Read full report at this link herpes treatment Midlife Mastery Journal

Midlife Is Not for Wusses

August 1st, 2010

In a recent interview, a famous and prolific author was asked whether he wrote only when he was inspired, or if he wrote on a regular schedule. He answered that of course, he only wrote when he was inspired. “However,” he commented, “fortunately, inspiration comes every morning at 7:30.”

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have to write. On one hand, it would be nice to enjoy an income from my work, but, on the other hand, it’s somewhat frightening to think of what life would be like if my livelihood depended on inspiration showing up on a regular basis every week or — perish the thought — every day. But it doesn’t, so, when inspiration decides to take a brief vacation, so do I! In fact, I’ve only published one article for the whole of last month.

But now, inspiration has returned, and it’s time to make sure that it sees the light of day. I was thinking this morning about what an incredible wuss I was was I was a boy. I remember once running out of the doctor’s office and locking myself in my mother’s car when they told me I was due for a booster shot. I wouldn’t let her back in until she promised not to let that happen to me. Pain (or the mere prospect of pain) scared the hell out of me. Telling a kid like me to “buck up” or “be a man” would not have helped: I would still have locked you out of the car. So what happened that took me from that terrified little boy to a guy who can walk barefoot over gravel?

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When It Hurts

July 4th, 2010

FireworksI’m sick. I don’t like being sick: I don’t ‘do’ sick very well. I have a sore throat and, night or day, every time I swallow, it’s like razor blades slicing up and down the inside of my throat. It’s also the 4th of July weekend, we have house guests, and it’s the start of my first vacation since going to back work at an RJ (‘real job’) last March. Yes, as I’ve often observed, guys like me turn into real wusses (or worse) when we don’t feel well. And yet, I’m not alone and, for the sake of those around me, I know I have to buck up and stifle my whining and complaining (at least outside of my most private moments). One of the benefits (and drawbacks) of having a life partner is that you get to say (and, of course, to hear) how we really feel. The rest of the world — in as much as is possible — gets to see my more ‘public’ face. It’s what I believe we do when we have any sort of social awareness: recognizing that, no matter how badly we may feel, the rest of the universe doesn’t really have to join us.

I believe that is one of the great lessons that comes with the midlife transition: the gift of perspective and the recognition that it’s not ‘all about me.’ On the one hand, my fears of imaginary consequences are overblown. I can put my concerns in my back pocket and walk through situations that used to terrify me, knowing that I’ll either survive or not and, either way, it’s OK. On the other hand, the world is not responsible for living up to my expectations of it. I can be satisfied with “progress not perfection.” As I look at myself, starting to heal from several days of feeling (as my grandmother used to say) “lousy!” and look at the ongoing journey I’m engaged in post-midlife and, at the same time, consider the midlife trials that our country is going through on this, it’s official birthday, I see some parallels and some interesting take-aways.

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Get Me Out of This Dream!

June 27th, 2010

MandalaEver since I watched him on “American Idol,” I’ve been a great fan of Adam Lambert. For the first time in my life, I can listen to his album over and over without tiring of his music. One of the tunes I really enjoy is “I’m a Sleepwalker,” and it ends with the stark phrase, “Get me out of this dream!” So often, when you’re struggling hardest with midlife issues, you want to scream those words to high heaven: Get me out of this dream! What once seemed like the answer to prayer has turned on you and you wake up one day to find that you’re living a nightmare, although nothing as really changed all that much . . . only you have changed.

Why do dreams turn into nightmares, and even your ‘dreams come true’ have morphed into situations that you wish you could escape from, if only you knew how? How did Cinderella suddenly change into the wicked stepmother, and the handsome prince one day show up as the troll under the bridge? The answer to that question lies in the nature of dreams, in human nature, and in the difficulty we all have in changing our minds. Midlife is simply that moment on our journey when the rose-colored glasses are ripped off our faces and we’re forced to look reality in the face without the gauze and soft-focus we’ve become accustomed to seeing it all through. How you navigate the midlife transition is all about how well you’re able to sustain yourself through a big dose of harsh reality. Today, I’d lke to offer a spoonful of sugar to help that medicine go down (thank you, Mary Poppins).

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The Devil That You Know

June 20th, 2010

We Have Met the EnemyThere’s a familiar old saying that says, “Better the devil that you know than the devil that you don’t know.” Whether you are aware of it or not, midlife provides you with a tremendous opportunity to get to know the devil so much better. Leaving aside, for the time being, the question of whether or not the negativity in the universe has evolved into a genuine persona (personality), there’s no question whatsoever as to whether or not negativity is a force to be reckoned with: it is.

Remember that our characterizations of evil personified (the ‘devil’ and ‘Satan’) are symbolic names, which refer to a ‘tearing apart’ (diabolein) and to a ‘prosecuting attorney’ (ha satan). Prior to the midlife transition, the destructive negativity that we identify as ‘evil’ appears outside us. Our prospects for ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ seem threatened by the external world: natural ‘disasters’, ‘enemies’ (foreign and domestic), bad ‘luck’, and, perhaps most powerfully of all, the judgments and opinions of others. Our collective unconscious has internalized these ‘gaps’ or ‘lacunae’ in our experience of the world into what Sigmund Freud called the ‘superego’. He described it as a scolding, parental ‘voice’ constantly critiquing our thoughts and actions. Others have described that voice in different terms: the ‘gremlin‘ (Richard David Carson, Taming Your Gremlin) or ‘Self 1‘ (W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Work), what A Course in Miracles calls the ‘ego’ or, what one of my mentors (Alphonse Wright) called ‘The Stopper‘. What we learn at midlife is that, as Walt Kelly once wrote in his comic strip, Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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Midlife Milestones: Coping with Evil

June 13th, 2010

Hurricane KatrinaToday happens to be a special personal milestone for me: June 13 marks the day, 24 years ago, that I walked out of the active ministry and into a life of recovery. It was one of the most significant watershed points in my life and, not surprisingly, it came just before my 38th birthday . . . just as I was entering wholesale into midlife. I have focused my writing on the spiritual transformations of midlife because I consider myself to be a poster child for that transition. Relatively few people that I have met can actually point to a date on the calendar and say, “That’s when midlife hit me full-force,” but I think I can!

I usually spend my Saturday mornings with a community of recovering people, and yesterday was no exception. As always happens, I came away from our discussions with new insights and perspectives. I don’t know about you, but my ‘forgetter’ works much more effectively than my ‘rememberer,’ so I need regular doses of reality to keep me from floating away mentally, emotionally, and spiritually into La-la Land. Somebody yesterday mentioned ‘evil’ and it got me to thinking. I have a particular approach to the topic of evil that I’ve developed over many years and many experiences, and I thought that my readers might gain some fresh insights if I were to take this opportunity to explore it a little: What is ‘evil’ and why do we seem to be battling it so fiercely, particularly as we transition to full maturity?

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