This retreat, for people in or approaching their senior years (50+), provides a dynamic experiential introduction to conscious aging and the types of inner work that are important on the path toward becoming a conscious elder.
Such an elderhood is a role that is consciously chosen and grown into through preparation at all levels—physical, psychological and spiritual. We invite you to join us for an inspiring week at Ghost Ranch, a land of great beauty long recognized as a place with strong earth energy and spiritual power—an ideal setting for supporting the inner work we will engage in.
The Transforming Aging Summit, hosted by Ron Pevny, is an online gathering designed to inspire and support those moving into the third act of their lives — and determined to thrive. Listen to an interview with Ron Pevny.
This interview is part of The Transforming Aging Summit, a free online event where you can learn from some of the most powerful visionaries and community leaders about fulfillment, creativity and higher purpose in your later years.
This website publishes blog posts written by Center for Conscious Eldering retreat leaders as well as individuals choosing to age consciously and willing to share their perspectives and experiences. Blogs can focus on any themes important to the empowered vision for aging that the Center is committed to supporting. We encourage you to share your wisdom with the conscious eldering community! You don’t have to be a “polished” writer—just someone who is passionate about aging well and willing to share your thoughts with others.
Your blog must not have been published elsewhere, in part or whole
Length should be between 300 and 1,200 words
No advertisements please; just a one or two sentence bio with your name and position or relevant experience, and your contact information for blog readers
Miriam Knight of the New Consciousness Review interviewed Ron Pevny, author of Conscious Living, Conscious Aging, a book about new views of aging.
Knight is the host of the New Consciousness Review Radio Show. “On the NCR Radio Show,” Knight says, “we interview some of the most passionate and exciting authors and filmmakers we can find among the dozens of spiritual and progressive titles we post and review each week.”
Knight describes her guests as “the thought leaders of the conscious awakening.”
In this interview, Ron Pevny shares the experiences in his life that led to his work in the area of conscious eldering, and the long-term effects he sees coming about from this work.
If the video does not play correctly on this page, please click through and watch on YouTube.
There is a big difference between simply becoming old and aging consciously–aging with intent. This retreat, for people in or approaching their senior years (50+), provides a dynamic experiential introduction to conscious aging and the types of inner work that are important on the path toward becoming a conscious elder.
Such an elderhood is a role that is consciously chosen and grown into through preparation at all levels—physical, psychological and spiritual. We invite you to join us for an inspiring week in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina, a magnificent setting for supporting the inner work we will engage in.
Dorian Mintzer of Boomers and Beyond interviewed Ron Pevny and Meg Newhouse about conscious eldering. In a conversation among the three, with questions from the audience, a wealth of thought-provoking questions about aging arise.
Ron Pevny, the founder of the Center for Conscious Eldering, asks, “Why do some people age so well?”
Meg Newhouse, founder of the Life Planning Network, talks about aging as a “move to a new form of identity.”
It isn’t easy, as you’ll learn in the interview, but both speakers present a new, rich paradigm of aging.
Larry Gray’s TED talk shares his experience of conscious eldering.
How to Register
Click to register for Choosing Conscious Elderhood. For other programs, download the flyer at the page for the specific event and follow the instructions. Call Ron Pevny at 970-247-7943 or e-mail him at email@example.com with any questions.
