The term Midlife Crisis brings up many images. In America, it brings up deriding images of a person buying a red sports car, daydreams of flings, broken marriages and people acting as a child again.
In reality, a Midlife Crisis represents a deeper possibility for a person to become their dreams. However, those dreams are hard to realize within an un-supportive society and without clear personal understanding of the actual experience. People often end up hurting themselves in the process of trying to change. A person’s life carries a lot of momentum from the past that tumbles them about heedlessly upon trying to change to be something new.
Midlife Crisis is an unfortunate label applied to those working through these transitional times of their life. So the first step to understanding this process is to understand what crisis is:
Crisis is a turning point when change must happen to prevent the break down of the former order of things. Crisis is not a time of trouble: unless doing nothing. Crisis is a time for transformation and opportunity.
The truth: Mid life Crisis is really a Midlife Transformation.
The reason I became a healer evolved from the fact few people truly understand and support Midlife Transformations. As a result of my own experience and helping others, I have opened up a healing practice to help guide people within their own midlife transformation process.
Some basic observations about Midlife Transformations.
It’s a time of change.
Many people hurt themselves and those they love by resisting change. Holding onto the past will tear a person and family apart during a time of change.
Often times the pain of resisting change causes people to revert back to old habits. A midlife crisis is not a sure thing. Human nature desiring comfort and the social pressure resisting change are powerful forces shaping a person’s life. The majority of people going through midlife crisis actually fail for these and other reasons.
Mid life transformation can be one of the most beautiful and amazing times in a person’s life when flowing with change and the support of others. Or it can be a nightmare of confusion mixed to the actions of people actively hindering your path. When facing such a nightmare most people embrace past comforts to resist the transformation and actually re-transform back into an image of their old life.
The direction of change isn’t always forward, A Mid-Life Crisis is often experienced stumbling backwards.
A time to experiment with new perspectives.
Since this represents a changing of life. A person moving down this path will not have the years of experience to safely make choices with known outcomes. As a result people make many mistakes as they experiment around with new ideas and actions.
A time to reconnect to the freedom of a child.
Midlife Transformation closely resembles the time of being a child when you had to learn everything newly. People experiencing a midlife crisis will at times act as a child again as they are literally picking up where they left off from their childhood. This often means the resurfacing of many problems and dramas which were buried as a child. As a result sometimes within a midlife transformation a person can also be trying to resolve childhood issues. This just makes the process more confusing at times.
A time to simplify.
With so many changes happening, a person often simplifies their life to help figure out what’s important to them. During the process of simplification often times a person will toss away a bit more than they bargain for.
A time to break out of mis-matched relationships.
People often use relationships to crutch their life. The trouble is when changing, a person will discover that the crutches no longer fit or are painful to wear. As a result relationships at times are tossed to the side during this process of change.
Often times relationships break during a Midlife Crisis. Why? Simply because the partner isn’t at a point of change themselves, or they are changing in a different direction with different needs. Partners are often are in conflict since they may not want changes to occur. The statement often heard is: “you are not the man I married” This phrase illustrates how drastic a mid life transformation truly is in changing a person. The extra strain of one person needing change, while the other person holds back is enough to break many relationships. Even if the relationship doesn’t break, many people end up unhappy when partners don’t sufficiently support the requirements of a new balance.
Society is unsupportive of midlife change.
It’s not in the interest of society to encourage midlife change. From a very basic view point midlife crisis disrupts people and resources from flowing smoothly. Also people going through mid life transformation have tendencies to want to change society. Society will resist such changes itself: firstly by encouraging people not to change, secondly by helping people to stay the same and finally by alienation of those who disrupt the norms of society.
A time of Mental, Physical and Spiritual evolution.
One myth of the mid life crisis is it’s only in the mind. A mid-life crisis occurs within a very real physical transition time point in the human body. It’s a very similar experience as a teenager switching from a child’s body to an adult. Surprisingly western culture doesn’t have a term for the physical changes as not everyone experiences it quite the same way or same time point. While it seems to start frequently around 37 to 42 years of age, it can happen sooner or later in life. Also many aspects of the physical changes are subtle changes in hormones, physical condition and attributes. Other aspects might be very apparent in the aches and pains of an aging body.
One part of helping a person transverse a midlife crisis is to establish a new set of physical practices to help the body transition. This is a nice opportunity to take up yoga, qigong, change diets, martial arts or even something as simple as a jogging practice to stimulate the transformation process.
