Midlife Awakenings

I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:

“I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

~ Brené Brown, quoted by Peter Freed in “Prime: Reflections on Time and Beauty”

Katharine Krueger ~ Journey Of Young Women

Learn to mentor girls, guide Girls Circles and offer Coming of Age

JourneyOfYoungWomen.org/Mentor-Girls

Art by Sylvia Pavlova

-this is a reblog.

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The Fallow Time

Nothing lasts forever whether it’s my favorite socks or my longed for weekends. I’ve been studying ghost towns recently. Those once booming-with-life places that either suddenly or slowly settled down to rest.

The fire truck was questionable with a flat tire, but one township still had a hundred or so people living there, enough to keep active a post office and a fire station.

I’ve noticed in the ghost towns where no one is left, all you can see is the foundation of buildings. You try to guess if it was a house, a church or a merchant. An almost impossible task. Bring a psychic, maybe?

Nature reclaims the land eventually. Grass grows up from the ground where the model-Ts drove. Where beautiful dancers might have once swayed, their long legs moving to a rhythmic beat, now a tree is growing. We can be sad, or we can say it’s another season. The ground is resting.

Fallow years, similar to crop rotation is a technique which farmers have used for centuries to keep the soil active. Overstressed earth is empty.

We use the word to talk about any unused resource, and it started as a work about land. Fallow comes from the old English word for plowing and refers to the practice of leaving fields unplowed in rotation — when a field lie fallow, the soil regains nutrients that are sucked up by over-planting. Definitions of fallow.

Should we rest?

I think we push ourselves to produce when we are empty when our reserve is low. Is it possible to find time to draw in more nutrients and wait with the bodies we have instead of wanting a perfect body?

“I am the rest between two notes which are somehow always in discord.” R.M. Rilke | Poetry & Random Thoughts 

Primal instincts drive us. In cold weather, we long for comfort and sleep. We enjoy spending more time with our family. Physical tasks seem like drudgery. Our energy is low. We crave more food and alcohol than usual. People tend toward depression. It’s seasonal. Yes, Spring is around the corner.

Winter is the season for rest.

Embrace Your Wild

Some of life is without a right or wrong; a should or shouldn’t. Bedtimes can be suggestions. If a lifestyle isn’t working, you can adapt it, toss or edit it, remove the parts that don’t work.

You’re not locked into the same white walls or the same voting pattern of the past. Purple, yellow, or green are the right colors to use also.

For goodness sake, wake up and live a life that is comfortable for you! Let’s not waste another day mourning yesterday’s stupidity. Coffee’s brewing.

Wolf and Woman

The Jungle of My Emotions

I get caught up in the anger. My emotions of rage, betrayal, and wrongness engulf me. There’s no compassion, only my problem. Monkey mind is in control, and I struggle to make sense of the chaos.

Maybe you don’t have this problem, but emotions are painful for me. I was trying to negotiate a bill with my homeowners association which should have been a logical discussion. But I was PISSED. How dare they say this is my bill. They agreed to pay. With each thought, my temper guzzled a gallon of gasoline before striking a match. I had an ice cube’s chance in hell to win really. I’m one against the organization and the proof I was using was vague. But emotions are the fire in our belly that keeps us fighting even when the odds are against us. Yet, sometimes we win.

This rage is my jungle. I should know my way through it by now, but I don’t. A therapist will tell you to name the emotions. Instead of rage, get down to the baser emotions. Fear. Insecurity. Feeling utterly alone and vulnerable. When I was negotiating, I was taking it personally. She was attacking me and saying I was wrong. Backed into a corner, I felt powerless. So, I defended my territory.

Here’s my thought, over time, if I keep walking back through my jungle, I will have markers on my emotions, and I will see them and their triggers. My jungle will have paths with directional markings. But I have to be brave enough to walk into it with my eyes open. Face my demons. Lose some battles. But, someday, I won’t be walking around blind anymore.

“Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.” #StillIRise #MayaAngelou

Finding A Finish Line

I’m a sprinter, but at the age of 16, I didn’t understand pacing. All I knew was I was doing an eight-mile marathon with my boyfriend for charity.

True enough, this compass does not point north.”

“…Where does it point?”

“It points to the thing you want most in this world.

Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann

Boundaries are essential in my life. My focus gets lost like Captain Jack Sparrows when he lost his true north. I have a terrible habit of getting lost on additional chores. Once I took some Nootropics to get my groove on for writing, instead cleaned and sectioned my sock drawer. While that’s not wasted time, it was time that meandered down the toy aisle and played too long with the glitter.

I will keep going from one thing to another unless I’ve created a list. I need boundaries. These aren’t always about motivation although sometimes they can be.

I’ll continue this discussion next week. For now, realizing my happiness has come from setting smart goals. Some of my life has been overwhelmed by things I cannot control. I can manage my smile. I say beautiful things to myself in the mirror in the morning. Do you?

Keep smiling.

This Is Where I Live

This body, life has left some marks. These last few weeks I’ve been poked and tested but, it is the only one I have. It’s my living space. I have to treat it in the way that helps it work best. If I overstress it with high expectations or overwhelm it with too many activities, it will start throwing alarm switches until I listen.

This last week my body has started reminding me that while frugality is admirable, stinginess is cruel. Pushing myself again past my limits for my job and staying up too late, this creates pain in my muscles, and a massive headache.