I have been writing in my journal and re-traveling to our retreat. This time away with you and the group had a profound effect on my life. I feel there is a marked difference in my life—there is a before and after person. And I feel the “after” person truly came through the portal we passed through on our Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat. None of this would have been possible without your guidance. Your work is so needed and so rewarding for participants. Dody Anderson
I just returned from a week-long Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat, led by Ron Pevny and his co-facilitator, Anne Wennhold. I highly recommend the program, which has tremendous depth and support for participants wanting to prepare themselves spiritually and creatively for the “bonus years” during which we might still want to contribute to the greater good, whether or not we’re still “productive” in the traditional sense. The program fosters a deep connection to the natural world and was one of the most meaningful and valuable experiences I’ve had in many years. Ron and Anne are truly wise elders and enlightened—and very human—leaders. Linda Blachman
I am grateful for the compassionate, caring and structured methods you utilized to maintain our focus, yet allow space and time for us all to open during the course of our Choosing Conscious Elderhood week. Thank you for creating an environment for me in which I could experience a rapid unfolding, progression and transition from a place of struggle and depleted spirit to a place of clarity, peace and serenity—a jumping off point into the unknown of the third phase of my life. Thank you for the process, the ceremonies and your passion for conscious eldering.Jon Parker
This heart-fully and soulfully crafted Choosing Conscious Elderhood week filled me up with deep inspiration, joyful confirmation, re-union with nature & animals, and communion with like-minded explorers which was perfect for this transitional time in my life. Ron & Susan are masterful guides and role models. Their warmth, sincerity, integrity and generosity of spirit evoke revelations, insights and synchronicities of the highest order. Pris Munson
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in a Conscious Aging Retreat with elders Ron Pevny and Anne Wennhold in October, 2016. It was held at the beautiful and magical Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico, also know as the Land of Enchantment. Ron and Anne, as retreat leaders really set the tone for a safe, sacred circle full of love, care, kindness and compassion. The week was composed of ritual, ceremony, experiential exercises, story-telling, wisdom teachings, letting-go work, deep reflective work, a precious day of solitude, and many “holy moments.” I am so glad to walk away from the retreat with so much knowledge, practical tools and insight for myself and hopefully to share with many! I was blessed with this remarkable experience.” Nancy Donatelli
Ron and Anne brought so much experience, sensitivity and humanity to this retreat! They were well organized, with enough structure to provide a wonderful foundation and enough flexibility to support individual needs and the ever-dynamic group process. Most importantly their kindness, love and compassion set a tone of safe and inter-connected discovery. I left this Elder circle inspired, empowered, and filled with joy. The beautiful spirit of my new friends and fellow travelers along the path of Conscious Aging, is still with me, sustaining and encouraging me along the way. Thank you, Circle of Illumination, Courage and Friendship! I treasure our time together.Ellie Kincade
There are no words to thank you for the deeply spiritual healing experience Ron and Anne created at Ghost Ranch. I have never experienced the speed at which the level of heartfelt honesty, vulnerability, love, and a sense that we were all connected, that we were one, was achieved in a retreat before. It was from this place, immersed in this process so carefully crafted by both of you, that I was able to reach some deeply profound and important feelings that needed to be healed so I can continue to move forward on my deepening journey into elderhood. I am deeply, deeply respectful of your knowledge, skills and abilities and your commitment to help others make a conscious choice to embrace elderhood. Helene Aarons
I think daily, with gratitude, about our experiences together at Ghost Ranch. It was my first experience being so entirely away from home noise and concerns and I realize it took me a bit of time to warm up to being so open and receptive. But you and our times together, our sharing together, the rituals we experienced, the gifts of support and respect given me, the wonderful leadership, and being in the presence of so many dear, spiritually evolved persons, –all of this and more has blessed and is blessing me as I commit to continuing the journey. I love the concept of “Conscious Eldering” and am determined to live into it myself and find ways to share it with others. Judith Jogis—Methodist pastor and senior peer counselor
My experience on the solo of the Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat has really been an anchor for me throughout the year, and set my compass on north unswervingly. The acknowledgment I felt as I returned from my solo and shared what I could of the experience was so important for me. It allowed the power of it to settle into my bones. In being received I could receive myself. I am so grateful. Jean Matlack
My Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat at Ghost Ranch was a very deep and profound time for me. Ron and Anne are able to powerfully create a sacred and safe space that allowed for a deep vulnerability to come forward and be present and create a container and context for “ancient” wounds to heal. Your commitment to and meticulous use of ritual and ceremony as I / we moved through the rite of passage initiations was / is very powerful. Carol Ostrom
The Choosing Conscious Elderhood experience was so valuable to me – a time for me to reflect upon the elder phase of life’s journey that I am entering. It confirmed and opened new perspectives and awareness of many ways to go towards the last third of my life with a sense of refreshed identity, adventure, commitment, self-acknowledgement, gratitude, acceptance and empowerment. Penny Dunning
Our Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat at Ghost Ranch was truly a special time for me. Ron and Anne provided wise and heart-centered guidance and created a powerful container to support our individual quests. And my spirit grew from spending that time outdoors in that magical place. I came away a different person. Paul Severance
After attending an introductory workshop on conscious eldering, I was highly motivated to go deeper within myself and really engage with the process of growing towards conscious elderhood. During my mentoring sessions with Ron, through his compassionate listening, attentive mirroring and skilled guidance, I was able to go deeper into different themes or aspects of my own process as it unfolded. This included reframing past experiences that I had always looked at in a negative light, helping me see them as a vital part of my life’s journey—as “wounds” that helped me recognize my sacred gifts to give to the world. I believe the conscious eldering journey never ends, but it sure helps to have a companion along the way who has traveled a bit further and can clear a path for you. That is Ron’s calling.Larry Gray
Thank you for such a well organized and wonderful Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat. As I move now through the day-to-day realities of my life, I feel so transformed by the sacred spaces we found within and among ourselves at Ghost Ranch. Etched in my consciousness is a deep appreciation for the manner in which Ron and Anne established an atmosphere in which we all gradually opened up, poured out our souls, blossomed, expressed our innermost challenges and spread our wings. I will always be grateful for the human-to-human healing we generated and shared in our conscious eldering retreat. Naomi Harris
Perhaps the most important development task at this time of life is to choose conscious elderhood, but how do I do that? What do I need to change? What do I need to let go?
