This month I'm doing a 30-Day Blog Challenge. Each day I will offer up a serving of what's in my heart in the moment. My wish is for you to receive a delicious blessing, and my hope is that you will feel inspired to leave a precious morsel of that in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!
Carl Jung wrote that "Midlife is the time to let go of an overdominant ego and to contemplate the deeper significance of human existence.” I agree, but I would say that it's bit more messy than that. Letting go sounds simple in principle. In practice, as those of you who are in the midst of empty nesting, divorcing, selling your family's house, taking care of your aging parents, dealing with illness or job loss know quite well, it can feel devastating and overwhelming. Change-- especially sudden rug-being-pulled-out-from under-you change--can feel like an intense jolt to the system and take months or even years to assimilate.
Contemplating the big questions comes once the aftershocks of a major shake-up have passed. Mid-life is when we usually face the impermanence of life: our children growing up and leaving home, our parents moving into nursing homes or dying, our careers shifting, our bodies aging and so on. Nothing feels safe from the shifting sands. In fact, with all the swirling madness happening around us, we quickly discover what we're made of--and how well shored up we are emotionally against the storms of life.
The ego, as Carl Jung pointed out, just cannot control the show like it once did. There are simply too many things out of our control. This is why so many people turn to spirituality in mid-life--to learn how to cope. it all becomes very Zen as the best tools can be found in practicing presence, acceptance, surrender, compassion, patience, etc. None of the old ego tools associated with controlling, manipulating and fixing things work anymore. Mid-life is a throw up your hands and wave the white flag time. . Peace is so much more appealing than the old emotional roller coaster of anger and drama. Who has the energy for all that or the time?
Time becomes precious and wasting it feel like a terrible crime. People are dying around us, prompting us to lighter our loads and seek a calm place with which to make up for the time we lost running around chasing rainbows. We don't want to miss the boat, after all. Perhaps there was something important we were supposed to do and we'd better get with it, without all the ego fanfare.
On a personal note. I've been riding the waves of a multitude of changes for several years. At this point, I'm navigating through the shadowy, inner sub terrain realms loosening my hold on those things that I see as my identity--who I think I am. I came up with a list of all of those identifiers. My intention is to eventually release my grasp altogether, freeing up lots of space so that my authentic Self has room to breath and BE. It sounds matter-of-fact written about this way. It's anything but. It hurts. A LOT. Our stories are like our softest, coziest blankets...they're so warm and familiar, but they also limit us and hold us back. We wear them tightly to keep us locked in and safe. Letting go of them feels like peeling a really sticky bandage from our skin. Underneath, the skin is raw and pasty white. It needs air and sun.
Inner work requires some good self-care. It's important to honor the tidal waves of grief that emerge and knock you down. Rest. Healthy food. Loving friends. A journal. Massage. Yoga. Fresh air.
If it's so painful, why do it? When the quest for freedom calls for it and when living inside the story feels cramped and stuffy. If you have a sense that there's more to life, a longing for spaciousness and a primal calling to live your truth, express yourself authentically, then you will encounter a strong will within to undertake the task of unraveling the tight knots of each aspect of the story that was created to define who you are in the world.
We are SO MUCH more than who we think we are. We've just gotten lost in the daily stuff of life and forgotten. Luckily, life nudges us to remember, sometimes gently, sometimes with a big smack in the head. We can heed the call graciously or with resistance. Better to just dive in and be with the mess.
How much do you identify with your story? Are you feeling the call to let go of your attachment to yours?