Monday, May 27, 2019

Midlife tasks : Rite of passage, Crisis or Transition?

So much gold can be found in transition times, but mostly, we feel challenged by the unexpected shifts, changes and challenges - whether it's menopause, divorce, the death of a spouse, parent or child, job loss, empty nest or chronic illness - we are propelled into a process of Change, forced into letting go of the old way, and freaked out perhaps at what has not yet been revealed as the New Normal. 

This wonderful article really helped me reframe the mid-life transition, not as a crisis but as an opportunity for personal growth, a time to take inventory mid-journey and decide what is really important, finding meaning and purpose in the second half of life as a quest for authenticity. I especially like that she says creativity plays a central role in supporting this mid-life review. It also calls on our inner boldness and courage to be inventive and creative in the second half of life.

Here is a short synopsis of the tasks that help us do this: (ps journaling and SoulCollage(R) have helped me get started on these.)

Midlife is a time when our wisdom knocks at the door, sometimes forcefully in form of a crisis or life-changing moment. The following midlife tasks support a life-review and provide helpful signposts along the way:

·         Access Repressed Dreams and Unexpressed Aspects of Self
·        Tell and Revise Life Stories
·        Tend to Regrets and Shame
·         Name and Tame Fears and Inner Barriers
·        Make Peace with the Past
·         Clarify Values and Goals
·         Redefine Body Image and Sexuality
·        Deepen Confidence to Live Wholeheartedly and Authentically
·        Transform Anger into Self-Advocacy and Action
·        Identify Personal Gifts and Passions
·        Offer Gifts and Passions to the World
·        Balance Tending to Others and Tending to Self
·         Reformulate Intimate Relationships Based on Speaking and Honoring Core Needs and Personal Truths
·        Spiritual Quest: Define Meaning and Purpose
·        Nurture Creativity and Creative Self-Expression
·        Cultivate a deeper imaginary with self and others
·        Trust intuition and wisdom
·        Explore and create new possibilities. 
·         Discover more meaning and purpose

Journaling questions to help you gain clarity:

What are my unique gifts?
What dreams, goals and longings have I neglected? (ie what did I used to love, or dream of doing?)
What self-doubts and insecurities block me from being the best version of myself?
What beliefs undermine the expression of my full potential?
What do I need to give myself permission to let go of?
What do I need to give myself permission to embrace?
What are the missing pieces (unmet needs) from my childhood that I can now give to myself?
What feels challenging and leaves me feeling drained?
What brings me peace and satisfaction?
What brings me alive, excites me and gives me joy?
What do I value the most in myself?
What qualities do I admire in others?
What would I like others to have said they learned from me?

Allow any newly emerging ideas and feelings, goals and beliefs to surface. Honour and hold them safe, and if you need to feel held in a safe container, find a counselor who will do so, allowing your rite of passage to continue to unfold.

Adapted from an article Midlife: the Tasks of the Journey, by Elizabeth Strazar, MA, LPC Thimble Island Counseling   

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