A couple of years ago my washing machine quit so I had been “making do” until I could save enough to buy a new washer. While that sounds admirable, I wasn’t frugal for a purely financial reason. There was a massive chunk of ego that wanted to boast of how worthy I was! Quite a laughable thing once I realized what a tricky thing our psyche is. After taking a step back and looking at the situation, I went to a local home improvement store and financed a washing machine. Yes, I could have waited, but it was stressing me unnecessarily.

Have you ever tried to push a shopping cart with a broken wheel? That’s how it felt. I kept going, kept working because that’s what I do. I keep pushing because I know I can. I’m active and capable, right? But, when I took care of my needs, I realized how tired my enduring had made me. When I stopped trying to push the broken cart down the aisle, I could release the burden I was carrying.

Real

I have unrealistic expectations of myself, and I frequently don’t allow myself to live in the moment.

  • I choose not to kill my soul with harsh criticism and unrealistic expectations.
  • I choose to let joy and life flow through me so that when the time comes, I can also bring joy to others.
  • I choose to be a part of life in the now and not above it. The future is sometimes frightening, and I don’t want to face it, but there is always a way. There is still a simple step. It’s not always the boastful, shiny, impressive way, but there is a solution.
  • I choose to glean the joys of yesterday, and like seeds in the garden, I will sprinkle them with honor and watch them blossom.
  • I choose to honor myself, as I am, even all the jiggly parts.

Strengthening Character

At the end of the day, it’s only you. Alone. How you met each challenge and each conflict was up to you. Did you face your demons or pretend they didn’t exist?

There’s a lot of talk about being real. Authenticity. For me, it’s not always easy to be myself. It’s not that I try to fake people out by pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m not an impressive person and never wish to be.

My nature is to relate to people on the level they are. You might think me inauthentic at times because I’m a human who has been damaged by life. My cracks show.

When I feel I’m in an emotionally dangerous situation I’ll plaster a fake smile on and spout out the trite phrases, whatever it takes to get me through the situation. This is the game we call life.

Our character is built by the choices we make. We develop strength or kindness or wisdom through practice. Such as continuing to practice grace and mercy if you’re wishing to become a more forgiving person. Truthfully, it comes down to living intentionally, as best you can.

Catch Me

Is there a lesson here? A thousand times or so in my life I have taken too large of steps. I’ve leaped when I should have walked. I’ve ran toward when I should have stayed away. I’m impetuous, curious, and want more than my heart can hold at any one moment. And when I catch it I feel I could explode for joy.

I’ve not always known where I was going. This is a problem. If you don’t have a destination, how do you know when you get there?

But now I’m ready for something bigger, better. I want something that I haven’t been able to reach before on my own. Sometimes you can’t invite good into your life because you’re surrounded by darkness and all you see is the shadowy monsters that play on the wall in Plato’s cave.

I’ve read and listened to instructors that said we should believe the good, think positive, but if we’ve never experienced the upper levels, it all seems like a fantasy. It’s difficult to believe. A ghost. Like flying without wings. Grasping at the wind. I needed more than a self-help book this time. I was stuck in a cycle of trying and quitting. I felt like a car stuck in a muddy rut. Frustrated.

Many people come to reinvention when life changes around them, but people come in all different stripes. I’m oriented to change. Jane Pauley

I realized I needed a mentor, a coach. Someone who’s been there. This would require changing my influences and changing my approach. I wanted a better life.

If you enjoyed this, you might like Can You NeuroLingo?

We Have Wet Feet

Centurion Quintus Dias: [narrating] In the chaos of battle, when the ground beneath your feet is a slurry of blood, puke, piss and the entrails of friends and enemies alike, it’s easy to turn to the gods for salvation. But it’s soldiers who do the fighting, and soldiers who do the dying, and the gods never get their feet wet. – from the movie Centurion.

This quote is haunting. Friends and enemies together in the unforgiving harshness of battle.

No, I don’t think we’re currently living the nightmare Quintus painted. We aren’t battling alongside our friends. Many of us are hardly speaking. We’re either afraid we’ll lash out with our politics or we’ve shunned some of them already. 

Maybe my picture is too bleak. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but how many of you have dropped the social media life? Facebook family anyone? I feel like I’m recovering from a bad breakup. Or my feet got wet. I’m feeling icky. Is it soup time?

Thanks for stopping by! Take care of yourself.

Work the Tangle

tangled-necklaceI had a wad of tangled jewelry, that I needed to untangle if I wanted ever to wear any of the necklaces. Based on the familiar terms of today, I should FIGHT the tangles. But I couldn’t beat them. The chains. The knots.

I’m a problem solver by nature. I use this skill in my job. Often my obsessions over a personal decorating issue can keep me awake at night debating whether I prefer the black bedspread over the navy. In the case of hands and fingers working out the tiny knots in my necklaces, I’m fine. I’m not thinking. I’m doing. It’s almost instinctive how my fingertips will sort through the tangled heap of chains until I have restored order.

Cooperation leads to working together. It ends the game. Fighting causes resistance and prolonging the battle. Is it possible that some enjoy the fight too much to learn to participate or cooperate?

 Tweet: Have we as humans been caught up in fighting so long that we’ve forgotten how to solve our problems?

Have we as humans been caught up in fighting so long that we’ve forgotten how to solve our problems? I believe so. Daily I find myself rushing home or to work, and I realize I’M NOT LATE!

My lesson to remember this week, I have enough. There’s enough oxygen, water, food, time, clothing, sleep, etc. If I need anything, I’m withholding it from myself.

Live this moment–Today!

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
Jalaluddin Rumi