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…

Namaste

Aside

I will never write a blog! Nobody reads those anyways, unless you’re famous and then maybe a few people. Plus, I hate writing anyways! And who wants to spend more time in front of the computer!?!

At least that what I always told myself…

And yet, here I find myself, at 7 am on a Saturday morning, sitting down to start my first attempt at a blog entry. Why? Hmmm, well I’m not exactly sure, except I’ve been feeling drawn to it lately. Words have actually been going through my head during my meditation. I’ve been hearing feedback from far and wide, from people close to me and from those I don’t even know, that the little sharing I’ve been doing about my experience has been helpful for them, in some way.

And I can’t ignore the teachings of many that say if you just sit and write about something it will help get it out of your head, off of your chest, and into the universe where there is plenty of space to allow for those thoughts to just exist.

So therefore I sit and I put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard.

My intention behind this blog is to capture the essence what I’m identifying as my midlife crisis, an “MLC” if you will. I know I’m not the only one who has gone through an MLC; likely the majority of people older than me have, even if they did not identify it as such. There are many books about the topic (several for men, which is interesting and another topic); however, I’m not feeling drawn to reading drawn out books, can’t seem to make it through a book anyways, and frankly, I’m trying to open to a new experience.

I also don’t want to talk about the physical changes that our bodies go through as we age and that I’m starting to feel. That can be a bit depressing and honestly it seems far less interesting to me than the mental, emotional, and spiritual changes that I’m noticing.

So I will share what I’m experiencing, from my own life and if this is every remotely useful to even a few people, then I guess that’s nice. Otherwise, I’m going to write until it doesn’t feel useful to me anymore. I draw guidance and inspiration from ancient yogic texts to modern day yogis, from 12-step wisdom to talk therapy – and so much more. Everyone is my teacher!

I’m a 42 year-old married woman and I think my midlife crisis started somewhere about a 1½ – 2 two years ago. Not with some precipitating event, but rather with a growing sense of dissatisfaction with my life. It seemed that I had achieved much of what I had set out to achieve career and family wise (other than that million dollar salary…probably shouldn’t have gone into the non-profit world.) and yet I wasn’t satisfied. I got to a place where I found myself asking “Is this it?” Is this what I have to work with for the next half of my life? Another 40+ years of this?  That was (is) an unsettling feeling to say the least.

So then, I created new goals!

I became a certified yoga instructor and sought a different, more spiritual path, including re-committing to my meditation practice. I also dove into a new line of business sharing healthy chocolate. Two of my favorite things – yoga and chocolate! What’s not to love? And yet a couple years down the line I still am not where I want to be, at least it doesn’t feel like
I’m where I want to be, and of course I couldn’t give up the day job, so now I’m working three jobs, which means I’m really just dissatisfied AND exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, I love both of my new endeavors, I’m just not sure that doing more is the best solution for me.

But that’s part of the issue – I’m not really sure I know what I want. I mean I really don’t know what I want for myself, other than a big fat long break…in full health, wealth, and happiness. Thoughts and ideas that I used to be so sure of pre-midlife crisis (I’ll call that PMLC) I really can’t find the same sense of stability around anymore. What seemed so right for me previously, doesn’t seem to resonate anymore. In some ways I simply don’t recognize myself these days and I really don’t have a sense of what will make me happy and fulfilled.

And so I write.

To keep this solution-oriented, I will share what I am trying to do to move through this experience with some semblance of grace. I am deeply committed to my meditation practice. I used to think that would make everything all better – now I understand it will just make me more present to everything that is happening. I am also doing my best to be open and transparent about what I’m feeling, to the extent that I feel safe sharing in different situations. The tremendous feedback I’ve been receiving when I share about my MLC encourages me to keep sharing – and so I write. I am also focus on staying true to my yoga asana practice, whatever that looks like, just keeping the practice itself going. It feels good to have some ritual and routine around that, although I find it important to be gentle on myself as well.

And I guess what I’m working most diligently at right now is just being present for what I am feeling. I’m trying very hard to be OK with doing less (this is a topic for another blog post, but it is important to put out there now) as a mechanism to be present. I am noting what I feel in my body. Not walking away from it. Allowing it to be and to take place in and through me. Sharing when I need to or get scared and then going back to being present for the experience. I think what I’m trying most to do is just walk through it.

 

And thus the name of this blog – “Walking Through It”

 

Thanks for listening and being a part of this first blog post.