Rule #1 Pay Attention Baby Boomers
New Openings show up in many ways. But if we aren’t paying attention to what the world is giving or taking away from us, we can miss those possibilities of starting over again. In other words, if we don’t notice the lessons of daily life something is lost. We don’t see the opportunity. We don’t allow the new awareness and experience. Often, we don’t know until later, after the time of choice has passed.
One example, includes discovering DNA by accident in a lab experiment. Scientists were finished with an experiment and someone noticed what they had found. In another example, Robert Van De Castle, in his book Our Dreaming Mind, talked about Elias Howe. Howe was working on a way to thread the shank of an electric sewing machine needle. He found his answer in a dream. Later, by studying his dream, Elias was able to realize the message. He saw he had to move the thread from the middle of the shank to near the tip. It pays to be aware of what is going on in our lives.
Rule #2 Let It Pass
We can try things but at the same time we have to let things pass. There is a parable Ekhart Tolle uses in The New Earth that illustrates this nicely. It goes something like this: There was a Chinese monk who won a convertible car. His friends and relatives said, “How wonderful. How lucky you are.” The monk said, “Maybe.” He drove around with the top down, having a great time. But a car hit him and he went to the hospital with a broken leg. His friends and relatives came to the hospital to visit and said, “How unfortunate.” He said, “Maybe.” While he was in the hospital, there was a storm that washed his house down a hill. It occurred in the middle of the night, crushing his house completely. His friends and relatives came to the hospital and said, “How fortunate you are, to be in the hospital. You would have been killed.” He could let the “good” and “bad” happen and just keep on going, accepting that things can change at any moment.
For example, I didn’t let It pass when I tried jewelry making. I didn’t recognize that I had to wait to see how I felt as I was doing it. I forced myself to choose this path. I tried to convince myself it was the best Idea. My real motivation was to find an answer to my dilemma. I was uncomfortable and frantic about finding some resolution. On the other hand, Tolle’s Monk was at ease and awake in the flow of life.
Rule #3 Beware Of Addiction,
We can be addicted to anything. All that’s necessary, is to over-value feeling the intense emotions that result from something external. We believe that some external thing, whether it be doing jewelry, drinking, eating or whatever, will make us happy and give us pleasure. This addiction gains a compelling life of it’s own. The trouble is, that when we reach that pleasurable goal, there is no lasting emotional satisfaction. What’s worse is that there are the negative consequences. For me, in jewelry making, I would have settled for a direction based on a store owner’s enthusiasm about my work, not because I really wanted to spend the time doing it each day. I would have done it for approval, not because of an inner fire, drive, and curiosity at discovering and engaging in a true passion.
I had the order backwards. I needed to be happy first. I needed to be happy being empty and curious: Curious so I could pay attention to what attracts me now in my life. What is here today that calls me to focus and engage me? It can be in some employment seniors might like, or anything else? It could be an activity or idea from the past. The difference is that I am more interested and stimulated by the action now, than I was then. This internal pull is the motivator that shows the way, that provides midlife meaning. The Monk had the right attitude. He’s a great model. He doesn’t fight the outside changes as they happen. He stays fundamentally calm and grounded, as he waits. Yet, he is alert about what evolves from his life experience, both its breakdowns and gifts.