnome. I am listing the gates here and then will begin my journey. Of course, this is dangerous. I may look back and comprehend that I have misconstrued some of the intentions. But “rushing in” is part of my personality. I live with it.

Every gate is described  and sets forth a task and then a challenge. Next it tells the gift received from going through the gate  and then sets forth reflections and help for practicing what is learned. It doesn’t sound easy – but worth it.

The Silver Gate – the beginning of the adventure

The White Picket Gate – a place of changing

The Clay Gate – entering mystery

The Black and White Gate – dealing in relationships

The Rustic Gate – exploring creativity

The Bone Gate – facing honesty and authenticity

The Natural Gate – finding contentment

The Gold Gate – finding your inner light

But I will follow the gnome’s advice. “As you travel from Silver to Gold, remember that after each gate you must reflect and practice, reflect and practice, and reflect and practice some more.”

And here I go…

The Student

The Second Half of Life  – Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom, Sounds True, Copyright 2005, ISBN1-59179-252-5

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