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An Overview Of Midlife Transition & Crisis

The term midlife crisis brings up many images…

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In America, it brings up deriding images of a person buying a red sports car, daydreams of flings, broken marriages and people acting like a child again.

A midlife transition can be a positive experience. In reality, midlife change represents a deeper possibility for a person to become their dreams. However, those dreams are harder to realize within a nonsupportive society and without a clear personal understanding of the experience. People often end up hurting themselves in their process of transition. A person’s life carries a lot of momentum from the past that tumbles them about heedlessly upon trying to transition to be something new.

midlife transition
Midlife crisis is an unfortunate label applied to those working through these transitional times of their life. Crisis creates fear, and that fear causes people to avoid change. Ironically, a crisis is always the end product of resisting important changes in life. As teachers, Julie and I will help you move along with the midlife changes that are a natural part of human life.

A midlife crisis represents a turning point when change must happen to prevent a bigger personal break down.

A midlife transition is not a time of trouble: unless a person does nothing. Worst when a person actively resists their transition, then the crisis that follows becomes the change a person is forced to make their own. Imagine an adolescent refusing to grow and the problems that would cause a teenager later in life. Midlife change is another growth point much like adolescence in our life.

Turn crisis around to be an opportunity for improvement and transformation.

midlife change

Flip everything around: Mid Life Crisis can be the fuel for a Full Life Transformation.

The reason I became a healer is to help people in midlife transition. I discovered after my midlife transformation that few people truly understood midlife transition change nor supported midlife transformations. As a result of my experience and helping others, I have opened up a healing practice to help guide people within their own full midlife transformation process.

Embracing Midlife Transition

Here are the nine truths to understanding a midlife transition. If you understand these truths, it then becomes possible to navigate your midlife changes with grace.

  • One: It’s a time of change. Many people hurt themselves and those they love by resisting midlife change. Holding onto the past will tear a person and family apart during a time of change. Often the pain of resisting change causes people to revert to old habits. A midlife transformation is not a sure thing. Human nature desiring comfort and the social pressure resisting change are powerful forces shaping a person’s life. The majority of people going through midlife change fail for these and other reasons. Move in your life! A midlife transformation can be the most beautiful and amazing time in a person’s experience when flowing with change and the support of others. Or it can be a nightmare of confusion mixed to the actions of people actively hindering your path. When facing such a nightmare, most people embrace past comforts to resist the transformation and re-transform back into an image of their old life. The direction of change isn’t always forward; a midlife transition is often experienced stumbling backward.
  • Two: A time to experiment with new perspectives. Midlife transformation represents a restarting of life. A person moving down this path will not have the years of experience to make choices with known outcomes safely. As a result, people make many mistakes as they experiment around with new ideas and actions. As long as you are willing to learn from your mistakes, those mistakes can help you grow.

Midlife Change

  • Three: This is a time to reconnect to the freedom of a childA midlife transition can resemble the time of being a child when you had to learn everything newly. People starting a midlife transition will at times act like a child again as they’re picking up where they left off from their childhood. Buried issues often mean the resurfacing of problems and dramas which were hidden as a child. This can confuse an adult when sorting out their thoughts and needs in life. Part of the process shifting a midlife crisis into a full life transformation is learning to play again and resolve childhood issues.
  • Four: Midlife is a time to simplifyWith so many changes happening, a person often simplifies their life to help figure out what’s important to them. During the process of simplification often a person will toss away a bit more than they bargained for.
  • Five: Midlife is when people shift their relationships. People often use relationships to crutch their life. The trouble is when changing, a person will discover that the crutches no longer fit or are painful to wear. As a result relationships at times are tossed to the side during this process of change. Often relationships break during a midlife crisis. Why? Simply because the partner isn’t at a point of changing themselves, or they are changing in a different direction with different needs. Partners are often in conflict since they may not want changes to occur. The statement often heard is: “you are not the man I married” This phrase illustrates how deeply a midlife crisis can change a person. The extra strain of one person needing change, while the other person holds back is enough to break many relationships. Even if the relationship doesn’t break, many people end up unhappy when partners don’t sufficiently support the requirements of a new balance. Instead, discover how to work with your relationship to have graceful options to create space or avoid a messy divorce
  • Six: Society is not supportive of true change. It’s not in the interest of society to encourage life change. From a basic viewpoint, midlife transition disrupts people and resources from flowing smoothly. Also, people going through a midlife transformation have tendencies to want to change society. Society will resist such changes itself: firstly by encouraging people not to change, secondly by helping people to stay the same and finally by the alienation of those who disrupt the norms of society.

