The Precipice of Mid-Life (or just whenever it hits).

I have a friend who is going through a terrible time. They are questioning everything having to do with who and what they are and the life they have been living. Or, to put it differently: feeling like they haven’t been living their life at all. You see, he just turned 45 and all he can talk about is how he is almost 50 and how his uncle simply fell dead, from a stroke, at the ripe old age of 54. His wife is quite worried. His mother, bless her heart, told his wife (her daughter-in-law) to stop being a drama-queen; that he was just having a midlife crisis and that she simply needed to hide all the credit cards and not give him too much time alone to think. She needed to keep him busy with projects that he could do well, finish in plenty of time, and to give him a lot of praise when he did so.

There are many people who go about living a fairly satisfying life till their late forties or fifties, or even their sixties. Then, all of a sudden, they have some knee-jerking realization that they are mortal and may have less time remaining than they have already spent. It is like a magnified, elongated, version of the question; “What would you do if you were told you only had three days to live?” The answer, usually, is that they would be spend that three days doing something much different that what they had been doing. In their head, time just became much more precious and a luxury not to be wasted on the “everyday” stuff. Then, they buy a fast little sports car; possibly reminiscent of their youth. Some of them get a new wardrobe, hairstyle, or a face-lift. There are some that decide to become more daring and adventurous and take exotic trips or jump out of airplanes. Then, there are those who decide that, realizing they have only this life for a certain amount of time, want to live a completely different life; they leave their spouses, their jobs, even their friends and simply “become” someone else for what precious time they have left.

So, it seems that for many, the newly found concept of time running out somehow transforms the life they had from being satisfying to that of one being unacceptable and a waste of their limited time and they have a “Mid-life Crisis”.

Maybe, but I know for a fact that it doesn’t happen solely at the middle point of one’s life. I have been having a “Mid-life Crisis” since I was sixteen!

I have never felt like I was living up to my potential or doing what I was supposed to do and I always looked at every “it’s okay-but-not-great”  accomplishment as more of a failure and as it having wasted valuable time. I was one step closer to being in the grave having never known true happiness. Now, that, People, is a drama-queen.

I have struggled with that my whole life and feel it is, largely, why I am a jack of all trades, but master of none. I have bounced from job to job and city to city, always hoping I had finally found what would give me that sense of satisfaction and completeness; that “YES! This is who I am am what I am supposed to be doing!”. Instead, after just a few months, or even just a few weeks, I would have to resign myself to accepting that the job or the place were okay, but not what I was, ultimately, searching for. I had more jobs and relationships (if we want to  call them that) by the time I was 25 than most people have their entire lives!

So, I spent over 30 years, bouncing. It seemed such an easier prospect to simply keep doing this and then doing that, over and over again, by a process of elimination, than to attempt trying to figure out what it was that was going to give me “THAT” happiness; that place, job, and persona that would make me feel like I was finally as functional, constructive, and fulfilled as anyone could ever hope to be. It has all been very disappointing and, oh, so exhausting.

Then, late last year, I stopped doing that. I decided that I was tired of changing all the physical geography of my being. It struck me that maybe I should consider changing my idea of what would make me happy.
So many of us have this ideal of the perfect life-scenario that will fulfill every facet of our needing. But, it really isn’t like that at all. I knew there were a number of things that I am good at and enjoy, but I was all consumed with finding that one, ultimate, thing. Why? That was what I finally asked myself? Why was I simply dismissing all the possibles that could make me happy; insisting on being uber-satisfied just to fail completely and not be happy at all. You know the phrase “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”?

So, I decided to broaden my definition of happy. Now, I do not mean settling for just satisfied. I mean really happy, but not needing to be ultra-ecstatic in order to be happy. It may be that I didn’t change the definition as much as I expanded the criteria of qualification.

That is when it all started falling into place. I made a list of new acceptable pathways.

I wrote out a very detailed mission statement. I outlined what kind of work environment I wanted (not title), what income I needed in order to be comfortable (not make and model of a luxury car), what kind of home life and life style I desired (not famous people I wanted to hang with), and, finally, how I wanted to feel about my life ( I stopped using the word “happy”). I scrubbed that word from my vocabulary and replaced it with conflict-free. That is what being satisfied, fulfilled, and at peace is, right? My goal became to be conflict-free. 

