Moles, Lions and Staying in Balance

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There’s a yoga pose called the tree, where you stand on one foot and perfectly still. To do this, you put your other foot on your calf and then work to remain balanced and rooted in one spot.

For beginners, it’s usually a challenge to stand this way for a long time without swaying like tree branches in a heavy wind.

But with practice, one can usually maintain the stance for a bit. But it takes strength–physical and mental–to stay balanced.

I think it is the same in life.

When I am out of balance, I am unsure, frustrated, a lost ship seeking shore. And it doesn’t take much to bring me out of balance–a cross look from someone, a careless word, not enough sleep, too much reality TV, not enough exercise, too much giving, second guessing. Well, you get the picture.

And while I can work to bring myself back into balance, the best prescription for me is solace. That’s because my true nature is that of an introvert.

So to stay in balance, I need to act like a mole and disappear underground at times. My happiness, health and healing require a daily dose of “me time” where I can escape into my own world sans friends, noise and outside distraction. My oxygen, creativity and energy are fueled by the internal digging I do to make sense of life and to stay balanced. Even my muse knows this.

It might be different for you. You might need crowds of people to energize you, friends to cheer you on and make you come alive and step into your best, most balanced self.  You might need loud music to keep you in step with life, exercise to move your energy, a chatty conversation with a bestie to be the healthiest version of you. Everyone is different.

The key is to know your nature and find balance in your life.  I need my daily dose of quiet, but I want it balanced with friend time, relationship time and other activities. I don’t want it all or nothing–because that would be an imbalance.

The Tao speaks of the importance of remaining in balance, in harmony. When you understand your own nature and are in harmony with it, you’re generally happier.

So if you are an introvert, you might identify with moles that dig their holes for gold.  If you are an extrovert, roaring lions that don’t go unnoticed might be the persona best suited to your nature.

Either way, embrace your nature so you know what you need to be in balance. Because gosh darn it, we live in a world that could use more balance. And by each of us working on our own balance, we are helping to create a more balanced world.

If we look outside our window, we see a world that is becoming more unglued, more fundamental, more “us against them”– more unbalanced. If what is in one, is in all, then it is up to each of us to find our inner balance so that we can help reset the scales of humanity to be more harmonious.

(If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace–if you’re looking for exploratory questions to unearth pieces of your soul, check out my book, Tao Flashes.Or visit me at http://www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes. )

Detouring Into Courage

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In need of enchantment, I escaped into a fairy tale. I put an ordinary day on hold and unapologetically and without kids took myself off to see a matinee performance of Cinderella.

Spellbound like a child, I heard an important message early in the movie as Cinderella’s dying mother left her with these words, “Be courageous, be kind.”

Throughout the film, the theme of courage presented itself over and over ( Cinderella would need lots of courage in the ensuing years to survive her wicked stepmother and stepsisters) and it got me to thinking. What is courage?

It’s been my experience that people have a somewhat narrow definition of courage.

I think many view courage through the lens of bravery, meeting tough circumstances with little complaint or expression of fear. Others see courage as risk taking, stepping out into the unknown, making a move when common sense dictates that you stay in your job, relationship, city or house because it is safer.

Courage might be seen as the willingness to risk all, life and limb, for principles greater than oneself. Or courage might be this: living authentically, true to one’s nature, true to Tao, in a world that likes to herd our thinking.

Courage, as I see it, is all of this and more.

Courage is courage when we are willing to admit to our fears, no matter how scary, inconvenient, irrational or annoying the fear might be.

Feel the fear, but do it anyway. Fine, great. But can we express the fear we’re feeling, too? 

I’m not advocating that we whine and bitch our way into grace, being pulled by our shirt tails like a dirty child into a soapy bath. I’m asking for permission to express fear instead of swallowing it so that we can move through it, onward, upward, into a field of grace.

Speaking for myself, sometimes I need a few minutes to express my fear, to dance with it, to roll around in the mud and get dirty with it before I can be my bravest self.

I think courage is a beautiful thing. But I also think it is a process for some, especially those of the more introverted sort. So maybe the way we get to courage is by detour, a winding road where we examine our fears, talk through them, dare I say dance with worse case scenarios, so that we can cope with our anxieties.