Midlife Transition

  • Seven: You are within a time of Mental, Physical and Spiritual evolution. One myth of the midlife crisis is it’s only in the mind. A midlife change occurs within a very real physical transition time point in the human body. It’s a very similar experience as a teenager switching from a child’s body to an adult. Surprisingly western culture doesn’t have a term for the physical changes as not everyone experiences it quite the same way or same time point. While it frequently starts around 37 to 42 years of age, it can happen later in life. Also, many aspects of the physical midlife changes are subtle shifts in hormones, physical condition, and attributes. Other aspects might be very apparent in the aches and pains of an aging body. One part of helping a person transverse a midlife change is to establish a new set of physical practices to help the body transition. This time is a nice opportunity to take up yoga, Qi Gong, change diets, martial arts or even something as simple as a jogging practice to stimulate the midlife transformation process. Another aspect of helping a person create a full life transformation is to help reveal the missing parts of their life. We are each a combination of Mind, Body, and Spirit, yet so many people concentrate on only one part of the Mind or Body or Spirit at the exclusion of the other parts. Midlife transformation is a time to fill and strengthen all the missing parts of a person’s life.
  • Eight: A life transformation is a process that spans time. Another misunderstanding about this process is thinking that this is a relatively quick event of a few months. In fact, even the term “Midlife Crisis” gives the impression of a single sudden event to overcome. It’s not. The midlife transition process is often a series of events that span over 2 to 3 years to manifest gracefully. Some people even go longer allowing their full transformation to take 5 to 8 years to become a master at a skill or attain a larger goal. Many people do suppress the midlife transition to appear as a fling. A large amount of outside pressure exists to make this the case. The power of our mind is very strong, and the capability to suppress or even deny change is a very strong human trait. 
  • Nine: Some people don’t experience a midlife crisis. A few souls balance and flow through life in such a way to seemingly never go through a midlife crisis. Humanity is a spectrum of experience. Not everyone goes through a midlife crisis. The whole process is dependent upon many variables such as culture, support of friends and family, how a person lives life itself, health and so many other factors. A life transformation isn’t a time of judgment or comparing your own experience to others. Midlife transition is a time of acceptance and learning to flow with your life, body, mind, and spirit to live as completely to your nature as possible. In the American culture where so many are taught to be someone else from childhood, to chase an American dream of wealth: a midlife crisis is a relatively common event, as many spend time not being themselves.

The Four Stages of Midlife Transformation

A midlife crisis occurs in stages.

(a) Healing the body, (b) clearing the mind, (c) finding direction and then (d) becoming whole.

We are the combination of Body / Mind / Spirit / Soul. A midlife transformation touches all four of these aspects of life. As a result, a person will work thru each as a separate set of steps. The actual midlife transition process is a back and forth experience working on these four aspects of life. The order of these four stages will vary from person to person.

As an example:

A person might take time to relax their mind, only to discover it’s time to get in better physical shape. It turns out meditation can be hard on the body and requires a person to be in good physical shape.  So a person will then get into an exercise frenzy only to have their mind shift to be in a different place. So a person circles back around to take time and re-adjust their mental concepts. Midlife creates a process of going back and forth between the various aspects of healing life.

As a result, we encourage our students to work on several things at once. A midlife transition is a time where people seek practices to help balance their life.

The final stage of midlife transformation is when all four aspects (Mind / Body and Soul / Spirit ) blend into a single harmonious being again.  While many names exist for this final point, I call and teach it as complete acceptance.

Finding Your Practices

While all practices have benefits, not all practices will match to your nature. A person needs to sample practices “openly’ and keep the ones that “feel’ right. In this way, you will learn many unexpected truths while also learning the practices that fit your life. A person should never force nor expect a practice to work perfectly; instead, this is a process of experimentation until it clicks together and you find that practice right for your growth.

