Between the ages of 30 and 70, women go through an important hormonal change which moves us beyond childbearing to the birth of ourselves. By engaging in this process, we are brought fully into our personal and creative potential. This journey is known by some a “midlife” or as one friend once said, “A dangerous opportunity!”
The first stage of the midlife journey is the awakening. It is in the awakening that our hormones begin to shift, removing the veil that is necessary during the time of childbearing that keeps our attention focused on the survival of our children. As our children become viable, less dependent, more self-sufficient and our 100% attention no longer needs to be on them, the veil thins and our attention shift from birthing children to BIRTHING OURSELVES. As many women who have not only survived, but triumphed in the midlife journey, the awakening is known by feeling, emotions, thoughts that initially disturb, but when tended to, help us to become more of who we were intended to be. The “symptoms” of the awakening might include:
- Feelings of Restlessness
- Longing for something more
- Feelings of being unfulfilled
- Unnamed impatience, anger or rage
- Restless or unhappy in your intimate relationships
- Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks
- Experiencing physical and emotional changes
- Longing to be creative but not knowing how or with what
- Yearning to reconnect with things from your childhood
What We Resist Persists
As many modern-day spiritual teachers have said, “what we resist persists.” This is equally true for the midlife journey. For many, the midlife journey begins in pain. Our instinctual response to pain (discomfort, anxiety, fear, anger, depression, longing, yearning, restlessness) is to avoid it or to try to make it go away. We can push it away all we want, but it will keep coming back and back and back, hounding us and increasing our discomfort until we LISTEN. Instead of resisting the midlife journey and all its consequences, the invitation is to INVITE IT IN and to ENGAGE in the process. When we allow ourselves to be present to our feelings, our longing, our restlessness, the still small voice of our truth can finally be heard.
What Our Truth Might Be Saying
The purpose of the midlife journey is the BIRTHING of ourselves. It is through this process that our Divine gifts are recognized, cultivated and brought forth to be shared in the world. It is the time when we get to do what WE want, spend time with what we enjoy, GET TO KNOW ourselves. When we engage in the midlife journey, we might discover that we are really an introvert (and not the extrovert the world wants us to be) and that we need more solitude. We might rediscover our childhood dreams and passions. We might learn that we have talent as a painter or writer or that we love cooking and entertaining. We might rediscover the sexual passions that took a backseat while we were tending to our children’s needs. We might hear the call to return to school to pursue a new career. The point is that the midlife journey is not hear to torture us and make us feel horrible. Instead, the midlife journey is here to draw us into a more fulfilling, creative, expansive, enjoyable life.
For support in your own midlife journey, watch for my new book, Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself. The book provides a map as well as exercises through which you can engage your own midlife process.