Just five minutes of getting it out can be a catalyst for courage for some, for me, anyway. So I’m no courageous Cinderella. But I promise you this: I’ll find my way to courage. I’m as resilient as a bamboo weed, life has shown me that, and I in turn have shown myself to life: showing up optimistic and courageous, sometimes even living on the border of magical thinking when a more sober approach to circumstances might have been appropriate.

 I’m made in the Deep South and I’m chicken and strong, and I know what it is like to eat crow, how it feels to have my house rattled by hurricanes of all sorts, and still be standing the day after.

I will find the brave way, but I will do it my own way.

So, let me urge you to do the same.  The next time you’re afraid of something: scary test results, a personal health crisis, a job change, a status update, be courageous and talk about it. For a little bit. Five minutes or so, not five days, weeks or months, less you land in martyrdom or in a place where fear dominates your full time thinking and you radiate it like poison to those around you. That’s not healthy, either.

Just don’t bury fear and let it take up residence within your body. That’s the place where fear and anxiety live when unexpressed or not witnessed.

Be courageous and talk through it….with a friend, a partner, a co-worker, or professional. And if not, express it in your journals, in your writing.

Like I just did. Because in my book, that’s an act of healing, of courage. And that’s no fairy tale.

How do you define courage? I would love to hear.

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace–if you’re looking for exploratory questions to unearth pieces of your soul, check out my book Tao Flashes. Or visit me at http://www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.

Dance With The Wind, She Said

blog pic1-1I am watching a leaf chase itself across the yard. It twirls, skips and dances in silent ballet with the wind, and then it pauses. For now, the dance is over and the leaf falls content on to a bed of grass.

I notice the leaf doesn’t fight the wind, it dances with it. And when the wind rests, the leaf is content to be still.

In Taoism, this is known as being in the flow of life. And nature.

Oh, if it were only that easy. For most of us, this idea of allowing, well, it’s something we resist.

Many of us don’t want to dance with the winds of life. We work to manage or manipulate outcomes when what might be best is to dance with the wind. To be like a palm tree, flexible and bending, so that we might survive the storms of life, even the ravages of hurricane force winds which might blow in our direction.

Sometimes these winds are meant to blow our house down so that we might be reshaped, retooled, into a more authentic way of being. Does this ring like an inconvenient truth to you?

After all, dancing with the wind is scary stuff and not the way of sissies. I am a clumsy dancer at best. I have clung to false promises and platitudes, old relationships, old ways of being because of fear. I am a master manipulator of myself and others when I feel threatened and out of flow.

The truth is, I try to live in integrity, gracefully, in flow, but it is not always easy. My instinct is to cling to what I know, to want a guarantee of a safe landing before I jump. Even while know that is not the way.

It is not in keeping with the philosophy of the Tao, either. The word Tao actually means the Way, as in the way of being true to nature, being harmonious with life.

What might this look like? It might be dancing in harmony in the midst of a shit storm when we know we can’t stop the wind from blowing. Accepting what is and knowing it will likely pass because seasons have cycles. Life does too.

Or, it might be finding your passion, following your beat, your inner rhythm, no matter how out of sync it might seem to others. Maybe it’s just about being true to your own nature, dancing with your own wind.

If I followed the more successful templates for writing these days, I might offer you five ways to dance with the wind.  But the truth is, my way may not be your way.

And you must follow your way.

If I were to offer you anything at all, I might tell you to give up your resistance. But even the idea of learning to work at the dance, feels like striving, managing, manipulating. And not in flow.

And further, who is to say that there are not valuable lessons in resistance at times?  For many of us, we must reach a point of surrender –the point at which we learn that our resistance has only served to stall the inevitable, before we can accept the grace of flow.

As I said, I am a clumsy dancer, a slow learner myself. Maybe that is my way, rocky and hard, in the flow, and out of flow at times. Maybe this is my terrain.

So I will leave you to your way, as I follow my own inclinations and learn what it is I am in need of learning.

But for now, I will sit here and watch the leaf shuffle quietly across the yard. The wind is picking up ever so slightly. And so the dance begins.

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace–if you’re looking for exploratory questions to unearth pieces of your soul, check out my book Tao Flashes. Or visit me at http://www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes

Meet My Gremlin

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I am a peace lover. And I usually write about subjects related to peacefulness, harmony and grace. But lately I’ve been feeling uncharacteristically frustrated. Angry even.