I get very annoyed when someone tells me what can help, but doesn’t tell me how to do it. So, to that end, I offer this example: I would love to be able to travel. So, instead of looking for scenarios that involve travel, I looked for those that did not conflict with the ability to travel.  Having a job where I am the only one holding a key to the safe or the sole individual who can confirm the codes for the NORAD missile-silos; well, that just wouldn’t work, would it? By the same token, and a bit more realistic, having a dog that is so big and fierce that no kennel would take him would cause conflict to travel plans. By the way, I did get a dog. He is just the biggest cuddle bug anyone could ever want and the staff at the kennel adore him!

I wanted to help people. I wanted positive and nurturing. I wanted calm. I wanted control (to be honest) and I wanted freedom. But, looking for all those things hadn’t worked. I made lists of all the things that conflicted with those desires.

I eliminated anything governmental, on any level (worked for a municipality for years and the politics were ridiculous!) or anything religious. I eliminated anything in institutional healthcare for reasons having to do with, again, politics and because I am far too empathetic and can not handle the “you can’t get too close or personal” requirement. I eliminated anything in education, customer service, and food service. These all conflict with a calm and/or nurturing environment. I eliminated and eliminated and eliminated. I searched every corner of the box, turned the box upside down, and inside-out.  Then, I started thinking and looking outside the box. Why was I always trying to find a place inside someone else’s box?

What I had left was being my own boss, making my own schedule, choosing my own projects, and creating my own environment.

Then I began practicing being excited about and grateful for all of the seemingly new possibilities and the knowledge that they were far more accessible than the prospect of becoming a world renown brain surgeon or beloved opera signer, at this stage in the game. Yes, this is something that has to be practiced. I know that sounds strange, but when one spends that long viewing too many options and starting over as a negative thing, that becomes part of a mind-set, a habit. Changing a point of view is like replacing an old habit with a new one and it requires intent, practice, and relentless repetition. but, the more I practiced, the more easily it was to be excited and grateful and that is huge in the inspiration, motivation, and manifestation department!

This all opened a whole new box and, better yet, inspired me to believe I could build my own box or not even a box; a sphere or triangle or whatever the hell I wanted!

That was when I found it! And when I did, I was astounded that I hadn’t seen it before, because it was something that I did on a regular basis and that helped me, immensely, when I had my health issues. But, doing it wasn’t the key. The key was creating a place and a service that enabled others to do it and benefit from it as I did. Because creating the place and the service gave me the power and the freedom to insure it was conflict free.

From there, it all started falling into place and the more I found reason to believe I could achieve my goal, the more things just seemed to magically happen. It was like the Universe was saying, “Hey, what took you so long? Here, we have been waiting to give you all this.”!
Now, at present, I am much closer to achieving my goals and, hope, that within 3-5 years, I will be the proud owner of my very own Yoga & Art Studio that has a very unique specialization.

Well, you might think,  that is definitely a far cry from brain surgeon or opera signer and yoga studios are everywhere. Why should this one be special? You do know, don’t you, that most new businesses fail within the first year?

Yep, it is very different from being a brain surgeon or an opera signer. It is also a much less expensive than medical school or extensive voice training and that will take far less time, which, remember, is at a premium.

It will be a healing, nurturing, and creative environment. With good staff, I can travel as I like. It affords a stable and flush income and is something I can do well into my golden years. Oh, yeah, the income, right?
Well, like I said, my yoga studio will offer the traditional practices, just like all the others. But, my studio will also offer an art studio. Nurture the body and the mind.

Oh, not enough to ensure my success? Okay, how’s this? I have a business plan! Imagine that.
I need only 0.25% of my city’s population to practice at my studio and, based on current operation costs plus 3%, I can meet all my overhead and profit needs and still charge .15% less than my closest competition!
AND, as if that wasn’t enough, I have an ace in the hole. I have developed and been using a specialized yoga for a certain demographic. There is nothing similar being offered and it is highly beneficial, both physically and emotionally.

So, what can this post do to help anyone else? At this point, I have come a long way and still have such a long way to go. But, I hope that my sharing this shows someone that being “happy” is all relative and, in my opinion, has more to do with what you make sure isn’t in your life than what all you try to have in it.

