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Midlife Wisdom for Men Newsletter Issue #025, December 31, 2004
December 31, 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. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Issue #025, December 31, 2004

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

Are Fake Sweeteners Making You Fatter?

A New Year Life Goal Exercise

A Simple Exercise To Calm Yourself

ANNOUNCEMENT: A Midlife Rite Of Passage Workshop For Men


Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

We have no bathroom scale in our house, but I often weigh myself on a beam scale where I work out, just to keep an eye on my weight, and cut back on the food a little if I see I am gaining. This time of year, I am a little less interested in stepping on the scale, because I know I am putting a few pounds on.

I don't use sweeteners on my food or in my drinks as a rule, except for a bit of maple sugar on my dessert at times, so I have never used artificial sweeteners, although I know many people who do.

Some recent research, described below, makes it sound as though using artificial sweeteners may have the opposite effect to what they are supposed to!

It's the New Year, and goal-setting seems appropriate at this time, as does some thought to what your unique contribution to the world is.

And just because life is hectic, I have included a short stress-releasing exercise.

Also... by popular request, I am offering a Midlife Rite of Passage for Men workshop in Edmonton. I guarantee it will be powerful, and help you move into your 'second adulthood' with clarity and purpose.

There are 1252 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take about 4 minutes to read.

By the way, for subscribers in Alberta, if you want to catch me on the radio I will be on CBC's 'Wild Rose Forum' from 1:00 - 2:00 on Tuesday, January 4, 2005.


A Note From A Reader

Remember in the last newsletter I mentioned that times seems to go faster as you get older? Michael has an explanation...

Hi Noel,
I had a mathematician explain the phenomena of time going faster. It went something like this: My daughter is 9 years old. The year before she is ten is one tenth of her life to date. That makes a year VERY long. When you're fifty, only one fiftieth of your life goes by between this Christmas and next, and that makes it very quick.
Make sense?


"Just Enough"

Soil for legs
Axe for hands
Flower for eyes
Bird for ears
Mushroom for nose
Smile for mouth
Songs for lungs
Sweat for skin
Wind for mind
Oshika V, Japan, 1984


Are Fake Sweeteners Making You Fatter?

Here is a short Reuters article from The Wall Street Journal that gave me pause. Seems so often science comes up with some kind of food substance that lets us 'have our cake and eat it too', and later it is discovered there is a catch...

New York

Researchers at Purdue University recently looked at whether artificial sweeteners disrupt the body's ability to predict the caloric consequences of a food.

Young rats were fed a diet of sweetened drinks for 10 days. One group consumed only sugar-sweetened beverages and a second group received an inconsistent diet of sometimes sugar-sweetened and other times artificially-sweetened beverages.

After 10 days, all the rats were given a real-sugar chocolate drink and rat chow. The rats with a history of eating both real-sugar and artificial sweeteners ate three times the calories as the rats who always drank the real-sugar drink.

Apparently, the artificial sweetener confused the rat's natural food-intake instincts and the rats were not able to compensate for sweet calories by eating less.

Just as Pavlov's dogs drooled at the sound of a ringing bell, even when food wasn't present, the Purdue researchers suggest a similar Pavlovian response may be at work in the current epidemic of human obesity.

"When you substitute artificial sweetener for real sugar, the body learns it can no longer use its sense of taste to gauge calories," said Susan E. Swithers associate professor of psychological sciences and the study co-author.

Studies have shown that human infants and pre-school age children will eat roughly the same number of calories in a sitting. Pre-school children given standard portions instinctively eat less after a high-calorie meal, showing that humans, at least early in life, use internal cues about caloric intake to control our eating.

Apparently human adults have been losing this ability and researchers think this is due to the heavy use of artificial sweeteners and reduced-fat processed foods. The best way to avoid this confusion is to eat natural unprocessed foods.

"We appear to have these automatic signals that can help modulate our food intake, but when we start to consume foods that violate these signals, it makes it harder," said Dr. Swithers


A New Year Life Goal Exercise

At New Year's, Elizabeth and I customarily do the 'Lifetime Goal Setting Exercise' found in Alan Lakein's 1972 book How To Get Control Of Your Time And Your Life. It is a very good exercise for looking at not only what you would like to accomplish during your life time, but also what you are likely to actually DO about your most important goals over the next twelve months.

It takes less than 1/2 hour to do, and we find it helps us think clearly about the coming year, and write down the most important things. As you know, written goals/plans are more likely to be accomplished than ones we simply hold loosely in our minds.

