Living the Big Stuff: Crisis or Inquiry?Sep 25, 2014 2014-09-25 0:54
Living the Big Stuff: Crisis or Inquiry?
Living the Big Stuff: Crisis or Inquiry?
I was on a flight home from L.A. and I sat down next to a really nice couple. A woman just a few years older than myself at the time, around 5o years of age, smiled and we began chatting. She shared with me her story that she had basically stayed home raising her family for the past decade or so. She and her husband were financially secure and didn’t need the extra income. Yet, as she was telling me this I noticed there was sadness and emptiness in her eyes. She teared up as she told me her youngest son was leaving for college and she was terrified about how quiet the house would be. I asked her: What are your plans to fill your time? And, by asking that question, you would have thought I dropped a bombe on her head. One single tear rolled down her cheek and spoke the words she couldn’t say aloud as she whispered practically inaudibly, as not to alarm her husband, “I have absolutely no idea. I’ve been so busy raising my family, I have not thought about myself in all these years.” I squeezed her arm reassuringly and said, “Well, then, you’ve got quite an adventure in store for you, haven’t you? What do you love to do more than anything…what warms your heart and stirs your soul?” She said: “Cooking. I love to cook good meals that my family and other people enjoy.” I replied, “That’s a good place to start, don’t you think?”
Midlife is often seen as a crisis but I can tell you from experience, after having lived through one, it’s not that at all. Midlife is a time to reevaluate your belief system and ask some important questions of yourself to determine what you value most and how you are going to spend NOW the most precious commodity of time you have left. Instead of allowing these feelings of unsettledness in you to turn into a story of crisis, think of these flutterings as a sign of new life–rebirthing within you.
I’m discovering more and more that mid-life is all about embracing change and being able to adapt to and rediscover a new life. There are changes I fear, but if I remember that fear is only “false evidence appearing real” then all I have to do is be willing to move forward, taking baby steps in trust as part of my life journey. My willingness to make baby steps will move me in the spiral of a new direction and into evolving wisdom and grace. The spiral, in fact, moves both ways from outward in and inward out. The same as a spiral moves, so are we always changing and never stagnant.
The most false evidence I fear is that I am no longer relevant or it’s too late for me to begin again. There is this outdated belief that after 50, you are too old to start over. That’s sawdust. (My way to say bullshit!) If you are ending one career, be it as a stay at home Mom, a professional athlete or going through any large change that alters your identity, you first must look at the fear that proposes to you. We don’t often know how our ego’s talons have taken hold of us until change happens and it feels as though we are dropped and discarded like an old worn out pair of shoes. When this life event leaves you feeling stranded on an island without a boat or a compass, that’s a really good indicator that your identity is in shambles and you don’t know where to find that passage to the mainland—Home again. (But, truth is… you do!)
At this point what you need to do is think of this island that you are on as a magical place where you will find all the tools you need, and with some improvisation and a sense of adventure you will build your own boat. This boat may just float even better than the one who dropped you at the island’s shore. The distance you will travel will be in rediscovering your passion, and it could be something you left behind to pursue the life you’ve lived. Or, it may be something you’ve completely avoided due to some irrational fear or story you’ve told yourself.
Look back to see forward in order to re-discover the gifts you have yet to share. There are three clarifying questions you can ask yourself:
- What are three things you really feel in your gut example your passion and a facet of who you have been in the world?
- How do you serve others with these things?
- What is one over arching statement that describes who you are that encompasses the answers to the first couple of questions?
What we are looking for is a BIG statement that you can create that shows YOU that makes the false evidence appearing real completely dissipate in its bigness and truth.
When I answered these questions for myself: I realized that I am a conduit of divine light and love and I am an instrument that shares light and love in many ways. It’s as if the statement is the greater purpose or legacy trunk of my great tree. All of the branches are the ways that manifest through my actions, activities and service. Can you see that once you have that statement of passion figured out, you no longer feel like there is any kind of crisis? One branch grows to completion and is pruned so a new one can grow as part of the same tree.
If you’d like to join me on the journey and would love some individual coaching, I am taking on a few one-on-one coaching clients and will launch a group this January. I use a program that’s designed to help you uncover the blocks you have to your next best life: It’s called: Don’t Sweat Your Dreams: Live them!