I learned that being without conflict was the way to achieve all the things I had been trying to find. Find what isn’t working. Look at what you need to remove in order to gain. There is no such thing as empty space. When you remove one thing, that vacated space will be filled with something else!
Lastly, realize that there is no one, single, perfect answer. This realization can be an epiphany and the pressure it does away with of finding a single perfect answer can bring a tear to your eye.

Before you even truly begin moving forward, you may find your path has already changed and be amazed to see that it’s the perfect path for the person you always have been, you were just looking at it from the wrong perspective; the wrong ideal.

It could be that, like me, removing the conflict allows you to become aligned with the path you feel you were meant to follow.

Precipice“>Precipice

Advertisements

* Inspiration – Self Observation

LOVING THIS!

Find Your Middle Ground

A reminder for all of us who are working on self observation and dealing with our inner critic.

Be gentle with yourself on this part of the journey.

listen to yourself

Self-Observation Without Judgment 

Release the harsh and pointed inner voice.

It’s just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.

Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.

Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet.

Shift out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.

I can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.

What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy – seeing clearly, and embracing what I see.

Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.

Danna Faulds from “One Soul”

The last line will…

View original post 6 more words

“This, too, shall pass.”

Temporary.

“This, too, shall pass.” Out of all the little sayings and advice that have been thrown at me, all my life, that one is the truest of all. It is, also, one of a very few, that I can think of, which always applies; no matter the situation.

Gladly, we accept this truth in the middle of bad situations; we embrace it with arms strengthened by the hope that this truth instills.
Sadly, though, this truth looms over our happiest moments, also. As it lurks at the corner of our reality, we feel it and its meaning. Then, with an embrace just as tight, we strive to hold onto the people, moments, and feelings that bring us our cherished joys in life.

“This, too, shall pass.” It is all temporary. This time, this joy, this sadness, this frame of thought, and this present perception of what reality is. It may last only a moment or years, but ultimately, it will change into something else.

This truth is not a truth in order to be good or bad, depending on the moment. It is, simply, the way of things. It is, also, a key to happiness no matter what the situation, if one can grasp the purity and finality of the concept.

Happiness. What is it? No matter with what details each of us define our version of “happy”, the definition can be clarified as a life without sorrow. Now, sorrow is a very strong word (and may be difficult for some to feel as appropriate) for the daily disappointments that we experience and which we may not realize are actually adding up to create our “unhappiness”. So, let’s soften it. We will define sorrow as any measure of sadness due to disappointment. We can accept this as an appropriate definition because disappointment is, most commonly, due to either losing what we had or not getting what we wanted (perhaps, both, in certain situations).

Let’s re-cap what we have, so far- Happiness is being without sorrow and sorrow is caused by disappointment. So, it stands to reason that happiness is found in not being disappointed.
Now, how in the world, do we manage to live a life without disappointment?
Are you ready for this? Here it is: we rid our thoughts and lives of expectations.

If we do not expect to get what we want, then we are not disappointed by not getting it. If we do not expect what we have, or who we have, to always be ours, then we better accept that loss. Perhaps, if we get really good at it, we can allow our lack of expectations to cause greater joy in what we do receive and if we do not expect to keep what we have, then we may be able to more appreciate having anything or anyone, at all, for however long we are blessed.

I will give you another saying that applies to this concept: “That’s easier said than done!” How, in today’s world, where we flip a switch and have every reason to expect something wonderful to happen, are we suppose to simply stop expecting anything? How, when we are supposed to learn from our mistakes and our triumphs, do we just undo the mindset that states that certain actions dictate certain reactions?

Well, my friends, it seems that the concept of “Happiness” does not come to us, here and now, without needing a bit of logical thinking. Please, do not stick the butter knife into the electrical outlet because you have decided that not expecting to get shocked means you will not end up a bit frazzled. Not expecting things does not and will never change what will happen. But, it can change how happy or unhappy you are about the outcome.
Also, not having expectations does not mean to abandon hope or to loose inspiration. It is not an all-inclusive package. Hoping is to simply have a preference as to an outcome and inspiration is just motivation of hope. It is a necessity, I believe, to have hope and inspiration, but there is a balance to be found between hoping for certain results and not expecting certain results. It can make the difference between being heartbroken or simply shaking it off and being ready to find another way.

