Here is the link to the first post and to the second post. I had the pleasure of meeting with David Shapiro to discuss the book. Here are a couple more of my questions and David's answers (I've paraphrased his responses).
Question: Some readers will be able to readily apply the suggestions you have laid out. Others might struggle with where and how to start, particularly if their lives to this point that not been punctuated by spirituality or conversations of purpose, calling, or vocation. For those that need help, how would you recommend someone get started? Are their programs or retreats? What community resources might be most beneficial? Additional books?
Answer: We have a number of Fire Starter exercises in the book that are a good starting point for people. They allow them to proceed slowly with someone they care about. The exercises will often open other possible avenues.
Also, Richard and I believe that any kind of retreat can be useful if you are thoughtful about it. There is something really elemental about sitting around a fire and talking, so recreating this can be really profound.
People might also find our other books helpful. Richard’s company offers workshops and retreats and you can learn more at his website at www.inventuregroup.com.
Question: The first of your Four Flames of Vital Aging is The Flame of Identity: Recalling Our Stories. For some, this might be a pretty tough place to start because it can be difficult to look back at a life unfulfilled. How do you recommend people get beyond the natural reaction to judge or criticize one’s achievements and choices in life?
Answer: Sometimes the only way to get through something is to get through it. I am not a psychologist, so I don’t want to presume to know what kind of help people with serious regrets need. Richard and I have discovered that there is a real power in recalling ones stories and there is also solace. We all have regrets but I think there is a way of recalling ones stories so that you can find the wisdom in them. There‘s regret but there is also a lesson there. The stories that contain regret are often great place to start recalling stories.
The whole idea of chatting by a fire is very appealing. I told my husband that I want to fire up the fireplace this weekend (getting chilly in the NW). It's something I really enjoy but have not done in a couple years - for shame!
As it relates to management, I think it is important to regularly find time - even just a bit - to create a mini-oasis or retreat. David echoed this idea that retreats, of all sizes and styles, can be really helpful in facilitating inquiry and thoughtfulness about our lives.
Tomorrow, the post will focus on the idea of finding one's place, which is a section of the book I found extremely interesting and helpful. In the mean time, if you would like to get a copy of any of their books, here are the links to Amazon: