So just how often does one post to their blog? That’s the question I found myself grappling with since starting a blog. There were plenty of times that I thought about writing then thought it was too soon; writing isn’t really my go-to medium anyways. But I also didn’t want to delay for so long that the blog became irrelevant and the many nuanced experiences relevant to sharing a life of walking through a mid-life crisis were lost.
In the end I’m not sure it really matters; what seems to matter is the act of doing it and trusting that the right words will come at the appropriate time.
I’m grateful for the responses to this endeavor and the thoughtful feedback and idea sharing that it generated. I am sticking with the fact that it feels like a mid-life “crisis” and honoring my feelings around this, and I also know that it is so much more than merely a crisis. I’m likening it to the process of eating an artichoke – as you pull off each leaf it gets you closer to the heart.
(And in the spirit of Asteya, I did not come up with that analogy; however, I’m not sure who did so I cannot attribute it to anyone.)
And so I’m walking through it and going through what I’m calling my “unfolding”, a term I learned at the Samarya Center where I study and teach yoga. If I can be present for this experience then not only can I allow the unfolding to occur, I can actually lean into that unfolding and maybe, just maybe, enjoy the process. At the very least I can observe it.
What I have observed as of late is interesting, at least to me. I find myself wanting to get rid of “stuff”. I have this overwhelming idea that I simply have too much stuff in my life and I’m going through closets, cupboards, nooks & crannies, drawers, and corners leaving no area untouched with my eagle eye. I’m definitely not a hoarder and having moved around as much as I have in the past it simply wasn’t much of an option to accumulate that much; however, having lived in one house for nearly seven years and one city for nearly 10 (the longest place I’ve ever lived), accumulation has occurred.
Yet it never bothered me before; before the crisis/unfolding started – PMLC. I used to revel in a few of our prized pieces of “stuff” Now I almost feel smothered, like there is a weight holding me down from wherever it is that I need to go and whatever it is that I need to do next. Because of course I can’t do any of that with too much stuff…
Obviously there is a big part of this in my head, and emotional body (Manomayakosha).
And yet it is true – the connection between the different parts of our mind/body and our life is real and powerful. So being open to this has provided an opportunity to declutter and spend some time this winter inside, going through the different rooms of my house and with them the different rooms of my mind and my heart. What is the connection I have to that Yucatecan shirt anyways?
I recall the process of finally getting rid of most of my text books from college and, even more painfully, grad school. Most of them had been in boxes for years, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to let go of them. Why? I dunno. Grad school was so expensive as were the books and what if I ever needed them again in the future; what if I got some job in the future where I needed to refer to these books. If I got rid of the books would I lose the knowledge that I had gained from them? That was my fear – that plus the loss of the dream that I would have that one perfect job that would use all of my accumulated knowledge and experiences. I’ve never had that job, but I had that dream.
Over the years I gradually let go of most of the books, resting in my rational mind that told me if I really ever did need that information in the future it was probably out there on the internet somewhere, or I could go buy another book that was likely more up to date anyways. Oh it’s weird to feel out of date.
And so it is with the process of letting go of the “stuff” that seems to have defined the first half of my life, PMLC. Bit by bit I’m looking to release that which no longer serves me and move on to that which does not only serve but enriches me. It feels good and right to be clear and cognizant of this process.
Which brings me to the thought that has been going through my head in various ways for a while now – how to be present, observe, learn from, grow from, and maybe even enjoy this process of unfolding through the MLC. In my wedding vows, which my husband and I wrote ourselves, we included the phrase “to be in this world, not of it” (a quote with ancient Sufi and Christian references). I don’t think I fully understood at that time the deeper meaning of that quote, but it is beginning to unfold for me these past few years.
It is all too easy to get caught up in life, or in this case a mid-life crisis, and lose all sense of awareness. This draws my focus of the center of the universe to my own little daily goings on, rather than expanding my focus to the larger world. I know enough through my yoga and other spiritual practices that the expanded view is healthier all around, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Yet it can be so challenging to keep that broader focus.
Being present to, aware of, and maybe most importantly curious about how I feel exactly just now, in this moment, reduces the anxiety that tends to accompany the crazy-making of an MLC. How am I sitting differently to prevent that right shoulder from slouching forward; how did the plants in the garden respond to that frost we had the other night; what is it that’s holding me back from cutting the dead material out of the garden anyways; how could the other person’s experience in our conversation be different from mine; and how do I feel when I don’t meditate first thing in the morning.
These are all questions I’ve asked myself and ways I find to being present, to learning from just living…
So for now, as I continue walking through it, I work my way through the artichoke leaves in order to get to the best part, to the heart, to the heart of it all…