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Midlife Wisdom for Men Newsletter Issue #015, August 7, 2004
August 07, 2004
Midlife Wisdom for Men - Helping Men Navigate Midlife Transitions.


Written by Noel McNaughton
(c) copyright 2004


If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favour and forward it him. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting Midlife Wisdom for Men. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

August 7, 2004 Issue #015

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

· Is Alcohol Poisoning Your Brain?

· Is Your ‘Feminine’ Developing?


Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

This newsletter is a few days late, for which I apologize. I did my annual four-day fast last week, and did not have time to get the letter out before I left. The fast is the spiritual highlight of my year, as my mind slows down and I usually receive insights into the proper direction for my life. I now feel refreshed and revitalized, so let’s get started…


Is Alcohol Poisoning Your Brain?

Dr. Daniel Amen ( is a psychiatrist with a difference. He uses a brain-scanning technique called Brain SPECT Imaging. A SPECT scan shows the underlying cerebral blood flow and consequently metabolic activity patterns of the brain. This is different than say, a CAT scan, because it is not a snapshot of the brain, but rather an ongoing picture of brain activity, so can show things a snapshot can’t. Over the next few newsletters I will include excerpts from Dr. Amen’s research that show the effects of various drugs on the brain’s health and functioning.

We will start with alcohol, because most of us drink it from time to time (or pretty regularly!), and men in midlife are statistically more prone to drinking too much than folks at other ages.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Amen’s most recent newsletter:

“One of the most common brain toxins is alcohol. We have seen many alcoholics and they have some of the worst brains we have seen.

“Alcohol affects the brain by reducing nerve cell firing; it blocks oxygen getting into the cell’s energy centers; and it reduces the effectiveness of many different types of neurotransmitters, especially those involved in learning and remembering.

“Alcohol is a double-edged sword; depending upon the quantity of intake. Large amounts of it – four or more glasses of wine, or the equivalent in hard liquor – on a daily basis, increase the risk of dementia. However, it has been found that small amounts – a glass of wine once a week or once a month, but not daily – may reduce dementia by up to 70 percent. The reduced risk seems to be related to the fact that alcohol and cholesterol compete with each other and sometimes it is good for alcohol to win.

“Small amounts of alcohol compete with HDL, the good cholesterol, which actually removes the harmful types of cholesterol. When a person drinks a little alcohol, HDL is not allowed to bind to the cell membrane, so it is forced back into the blood stream where it lowers LDL and other harmful cholesterols. This reduces the person’s risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and strokes, all of which are known causes for dementia.

“A recent study from John’s Hopkins reported that even small amounts of daily drinking lowered overall brain size. When it comes to the brain, size matters!

“My advice is that small amounts of alcohol after age 25 is OK, but don’t push it. Why wait until 25 to drink? The brain is not fully developed until 25, especially in the prefrontal judgment area of the brain, why poison it before it has had a chance to fully develop?”

Amen, Dr. Amen!


MONEY SAVING TIP: Old telephone directories make ideal personal address books. Simply cross out the names and addresses of people you don't know.


Is Your ‘Feminine’ Developing?

When I was about 50 I began to notice I felt more ‘emotional’. Things would move me emotionally in ways they hadn’t before. It was as though I had more feelings. Although it felt a bit strange at the time, I have come to value being more emotionally alive, as it makes my life richer.

In researching the symptoms of men’s midlife transitions, I discovered that at midlife a man’s feminine (which is not to say female) energy develops. He may become more intuitive, emotional, and more aware of others’ needs.

There are folk tales about this experience. In them a man, usually a king, gets captured, and is rescued by his wife. She uses feminine skills to bring about the rescue.

An example is a Danish story called ‘the Lute Player’...

A king and queen have lived happily together for many years when the king gets restless and wants to go out in the world and have an adventure. (Sounds like midlife to me!) He gets an army together and heads out to battle a cruel king in a far away land who treats his subjects badly, and has put many of them in jail.

At first our adventurous king’s army does well, defeating the cruel king’s forces as they go through his land. But then they come to a mountain pass where our king’s army is defeated, and he himself is captured and thrown into the cruel king’s jail.

It takes three years for the captured king to get a message to his wife, and when he finally does, he tells her to sell all their castles and palaces and come and ransom him.

The queen is in a quandary. She know if she goes there herself the cruel king will just take her for one of his wives, and she is not sure who else she can trust to get the job done.

Finally she decides to cut her hair short and go disguised as a youthful lute player. She crosses many lands and eventually get to the cruel king’s kingdom.

She plays her lute so beautifully that the cruel king is captivated by it. He asks the youth to stay and play for him, and promises that when the youth wants to leave, the king will grant him the wish of ‘his heart’s desire’, which the youth spoke of in the first song he sang outside the castle gates.

The lute player stays and plays and sings for three days, and when it is time for him to go, the cruel king is as good as his word. The lute player says he wants one of the king’s prisoners. The king agrees, and the lute player chooses the captured king.

The lute player and the freed king travel together toward home, the king never guessing that the lute player is his wife.

When they get home, the king is angry at his wife for not rescuing him as he requested, and then she reveals she is the lute player, and they are reunited in joy and live happily until they die.

In this story, the lute player metaphorically represents the king’s feminine aspect developing. And as often happens as we age, other means besides violence and aggression are used to solve problems. The youthful ‘hero’, who plunges into adventures with little thought to how to overcome his obstacles is replaced by the wise and mature man, more balanced emotionally, more wise, and more clever.

In some native tribes in North America, powerful warriors and even chiefs were known at midlife to spend a period of time working with women, and even dressing in women’s clothes, while they went through this period of their feminine developing.

If you have been noticing you are ‘more emotional’ than you used to be, be glad! It’s a normal part growing in wisdom and maturity.


A woman’s view of andropause: ‘Male menopause is a lot more fun than female menopause. With female menopause you gain weight and get hot flashes. Male menopause - you get to date young girls and drive motorcycles.’


Just For You: A Free Do-It-Yourself Retirement Planning Report

If you are a new subscriber to this newsletter, you will recall I promised you a link to a secret page on the Midlife Men's site where you can download a free 27-page report on 'DIY Retirement planning' by George Slater.

Welcome to the newsletter, and for your free report, go to: DIY Retirement E-Report , click on the link, and follow the instructions.



Learn to be a Teleclass Facilitator

If you are a facilitator/speaker/professional who gives lectures or workshops, you can do it from home and make money. Teleclasses (also known as teleseminars) using telephone bridge lines, are becoming increasingly popular, and and a very inexpensive way to deliver high-quality training. I took training in teleclass leadership from Teleclass International which I highly recommend.



If you have something you want to advertise, just send me a note at



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I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.


Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel

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