Tag: midlife transition

The Willingness to Face Our Pain

The Willingness to Face Our Pain

Image by Trevor Pottelberg
Image by Trevor Pottelberg

 

“Retreating into yourself to find purpose can be like straddling a dock and a boat that is moving away. We are pulled in opposite directions by the intense desire of the mind for human involvement and the equally intense need of the soul for its own company. In the sheer immensity of solitude, when one can no longer draw energy from external sources, we come to see how much of what we habitually call being productive is merely the evasion of sitting still and meeting what is most difficult for us to receive with compassion — our own pain.”
Dawna Markova  from her book I Will Not Live An Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and Purpose 
 
Sitting on the edge of freedom, unable to step foot into the unknown, we are terrified of the fear that wells up inside of us. When we even consider stepping forward, something calls us quickly and urgently back into the known. Our fear is mistaken as a dark and dismal warning to run away. To hide. To pretend we didn’t really catch a glimpse of the light or truly want to meet ourselves and embrace our truth. We wear masks to protect ourselves from ourselves. Why do we do this?
 
Change is difficult. Change is challenging. If anyone tells you otherwise they are fooling you, and chances are good that if you think change was easy in the past,  it really wasn’t change at all, at least not the kind that Dawna Markova and I are talking about, change that brings your life into alignment with your true self and all that you have been called upon to contribute. Real change is inner transformation, and above all else it requires solitude and a face to face meeting with ourselves.
 
The most terrifying part of change is this face to face meeting – for it requires meeting our pain. We cannot change if the shadows of the past have us in their clutches, directing our choices and our actions. We will only carry the darkness into the future and rest assured, the pain will be a constant reminder, appearing again and again until we face it, embrace it and put it to rest.
 
The fear of change is our unwillingness to face our pain. To walk toward it. To let it come to the surface. After all, we have spent so much time and energy pushing it aside, pretending it isn’t there, shoving it deep down inside of ourselves, layering mask upon mask over top of it.  It takes some serious excavating to even find it, and then….when we do….we believe we will have to suffer the excruciating pain all over again. 
 
This time, however, the pain is like the lancing of a wound. Oh, it hurts when the knife begins to break the skin, but the pain feels like healing, not dying. As the wound drains, as the pain pours forth, there is great release and relief. It is different. It is not like the original wounding, it sets us free and once we are on our way, it even propels us forward. We begin to understand the necessity of the healing process and the great rewards that come with it.
 

Are you allowing your wounds to drain? Or, are they festering under layers of protection? Real change not only takes a willingness to step forward and meet the challenges, it often requires support of many kinds along the way. You need not go it alone. If you are looking for guidance, support or direction for your journey, get in touch with me. I may be able to help. AgingAbundantly@gmail.com

Spaces

Spaces

Helle Summer houseI began to think about “spaces” this morning after reading a post by Laurie, one of my favorite bloggers. She is blessed with an abundance of courage and enthusiasm for life. She and her husband recently picked up and moved from the Midwest to Boise, ID. This is a popular and growing trend among boomer retirees.

Laurie continues to entertain her followers with her adventures and today she announced that she has a new temporary home in Boise, in a lovely carriage house. Her enthusiasm was palpable but it carried with something ore than simply living in an interesting place. The “something more” was captured in these words: “My writing space is phenomenal!….this gorgeous view has triggered a spurt of fiction writing.” 

There is something powerful about spaces, both the ones we live and work in, and the ones that show up unexpectedly in a quiet moment, or between activities.  Our homes are more than an artistic expression of who we are, though they are that. They are filled with energy. Sometimes this energy is positive and creativity inducing, sometimes the opposite is true. Too often we choose to ignore our sense of this energy, if we even notice it at all. Instead, we choose spaces out of necessity, circumstances, budget constraints, practicality, thinking perhaps we have no choice, opting not to notice.

Does your living space inspire you, energize you, invite you to expand yourself, your creativity, your life?

