You have started to be more conscious and aware, your curiosity is engaged in a new way and now you need a dose of courage. The third stepping stone is about moving into action mode, deliberate and intentional actions so you can begin to step into the life you want to create as a midlife woman. By doing this you start getting the evidence that you need to affirm you are on the right track. Are you feeling how you hoped your would as you start to live your dream? Is the experience of newness meeting your expectations? Is your vision unfolding as you imagined it would?
Taking these steps no matter how small they are takes courage for many women. I have written a few articles around courage so today I want to take a new slant. I have researched midlife, surveyed midlife women, coached midlife women and experienced midlife . Through this exploration I have come to the overall conclusion that midlife is about nudging us to live a life of feeling. To do this we need to take courage along with us for the ride. It takes courage to live everyday engaged with how we want to feel. We have lived a lifetime of being in our head, being on guard in case something happens to our children, keeping busy, busy, busy so we don’t have to feel. We have all come up with strategies that keep the majority of our feelings tucked up in a tightly closed box inside our heart.
I developed a very effective strategy, food was my weapon of choice. Stuff those feelings down so you won’t get hurt, so you won’t feel the feelings associated with being unloved. As a teenager I must have started feeling again, how could you not with all the hormones raging through the pubescent body. The alarms went off so I starting drinking to keep the feelings in their safe place, tucked away and unreachable. Keeping safe is a natural instinct and no matter how caring and supportive my parents were, as a child I was often shamed and hurt. This was exaggerated by the cultural norms at the time and also teachers and preachers who dictated how I should behave.
Of course I can remember times when I felt the full range of emotions; any of you who have given birth know what I am talking about. I also remember how I felt when I got married, when I conquered a mountain, when my diary was read aloud to the class with all my teenage secrets in it, when I got caught stealing, when my daughter got capped and more recently when my father passed away and I experienced feeling sorrow and grief at the same time. Extremes times deserve extreme emotions.
However now as a midlife woman I am called to live intentionally every day based on how I want to feel. I discovered that I wanted to feel contentment, be peaceful, calm, happy, joyous and delighted with moments of pleasure thrown in. Sounded cool until I realised I didn’t know how to feel these emotions. No wander I sat on the verge of crisis, confusion and overwhelm.
Funny how I could feel THOSE emotions and then knew it was time for ice-cream, cake and chocolate. My search for meaning around why I struggled to live a life based on how I wanted to feel has forced me to get conscious, be curious and step into the arena courageously and unarmed at times. I started identifying how my body felt when I cried, when I sung and when I danced. What senses came alive when I walked in nature, swam in the cold sea and watched a sunset. I started to understand that by learning to keep any ‘nasty gremlin’ feelings buried that I also denied myself ‘butterfly in my stomach’ feelings where I felt giggly, bubbly naughty and playful. By shutting away the horrid emotions I also denied myself the exciting emotions.
Crap, what a waste, all those times when I could have been feeling naturally high, no sugar, alcohol or fake adrenaline lifts. My life has been amazing however I can now go forward, take courageous steps everyday and live exactly how I want to feel. Some of my clients have talked about a feeling of having their eyes opened, they have felt like they have returned home, they have had serendipity moments of miracles, memories of what gave them so much pleasure as a child and lastly having experiences that can only be described as spiritual awakenings.
Now this doesn’t have to be on a GOD level and to some it may. Others get to this place through doing things related to nature, midlife women experiencing freedom and joy by taking up horse riding again, ocean swimming, tramping or even surfing. Many midlife women feel whole again because of being creative by writing a book, singing, doing yoga or throwing paint around a canvas. Take courageous actions and be open to the possibility that your midlife will change for the better.
I would love to know your thoughts in the box below around midlife being the phase when we rediscover how we want to feel and then creating an intentional life to embrace those feelings. I believe that if we create a lifestyle that supports how we want to feel then wisdom, wholeness and authenticity will be our reward. Imagine the world today if we all lived this way.
I leave you with a quote from the beautiful Veronica Strachan from her book ‘Breathing while Drowning’ – “Go out and get it and go inside and feel it.” If you are now encouraged to take a courageous step then click to my website and download the list of FREE feeling words. Circle five that excite you, scare you or simply spike your curiosity and then set yourself the intention of getting conscious and curious to how you can begin to feel!