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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Living with Intention Leads to Mindful Aging

Feb 26, 2016 05:38PM ● By Carrie Jackson

Lynda Dresher

Lynda Dresher has spent most of her life learning to be open to different paths she can take. Now in her 60s, she guides others on their own discoveries of music, art, meditation, grief support and mindful aging. “I give people the tools to wake up to the possibilities around them. Life is full of amazing opportunities to make your own choices and find your own purpose,” says Dresher.

Dresher, a cantor at Congregation Har Shalom, in Highland Park, has been an artist and musician for most of her life. “I grew up in a very creative household. My mother was an artist, and encouraged me to examine who I was and discover my talents. I tried to instill that exploration in my children, as well,” she says. Dresher is in the final stages of writing and illustrating a children’s book to be published this summer that guides readers through the creative process using words and pictures.

Dresher facilitates Wise Aging groups for people to make the most of the “third chapter” of their lives. “These healthy years of aging are not the end; they are full of potential for learning and growth. The Wise Aging program provides new resources and support to live the later years with spirit, resilience and wisdom,” she says. Topics include exploring this stage of life, becoming one’s authentic self, a life review at this point, revitalizing and nourishing healthy relationships, practicing forgiveness, learning to live with loss, creating relevant rituals, cultivating wisdom and leaving a legacy.

Helping people work through grief is another of Dresher’s specialties. “People say you have to let go and move on in your life, but they don’t tell you what you need to do to accomplish that,” she says. Dresher is trained through the Grief Recovery Institute to help people through losses of many kinds, including death and divorce or career, home, faith, trust, safety and health.

Dresher believes that regular meditation is one of the most important steps people can do for themselves. “With cell phones and other electronics, we are constantly distracted. By nature, we are human beings, not human doers. We don’t spend enough time just being. Mindful meditation helps quiet the mind and helps you evoke love and compassion for yourself and others,” she explains. Dresher leads a meditation class every other week at her home so she can guide others through the process.

Dresher encourages people to stay as connected as possible to their true selves so they can tell when something is off, and to look for opportunities everywhere. She says, “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear. When you know you have the tools to change, life becomes effortless, and so many things open up.”


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Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at