Kavannah of Transformation

When I transitioned from working full time to retirement, I initially found myself at a loss. My career had been the fulcrum of my life and I felt off-balance. How would I spend my time? Would I manage financially? Suddenly I felt “old,” and had no tools to help me cope.

I started to do some serious Tikkun Ishi (personal reconciliation), and figure out what was next for me to contribute to Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), which I’d always felt was significant in my work with teachers, families, and children. I dug deep and started said “yes” to freelance opportunities I manifested, which surprisingly included many things I’d never done before. I reached out to my BJ and professional community, and found there was guidance and support available to me.

A fundamental influence in my transformation was the opportunity I was given to study Wise Aging through BJ, and become a facilitator for Wise Living groups in our community. I did the exercises, started to meditate, and to enjoy a slower pace in my daily life. Through the brilliant work, Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience and Spirit, by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal, and the support of the BJ peer group of trainees and leaders, I gained an entirely different enlightened and relaxed way of seeing the transition to aging.

During this transformation, I have “cultivated equanimity,” as Wise Aging teaches—an inner place of calm that gives me the resilience to let go of what I cannot control and be grateful for the moments of joy in my life. I am so grateful for having time to think, read, write, travel, and enjoy family and friends, and for an appreciation of how I can be of service in this new chapter of my life.

Written By Alison Pepper

Alison Pepper found her spiritual home at BJ, and joined in 1991. She sang in the BJ Choir in the 1990’s, has served on the Israel and Refugee Committees, and is currently a facilitator for the BJ ...