Midlife Dynamics and the Spiritual Journey is the select programme at Sumedha Centre in August. It will be held from August 12 to 31 and will be facilitated by the Director of the Centre, Jose Parappully.
A Description of the Programme Content and Process
Midlife is a time of profound shifts and changes – in body, mind, perspectives, priorities, values, goals, relationships, spirituality… It is a time when we re-think and re-evaluate our commitments and life choices.
The heart of the programme is built around the midlife dynamics of identity (who we are), intimacy (the role of affectivity and sexuality in our lives) generativity (how we work and nurture future generations), and integrity (how we make sense of the whole of our life).
We begin our midlife explorations from where we are, looking at what is happening in our lives at this point on our psycho-spiritual journey. We try to discern what God might be telling us through all that is happening in our lives. We will explore these current realities in the context of changing paradigms. We explore and assess our spirituality and our religious life in the context of shifting midlife perspectives.
At midlife, sexuality, which has often been repressed, rears its head and makes itself felt, often in troubling ways. Longing for a close relationship is awakened or intensifies. Our body experiences drastic hormonal changes. All these affect our self-concept and our spiritual journey. Our attitude toward sexuality is sometimes profoundly affected by negative sexual experiences, including abuse. We shall address these issues by exploring sexuality and affectivity and their healthy integration in our celibate lifestyle and ministry. We will explore particularly the nature and challenge of celibate friendship as also the effect of sexual abuse and ways to heal from its effects. Spirituality of the body will be explored in the context both of sexuality and of generativity.
We conclude our midlife journey by evaluating and integrating our Life Story through reminiscence and planning to live out the rest of our Life Story informed by the new perspectives and intimations generated during this workshop.
Insights from various psychological theories of development, as well as tools and techniques from the Intensive Journal, Psychosynthesis and Expressive Arts, prayer and meditation are used to explore these midlife dynamics.
This workshop provides theoretical input as well as opportunities for us to reflect on our experiences and to share them with one another and for personal and common prayer. It is hoped that through this four-fold dynamics of Input, Introspection, Interaction, and Prayer we gain a deeper feel for the psychological dynamics operating on our spiritual journey and integrate these to develop a healthier self so that we can experience greater serenity and wholeness as we continue our journey into the Mystery that is our Triune God.