Part of Midlife transformation includes opening to spirit. The only problem: modern culture has lost touch to living in a spiritual manner. Ask yourself: do you know what spirit is? Ask if your culture or lifestyle are spiritual? Many people think they know what spirit is… only to then stutter and trip about when trying to hold a definition for spirit. When stuck trying to find an answer it usually means the answer being held is too complex.
So let’s start here, a simple definition of spirit is:
“Spirit represents the movement of your life.”
When initially looking into spirit, I discovered hundreds of complicated answers that didn’t help me grow nor connected me to spirit. So the first thing I did was to simplify it all down to…
“Spirit represents the movement of a life.”
This definition is nice, it grows into most other definitions of spirit people use very readily. So this is a solid starting point to help a teach person how to begin exploring spirit.
Start by Moving: Explore Spirit with Play.
Deeper into Spirit
Another side of spirit: Spirit represents the aspects of reality which are not physical.
Words are models of the physical world. As a result many words fail to describe spiritual concepts. Spiritual words often are metaphors or sideways glances to what spirit might be.
Let’s perform an experiment. I will give you a word to define, Don’t look up the definition, just try to define this common spiritual word most people know.
Define for me: Grace.
Many people will get stuck on this word. They will say they know or feel its meaning but will again find themselves at a lose of words.
Lets look at its definition:
Grace is a path of growing potential.
There is nothing static about this word at all. Its definition varies from person to person, from moment to moment. The definition of grace shifts, dances and grows as you yourself grow. Most in Midlife Transformation are seeking Grace, they are trying to improve their life and find answers that solve problems of being stuck in life.
This is also why Midlife Crisis is so ungraceful. When reacting to a crisis, your soul crushed by broken ideals, behind bars of judgement that trap a person… you have the conditions that force a person to act out of fear: to diminish their life and stumble. Crisis is a very ungraceful starting point for trying to make a life one’s own. This is why I stress the importance to re-define the process from being a midlife crisis and flow into Midlife transformation.
Mid Life transformation is all about the grace of seeking a better life, of greater potential, trying to become one’s own person.
A person in midlife wants more. It is when the “more” leans towards “potential” that the process becomes about grace. This is the point you can spot the deeply spiritual undertones of midlife transformation.
Spirit is something captured as a moving experience never as a static word. So people in mid life often drop everything to run and experience life… in order to recapture that feeling of spirit. To embrace the experience of spirit rather than trapping it to words.
This is one reason a person in midlife crisis won’t be able to describe what they are feeling in words!
People approach Mid Life crisis seeking magical answers. Mid Life crisis becomes a chase trying to solve problems and answer deep questions that arise from feeling empty. Those in crisis always are seeking the fast and “right” path. Looking for solid words and books and answers… when in fact the answer is more of a process requiring release, movement and acceptance. Those in transformation instead take the time to grow into a newer life rather than chase answers to fix the old life.
Life is a statement: not a question nor an answer. The secret of life isn’t a hidden answer to your questions at all, it’s instead all about living in a style to grow sustainably and gracefully. It’s all about lifestyle. Teachers like myself don’t teach a one size fits all answer, rather we help you grow gracefully with improvements in lifestyle and awareness. We may start with a few baseline answers to help get you into a place of pause, a new starting place. Yet then the answers really shift into teachings of lifestyle improvements that include a more complete spiritual connection to yourself and everything flowing around you.
This is why people make the mistake to release everything, to let go so completely, in order to get in touch with their spirit again. This is why people run away: to feel spirit again. The running itself is a desperate last attempt to reconnect into life.
Yet running away doesn’t work, since to run away absolutely is to also undercut and ignore parts of your life needed as you transition into a newer life. Release is an art, as a professional I help people release in a staged manner that adds grace into life.
Understand release is part of a larger process, mid life transformation requires release in a staged manner to allow one to grow and explore life.
You don’t have to release everything: you release in a manner to open up opportunities while letting go of the bits that no longer work.
Midlife Crisis and Religion.
A spiritual practice doesn’t have to be religious. However, all religious practices will have spiritual components in them.
Some people will explore religion as a pathway to discover spirit. Yet also some people will avoid spiritual practices because they may think spirit represents a religion. Other people reject some spiritual ideas because they come across the spiritual concept from a religion outside of their own religion.
Spirit and religion are different from each other.
Religion is more a destination while Spirit is more the travel style.
A religion is a pre-packaged set of teachings, ideas and specific lifestyle options to guide a person to an ideal of wholeness. Spirit represents *any* practice that helps a person live better in their life. Spirit is agnostic and rather it’s the religion that gets specific about god and practices to be followed within life.
A spiritual practice could be as simple as jogging every day for a person.
Religion is the optional part in spiritual exploration! Yet every religion will have spiritual practices within them. In the end it’s the person who uses the spiritual practice that defines how a spiritual practice gets expressed in life. As a result many people will directly associate a more neutral spiritual practice to God which the spiritual practice helps them connect to. It’s a bit like confusing a telescope to be the star that you gazing at thru the telescope to see. The reason people make this simple mistake is: the spiritual part of the practice isn’t as tangible as the telescope, rather it’s the motion and potential. As a result spirit gets easily confused with the focus point of the practice.
Also for couples please understand: it isn’t unusual for people to shift in religious views during midlife crisis. A shift in religious views can be enough to break up a couple. So care and respect must be used when discussing either religion or spirit with your partner.
Spirit Expands into Connection.
Another aspect about spirit is connection.
Initially many people in midlife transformation will begin exploring spirit in order to reconnect to their own life. This may not have been the initial reasoning behind exploring spirit, yet this is a powerful driving force behind why people explore spirit.
After a person finally begins to reconnect to their own life, the spiritual exploration can continue deeper to open other connections of life. The result is that spiritual exploration often opens up connections to community and the larger world. In spirit: we discover we are not alone. We can discover that we connect together in our actions.
Countless spiritual paths and frameworks exist. No one is better than another. It also isn’t uncommon for people in midlife transformation to discover meditation. Meditation is a process of awareness. We need awareness in order to connect to our life and others around us.
The simple truth is that many people get nervous when you use the word spirit. I respect and use great care in helping others. The goal is never to help a person connect to some larger system: rather the truth / process is always to help a person reconnect to their own life.
This means I do teach more than one spiritual framework and meditation to those interested in exploring spirit. I stress that the goal isn’t to teach a single answer or system. Rather, I work with flexibility to best match what a person needs to help them grow. Ironically when I started working with people in mid life transformation over a decade ago, I had no intention of being a spiritual teacher, even funnier is that for two decades before that I consistently turned down offers to teach at the spiritual level. My teaching various of spiritual tools is still only upon a request by request process. I share this simple story from my own life to show how what we need and how we express ourselves often evolves in many unexpected directions. Mid life transformation in part requires that openness to explore and grow. That growth in itself is an expression of your spirit.
Allow yourself to be surprised at where you explore and grow into.
Spirit within Art
Please note: The amazing art work above is from Shira Sela.
Art itself is an exploration of spirit. If you are ever at a loss of words: take some time to paint, draw or splash about in some art to help you find and reconnect to spirit.
Discover you can restart and improve your life.