Accepting the temporary status of it all (I mean everything from how fresh your bread is to your ability to walk) is accepting that it will all change; that everything will change, at some point or another. Accepting this to a point of being able to understand that nothing is stable enough or controlled enough for us to have any real expectations can lessen sorrow and disappointment. It may, also, give insight into just how precious the joys of here and now, this very moment, truly are.

For us to not have any expectations is a huge undertaking and why, I imagine, so few people have ever truly found “Nirvana”, but I believe it is a goal very much worth working towards.

I do not know if I will ever be able to do away with all expectations. Ironically, I have no real expectations as to whether or not I can do away with all disappointment. I do know that every step closer is a step away from being disappointed by things I have no control over, which is a step closer to happy!
<a href="http://Temporary“>Temporary

Bitterness and Security Blankets.

Bitter.

Upon reading that word, my initial association was not that of flavor or taste. The first concept that popped into my mind was “sad”.

You see, the timing of this word: Bitter, as The Daily Prompt, follows a meeting I had, yesterday, with a person whom I removed my from my life, about six months ago. The removal of this person was quite intentional and, also, something I did not execute very well. That is what I gathered from his reaction, at the time, anyway.

However, yesterday’s encounter relieved me of any quilt I may have had due to how well I did or did not end that relationship.

Yesterday, I was assaulted with a bombardment of cruel and vile accusations and labels. The words held no truth or justification. But, they weren’t meant to ring true or to accomplish any goal other than to cause pain.

I walked away. Not because I needed to avoid pain so much as because I seriously needed to avoid retaliating in kind. In spite of how far I have progressed in changing my mindset and the negative and destructive emotions and actions that are natural results of such thinking, there was a part of me that had a real desire to “shred” him. That is a very dangerous threat to my well being and would be far more hurtful than any words he could say.

It has taken me many years to make the progress that I have. I am not sure if anyone who hasn’t had to can understand what it takes for one to drop all the security blankets they have swaddled themselves in. But, I had wrapped them all so tightly around me that I was squeezing the very life out of myself; like a snake constricts around its prey. But, as you may or may not know, dropping those barriers is not easy even when one knows it is  slowly killing you. The first thing needed is to honestly realize and acknowledge that they are not the coping devices or buffering comforter that you want them to be or that you have convinced yourself they are.

In order to accomplish that, a bold retrospective must take place. I went around and round, in endless, draining, circles, until I was able to admit that it was my mindset, my blankets, that were actually causing all the situations I felt the need to protect myself from! My denial, my self-doubt and degradation, and my attempts to compensate for or blame others for my weaknesses were, in actuality, dictating my actions that caused my being in bad places with bad people. That always had bad results, caused more feelings of failure and, in a nasty cycle, fed and fortified all those negative feelings so that all efforts simply did no more than tighten the swaddling of what I had, long ago, mistook for protection and security.

As I said, it has been a hard, shocking, and painful process. It has, also, been a miraculous and amazing feeling to begin finally understanding why my life was what seemed to be just one mistake and heartbreak after another. It has been such a relief to no longer carry such a burden of guilt and regret and it is, just now, that I am knowing a sense of peace and appreciation for the person I am finding that I am and can be, now that I have let go of the person that I allowed my fear to create.

But, yesterday, all that was threatened as I felt my stomach turn into a knotted ball and my jaw begin to slightly ache in its effort to keep my mouth shut. At that moment, I knew that I had to examine my reactions and their motivations, but I also knew that, at that moment, I needed to remove myself from the stimuli as soon as possible. I could analyze it later.

I walked away. He attempted to text. I blocked all methods of communication. I have no way of knowing what he thought of my walking away. I don’t need to. I do not care.

What I do know, my conclusion of later analysis, is that my walking away made his bitterness his own problem; not a shared one.

I know that I feel no doubts as to my having made the right decisions, both months ago and yesterday.

I know that his bitterness is a product of his blankets. It is what his mindset has dictated is needed to protect himself. By assigning all transgression and fault for his feelings of perceived hurt and  rejection to me, there is no need for him to even consider looking into his own mindset for any reason I may have been justified in deeming him as not a desirable element in my life.

