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Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men
July 01, 2005

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #037, June 30, 2005

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

No Time To Get Everything Done? Do This...

Book Review: Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men

Remember when you were a kid learning to talk?


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2005


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.


Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men, and happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends.

If you are short of time (aren't we all), the quick article below might help.

I am very pleased to announce my new ebook: Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men. In my experience, midlife is one of two periods in a person's life when spiritual growth is in the forefront. (The teen years is the other period. Remember how interested you were in the meaning of life during those years? How idealistic you were?) The difference between the two periods is that now you have the advantage of a mature mind and a lot of life experience to help you sort the fly specks from the pepper.

Hope you find this newsletter interesting and useful.

There are about 1200 words in the articles in this newsletter, which may take about five minutes to read.



No Time To Get Everything Done? Do This...

Allan Savory is a friend of mine, and one of the sharpest, most innovative and fearless men I know. He developed "Holistic Management", which is by far the most effective decision-making framework I have ever seen. I have taught it to hundreds of small businesses, especially farms and ranches, and it invariably improves the owners' quality of life; improves their profits, often dramatically; and guides them in managing for a sustainable resource base (land, people, technology).

Allan can get more done in a day than most of us can in a week. He uses a simple approach to time management that anyone can use to good effect. Here are the principles:


  1. HABIT and
  2. TRUST

Keep your planning calendar (palm pilot, daytimer, whatever) in your office or home, but never take it with you.

  1. Every evening before going to bed, figure out what you will do the next day, write it on a piece of paper and stick it in your pocket.
  2. As you go through the day and people ask you to do something, NEVER say yes. Write it on the paper and tell them you will get back to them after you consult your calendar. This also goes for ideas you get through the day, jot them down and consult your calendar.
  3. When you get back to your planner, evaluate whether these requests should be scheduled, and if so, give them a place in your calendar.

I hear you say "that's fine, but what about when my boss tells me I must do a certain task, even if my calendar is already full. What do I do then?"

I have no simple answer for that, but if you truly have a full calendar and the boss wants you to add to it, ask him/her what should come out in its place. Also... strenuously avoid committing to anything that you don't HAVE to do. (The above process should help in that regard.)

Ideally we work first on the 'urgent and important' things, then on the 'important but not urgent', and spend little or no time working on things that are 'urgent but not important'. Unfortunately, my observation is (at least in my case) that we can get awfully busy working in the 'urgent but not important' field of endeavour. This is especially so as we get more and more technology (i.e. data flooding into our lives, much of which is interesting, but not important.)


ON NYTOL (A SLEEP AID): Warning: May cause drowsiness.


Book review: Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men by Noel McNaughton

In its essence, the midlife transition is a spiritual event. And if we haven't already started pondering the big questions, our souls might just give us a whack on the side of the head as if to say "Wake Up! Pay Attention! Go a little deeper".

The title of this book - "Picking Up The Burning Feather" - is taken from a Russian folktale called 'The Firebird' about the adventures of a young hunter and his horse of power as he tries to gain favour with the Tzar. To me, it is a metaphor for a man's spiritual journey. You will find the complete folktale in the book's appendix.

In this brief, power-packed ebook, you will discover:

  • A prayer guaranteed to lead you to greater awakening. You just have to use it, then keep your eyes open for the results.
  • How to gain spiritual experience, so you don't have to rely on faith.
  • The role of spiritual growth in 'the good life'
  • The difference between spirituality and religion
  • The role of spiritual growth in overcoming fear and anxiety
  • How spiritual growth can lead to more fulfilling and loving relationships
  • How to deal with the ego in spiritual growth
  • A prayer of surrender
  • Prayers to deal with resentment and other negative emotions
  • A prayer for when you don't want to let go of a resentment
  • Prayers of gratitude and appreciation
  • When 'bad' things happen to you (wake up calls)
  • A list of recommended books
  • The story of my spiritual awakening

I am proud of this little book, as it has the essence of spiritual growth boiled down into less than 50 pages.

And as with everything I have ever sold, it comes with a no-questions-asked 90-day guarantee. If for any reason you are not totally pleased with it, just email me at and I will refund your money.

I have priced it at just $9.95 US, and to get a little more information and to order your copy, click here: Picking Up The Burning Feather


In a health food shop window: Closed due to illness.


Remember when you were a kid learning to talk?

Well... you probably don't remember when you were learning to talk, but you do remember when your kids were. And if you have grandchildren, you have recently been through it again.

What did you notice?

Yes... kids are unselfconscious about trying to say what they think they hear. We all have favourite stories about cute ways our kids or grandchildren said words, or cute things they said when they were learning to talk. (My oldest son once explained to me that when people play with matches, they get all fired up.)

So what's my point?

As we get older, we lose the courage to try new things. I think most of it starts at school.

Maybe we get laughed at or ridiculed by our peers for pronouncing a word incorrectly. And then of course we have to learn the 'right' answers to everything, which means all the other plausible answers are 'wrong', and we learn not to trust ourselves.

Overcoming that conditioning is a life-long process. We seem to have our confidence so shaken that we just don't want to venture out again. But when we do try something new, take a risk, we have a wonderful feeling of exhilaration, even if it doesn't turn out quite as expected. Now that we are men at midlife, if we don't start to be creative again, when will we start?

When we were kids learning to talk we had courage and creativity. Now we have life experience. If we could get some of that courage and creativity back to combine with the experience, think of the wonderful contributions we could make to the world!

Next time you face a new situation or experience, try just jumping in and participating without worrying about how you will look to others. It will feel great, and the others will envy you.


When you're struggling with, or having a reaction to, something, make three columns on a piece of paper.

Write (one in each column) BELIEF, EMOTION, BEHAVIOUR, and fill it in. Then you can see where you're out of balance (e.g. am I overreacting in my behaviour or do I have a belief that needs changing?) Then talk about it with someone.


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 , 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.



A Destroyer of Compasses by Wade Bell, published by Guernica Editions, (Toronto, Buffalo and Lancaster UK) $15.00 Cdn

One Man's Mid-Life Crisis Led to Spain. Planning to spend six weeks, he stayed five years.

A book of stories the Toronto Globe & Mail called "an assured and sensual portrait of a culture" with "precise and ironic examples of human idiosyncracy." The review went on to call stories "gems."

Available from Amazon, E-Bay and local bookstores.



This is a handy program that I use every day to clean my computer and keep it ticking along at top speed.

Is Your Computer Slower Than When You Got It? And Are You Protected From Hackers? Performance Pro is a POWERFUL little program that gives you:

  • Personal Firewall - Protect your privacy against online snoopers and hackers
  • System Cleaner - Delete old, unnecessary files that waste valuable disk space
  • File Shredder - Securely shred files and folders with military precision, so they cannot ever be recovered
  • Speed up general system performance and hard drive searching performance
  • Block annoying pop-ups and banner ads - this alone speeds up your Internet browsing experience!
  • Delete all traces of your Internet usage, so nobody will ever know where you have been online


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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