So it occurred to me that I needed to spend a little time exploring emotions that are on the opposite end of the spectrum of peacefulness. That’s where you find agitation and anger, emotions that have been surfacing in me lately.

When I get like this, I try to avoid people because I don’t want to release toxic emotional sludge on anyone else. So sometimes I carry it around like a secret burden, like an ugly little gremlin that I am ashamed to introduce to the world.

The thing about gremlins is this: by nature they are ugly. They feed on insecurity and anger and they live in those cold, dark places inside of us. The places where past hurts, ancient wounds, regret, fear, disappointment fight for survival on a Lord of the Flies-like island.

The other thing about gremlins is that they look for someone to blame for their anger. They want someone to direct their anger at so they can release it. Maybe it’s a mother. A close friend. Or the guy in the car ahead of you who cut you off on the interstate. Or maybe, just maybe the gremlin is mad at YOU.

Why? Maybe your gremlin is mad and is using anger to make you tougher. Braver. More congruent.

Sometimes anger is a legitimate emotion. Maybe someone has wronged you or is exhibiting bad behavior or making poor choices that affect you.  But I am talking about unexpected anger, the kind that seeps out at inconvenient times with no warning. It has something to communicate that’s been stuffed down and hidden away from public viewing. Sometimes the anger is waving a red flag demanding attention before the person swimming in it goes down for the third time.

I always think anger has something to say. Something to teach, something to unveil. I believe anger is to be investigated, not buried.

But when you’re not used to being angry, it’s a scary emotion. This week I was secretly asking myself….”Who is this person, this me?” I don’t recognize her. I SWEAR I THINK SHE HAS TWO HEADS AND COULD BE CAPABLE OF EATING HER YOUNG.

Of course I didn’t introduce her around; I disguised her as best as I could considering she had two heads. But inside, there was no escaping her.

And now, in a calmer state, I realize this person is me, too. And I realize I need to embrace her because she’s part of me; she’s the yang to my yin. And maybe she–my gremlin—is demanding some attention from ME and for me right now.

Yin and yang is a basic principle of Taoism, the idea that balance is needed in nature and in all things. My nature is peaceful, but just as light does not exist without dark, neither does peace exist without  challenge.

Sometimes the challenge to peacefulness is a reminder to investigate our values. Sometimes it is an invitation to self-love, an invitation to accept the light and dark, the good and not-as-good part within ourselves. And to take responsibility for all of it.

As I write this, I am reminded of the work of the now deceased Debbie Ford. She was a #1 New York Times bestselling author and self-help teacher who wrote extensively about our shadows or gremlins. I wrote a blog about her last year after she died.

Her teachings helped to demonstrate how when we examine and embrace our darkest  gremlin-like tendencies, we can fully embrace ourselves. In her book “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” she says, “you must go into the dark in order to bring forth the light. When we suppress any feeling or impulse we are also suppressing its polar opposite. If we deny our ugliness, we lessen our beauty.”

So for now, I’m going to embrace my inner ugly. My Medusa who could turn someone to stone with a glance.  And I’m going to offer her bites of dark chocolate the way ancients offered up goats, to appease her.

But I won’t ignore her. I think she has something to tell me. But until I figure out her message, I’m going to keep her on a short lease.

Do you have a gremlin in need of attention? If so, what is yours trying to teach you? I would love to hear! 

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife, read my book Tao Flashes.  Or visit me at www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.

Women As Creators

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The Tao is unlimited in its capacity to give, to create, to sustain–much like women.

A woman’s love can create life, expand life and unravel the knots in our existence. Until we die, until we are buried and have turned to dust, we have the power to serve, to transform, to free ourselves from that which binds us to the ordinary, and to create a better world.

Journal question(s): Are you taking responsibility for your spirit? What can you do to better illustrate your ability to own your power?

Affirmation: I am powerful and loving and l live my life from the creative spirit that resides within me.

(Excerpt from Tao Flashes, A Woman’s Way to Navigating The Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Grace)

A Conscious Cleanse To End the Year

blog pic1-1It’s the end of the year. But before we shutter the past and usher in the new and the shiny and the sequined, it’s important to take time to reflect.

At least I think so. I like to end my year consciously, reflecting on what I’ve gained and what I’ve lost, what I’ve let into my life, what I’ve closed the door on. I think of the ending of a year as a symbolic closing of sorts.

