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You Are Entering Another Stage Of Creativity
September 30, 2008

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Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #113, September 30, 2008

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You Are Entering Another Stage Of Creativity

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Written by Noel McNaughton
Midlife-Men.com
(c) copyright 2008 midlife-men.com

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

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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

September has been a month of men's work for me. On the weekend of the 13th, I attended the 'Ghost Rock Men's Weekend' near Edmonton. Two weekends ago I attended the ManKind Project's (www.mkp.org) World Elder Gathering in Oregon, USA, and last weekend I helped staff a New Warrior Training Adventure near Edmonton.

At the Ghost Rock weekend, a small group of us talked, had a sweat lodge, and made masks. I have never made a mask before, and it was a fascinating process. We smeared vaseline on our faces, then dipped the kind of bandage with plaster of Paris in it used for making casts in water, and took turns building masks on each others' faces. When the masks were dry, I led us in a short guided visualization, and then we decorated them, following the guidance of our 'inner creative self'.

On Saturday night, we lit some candles, turned the lights low, and each man wore his mask, and told the story of its making. It was a powerful event, and one I will repeat in leading other midlife transition workshops.

Our teenage years are often very idealistic and creative. We long to make the world a better place. We write poetry, join drama groups, start rock bands in our garages, join causes.

Then adulthood hits, and we often drop all of that, when we become busy with family and career.

The midlife transition often brings the longing to be creative roaring back. Midlife is also the time to start moving toward Elderhood, where creativity is essential for our growth. My friend Manny never lost his creativity, and I think you will appreciate what he has to say in this newsletter.

There are about 860 words in this issue, which should take you about 2 1/2 minutes to read.

Noel

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Letters

Dear Noel:

Thank you so much for sharing your personal side. It helps me understand the difficulty of a sensitive man trying to live the second stage of his life to the program of his first part of life--which does not seem to work.

As a wife of a man searching, and slowly molting his shell away to the second stage, it really helped me endure and be patiently supportive. I prayed to God to help me this morning, and He put your communication in my path.

Your wife must be a wonderful lady, and I can imagine she went through some daunting times. I am glad that both of you are still together. I may be too forward here. If there are any observations of how she supported you, or anything she's publicly acknowledged, would that be something that you might want to include in a future news letter? I hope this was not an inappropriate request, and I respect your wife's privacy.

Again I thank you for your article this month. It really helped.

Anonymous

Editor's note: I talked to Elizabeth about this, and in a future newsletter we will both share how we supported each other as we went through our respective transitions.

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A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlor and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool. After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split. The waitress asked kindly, "Crushed nuts?"

"No," he replied, "Arthritis."

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You Are Entering Another Stage Of Creativity

During my forties, I made some major changes: I separated from my second wife, quit my job and went back to university, got into a relationship with Elizabeth, who became my wife, and started a new business.

Looking back, it looked like quintessential midlife crisis behaviour, but although it was a major transition, none of it felt like a crisis. It all felt good, even though there were some scary times when I wasn't sure how I was going to work everything out.

In my early fifties, it was a different story. For five years I lost energy, libido, focus, and confidence. But my creativity came alive in a way it hadn't since I was a teenager. Elizabeth and I joined a poetry group, where we got together once a month for a potluck supper, and shared the poems we had written that month.

I became enamored with myths and folktales, and became a story teller. I was even invited to perform at the International Story Telling Festival in Vancouver, BC, where we were living at the time.

It is around age fifty that we can begin the journey to becoming an elder. If we do not go on this journey consciously, paying attention to our own spiritual and personal growth, we will become elderly, but not necessarily elders.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of staffing a New Warriors Training Adventure (www.mkp.org) near Edmonton. I was an Elder on the staff, and my friend ManWoman (www.manwoman.com, who goes my the name Manny, was the Ritual Elder. Manny is one of the most creative men I know, and a powerfully spiritual Elder.

Today he wrote a letter to other men who were at that gathering, and I thought it might be useful to you. He gave me permission to print it here:

My Fellow Elders,

Sometimes when I'm at Elder Gatherings, men confide in me that they have lived lives of conformity, that they have suppressed the wild man, and the artist in them is now longing to be free. Tears flow. They have sacrificed a lot to work, to care for their families. They have been administrators, professionals, businessmen and part of them has suffered.

I'm not talking about getting an easel and wearing a beret. I'm talking about the Lover quadrant, where inspiration flows. I've never known a child who isn't an artist. Somehow our adult lifestyle suppresses it.

Now it's time to play, time for us to move out of the box and express our elderhood from the heart. I encourage you to seek creative ways to hold the (elder)presence on a (New Warrior Training) weekend, and in your community. I encourage men to look to their indigenous peoples for magic to contribute to our pool of resource material. What did ancient men do as elders? I would like to know.

One of the qualities which defines the elder is freedom, a time when we let go of accumulation, competition and worldly responsibilities to give back, to bless our communities, a time when we anticipate our exit from this world. In some cultures, elders can get away with any kind of wild actions because sometimes thumbing our noses at rules is what is called for.

There is no cookie cutter way to be an elder. I encourage you to be the elder you want to be. I encourage you to use your intuition. We need fresh air. I believe an elder team is greater than the sum of the parts. Together we can make a huge difference.

It was great to see men bring their art, poetry and song to World Elder Gathering.

Manny www.manwoman.com

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Youth is the time for adventures of the body, but age for the triumphs of the mind. - - - - Logan Pearsall Smith

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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 noel@midlife-men.com . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.

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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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