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Midlife Wisdom for Men Newsletter Issue #023, November 30, 2004
November 29, 2004
Midlife Wisdom for Men - Helping Men Navigate Midlife Transitions.


Written by Noel McNaughton
(c) copyright 2004


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Issue #023, November 30, 2004

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

What Does It Take To Change The World?

Take The Irritable Male Quiz

Is Your Inner Feminine Awakening?

Recommended Book

Prostate PSA Tests Don't Work Very Well


Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

Ever wondered what can change the world? Is it Money? Power? What? You might be surprised at the answer, and at midlife, I think we can be particularly effective at changing the world.

When I mentioned on a radio show a few weeks ago that I noticed I was a bit more irritable after I turned 50 and started into 'andropause', many callers phoned in saying they had experience the same thing. Jed Diamond has written an excellent book on the subject: The Irritable Male Syndrome , and now he has a website where you can take a quiz. See below

Many 'midlife' folktales have a theme of a man's inner feminine awakening at midlife. I have written about one in this issue. Perhaps you will recognize yourself in the King!

By the time we reach midlife, most of us are aware our prostates are swelling a bit. We need to urinate more often, and we can't seem to totally empty our bladders when we do. Of course prostate cancer rears its head, and we want to know what to do. Besides the 'finger up the arse' test from the doctor, PSA tests were a standby. But maybe they are not as good as we thought.

There are 1687 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take about 6 minutes to read. Hope you enjoy it. ==============================================

What Does It Take To Change The World?

My friend Dick Richardson, who teaches genetics at the University of Texas at Austin, sent this little observation some months back. It made me think:

In a class titled "Manifest Destiny: Fur Trade to Globalization", our responsibility to the students is to expose them to the intellectual diversity on campus. We have a finance professor in the School of Business, who gives a lecture each year.

This year, he began polling the class with the question, "What can change the world?" After a bit, "power" and "wealth/money" became the consensus.

He said, "No, they only affect the distribution of resources. Only art, relationships, and example/"witness" can change the world!" He continued to explain that "art" was action from the heart. Relationships were actions necessary because of our limitations as individuals and that there is abundance and pleasure in partnerships.

Examples (or "witness" in religious formats) were the demonstrations of what others could see and become impressed enough to try for themselves.

I think there is much wisdom in this perspective. And when I think about it, I had an increased interest in art and poetry when I hit midlife, (and still do). I am also aware that at midlife we have the maturity to be more successful in partnerships and groups, plus we have more courage to speak our truth, which can lead to us being examples or 'witnesses' for better ways of doing things. I think we midlife men can do quite a bit to change the world!


I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big successes. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride. - William James.


Take the Irritable Male Quiz

I noticed it at around age 50. Things that used to be mild irritants suddenly caused me to flare up in anger. It surprised me. But it doesn't surprise Jed Diamond, because as a psychologist, he has been working with men for many years, and he sees this kind of irritability often. In fact he calls it the Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS).

Are you wondering whether you might have it? Yes? Well... just click on this link: The Irritable Male Quiz and go find out!


Is Your Inner Feminine Awakening?

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.

When I was about 50 I began to notice that 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.

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.

In one such story, a Danish folktale 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 king far away who is very cruel and treats his people badly, throwing many of them in jail.

At first the adventurous king's army does well, defeating the cruel king's army as they go through his land. But then they come to a mountain pass where the 'good' army is defeated, and the king 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, but finally he does, and he tells her to sell all their castles and palaces and come and ransom him.

The queen is in a quandary. She knows 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. Dressed in this manner, she crosses many lands and eventually gets to the cruel king's kingdom.

She plays her lute so beautifully that the cruel king is captivated by it. He asks this 'youth' to stay and play for him, and says that when the youth wants to leave, the king will grant him the wish of 'his heart's desire', which the youth sang of in his first song.

The lute player stays and plays and sings for three days, and when it is time for him to go, the 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.

They 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 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 finding yourself more emotional these days (one man even told me has finds himself crying at movies... and chick flicks at that!), don't be alarmed. It is just your 'inner feminine' awakening. It is a natural part of maturity, and has been happening to men for thousands of years.

As we go through this awakening, we also become more compassionate, and can see other ways besides violence to solve problems and resolve conflicts. And that's a good thing. :-)


Paul Harvey suggests that "Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren't nearly good enough, so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody else's."


Recommended Book:

Hug An Angry Man, And You Will See He Is Crying. Author Sean Casey Leclaire ran across my website a while back, and contacted me, saying we had some things in common, and maybe we should talk. Sounded good to me, so we did. We had a great conversation, and Sean sent me his book. To put it mildly, I was blown away.

The description on the Amazon website says it pretty well: "Hug An Angry Man, and You Will See He Is Crying" is a gritty road trip of healing and transformation. This rare glimpse into a man's heart reveals how God writes straight with a crooked path---a step out the door for individuals seeking more joy and intimacy in life."

I highly recommend this book.

P.S Sean will be passing through Alberta in the spring, so we have been kicking around the idea of an evening of 'man talk' and story telling. He will tell some of his stories and poems, and I will tell some midlife folktales, and maybe a story or two of my own. If you live within striking distance of Edmonton, and would be interested in such an evening, Please let me know.


Prostate PSA Tests Don't Work Very Well

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, PSA tests miss most tumors. Here's what he says:

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, widely used to screen for prostate cancer, does not identify the majority of tumors, according to recent research. The study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (July 24, 2003), evaluated some 6,700 men age 50 and older. All the men underwent a PSA blood test, which measures levels of a protein produced by the prostate; high levels may indicate cancer. The test missed 82 percent of cancers in men younger than 60, and 65 percent of cancers in older men. Researchers recommended lowering the threshold for a "healthy" PSA reading from 4.1 to 2.6, particularly for younger men, to possibly catch more tumors in their earliest stages. But such a change would also cause more men who don't have prostate cancer to undergo unnecessary biopsies.

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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