The Blossoming of Women: A Workbook on Growing from Older to Elder
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About the Author
Karen Marie Roberts received an MS degree in human development after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990. Her interests moved from alternative healing to gerontology and stages of aging. In graduate school, this became a concentration in creative longevity and phenomenology. Prior to this, Karen was a Director of Research for a French investment firm in New York City. She attended Wellesley College, UC Berkeley, and Fielding Graduate School.
Karen travels extensively and has witnessed firsthand the resiliency of older women in other cultures. They manage vineyards in Chile and sheep farms in New Zealand, regardless of age. They can farm on steep hillsides and smile at the same time. In other countries where the wisdom of elders prevails, she was privileged to experience the respect given to the spirituality of females in elderhood. She observed the rituals of passage from this life to the next, as elders, closer to the spiritual journey beyond, are given assistance with their daily loads.
When not traveling, Karen enjoys the companionship of her dog, Scout, and her horse, Farao, who help to keep her in the flow of nature. She believes nature is our teacher; it can be harsh, bringing sadness when we don't accept that life is about to change. Then again, when others are in pain and suffer the indignities of physical aging, she can overlook her own pain in the ever-present source of beauty that nature offers. As a photographer, Karen always discovers something fascinating in the smallest of species: an insect with unlikely eyes or a tiny flower with an even smaller inner center.
She also relishes solitude. Times of prayer and gratitude give her grace, and she has had to quiet the urge to stay busy, to impress others with her usefulness, and accept that she cannot do as much. She is able to follow her inner voice by quieting the "should".
When not walking her dog on the beach or grooming her horse, Karen enjoys life in Santa Ynez, California, with her life partner. She hopes to master her newfound game of Mahjong, which brings her together with others, making life richer and more joyful.
Dana Jaffe attended Bryn Mawr College and earned master's degrees in urban planning from Harvard and history of art from Columbia. Her friendship with Karen developed into a special creative collaboration that led to the publication of Journeys: Healing Through Nature's Wisdom and The Blossoming of Women. In both projects, Dana discovered a love for supporting self-expression and the writing process as an editor and co-author. She and her husband live in Santa Barbara, where they share the joys of beach walks, toy trains, and bedtime stories with their young son.
Karen Roberts's encouraging self-help book The Blossoming of Women is about passing on one's wisdom and making a difference in one's community late in life. This book is written for women who are at least in their sixties, who may no longer have the responsibilities of caring for children, elderly parents, or spouses and who are ready to make the transition from just growing older to becoming an elder.
The bulk of the book features the stories of women who have taken on the roles of elders in their communities, helping others through callings such as using music to heal and comfort, working as a death doula, supporting the homeless, and using art to document the beauty and wisdom of people's lives. They represent a wide variety of experiences; they are inspirational and instructive, illustrating the possibility of finding new directions late in life. And they serve as guides, modelling change-making.
The Blossoming of Women is a thoughtful and generous self-help guide for women facing late-life changes; it suggests means of writing one's own robust, fruitful final chapter. -- Foreword Clarion Reviews
Roberts can inspire, and questions she proposes at each chapter's end provide stirring calls to action (ex: "What are you afraid of losing? Describe the ambivalence you are experiencing over giving up the life you have known..."). She chose a fascinating group of women with varied life challenges and talents ranging from advocacy for the homeless to professional photographer; readers can find themselves somewhere in that group . . . older women looking for a route to blossoming anew will find rewards in these pages. -- BluInk
If only one book on women's aging were to be selected for a library collection, it should be The Blossoming of Women: A Workbook on Growing from Older to Elder. Filled with inspirational and educational opportunities, it promotes a different vision of elder years and retirement that translates not to retiring from life, but entering into another phase of efficiency and meaningful thoughts, actions, and choices. Beautiful nature images throughout support the gentle feel and uplifting spirit of these stories. --D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review