I, also, know that we, too often, decide it is easier to be angry than heartbroken. Too bad it isn’t healthier.

Bitter. That word brings to me a feeling of resigned sadness. I have been where he is; where bitterness lives. I can only pray that he finds some inspiration to look inside himself for a way to feel different about himself and his world.

Me? I’m good!

 

 <a href="http://Bitter“>Bitter

Not a Sprint Race!

May 6th, 2017

It is almost midnight, on a Saturday. I am sitting in the soft light of a desk lamp as I write this, alone and scared.

It is not the night that frightens me. It is not the fact that I am alone that inspires my feeling of loneliness; for the is another person, in bed and sleeping soundly, just down the hall.

I am afraid that I have endeavored to achieve a goal far beyond my present reach. I have done this aloud, proclaiming my aspirations to family and friends, and all eyes are upon me. I feel so very alone because, though I have help and support, ultimately my failure or success will depend on no other but myself.

Have I far over-estimated myself? Do I want this terribly bad enough to sacrifice as will be required? Is the hear-break, if i fail, the one from which i never recover? Many would say that I have fallen many times, but have always managed to overcome and resurrect myself both stronger in my resolve and my faith.

I would say that many are being very forgiving, if not quite articulate, with their words.

I was a child that my mother loved, but a child of which my father made no secret his disappointment. I was a wife. My husband told me I was a good wife. Correction; my ex-husband. I am a mother who has a grown daughter who loves me deeply, but I am a mother who knows that is only by God’s grace and not the very unstable and ever changing environment that I was barely able to provide. I am a writer who wrote a book no one has ever read except my daughter and a small handful of friends and family.

Now, I am a woman who only knows that she has never truly known how to be happy. It is only in these last few years that I have found any love for myself that was not a reflection of my self-worth as valued by another.

I have never known what I should be doing; my calling. I have only been able to guess at and work towards, by process of elimination, knowing what I should be doing with my life that will give me enough satisfaction and feeling of “rightness” to want to keep doing it.

Now, I know I have never been truly happy. I know I have not been living the life I was supposed to be living or doing what I was supposed to be doing. I know all this is because I have not entertained the thoughts or felt the emotions that a healthy and happy person knows on a daily basis.

I know these things that I did not know before and with that knowledge comes the retrospect and realization that my thoughts and emotions have, in one way or another, influenced every action I have taken and, thus, every situation I have ever been in. Also, with that knowledge comes the fact that I, alone, have both control and responsibility of my thoughts and emotions.

Where I am, tonight, in my head, all started with my knowing I needed to change my thoughts and the emotions that those thoughts  motivate. I decided that my thoughts needed to dictate that I could be and do anything I wanted; no excuses. I could be happier. I could be healthier. I could be stable and constructive. I could start to enjoy this wonderful life that has been passing me by while I shrouded my face in a veil of guilt from the past and subdued my brain with grandiose  daydreams of the future.

My thoughts did change. they changed so much that I decided to “do” instead of continue to learn. I changed my thoughts so thoroughly that the emotions they evoked spurred me into making a foolish declaration, the details of which I will spare you other than to say that it seems those grandiose daydreams have not all faded!

But, now, tonight, I am afraid that I have committed to running a sprint race when, in actuality, I have barely evolved into an up-right position. I will say that what I feel I aspired to is doable and I feel more “right” with it than I have anything in a very long time. But, it is a goal to be reached on a much broader timeline than I excitedly set.

I know it is better the simply state to all of whom I have given reason for expectation that I jumped the gun, so to speak. It is much wiser to withdraw with grace than to not only fail, but damage what progress I have already made.

I know this.

It is almost 1:00, on Sunday morning. I am sitting in the soft light of a desk lamp as I write this; finding the irony. When I didn’t know how, I would not have given a moment’s hesitation before sprinting right into this adventure. Now, when I do know how, I know that this is not a sprint race. It is a marathon and I need to pace myself if I ever hope to be victorious at the finish line.

Now, I bid you “Good night”. I must rest, now, as I have a big day, ahead of me. You see, in a few hours, I have to practice some humility and common sense and start training for a marathon!