Praise for Winter’s Graces: The Surprising Gifts of Later Life
Susan Avery Stewart’s Winter’s Graces is a compelling, poignant, and necessary rebuttal to a culture that devalues people as they age. Dr. Stewart reveals the untapped resources of our human family through a framework rooted in science and ancient wisdom that helps us intentionally embrace the cycles of nature, and one another.
In this wise volume, Susan Stewart offers a compelling vision of what aging can be, not only for women but for us all. In particular, the eleven qualities she dubs as “the Graces of Winter” articulate a profound depth-psychological model, rooted both in contemporary cutting-edge research and ancient wisdom.
Dr. Stewart’s Winter’s Graces gives us all a persuasive and satisfying guidebook on aging, uniquely presented through a rich synthesis of personal story, solid research, and myths and legends spanning time and culture. This writing represents a clear voice characterized by the very same qualities it encourages for cultivating an attitude of agelessness: healthy defiance, optimism, and openness to change. Dr. Stewart invites us to question our collectively reinforced assumptions and face our fears about becoming older. We are reminded to invoke wisdom, compassion, humor . . . and a little necessary fierceness.
Dr. Susan Stewart’s book is a gift to all of us who are making the transition to late adulthood. Written in a beautiful, moving, personal, and descriptive style, her work is inspiring, healing, and filled with timeless wisdom.
Susan’s writing has reaffirmed that I am not alone with the challenges that I am facing in the second half of life, and has given me the courage and perspective to forge onward with a renewed optimism about life and all that it has to teach me.
Winter’s Graces comes to us in an era that requires more grace than most of us can muster. And yet the myths and stories included in this book, and the lessons drawn from them, nurture a sense of adventure and lay out a map of how we might create an enriching late life, in spite of moments of fear and despair. Though written for women in or approaching the winter of their lives, it speaks as truly for us codgers as well. Among the gifts this work has to offer is the experience of the author’s voice: at once gentle and wise, tentative and sure, and above all deeply human.
Dr. Susan Stewart has indeed followed her own instincts and inner wisdom in gathering stories that illustrate the meaning and value of our lives as we move toward adult maturation. She distills eleven qualities or ways of being – graces– that are possible in the third stage of life which correspond to the natural and organic season of winter. She has thoughtfully organized this gentle book in approachable steps that encourage reflection, imagination, and acceptance.
At last – a glorious look at the gifts of aging! Winter’s Graces takes readers on a magnificent journey through the later years, in all their joy and fullness.
Susan Stewart’s book, aptly named Winter’s Graces, is full of grace. For me, reading it was like opening a treasure box and discovering that a time of life I was anticipating with some dread is actually rich in beauty and many other blessings. I envision groups of women coming together to receive its reassuring wisdom and to be awakened to the inviting possibilities that age has to offer.
Susan Stewart guides her readers through the thorny thicket of aging in America to a quiet clearing where misconceptions are peeled away, and our fears are not denied, but embraced. We’re led with gentle hands through contemporary science and solid cross-cultural, age-old traditions that help to re-awaken our own forgotten memories and understandings of the richness and value of each season of life.
With the skill of an alchemist, Susan invites us to explore eleven qualities that ripen in later life and can transform the leaden fear of aging into a grateful recognition that the ‘golden years’ are indeed gold. This book is to be read and then reread, one chapter at a time, whenever we need an infusion of audacity, contentment, or courage.
Dr. Susan Stewart’s work has inspired me to watch for and to celebrate the many wonderful gifts and graces that come with the process of aging. Our society is prone to seeing the “disadvantages” of age. What a joy it is to focus rather on the many reasons to embrace aging in light of the continuing development and deepening of the human being in later life.