I just got off the phone with a wonderful client who is challenged by the very thing we are all challenged by as we transition from a Learning to a Giving career:
- What IS that new thing?
- Do people really want me?
- Where is the support I need, how do I choose?
The problem with this stage of life is that we’re making a much bigger shift than we realise. It’s not just another job this time – it’s a fundamental change of direction!
From Strong to Proud we build our careers and expect that progression to continue. However, a qualitative jump happens in the middle and we enter a period of Nobility and, for those of us who really make-the-grade, Magnanimity.
We’ve all met those people. They walk into a room and the ambience changes just because they are there.
Those who don’t make this transition from self to others become tyrants, protecting their patch for good or Ill.
As the path (the red line) shifts from a focus on material growth to a more spiritual impulse, we need to let go of a lot of what has made us what and who we are … and discover a new self and a new impulse… but where do we look?
The problem is that we’ve set up our lives (indeed our whole culture) to privilege the material. Everything pulls for a better job, more money, cut the mortgage, and that's just the external's. It’s not the pull from outside us that’s the hardest, it's the pull of the very identity we’ve spent 40 years building we now need to start re-examining and letting go of (more on letting go, look HERE).
However, inside, we’re screaming to be let loose on something that allows us to speak from the heart, to be authentic... in my friend’s case to shift her career from an executive role governance to some kind of teaching (not necessarily in a classroom... I'm a teacher for example).
The Access is Feeling
So, in this and previous articles I’ve been suggesting you need to let a lot of stuff go as you age. Nothing radically new there. The thing is that it is scary to do it. That’s why we don’t!
We all know we could be less attached to material things, and from the 40’s onwards it becomes glaringly obvious that that’s not what life is really about. But actually letting go is something else altogether.
The world of spirit - whatever you call the non-material – is accessible by fully experiencing whatever you are feeling. It’s beyond your emotions… it’s whatever is actually there, in your body.
Doing the exercise I describe below I once had the impression I had a thick tarry rope across my solar plexis. I’d never noticed it until I slowed down and felt for it. But it was blocking my heart and numbing everything. I couldn’t get to it or dissolve it. I just had to notice it over and over again.
When, eventually, it did start to break-down, a new level of intimacy became available between my wife and I, and I stopped shutting things out.
It is really easy to numb yourself to the roller-coaster that is life, especially in your middle years when you are at your most sensitive period. Drugs, alcohol, sex and television are favourites. If you do that (too much) you are cutting yourself off from others and you are cutting yourself off from the transition that is occurring in your life you can see in the diagram above; from making the transition from strength through to grace.
That transition is the most important thing you can be doing in your middle years. To make it you have to open up, to let it in, to explore the higher (and lower) realms of your experience. You have to let yourself FEEL!
A Feeling Exercise
Just letting yourself feel is enough, however, allowing your body and mind (and spirit) to connect is better. I learnt this technique from a wonderful tantric coach a few months back (https://robynlynn.net/):
- Take a moment to notice where in your body you can feel something: it might be feeling numb, buzzy, sick, tight…. Whatever the experience, find it
- Don’t try to fix it, notice it in every way you can – I describe it to myself, the colour, feel, texture, size. I use analogies like a rope, or a blob, anything that has dimensionality to it - that you can describe
- Breath into it. Often you can’t get right to it so it’s better to breathe around it, come from the sides, from underneath
The goal is to fully experience the feeling that is there: grief, anger, sadness or whatever else. Feel it.
Meet the feeling where it is and you will be able to start hearing what is there for you. You’ll be calmer and more present (obviously) but you can also hear better. All the answers, all the support, the love and the courage you need are there, but you have to be able to listen.
What's really amazing if you do this work is that you start to get answers. It's touching on the occult but I have experienced it. In some way, it's the blocked feelings that are blocking the messages and if you free yourself up but truly letting yourself feel you actually start thinking different thoughts. I suspect the answers we're all looking for - what's the right thing to do next - sit in that realm.
If you like this/think it's useful, please share the love ...
P.S. Whenever you’re ready to look at new ways to take charge of the second half …. here are here are four ways we can help:
3. Get a free pre-order of our book (just pay shipping). It’s called “Midlife Creation: how to take charge of the second half of your life. Just email “BOOK PLEASE” and I’ll send you a copy when it is published (around December).
4. If you want to ask some questions or get a sense of how to start looking for your own Leitmotif you can book a quick private chat with me HERE (pls note you can't register into a program this way, but you can check me out and see if we click).