Last year, I published an audiobook with Sounds True called Self Care for the Wisdom Years. In reality, it’s more than an audiobook, it’s a long conversation with the listener about what it means to enter into the stage of life when we begin to reconsider everything – our work, our health, our relationships, and the way we live our daily lives.
Most important, it’s about forming a deep and abiding relationship with the wise part of us that transcends the roles we’ve played thus far.
This morning, as I sat in my cold tub feeling grateful (and a bit chilly :D), I thought about how my perspective on life has expanded since the recording of that audiobook. I’ve grown to believe that we spend the first half of our lives assembling a personality – an ego – that allows us to function in the world, to set and achieve goals, to live amongst family, friends, and the greater community with relative success, and to do what’s necessary to feel safe and secure.
The second half is about something completely different. This stage is about dismantling the ego in order to form a strong connection to the soul.
So many of us believe we are the roles we play and it’s a risky perspective. If you identify with and put all your energy into being the dedicated employee, the successful entrepreneur, the mother or father, the influencer, or the CEO, you’ll likely suffer when the roles change or disappear. And they will. Jobs end, businesses falter, kids leave the nest, or you’ll simply grow weary of doing the same thing over and over again and require a change. If you haven’t formed a relationship with your inner Self, there’s a good chance you’ll feel dragged, kicking and screaming into what feels like a life you didn’t ask for.
What does it mean to form a relationship with your inner Self?
Spending time in silence every day and learning to harness the mind so it follows the lead of your higher self (the one who recognizes how noisy the mind is).
Keeping a journal to foster an ongoing dialogue with your inner life.
Seeking guidance and perspective from wise elders who have traveled (and are traveling) the path themselves.
Getting out into nature because it inspires awe, creativity, and a loving relationship with other living beings. And it gives you a chance to experience the transformative power of beauty.
Consciously aging means doing life differently. It means putting your energy into becoming someone who can live in the present moment, who can handle success and failure, who no longer tries to manipulate the world to feel ok, and who can accept and handle life’s ups and downs with strength and grace. In this place, we come to realize that we are and always have been so much more than our egos would have us believe.
This is an ongoing conversation and I hope you’ll stay in it with me. Midlife and beyond are exciting times, I promise, when you’re willing to go deeper and make the relationship with your inner life a welcomed priority.