If you would like to do this exercise, you will find it on the "Life Mission" page on my website: Just scroll down till you find the heading "LIFE TIME GOAL SETTING".


God made Adam first because he didn't want any advice on the matter


Giving Your Stress Away

Here is another stress-reducing exercise from Andrew Harvey's lovely book The Direct Path : Creating a Personal Journey to the Divine Using the World's Spiritual Traditions...

Lying on the Floor or Outside on the Earth and Giving Your Stress Away

Harvey says:

"This method was first demonstrated to me by an old Tibetan beer-seller in Ladakh, who swore by it. He cleared the dirty floor of his small shop near the river in Leh, and then lay down on it with his arms and legs outspread. Then he started to intone, "I give the stress of my mind to the Buddha. I give the stress of my upper body to the Buddha," and so on, solemnly, through his whole body. He made it seem so effective that for a moment when he'd finished I thought he'd fallen asleep.

I find this method both amusing to do and effective. Obviously, it can't be done everywhere - in offices or concert halls, for example. But in the Sturm und Drang of family life it can work wonders.

I have also experimented with it out in nature, particularly in these last years in the desert where I live. I am always amazed by how powerful lying out on the earth and giving it all your stress and distress can be. It has deepened profoundly my sense of the protectiveness of the Mother and of the natural world."

So... if the new year is no more restful than the old, remember this simple exercise, and from time to time give your stress to the Buddha, or Mother Nature, or whoever/whatever has meaning for you.


Thought for the day: Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house. Rod Stewart


ANNOUNCEMENT: A Midlife Rite Of Passage Workshop For Men

I am offering a Midlife Rite of Passage For Men workshop in Edmonton, Alberta on the weekend of January 28 - 30, 2005.

The workshop will begin at 7:00 pm on Friday, and end by 4:00 on Sunday afternoon.

It will be residential, in a retreat centre in the Edmonton area. Details to be announced soon.

The midlife passage, when it is understood in its fullness, is a change in consciousness which reorients you to the tasks that are appropriate for the second half of life.

In the first half, we men focus on our identities, on being successful, on making a name for ourselves. And, inevitably, we end up knowing ourselves only in superficial ways.

In the second half, if we have made a successful transition, we balance that external orientation with a greater consciousness of our selves, our deepest and truest selves.

That shift is so great that we need help to accomplish it. And the best type of help is a Rite of Passage.

What does a Rite of Passage accomplish? The classic purpose is "to impart entry level knowledge of the techniques and mysteries" of the next stage of life.

How does it do that? There is a set structure. Every Rite of Passage has three moments - they begin with a Rite of Separation; then there is the long transitional time when important information and wisdom are imparted; they conclude with a dramatic Rite of Incorporation.

In addition to the structure, the content is punctuated with rituals. You can't just talk your way through these transitions. You must do something. This is particularly important for men. Women have something that helps them with their major transitions - they first have menstruation to mark the passage to womanhood and they have menopause to mark the passage to the second half of adulthood. Women learn naturally about the seasons of life. Men don't have that advantage. There has to be some way for men to experience the changes of life, and to embody the changes of life.

In this workshop, which is designed partly on the work of William O. Roberts in his book Crossing the Soul's River, we will use myths and folktales to understand the tasks at midlife, and you will create your own 'Transformation Mask' which is a very powerful experience.

It gives you a dramatic sense that you are en passage, and it empowers you to break out of the masks that have limited you. It invites you to become your fullest self.

Your Investment in this workshop is $149 Cdn, plus accommodation, which is yet to be finalized, but I anticipate a total for accommodation of approximately $200.

I request a $75 non-refundable (because the workshop is less than a month away) deposit with your registration. I will have a page on my site where you can use your credit card to register by Wednesday, January 5.

Save $25 if you register before January 15. If you register before January 15, you pay only $124 Cdn for the workshop fee.

I am only accepting twenty registrants for this workshop, so you might want to register right away, if you want to be sure there is room for you.

If you are interested in further information, and/or registering, please fill in the form on my website here:


I hope the coming year is one of your best ever, and no matter where you are on your midlife journey, you stay on the path of discovering the gifts you have yet to offer to the world. I believe we folks at midlife and beyond have a responsibility to speak our truth clearly and plainly, and make our 'special contribution', that only we can make, whatever that may be.

With that in mind, here is a question from Buckminster Fuller: "What can I do that isn't going to get done unless I do it, just because of who I am?"


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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