For me, being in retreat in Ghost Ranch with Ron and Anne as guides allowed me to answer these questions in my own individual way. Having a group who were also seeking made finding my answers more possible. The group support, acceptance and wisdom I experienced encouraged my journey. The retreat finished weeks ago, but my gratitude for it is still expanding. Nancy Garland, former middle school crisis counselor
Words that come to mind when I remember the retreat: “held, safe, community, deep sharing, support, sacredness, opennness, laughter, truth, heartful openings, acceptance, love, challenge, growth” Cynthia Johnson
Insights and learnings from my Meeting Ancient Wisdom experience with Ron and Anne in Hawaii:
The power of wisdom in life stories…when reflected upon
The power of reverential listening…creating new images
The power of nature to teach life’s virtues…of honor and awe, of beauty and interdependence
The power of cosmic spiritual insight to illuminate new possibilities of belief
The power of passionate leaders to hold a diverse and supportive community together for authentic growth, which led me to new awareness and transformative action for living the third stage of life. Margot Worfolk
Your insights, your wisdom, your ability to gently and skillfully engage 13 total strangers into becoming a cohesive and close-knit “family” was beyond anything I experienced in any previous workshop. During this week-long retreat in the mystical and magical environment of Ghost Ranch, surrounded by the security and safety of a circle of 14 loving and caring elders, I received unequivocal permission to allow my innermost sentiments and feelings to well up, and I was able to share in a way that had been closed to me in the past… thank you for guiding me and re-minding me that in order to “Do”, I first have to “Be”. Raphael Sason
When I reflect back on my experience at Ghost Ranch with Ron and Susan I believe my biggest breakthrough was a deeper understanding that we always have a choice how we will respond to life as it manifests, even as we age! It opens up the whole process of aging in such a positive way even though we know death is the ultimate outcome! I am truly grateful to both of you and the wonderful group that assembled at Ghost Ranch in October. Delmarie Gibney—Spiritual Director and Educator
I have never been with a group where everyone took so much personal responsibility for making the trip a success. Our guides couldn’t have been any better. Thank you Ron and Wes for being so flexible, for knowing when to be guides and when to let us discover for ourselves. It certainly is true that whatever we got from the pilgrimage depended upon what we brought to it and how deeply we wished to go. Robert Croonquist, Meeting Ancient Wisdom, Growing into Elderhood participant
This was a pilgrimage of RE-membering for me—we all once lived in caves, grew corn and crops, sat in circles around the fire, prayer to the Creator Spirit for guidance and wisdom. We remember, our soul remembers. I want to keep the days remaining to me simple and full of life—with room for joy and laughter, prayer and service, connection and love. My body will always remember the drumming prayer circle outside the cave after lunch with the Raramuri (Tarahumara) elders. Anita Mcleod, Meeting Ancient Wisdom, Growing Into Elderhood participant
Ron and Ann brought out the “love” energy of all of us. I could not have asked or even considered that would be possible in a retreat. The sincerity of both of you was intense and sincere and worthy of our trust. That showed up for each participant at the right moments. It was without a doubt, from start to finish, the most heartfelt work-shop I have ever attended. I continue to feel the presence of our wonderful group. Herb Cohen
I found the retreat to be very filling and wholesome in every way. It seemed like we were ‘gentled’ into each successive experience. Nothing was harsh or intrusive. It was fun to be expectant, without expectations. And, it seemed like there was always another event or period of time that we were well prepared to experience and harvest, and that was promising and rewarding. Both of the guides had just the right words for each occasion, and much of the week was sacred and holy in some way. The creation and sustaining of community was also remarkable. Thank you both so much. Mike Hughes, retired psychologist, Certified Sage-ing Leader
After an extraordinary week of exploration, opening, questioning, I came home, full with the support of the group, motivated to take action, propelled to make constructive changes in my life. What a gift this retreat was! Phyllis Eisner
I am changed. Ron and Anne’s Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat was transforming…a time of intense inner work, guiding, pushing, opening, inviting me into greater freedom to be, and return to, myself. These seven days enlivened my spirit,freed up long shut down possibilities, revealed new ones, touched my creativity with confidence, and released accumulated doubt and fear. The retreat cleared a path forme to break into my eldering journey with intention, allowing the elder within me to emerge into the light of this life. Ron and Anne so skillfully and compassionately offered a process ripe with beautiful ritual… well balanced between individual reflection, self examination, and supportive group sharing, and infused with wonderful humor that comes only with deep wisdom from their own knowing. The path ahead is now…there is no time, nor desire, to ‘go back to sleep’. Bob Calhoun
