Ellen B. Ryan is Professor Emeritus at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her psychological research demonstrates how empowering communication fosters personhood and successful aging. She has created the Writing Down Our Years Series of publications to highlight the many ways in which writing life stories can benefit older adults and those with whom they share their stories and poems.


Plunging Inward for the Giving Words

Gradually, some perspective emerged; and I began to journal about how my situation could be worse, about all the supports I enjoyed, and the potential for learning valuable lessons through these experiences... My enforced solitude and quiet non-reading life became a gift of time for my journal paying more and more attention to the moment, nature, myself, and other people....

Winter 2014 Issue

  Open full article



Writing Exercises to Engage the Spirit of Travel

Despite our best intentions, recall for travel events and personal responses fades quickly without memory aids. Afterwards, savoring the meanings of diverse experiences and observations through reflective or creative writing can foster imagination, generate insights into your way of being in the world, uncover lessons learned, and raise questions for further exploration.

Winter 2013 Issue

  Open full article


Writing as a Spiritual Practice


Aging is a time for visiting the temple of our memory, integrating our life, and coming home to ourselves. Writing is a spiritual practice through which we can contemplate and abide and be drawn to a sense of purpose.

Winter 2011 Issue

  Open full article