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The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  323 ratings  ·  41 reviews
When you find the courage to change at midlife," Angeles Arrien teaches, "a miracle happens." Your character is opened, deepened, strengthened, softened. You return to your soul's highest values. You are now prepared to create your legacy: an imprint of your dream for our world-a dream that can fully come true in The Second Half of Life. Working with images, poetry, metaph ...more
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Sounds True (first published 1998)
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Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing new in Angeles Arrien's book about the second half of life. Indeed, there isn't meant to be. Our lives at midpoint are about putting aside newness and embracing the ancient, the everlasting, the always true.

We live in an age that worships youth. Alongside this naive, if not indeed tragic pursuit to resist aging in all its aspects, we find ourselves as a society becoming ever more superficial, ever more devoted to what is external only, short on endurance, shallow in meaning. Sm
Linda Orvis
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Second Half of Life took me forever to read because it's one of those books that you read––have to think about for a while––apply it to your life, and repeat the process. I recommend this to not only older readers, but people of any age. The lessons taught in each of the gates: Silver Gate, White Gate, Clay Gate, Black & White Gate, Rustic Gate, Bone Gate, Natural Gate, and Gold Gate, are applicable to any age, and in fact, lead one to ways to get a jump on the process of living a meaningful ...more
Julie Sucha Anderson
I've read and participated in the exercises in this book with a group of 12 women. Been very interesting to pass though each gate and take on its challenges. Some were much easier than others, but still, a fascinating journey. ...more
Kristen Freiburger
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Heading to Schuler's to purchase my own copy. I could highlight almost every sentence in this gem. Highly recommend. ...more
Jan Wollet
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great read. A book that will have different meaning at different points in ones life.
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Everyone approaches each of these gates in a different order and at a different time in their life.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from the library and made copious notes, but will be buying my own copy today because it's just that kind of book. One to keep, treasure, and refer to often. ...more
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Makes you look forward to aging
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
beautiful meditation on aging, pulling in symbols and cultural references across the globe, moving between macro and micro perspectives, and giving the viewer her wisdom. it requires a certain level of concentration and I doubt I will retain much more than the memory of the loveliness of perusing what she wrote. I like the construct of the 8 gates but already can't remember them, so its more of poetry and contemplation. ...more
Devra A.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love the book read it in one sitting very poignant very interesting details and look into what is the marriage what his relationship who are the people in it
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Useful quotes, questions and reflective exercises to help guide those of us 50 and older.
Pat Kennedy
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the cross cultural references.
Kathy Spurlock
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. Loved it.
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A book to help people move through mid-life spiritually. It reads somewhere between a self-help book and a scholarly paper which made it challenging for me to connect with the material.
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richness of Depth

This is a must read for those in the second half of life. My highlighter ran out of ink. Once read, now I will go back and absorb and practice it’s benefits.
Gamze Seckin
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Too many words and repetitions...if you like poetry might be for you since lots of snapshots in this book...just another James Hollis (Jungian) style book about second half of life.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
I have the audio version of this book, and I ended up buying the book because I thought I might be better able to grasp the concept of the eight gates a little better. I have enjoyed most of Angeles Arrien's works, but I had a hard time corresponding the specific gates with the concepts associated with them. More specifically, the clay gate is associated with intimacy and sensuality. I understand that these are "earthy" emotions but my mind has a hard time corresponding that with a "clay" gate ( ...more
This book provides, through the metaphor of gates, ways of approaching the aging process as a series of beginnings, rather than endings. What a wonderful perspective and a positive alternative to the usual decline-and-demise lens we usually view growing older through! I received this book for my 50th birthday and think it would be valuable to read it again, perhaps every year, to remind myself that the courage to change, to open, and to dream must never be lost if one wants to achieve wisdom, st ...more
My second time reading this. A great assessment of life's challenges with insightful directions for proceeding towards that final moment with dignity, courage and spirit. There is a subtle power in well crafted words and Angeles speaks that language.
"The harvest of youth is achievement, the harvest of middle age is perspective and the harvest of old age is wisdom."
On this journey are "The Four Rivers of Life: Inspiration, challenge, surprise and love"
Which one are you crossing today?
Jan 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aging

Excellent approach to gracefully aging. It offers stories, poems, and the author's own series of 8 gates that one walks through to find deeper meaning in life as the years accumulate. Highly recommend it. I have picked it up many times and read sections of it, but have never read it cover-to-cover. It works well that least for me.
Nov 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
She gives a very interesting view of we change during the second half of our lives. She takes the reader through 8 "gates" or thresholds which help us live more meaningful lives as we age. I related eerily with much of what she talked about. This book also caused me some significant self-reflection. I would like to read this book again in a few years. ...more
David Andrews
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Looking for resources to help clients who are heading into retirement. This book was suggested to me. There is some good stuff in there. It is packaged in this story of 8 gates with trolls and other mystical stuff. A pamphlet of the good stuff without the silly stories would be great. As it is, I found it a somewhat insulting read.
"Olive"  Kristine Howe
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: friends
Excellent book on the perspective of aging. Focus is
primarily on mid-life. Inspirational and insightful.
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful; interesting because I'm introspective about this stage of my life. ...more
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book we are reading in a book club to which I belong. I love it.
Jul 28, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I got the reminder from goodreads that I put this on my reading shelf and I haven't finished it. I guess I am not ready to acknowledge that I am in the second half of life....denial! ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book asks some good questions.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Read this is preparation for a retreat I attended. Not terribly meaningful to me.
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking. Will dip into the book again in the future.
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea. Id rather listen to Clarissa Pinkola Estes who Angeles Arrien sounds alot like. I got bored and quit after the first disc
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cultural anthropologist, award-winning author, educator, and consultant to many organizations and businesses. She lectures and conducts workshops worldwide, bridging cultural anthropology, psychology, and comparative religions. Her work is currently used in medical, academic, and corporate environments. She is the President of the Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research. Her books hav ...more

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