And I ask myself: what in my life is ending, or what needs to end, for my growth and my highest good?

For me, I want to say good-bye to a mindset of fear, both the learned fear and the psychic DNA of fear passed on from my ancestors. I’m not a pack mule and I’m tired of carrying it.

I’m also saying good-bye to tracking my value based on other people’s input or opinions of me. That goes for blog comments, twitter followers and facebook likes, too.  Focusing on this makes me feel anxious, worried, competitive. Enough. I’ve grown enough this year to finally get comfortable with the spiritual notion that I am enough.

I appreciate what I’ve built this last year with my book, Tao Flashes, and my blog. And I greatly appreciate the support of others. But I am no longer seeking it.  I am more clearly focused on providing value than feeling of value.  I’m not in the chase mode anymore. I’ll continue to promote myself, but I will quit running after numbers and trust that the people who need my brand of encouragement will find me. Radical? Maybe. But radical faith is sometimes needed in life.

This is some of what I am saying good-bye to in 2013. So, I encourage you to ask what needs to end. And if you want to go deeper, ask yourself this: what wounds in my life are asking to be healed so I can have a new start in the new year?

Are you a perfectionist, always trying to please others at the cost of your time or self-esteem? This is familiar territory for many of us women. Maybe you’re an organizer/controller who believes you need to run everything, because in reality, you feel unsafe or powerless in some area of your life. Check.

Maybe you’re a peacemaker like me, always looking to soothe things over, fluff up the pillows and pretty things up, when in reality, there are times when it might be more healing to let the fur fly?

So as you close out the year, consider what needs to heal, and set you New Year’s resolutions accordingly and mindfully. From there, you can give thought to what you wish to  say yes to, what you wish to birth and create space for in the coming year.

Last year my new year’s resolution was this: To live and love in truth. This meant that I was committed to being authentic, living and acting and speaking truthfully, with integrity, even when pressures dictated otherwise.

Like many resolutions, I broke this once or twice (or more). The truth is, living with integrity means analyzing every single thought and action in your daily life to ensure you are congruent, integrious. It’s a tall order for the average bear, like me.

In retrospect, I see now that this resolution is more of an intention, an act of empowerment and grace to seek out on my never-ending spiritual journey. So, I won’t count it as a resolution this year. I’ll make it a daily intention for the rest of my years.

As for my new resolutions? I’m working on a list right now. I’ve been reading material from a book called The Desire Map, by Danielle LaPorte. She talks about setting goals/resolutions from a different, more mindful perspective. LaPorte believes in setting goals that are focused on achieving the core “feelings” you wish to feel in your life. She believes that our search for accolades, money, fame, recognition, security, are really about our quest to achieve the feelings these accomplishments bring to us.

With this in mind, I know this year I want to feel more communion, more connection. I want to feel more creative, more purposeful, more peaceful and more passionate.

My resolutions, in all areas of my life–work, relationships, health and well-being, community and spirituality–will center around these five core feelings.

It’s a tall order for me. But I’m not afraid. I’ve said good-bye to fear. That was sooooooo last year.

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife, read my book Tao Flashes.  Or visit me at www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.

What Is Your Anger Really Saying?

Many of us women have days when we wake up like cranky two-year olds, rubbing our eyes, sighing with impatience and being irritable for no “legitimate” reason. Noise bothers us, conversation distracts us, and we find it a challenge to be our most loving selves.

It is perplexing to those around us. “Where did that sweet, loving, agreeable, woman go?”, we’re asked. Sometimes we want to shout back. “She’s gone, gone for her good, gone for your good . . . gone, gone, gone, and gone for good!”

At midlife, we’re quick to chalk up our irritability to hormones, tiredness to vitamin D deficiencies, and forgetfulness to menopausal rewiring. Maybe this is the case, but maybe something else is at work. Maybe, just maybe, it’s our spirit nudging us, knocking on the door of our consciousness to get our attention.

Dr. Christine Northrop, author of “The Wisdom of Menopause,” has written a great deal about the changes we women experience during menopause. Changes that are emotional, spiritual even, as well as physical.

She talks of menopause as a time of rebirth, a time when we are releasing the old and birthing a new life. And for those of us who have birthed children, we know the process is often a messy business.

So, maybe at midlife, we’re trying to birth a new dream, write a book, create a business. Or maybe we’re in need of a new direction, or a new relationship, but we haven’t figured it all out yet. And so quiet and reflection is needed.

