When I reached mid-life I was not quite prepared for that change from the morning of life to the afternoon of life! And quite often that’s the way for many of us and we find the shift either thrust upon us or we are pulled up short.
I was pulled up short with glandular fever and chronic fatigue! And the long debility made me re-examine what I had been doing, what I wanted to do and how I wanted to be for this next phase of life.
And I’ll share with you today some secrets that changed my life – a series of beautiful talks which I found titled Mid-Life and the Great Unknown by David Whyte, poet and author and truly inspirational leader.
Because as Carl Jung said,
“We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie”.
In the morning of life we have worked so hard to build our place in society, in a job or in a complex play of multiple roles, balancing work, family responsibilities and physical and psychological changes.
What do we need to step into the afternoon of life and redefine who we really are and what is our purpose now? David Whyte says it take COURAGE –
‘the ability to cultivate a relationship with the unknown; to create a form of friendship with what lies around the corner over every horizon – with those things that have not yet fully come into being”
And I found it beautiful how he said that to do this we have to get tired of ourself – that is tired of being the person who is always responding to what others expect or what those around us think we should be. We need to have a new conversation with reality because we have forgotten the essential nature of ourselves, have become overwhelmed or steamrolled by others.
The whole world is waiting for YOU to take your place – to take that step into the unknown and to stand on the ground of your own being
This is the first step – and over 20 years later I am so glad I took that step – and I continue to get inspiration and courage from his talks and poems and books.
I was fortunate to meet him just a few weeks ago when he came to Australia and found new courage to continue those steps into the late afternoon and evening of life.
Here is one of his beautiful poems that expresses what you will find:
“In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow
the true shape of your own face.”
— David Whyte
In the 16th century a poet called Dante wrote about his own journey into the unknown. He began by saying
In the middle of my life I found myself in a dark forest for I had wondered off from the straight path…How I got there I do not know – I had become so sleepy when I first strayed, leaving the path of truth.
He recognised that he had lost himself – who he really was and his purpose in life. He felt fear as he realised how lost he was. He forced himself to look up and away from self-pity and saw a sunlit mountain. Could he re-find himself. He takes a step forward and is stopped by three beasts – a leopard, a lion and a wolf. Each one making him admit he cannot do it alone just by his ego. And when he acknowledged his powerlessness a guide appeared.
I invite you to step into this journey through mid-life and into the great unknown, where with a trusted guide you can ‘feel the fear’ and come to stand confidently in the ground of your own being.
If you want a guide for this journey, well just come to my page:
and you can send me a friend request if you’d like more help. You will never know your gifts and your true worth till you go exploring. As Brene Brown says, “Midlife is the time when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you, “I’m not f…ing around, USE the GIFTS you were given”