  • Life is about change. As such we each change over time. Over time; personal practices have to shift to meet your needs. As a result, a person in midlife transition drifts through many practices. Practices you did in your earlier life will fade, and you will be energized by a whole new set of ideas and routines.
  • No one practice can be perfect, so do not invest your meaning into the training itself. To do so places false fulfillment into one’s life direction. Practice doesn’t full-fill the emptiness in life, but at first, it often feels like it does. Fulfillment of our meaning, (usually this is the actual baseline driving need of the midlife transformation) is the process of connecting to a larger universe. As a result, we seek a bridge to connect to the larger universe. Try not to place a practice your practice directly to your heart; set the connections to the larger world into the heart. In this manner, you won’t be devastated when shifting from an older practice to a newer practice.

I must stress this use of the general term of “practice’ for all of these reasons. Every person will assemble their blend of practices to support the movement of their life. Any training is a merely a guiding form to aid in the movement of your life.

Finding Your Truth

People will seek answers and go thru many materials seeking truth in midlife transition. Within every writing and teaching exists both truth and falsehood. Due to unique perceptions of each person: the balance of truth and falsehood shifts for each person.

Be open to your midlife changes. We can learn from all practices; it becomes possible to discover truth and perspective from surprising places that will support your nature.  I watch many people complain about not having resources or a teacher nearby to help in the navigation through a midlife crisis. In reality, it’s possible to find answers and teachers everywhere. During years of midlife crisis an open approach to exploring life, allows you to find an answer more quickly and thoroughly. During the time of re-defining oneself, everything is open for consideration.

Midlife Transformation

A MidLife Transformation Summary

I work with people on a case by case basis, since each person is a unique tapestry of needs, past events needing resolution, different future goals, different mixes of partners, supporting past obligations: all mixed in the chaos of change. As a result, the process of aid is a delicate balance of patience and understanding.

The most important aspect of a person within a midlife transformation is to accept the larger scale of change they are experiencing. It’s important to not hold this as a time of crisis but as a time for transformation and opportunity. It’s not something that can be rushed or forced into something that makes other people happy. Rather this is a personal time of following your needs of mind, body, and spirit equally.

If you are a partner of a person within midlife transition, Julie and I will help you find balance and create space so that the midlife crisis doesn’t tear apart your friendship.

It’s also important to understand, in change, resides the loss of old comforts and support. Often time’s painful moments have to be embraced, experienced and accepted before the final transformation can occur.

Another important tool is to witness your own life. Document and explore your life with a journal, art, music, playing an instrument, dance, poetry and being open to witnessing how others see you. A problem with a life transformation is our blind-spot to seeing our complete nature. As a result, our shifting outer form is never quite what the mind perceives. Our minds cannot see our true selves purely. Journals, art, music, playing musical instruments, poetry, the observation of others all give critical feedback to help view one’s nature and guide the full life transformation rather than shift blindly to illusions of what we think we are.

If you decide to explore art, please remember: the art isn’t about creating a masterpiece, it’s simply about witnessing yourself. Art is an amazing tool to explore life and find a place in the world. These are two qualities of life that people seek within their life transformation. Some people hesitate to use art or music at this point since it often seems daunting or it brings up bad experiences from younger years of failed artistic explorations. However, many years have passed, and new skills have been added to one’s life. Take advantage of your transformation to begin exploring life again with art, music and other passions you may have forgotten. Studies have shown with 5 to 10 years of focused practice anyone can get quite good at any skill. Taking a few years to work on your midlife transformation supports the drive and time required to develop our inner potential since it provides both new energy and time for the channeling of such skills.

midlife transition

Finally and Most Importantly:

We all see the world as a reflection of ourselves.

Just because you are changing doesn’t mean the world is ready to change. Initially, focus your energy on yourself and not the world.

The Earth has been around for 4 billion years and isn’t going anywhere quickly (Except around the sun at 67,000 mph). Trying to change the world, pretty much ensures you will have no energy left to transform and heal yourself. Trying to change another person means to take upon their nature into you, which effectively derails many midlife transformations. Instead, embrace and discover your new nature. The world is truly a reflection of each of us, so the first step of changing the world simply means putting energy and time into embracing and transforming yourself completely and fully.

Let the world be a reflection of yourself in acceptance.

Source: Personal Tao

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