As a highly sensitive person I have lived more by the sensory field around me than by my brains. (My husband will testify to that!) It has not always been the case. I tried for many years to do what “everybody” thought I should do, and/or what was good for everybody else. Be practical. Be responsible. Be normal. Buy a house with enough room for the kids and the aging parents. Make sure it’s in a good location, good school district, and with good resale value. Above all, it must be affordable.

What about the feel of the house?

The spaces that dot are days, those moments when nothing is demanding our attention, either from the inside or the outside, are an opportunity to discover our interior space. Our interior space will not demand our attention, but it is there waiting and always present. It too is a source of powerful energy. It is the place where our truest self resides, our creative, soul self. In just the same way we often block these spaces from our conscious awareness. We override them with activity and to-do- lists. We stuff them down with food or mind numbing activity.

What is lost when we avoid our interior space?

Tuning in to the “spaces” in our lives, both on the inside and the outside, is an essential practice when engaging in the transformation process. Every thing we need to know exists within us. We simply have to choose to pay attention to the signals and clues that are already present and waiting for us.

Midlife Trauma & Transformation

Midlife Trauma & Transformation

Stina Persson is an illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden. She has been working for many famous corporations, such as Coca Cola, Absolut Vodka,Sony Music and popular editorial magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Flaunt, Elle UK, Marie Claire, etc. Here is a collection of her watercolor paintings. CLICK PICTURE FOR MORE INFORMATION
Stina Persson is an illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden. She has been working for many famous corporations, such as Coca Cola, Absolut Vodka,Sony Music and popular editorial magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Flaunt, Elle UK, Marie Claire, etc.

MANIFEST ME

Midlife brings many changes, some are incredibly good, some extremely challenging. We are happy to discover a sense of confidence and freedom we may not have known in our younger days. We take on new challenges, try new things and sometimes even start over completely. Our sense of self and identity begins to take form in deeper ways. Many of us face deep and challenging questions that often bring to light traumas we may have experienced as children or even throughout our lives that now seems to impede our progress. This is a rich and complex issue that I hold close to my heart. I have therefore begun to delve into this issue in a new blog ManifestMe2014. If you have suffered trauma at any time in your life, or are finding it difficult to find yourself or your path at midlife and beyond, I urge you to follow this blog.  It might just offer you some of answers you have been looking for, or launch you on a new and fertile path in your journey toward health and wholeness. I hope you’ll join me in this new adventure.

 

Embrace Your Child’s Heart

Embrace Your Child’s Heart

"Little Magic" by Susie Pryor Oil on Canvas 40 x 36
“Little Magic” by
Susie Pryor
Oil on Canvas 40 x 36

The midlife transformation that begins in earnest at fifty, and that many of us have already spent a decade or more navigating, is a turning point for many. The dark, confusing period of time, during which everything around us is shifting,  is so disconcerting that it drives us every day, with much earnestness, to examine ourselves and our lives. Have we been living in accordance with our deepest beliefs? What are our beliefs? What governs the decisions we make and the steps we take each day?

The process of questioning is the first step in the reconfiguration of our perspectives and, subsequently, our lives. It’s a tremendous opportunity to delve deeper into our hearts and souls, deeper than we may ever have gone before.  The journey teaches us everything we need to know to begin to discover and to practice new thoughts attitudes and patterns of behavior that will bring us closer to becoming the wise women we were born to be.

My journey led me back to my original self, the unique individual that was born so many years ago, but was never allowed to exist. There is such a clear connection to myself as a child that it is almost eerie. We think, or I used to think, that that child was not wise, nor was her personality formed.  I was wrong. That child held as much wisdom, if not more, than this woman does sixty years later.

Discovering the wise child that lived in us then, and reconnecting with her now, can be an informative and valuable process. The untainted beliefs, abilities, dreams and hopes that she held are still very much alive today. We may have just forgotten them, or buried them, or replaced them with our culture’s beliefs, or our families.