The support I received during Choosing Conscious Elderhood inspired me and continues to do so. I learned during the time I was with you not to plan too far ahead in too much detail, to have flexibility, and to know that I am guided and protected by something greater than I can even imagine. The framework is in place. My job as an elder is to take the next step in each moment.Gina Fryer
Our pilgrimage led me to a very deep place within. Much of my ability to descend was because our guides (Ron Pevny, Elizabeth Cogburn, Jan Milburn, Mireya Milburn) not only gave me permission to stumble downward, supporting me as I went, but opened the way. It was a sacred journey made even greater by all the laughter we shared. The depth of the canyon helped me enter my own depth. The rituals led by Ron and Elizabeth opened me in a comfortable manner which overcame my caution. I have traveled much of the world, but this journey has been one of the most life-changing.Judith Helburn, Training Director for the Sage-ing Guild
I loved Breitenbush Retreat Center. So mellow. Such a beautiful setting by the river and hot springs. So unpretentious. Could really let my outside cares go. The progress of the week was also mellow; the activities compelling. No rushing through anything. The participants were compatible and supportive. The co-leaders were gracious and non-didactic. I would definitely enjoy repeating the Choosing Conscious Elderhood experience. Amy Lepon
My wife and I attended a recent Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat for different reasons, but left with a shared sense of accomplishment, progress and satisfaction. Amidst the glories of Ghost Ranch NM, my passion for aging consciously and intentionally found common ground with her desire to learn more about my abiding interest. We both found what we were looking for, and are grateful for the workshop’s role in encouraging our growth as unique elders, and supporting our evolution as an aging couple. Jim Baker
I can’t begin to tell you how much the Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat at Sea to Sky meant to me. You (Ron and Anne) were both spectacular in your ability to hold the space for the mystery to unfold. Your passion and commitment for this work was so very clear to me and I’m sure to everyone in the group. The degree to which I felt safe, cared for, looked after and encouraged was exactly what I needed. The work itself, and particularly the rituals,, drumming, poetry and my solo day were all critical pieces of the puzzle designed to move me forward. I guess one could say this week was the perfect storm of kindness, love, compassion and place. Cathy Carmody
The extended time allotted for reflection, sharing, ritual, and ceremony, all in the great outdoors, provided for a significant deepening and shifting of the conscious aging work I began years ago. I am so grateful for this experience, and even more grateful for the new community of friends and new tools for growth I will carry with me forever.Maureen Dobson
Gary and Charlotta Carlson
Charlotta and I were delighted with the content of the retreat and your considerable skills in presenting the materials, councils, visioning day and rituals of the retreat. You both are highly skilled, dedicated and most caring leaders. Even though Charlotte and I have both done many workshops in the area of conscious aging (as leaders or as participants), we came away from Choosing Conscious Elderhood feeling that we had learned much and grown in our own eldering processes. Gary and Charlotta Carlson
The Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat at Ghost Ranch was a wonderful experience for me! I appreciate the way you designed the week, the clear but gracious way our guides communicated with the group, the variety of experiences you planned, the focus on the work of Spirit, and your enthusiasm about conscious eldering. I left energized, inspired, and excited about what the future might hold for me as well as the rest of the group Early in the week, in response to a question, Ron said with kindness and confidence, “We know what we’re doing.” He was so right! Wallace Johnson
I’ve had many retreat experiences in my life. “Choosing Conscious Elderhood” was one of the best. Many factors made it so: the beautiful wilderness setting in the Foothills of the Rockies; the structure of the Retreat – moving us through the past, present and future of our lives; Ron and Anne’s excellent facilitation, using time-honored tools to create a sense of sacred space and time and help us plumb our psycho-spiritual depths, like drumming, symbolism, poetry and lots of storytelling. They set the tone for our sessions by sharing movingly from their own wealth of life experience. So much of what we did in the course of the week opened our hearts to allow Spirit to move in us, eliciting deeply-held memories and dreams, sharpening our intuition as to what in us needs healing, and opening possibilities on how we can move forward on our life journeys with meaning and purpose. Murray Etty, retired minister
