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Dr. Connie Zweig, Ph.D., retired Jungian-psychotherapist and author, joins us to discuss her new book, The Inner Work of Age. She extends her well-known work on shadow into midlife and beyond and provides a map for uncovering obstacles to aging consciously. The transition from Hero to Elder, or role to soul, begins with releasing the ego’s identification with doing and reorienting toward the transpersonal center that Jung called the Self.

As we let go of outworn personas and roles, harvest the wisdom of our long lives, and break free of unconscious shadows, the Elder’s gift of authenticity naturally emerges. In this way, individuation, the deeper dimension of age, can be expanded along with our expanding longevity. This renewed purpose is the hidden promise of late-life.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I was sitting at the front of a moving bus that was full of a friend’s family after a ceremony, maybe a wedding or a funeral. I was sitting facing backward so I could be part of the congregation. They announced they would shortly bring out my friend’s grandmother’s exhumed body for the dancing ritual. I wasn’t sure I’d have the guts to take part but wanted to wait until I saw her grandmother to make my decision. She was brought out in a sheer black veil, through which I could see her body had shriveled to a tiny frame, almost a skeleton but preserved as if she had been embalmed. Her family took turns joyously and carefully waltzing down the aisle of the bus with her, and everyone gazed upon the ritual with loving delight. I decided I would just watch this time. My friend was gently handed her grandmother’s corpse whilst sitting in her seat behind me. She held her in her lap and we had a conversation, during which my friend’s face and her grandmother’s became indistinguishable. My friend appeared both living and dead at the same time, her face hollowed and decomposed but animated and lively.”

Please listen to this podcast from our January speaker and leave your comments and ideas on this subject matter below.