Reconnect with your child heart, by closing your eyes and going inside. Spend a few moments breathing deeply and relaxing. When you feel calm, remember back to a happy moment in your childhood. Allow your adult to spend some time talking with your child. Ask her questions. Ask her what she is thinking about, and what is important to her. Get acquainted.

Repeat this exercise often. Give her what she needs. Be the parent she needed then. Listen to her heart. Together you can heal each other and carry her wisdom forward into today.

No matter where you are on the midlife transformation journey, there’s is something to learn from our inner child.

Dorothy Sander © 2013

WE HAVE THE KEY

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

We Have the Key

We Have the Key

 

Mountain Art
Granny Hands
Artist: Jill Pritchett
Click on image to visit her website
“So often time it happens,
we all live our life in chains,
and we never even know we have the key.”
The Eagles, Already Gone 
(Quote taken from Aging Abundantly’s A Little Book of Hope)
 

Sometimes it takes a major crisis in our lives to wake us up. Often it just takes turning fifty to realize that our youth has passed us by and it’s time to get moving, to  look at things differently. Midlife is fraught with issues of aging, as well as, external challenges and there are adjustments to be made; values to be examined; beliefs to be questioned. Enough time has passed for most things for us to look back and really evaluate our choices and to begin to see patterns in our behavior.

I read again and again, in blogs and articles written by women at midlife, about waking up to the need for change at midlife; of divorce, new careers, moving across the country, taking up a significant new hobby and more. There’s a sense of urgency, of the willingness to jump into something with both feet that seems to be driven more by fear than sense. The sense is that it is now or never to break free from the chains of our lives.

In many cases, however, it is more true that the chains have been of our own making, than the externals we view as the source of our bondage. Throwing out our husband may provide temporary relief from our unhappiness. Marriages and husbands are easy to blame for our unhappiness. We’ve had twenty or thirty years to study our mate’s problems and foibles , decades to master the blame game and to divert our attention from ourselves to them for the cause of our misery. Likewise, a job, a boss, a series of circumstances can take our attention from the true source of our freedom.

Making changes will certainly shake up the status quo, but to think these changes will bring about our freedom and happiness is delusional. Until we look inside of ourselves, the changes  we make today will always only bring us back to the unfinished business we still hold, the fears and anxieties we don’t want to face, and too the job of finding the key we hold within us.  The sooner we get down to the real business of breaking free from our false beliefs and in-congruent lifestyle, the sooner we will find true peace.

© Dorothy Sander 2013

When A Dream Dies

When A Dream Dies

Carol Jung dreams

There comes a time in each woman’s life when we look at our best efforts and see only the failure. We started with a dream or a mission or a purpose.  We put ourselves behind it, believing without a doubt that we were on the right path. The path was to take us on a marvelous journey to an ideal place. We devoted days or weeks, months or years to our vision, only to wake up one morning and realize our dream has failed or vanished.

What then? What do we do when we find ourselves curled up in a ball in the corner wanting to hide, the pain too great to even acknowledge? We ask ourselves over and over, what went wrong? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? And why, oh why, did it turn out this way? We want to curse the world, or the person who demolished our dreams…perhaps it is ourselves we wish to demolish…blaming ourselves for the failure, for our inability to see the future when we made our commitments. We all know that seeing the future is a gift given only to a few, if any. And yet, we expect it of ourselves.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions as we try to break through the confusion and the pain. Blaming others is futile even if it is a survival instinct. Blaming ourselves is equally as disastrous. The real question is what can I learn from this? What can I take forward with me into the rest of my life? What does this experience tell me about who and what I am — the good and the bad? These are the questions of growth and survival.

Life is a learning experience and sometimes we have to learn the same thing over and over until it takes. As painful as that may be, we eventually do learn, and then we have a gift to pass along to others. It is a gift that every woman has to give as she ages. Previous generations looked upon it with reverence and respect — it is the gift of wisdom. It is the most we can hope to gain from our life’s difficulties, but it is a gift that keeps on giving.   

© Dorothy Sander 2010 Excerpt from Caring for Mom

Every Day We Have A Choice

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