I knew that I needed some help but I didn’t know where to look. Retirement was closing in on me. What next? I wondered. While searching the internet, I stumbled upon Ron’s “Choosing Conscious Elderhood Retreat.” In a word, the retreat was amazing. Ron and Anne led us through a serious of rituals that helped us go deeper into our journey, owning truths about ourselves. In our small group time, we quickly bond as fellow travelers. I found the entire experience to be safe and nurturing. I continue to tend the seeds planted during the retreat. Amazing! Charles Ortloff – Lutheran Pastor
I came to the pilgrimage longing to go on retreat, be immersed in and savor beauty, to remember who I am created to be, to be grateful, to embrace aging, to learn from fellow seekers, to be light hearted, to tap into wisdom. My desires for this journey were realized. I felt so cared for by the leaders as well as the people behind the scenes. Terri Gaffney, Meeting Ancient Wisdom, Growing into Elderhood participant
From beginning to end the Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat was thoughtfully planned and implemented. My journey of preparing for and experiencing this retreat was powerful and invited me to deepen in important ways. I particularly found the dialoguing with nature, the letting-go ceremony and the solo day the most helpful for me. The emphasis on creating trust and community was central to the experience. I would happily recommend this to anyone interested in doing this important work as they age.Carol Scott-Kassner, minister and former college professor
Mary Kay Voytilla
Attending a week-long Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat is an opportunity to step away from day-to-day living and spend some time contemplating the future you desire. The wonderful instructors will skillfully and compassionately lead you through a series of exercises and discussions designed to unlock your fears, uncover what brings you joy, and take positive steps to create or reaffirm your life choices. You will spend the week with kindred spirits who just might become your life-long friends. Please consider giving yourself the gift of experiencing this retreat And… be prepared for a little magic! Mary Kay Voytilla
Our Choosing Conscious Elderhood retreat at Ghost Ranch exceeded my already high expectations. The highlight for me was my powerful experience during our solo day on the land. I know it wouldn’t have been possible without Ron and Anne’s inspired leadership and facilitation throughout, including (but not limited to):
creating safe, sacred space and cultivating a strong trusting, loving community
the careful thought, preparation and sequencing of the program elements
our guides’ modeling of conscious elderhood in your authenticity, compassion, joy, and wisdom
our guides’ ability to respond so sensitively to each other, each of us, and to unexpected challenges.
It was for me a powerful passage, with its beautiful rituals, its essential witnessing and support through the occasional rough patch, and its great rewards. Amazingly perhaps, the sense of a loving community and the internal transformation have largely stayed with me.Meg Newhouse, founder of the Life Planning Network
I often re-imagine those days and nights of our Choosing Conscious Elderhood shared experience—the faces, and voices, the words, and the sounds of wind, thunder, rain and birds in the wildness. I had not known such affirmation or such support. Eight consecutive days of Beauty beyond my imagining. I thank you for what we made of that wondrous time. I’ll be calling you for an appointment for coaching to help me integrate my experience. Susan Brown
My Choosing Conscious Elderhood vision quest counts as the peak experience of my life, giving me a basic shift in my orientation to my life and my work. I’m more in touch with what the Quakers call the “inner teacher” than heretofore. That and the Spirit that is revealed in nature are now my primary sources of wisdom. The quest seemed to knock loose some inner barriers within me. I find myself able to relate to elders at a deeper level more readily. My experience with you was a turning point in my life. I think what did it, in addition to your kind support, was when I came to admit to myself that I am an Elder. Ron’s role in this quest was particularly helpful, as he stayed so closely tuned in to all the nuances of how each of us was responding to what was happening. Allyn Bradford, university professor
We gathered at the Sacred Mountain,
coming from places far away,
bringing with us our trick bags
filled with hopes and dreams,
laughter, tears, doubts, fears,
hearts heavy with grief, or
bodies aching with the
weight of our years.
We carried maps with many
paths and no directions, knowing
we must make a journey,
not knowing how to jumpstart
Our travel agents prepared us
for the trip, knotted us together,
drummed us into community,
pushed us to explore ever deeper into
the Heart of who we really are.
“Be prepared,” they said, and giving
their blessing, they launched each of us
through the Mountain Threshold
into the Great Mysterious. We scattered
to the Four Winds.
Who journeyed into the unknown
while on the Sacred Mountain?