I believe everything has a purpose, a reason. If we are irritable, agitated, I think it’s likely we are trying to release something, or birth something.

So ask yourself, what are you really angry or irritated about? In Chinese medicine, anger is associated with the liver in the human body and the element of wood. It’s also associated with the season of spring and birth…or rebirth.

So it makes sense that the best way for the liver, and the body in general, to release toxicity is through some form of detox. That detoxing process could be for some, as simple as you owning your truth, and looking for ways to be your authentic self. To speak up about your needs instead of compromising your beliefs or wants on a regular basis.

It might mean you are in need of a physical detox. Maybe it’s time to consult your doctor or nutritionist about starting a liver cleanse, or taking the appropriate supplements.

And finally, maybe it’s just time to go within and listen to your spirit. Ask your spirit what it needs to release or what it needs to birth for your highest good.

After all, when we live in spirit, we are true to ourselves. And this is one of the highest virtues of the Tao, to live in integrity.

As I talk about in my book Tao Flashes, living in truth and integrity is an ongoing journey. Expect to trip and fall down. I fall down, and I pick myself up, and sometimes, sometimes I fall down again. For me, the bruises on my knees are badges of honor. Because I always learn something on the way down . . . and on the way back up.

And for the record, I wake up cranky every now and again. And I know, even when I don’t want to know, that my spirit is trying to get my attention. Sometimes I think it’s saying to me...”We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. You pick.”

And that’s when I know it’s time for me to get to work on myself, to excavate what needs to be uprooted or birthed.

Happy Journeying…

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife,  read my book Tao Flashes.  Or visit me at www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.

The Natural Order of Things

file000325161223THERE IS A NATURAL FLOW to the universe just as there is an ebb to life. Sometimes things are working in our favor, and sometimes our world turns. One day we are feeling well and know we are gifted with abundance, and the next day our shadow appears and we see nothing but darkness.

Light does not exist without dark. Nor can you truly enjoy a beautiful day without having experienced stormy weather. The Tao teaches us that yin and yang exist in everything–and is necessary to balance all things.

We are all part of this earth. The seasons change, we grow old. There is a natural order. We must trust in this rhythm and know there is grace and purpose in it. And when we understand this, and relinquish our need for control, we find peace.

Maybe instead of working harder, it is time to relinquish some control. Grow quiet, and see what evolves in your life.

Journal Question: Are you in the flow of things or have you been fighting too hard to achieve something?

Affirmation: I know I am part of a larger universe and my life has purpose.

This blog entry is a sample chapter from my book Tao Flashes, A Woman’s Way to Navigating the Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Grace.

Confessions of a Helicopter Mom…An Ode to Motherhood

file000848552872I became a mother by accident. At least that’s what I thought at the time. Now, with hindsight, I understand that my son was a gift from an all-knowing and loving Universe, God, a mystical force and arranger of fates.  I have no argument with the timing.

When my son Alex was placed on my chest after a difficult labor ending in an emergency casearean section, I remember eyeing him up and wondering…what now? As is the case for most mothers, there was no way for me to know what blessings and lessons ( read challenges) would come from my new role.

Mama. Mom. Mother.

To say that I fell in love with my child does little justice to the depth and overwhelm of love I felt for this little blue-eyed creature. I still remember driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other arm bent behind me so I could reach into the back seat and hold his tiny index finger while I drove. Like most moms I checked his bed  every night to make sure he was still breathing.  Unlike most moms, I did this through high school (unbeknown to him, I hope).

I joke now that I invented the term helicopter mom. I hovered over him like a fighter pilot ready to battle any sign of danger, a fall, a scraped knee, a schoolyard bully.

As he got a little older (let’s say six), I would play catch with him in the backyard of our Maryland home. His dad often worked late so I was the sports mom, except for the fact that I hated sports and didn’t know a thing about baseball.

But we did okay, Alex and me. I’d toss the ball to him and sneak in a few life lessons along the way. I’d start off with a few “gimmees”, balls he could easily catch. Then, I’d toss it hard to the right, a little further out of his reach, so he had to work for it. The next ball would be a little further away and a little further, barely getable…unless he dived hard to catch it.  All of the while I’d coach him, saying,

“Alex, life is a lot like baseball. You can’t just expect the ball to land in your glove.  You’ve got to work for it, go for it, streeeeeeeetch……….reach…………”

Sometimes I find myself still quoting this line to him, and he’s 28.  You can imagine the reaction I get now. LOL.

