The concept of midlife awareness was a reinterpretation offered by a friend when I mentioned writing about this topic. What is a crisis if not an opportunity for awareness?
As indicated by the title of Hollis’ book, meaning is arguably the most significant opportunity afforded us. Humanity has battled with the subject of meaning since the beginning of time. At a lecture given by religious scholar Jill Carroll, she asserts that religion seeks to answer the Ultimate questions: How did we get here? What are we supposed to do? Where did we come from? Where do we go when we leave? What are we supposed to do while we are here? Why are we here?
The question of meaning is one we wrestle with collectively as well as individually. Why am I here? What is it that I am to do with this life I have been given? What becomes significant at mid life is not the meaning of life but the meaning of my life.
As stated in my previous post, crisis is nothing more than an opportunity for awareness. The midlife crisis is characterized by the symptoms below:
*Unhappiness with life and the lifestyle that may have provided me with happiness for many years.
*Boredom with people and things that may have been of interest to me before.
*Exhaustion or frantic energy.
*Feeling a need for adventure and change.
*Questioning the choices made in life and the validity of decisions made years before.
*Confusion about who I am and where I am going.
*Anger at spouse and blaming them for feeling tied down.
*Doubting the love for a spouse and resentment over the marriage.
*A desire for a new and passionate intimate relationship.
*Sexual affairs, especially with someone much younger.
*Unable to make decisions about where to go in life.
*Irritability, unexpected anger.
*Acting on alcohol, drug, food, or other compulsions.
*Greatly decreased or increased sexual desire.
*Greatly decreased or increased ambition.
As stated thus far, profound opportunities are afforded us at midlife. With any developmental transition, we leave one way of being in favor of another higher, more advanced level. At midlife, we awaken to the soul’s invitation for greater meaning and purpose in the life we are living. The midlife transition often marks the awakening of the ego to the soul’s calling. While crisis has its own characterizing elements, so does awakening. Awakening to a more soul-centered approach to life involves the following shifts in consciousness:
*You let go and accept “what is” without struggling.
*You focus on the positive instead of the negative.
*You see the best in others and everything around you.
*You feel connected with all that is.
*You understand that you control your own happiness and that being happy comes from within.
*You are tuned in to your emotions and use them to guide you to feel better.
*You feel love, joy, hope, and optimism.
*You often feel inspired to take action.
*You are open to new ways of looking at the Universe.
*You come to understand that there is no death – we are eternal.
*You understand that you are both a physical and nonphysical being.
As humanity moves through its evolutionary course through existence, I am seeing this awakening happening collectively and in some cases earlier than midlife. At any point that we experience crisis, not only are we afforded the opportunity for awareness but the opportunity to awaken to an expanded consciousness and a new way of being in our lives.