Another aspect of helping a person transform is to help reveal the missing parts of their life. We are each a combination of Mind, Body and Spirit, yet so many people concentrate on the Mind or Body or Spirit at the exclusion of the other parts. Midlife transformations are usually a time to fill and strengthen the missing parts of a person’s life.
True Mid Life Transformation is a process that spans years.
Another misunderstanding about this process is thinking that this is a relatively quick single event of a few months. In fact even the term “Midlife Crisis” gives the impression of a sudden single event. It’s not. The transformation process is often a series of events that span several years.
Think about how being a teenager was a process that took 5 or 6 years, A Midlife transformation takes a similar time period. Typically I see people working through this period of transformation for 5 to 8 years. The process occurs in a series of transformative waves two to three years in length. Just when a person thinks they are done changing, everything then starts again and another series of events rocks their life.
A midlife crisis will appear to some as being a brief fling, as people do suppress the change or actually re-transform back into an image of their old life. A large amount of outside pressure exists to make this the case. The power of our mind is very strong and the capability to suppress or even deny change is a very strong human trait.
A midlife transformation as a series of life changes to become complete. To be the person you yearn to be.
Some don’t experience a Midlife transformation.
A few souls balance and flow through life in such a way to seemingly never go through a midlife transformation.
Humanity is a spectrum of experience. Not every one goes through a midlife crisis. The whole process is complicated being dependant upon many variables such as culture, support of friends and family, how a person lives life itself and so many other factors.
A midlife transformation isn’t a time of judgment or comparing your own experience to others. This is a time of acceptance and learning to flow with your life, body, mind and spirit to live as completely to your own nature as possible. In the American culture where so many are taught to be someone else from childhood, to chase an American dream of wealth: midlife crisis is a relatively common event, as many spend time not being themselves.
Mid Life Summary
I work with people on a case by case basis, since each person is a unique tapestry of needs, past events needing resolution, different future goals, different mixes of partners, supporting past obligations: all mixed together in the chaos of change. As a result, the process of aid is a delicate balance of patience and understanding.
The most important aspect for a person undergoing going a Midlife Transformation is to accept their nature is changing. It’s important to approach this time of life not as a crisis but as a time for transformation and opportunity. It’s not something that can be rushed or forced into a vision. Rather this is a time of following the needs of mind, body and spirit equally.
It’s also important to understand, in change, resides the loss of old comforts and support. Often time’s painful moments have to be embraced, experienced and accepted before the final transformation can occur.
Another important tool is to witness your own life. Document and explore your life with a journal, art, music, playing an instrument, dance, poetry and being open to witnessing how others see you. A problem within the midlife transformation is the action of changing places a person within a blind-spot to seeing their own nature. As a result, our shifting outer form is never quite what the mind perceives. Our minds cannot see ourselves purely. Journals, art, music, playing musical instruments, poetry, the observation of others all give critical feedback to help view one’s nature and guide the transformation rather than shift blindly to illusions of what we think we are.
If you decide to explore art please remember: the art isn’t about creating a masterpiece, it’s simply about witnessing yourself. Art is an amazing tool to explore life and find place in the world. These are two qualities of life that people seek within their midlife transformation. Some people hesitate to use art or music at this point since it often seems daunting or it brings up bad experiences from younger years of failed artistic explorations. However, many years have passed and new skills have been added to one’s life. The period of a midlife transformation is the perfect time to begin exploring life again with art and music. I must stress here that the goal is not one of a trade or career but for self exploration. Studies have shown with 5 to 10 years of focused practice anyone can get quite good at any skill. The length of time within a mid life transformation supports the drive and time required to develop our inner potential, since it provides both new energy and time for the channeling of such skills.
Finally and most importantly:
We all see the world as a reflection of ourselves.
Just because you are changing doesn’t mean the world needs to change. Focus your energy upon yourself and not the world.
The Earth has been around for 4 billion years and isn’t going anywhere quickly (Except around the sun at 67,000 mph). Trying to change the world, pretty much ensures you will have no energy left to transform and heal yourself. Trying to change another person means to take upon their nature into you, which effectively derails many mid life transformations. Instead embrace and discover your new nature. The world is truly a reflection of each of us, so changing the world simply means putting energy and time into embracing and transforming yourself completely and fully.
Let the world be a reflection of yourself in acceptance.
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