I’ll spare you too many more stories. Like how I followed his school bus when it picked him up for his first day of school. How I made him wear a specially-ordered swat-like vest, other wise known as a chest/heart protecter, when he pitched baseball games  until he turned 11 (and pitched a fit). Sadly, I had seen a 60 Minutes report on TV about how a young pitcher had been hit in the chest by a fast ball and died of a heart attack.

I knew I couldn’t bare the thought of his heart stopping, of mine stopping, so I made him wear it under the guise he looked “cool,” like a member of a swat team. He bought it the first year. Not the next season.

Oh gosh, how did he survive me? Fast forward… time for college. It was no surprise that he begged to attend an out of state college.  I finally relented, filled with guilt over all of my hovering. I knew my helicopter days had to end, and it was best for both of us, that he be away from me.

The morning he left Louisiana to drive to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, I woke up early. I went outside and placed yard signs by the entrance of the subdivision that read:

Good luck at college, Alex. Don’t forget to write!

For real.

I knew when he left I could no longer protect him from life’s hurts. A broken heart. Friends who might disappoint. And all of the other things that life can teach us on our road to adulthood. It was his to discover now and I had to turn in the keys to the chopper.

I grieved when he left, and even told friends later that empty nest can feel like a loss, a death of sorts, EXCEPT NO ONE BRINGS YOU LASAGNA.  I struggled with the grief for a while.

College turned out fine, for the most part, and he was happy. And that made me happy. After college, he moved back to our state, and then later, moved 1,200 miles away. Again.

It’s been a road to independence—mine, not his. This mothering thing…all of the second guessing, all of the do overs I wish I had, all of the needless worrying and controlling and attempts to shape him into someone I thought he needed to be, was , is, still a source of guilt, sometimes regret. I realize now, Monday morning quarterbacking, that it was more about controlling my fears, my worries. (It’s times like these that self-awareness really stinks.)

I wish I had known then, what I know now.  He would have had it so much easier. I would have helped to fill his head with philosophy, not useless stats and multiplication tables. He would have learned the Tao.  We would have played more. Lots more. And I would have worried less.

Yet, somehow, in spite of me,  he turned into a beautiful man.  Kind. Compassionate. Soulful. A person of integrity. Even without learning the Tao. And yes, gainifully employed, even if he’s still not sure of his passion. Props to him, to his dad, and maybe a little to me, too.

Too bad that baseball thing didn’t work out.  But I think he remembers the lessons. And I hope he remembers his mom was right there, night after night, tossing the ball to him after a long day at work, coaching him, loving him, and cheering him on to victory.  

I still am.

If you’re interested in reading more of my work, check out my book Tao Flashes. Or visit me at www.facebook.com/taoflashes.

Midlife Turbulence

The blog entry below is a sample chapter from my book Tao Flashes, A Woman’s Way to Navigating the Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Gracefront cover

Midlife is a time of turbulence for many of us. Sometimes the turbulence comes from an inner state, sometimes from outside influences.

I believe midlife is a time of undoing and unearthing, a shedding of ourselves as we begin to question. The questions may start small, but invariably grow, like a sprout, seeking, searching for life. Some of us are forced to do the hard and dirty work quickly, but in the end, the process of shifting, unearthing, will take as long as it takes. It is different for each of us.

Every time I thought I learned a lesson, I ended up repeating it. The universe would show me there was and is much more to learn. We cannot escape our lessons. If we are rushing the process of self-discovery, denying any part of our self, the lesson will invariably loop back around so we can experience it in another form until we figure it out.

This work takes a strong and tranquil spirit. But how do we become strong and master our lessons so we are not the ones being mastered? How do we become peaceful and patient in agitated, unsettled times and circumstances?

The lessons often lie in the search…it is the journey where we discover our truths. Inner strength comes from the search for inner strength, and tranquility comes after we’ve battled the unrest, the shadows and the darkest parts of ourselves to uncover our truth.

Journal Question: What lesson do you need to master at this point in  your journey? Where do you need courage in your life?

Affirmation: Love is my constant companion on my journey to peace.

Tao Flashes