You can't avoid midlife changes - welcome and embrace them

You can't avoid midlife changes -
welcome and embrace them.


How the Landmark Education Forum transformed my life

In 1980, I went through some major midlife changes. It felt like a rug was pulled out from under my feet.

My brother introduced me to a program that he had just completed that's now known as the Landmark Education Forum. With much scepticism, I registered for the program. I had reached a point where I wasn't satisfied with my life's direction.

Practising dentistry was becoming intolerable - it was causing me too much stress. As it turned out, I had no depth perception and needed a corneal transplant. This would be my second one and the memories of the experience with the first one 15 years earlier had me procrastinating.

There also wasn't that special woman in my life, so I felt isolated and alone. My life was about my dental practice and passion for running.


That all changed after I completed The Forum. Within 6 months, I sold my dental practice, had the eye surgery I had avoided and developed a friendship with one of my female patients, who became my life partner. My self-confidence increased and I developed many friendships. From being someone who was trained in the "mechanistic paradigm," I developed an openness to spirituality (particularly Eastern traditions) and the "holistic paradigm".

Now all of this, you could call change. I call it transformation.

My whole life altered even though everything was the same- I was the same, my brother was the same; so were my parents, friends, my apartment, etc. However, something shifted within me so I related to myself, others and my environment in a different way. Nothing changed, yet everything was different. There was a quality of freshness to my life that hadn't been there for a long time.

Click on midlife changes for a clearer understanding of the distinction between change and transition.


Midlife Changes and Our Relationship to Time

A friend of mind gave me a book, Unconditional Life by Deepak Chopra. In a section of the book called Time Travellers, he shares this quotation in which a master in India is speaking to his disciples:

"You have enclosed yourself in the prison of time and space, squeezing your experience into the span of a lifetime and the volume of a body. It is because of this self-imposed illusion that all your conflicts arise: life and death, pain and pleasure, hope and fear. To end these problems, you must first end the illusion."

He also quotes one of the great sages of Indian philosophy, Shankara - "People grow old and die because they see other people grow old and die."

Time is a human invention. The way our culture relates to it is different than the way other cultures relate to it. It plays a big factor in midlife changes and most importantly on how we relate to change.

The literature typically lists the changes that people in midlife experience. Well, I believe that we're all "experiments of one" and how aging and time show up for each of us can be different. Instead of resisting change, we can embrace it. Midlife and aging can be a process of renewing ourselves. It can be exciting.

Midlife changes may be challenging. On the other side are freedom and power.


Recommendations

1) Practice meditation and mindfulness.
2) Embrace the aging process as well as your mortality.
3) Inquire into the "I" that you refer to - where it comes from and what is its nature. Check out the resources section. You probably would want to work with a teacher who has integrated "non-dualism" as a way of being.
4) You probably would want to work with a teacher who has integrated "non-dualism" as a place from which to relate to life.
5) Participate in a transformational program like the Landmark Education Forum.

Dr. Fred


Listen to this

lively conversation between Dr. Frank and myself about midlife changes.
To hear other interviews and to subscribe to our podcast
visit our midlife crisis coping podcast page.

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