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Is Habituation Keeping You From Being Present In Your LIfe?
November 16, 2005

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #046, November 15, 2005

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

On Growing Old

Habituation Makes Jack A Dull Guy

Prostate Health

Book Review: The Elder Within: The Source of Mature Masculinity


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2005


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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

Ever felt as though life is just passing you by? That the days just come and go, with not much change or variation? Part of the problem might be habituation. See below.

Hope you find this newsletter interesting and useful.

There are about 1410 words in the articles in this newsletter, which may take about five minutes to read.




by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

"How much easier it is then, how much more receptive we are to death, when advancing years guide us softly to our end. Aging thus is in no sense a punishment from on high, but brings its own blessings and a warmth of colors all its own... There is even warmth to be drawn from the waning of your own strength compared with the past -- just to think how sturdy I once used to be!

You can no longer get through a whole day's work at a stretch, but how good it is to slip into the brief oblivion of sleep, and what a gift to wake once more to the clarity of your second or third morning of the day. And your spirit can find delight in limiting your intake of food, in abandoning the pursuit of novel flavors. You are still of this life, yet you are rising above the material plane... Growing old serenely is not a downhill path but an ascent."


I would do anything to look like him--except, of course, eat right and exercise. -- Steve Martin, in an Academy Awards introduction


Habituation Makes Jack A Dull Guy

I make breakfast for Elizabeth and me most mornings, and I make it the same way every day (yes I know that sounds boring, but it works for us). A few years ago I began to notice that whenever something happened to upset that routine - say we were out of eggs - I would get suddenly irritated. There "should have been" eggs.

It seemed irriational to get worked up over such small thing, but I was. Then I began to notice how many things I did in a habitual, routine way, and how irritated I would be if something happened to 'mess up' one of my routines. I began to pay attention when a routine got disturbed, and then intentionally let go of the need to do whatever it was in that certain way every time.

That process came to be part of a general 'letting go' of things that seemed important, but really weren't. I have heard of similar 'lettings go' from many men, especially those who have been through a major midlife transition.

The other problem with this habituation is that it makes us miss whole pieces of our lives:

"Habituation, then, is the by-product of all the routines, ruts and pigeonholing that our minds have indulged in for decades. By midlife, this mechanism becomes predominant in us, censoring, categorizing, distorting, judging, assuming, routinizing, mechanizing everything we seek, feel and think. Habituation sets in, for example, when we no longer hear what people are saying to us (because our preconceived notions tell us we know the truth already) it is, in short, a reduction of our awareness rather than an expansion of our consciousness." - Harry R. Moody, as quoted in Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life by Carol Adrienne.

If expanding our consciousness is one of the major tasks in life, and I believe it is, then discovering the routines that keep us from being present has got to be one of the big tasks.

So here's a question for you: What routines do you follow that are getting in the way of truly being present? What routines irritate you when they get disturbed? What conversations do you not listen to because you 'already know' what (your wife, your boss, your co-worker) is going to say?


At a Car Dealership:"The best way to get back on your feet -- miss a car payment."


Advice from Dr. Andrew Weil On Reducing the Risk of Prostate Cancer

Reducing Your Risk: The Power of Your Plate An estimated 75 percent of all prostate cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes. I believe dietary measures are particularly important as protective strategies. For instance, diets high in saturated fat have been linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer, offering one more reason for men to limit their intake of red meat and full-fat dairy products. But regular consumption of the following foods can lower your risk.

Fruits and vegetables. Men who regularly eat tomatoes, tomato products, or cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, kale, and cabbage) are less likely to develop prostate cancer. The carotenoid lycopene is believed to be the protective compound in tomatoes; other food sources of lycopene include watermelon and pink grapefruit. Crucifers are rich in phytochemicals that may protect against cancer. And produce in general is a good source of fiber, which may reduce prostate cancer risk by helping to eliminate excess hormones from the body. Soy foods. Whole soy foods like tofu, soy milk, and tempeh contain isoflavones, plant estrogens that appear to help protect against both prostate cancer and breast cancer. Soy supplements may not offer the same benefits as soy foods. Fish. Men who eat fish a few times a week have a lower risk of prostate cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish (like salmon and sardines) may suppress the growth of tumor cells. Ground flax seeds. Flax meal is rich in omega-3s as well as lignans, phytoestrogens thought to help protect against prostate, breast, and colon cancers. However, men should probably avoid supplementing with flaxseed oil: Lab studies suggest it may increase the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Garlic, onions, and scallions. Research in China shows that men who eat more foods in the pungent allium family are less likely to develop prostate cancer.

Green tea. This beverage contains antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown in lab tests to block the development of prostate cancer.


The cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good ... spit it out


Interesting Book: The Elder Within: The Source of Mature Masculinity

by Terry Jones

I met Terry Jones at a Mankind Project International Elders Conference in Indiana a month or so ago, and he seems like a pretty straight-up kind of guy. I had already borrowed his book from the library a few weeks before, and it was one I thought was worth owning, so I bought one from him.

This book is timely for men in their late forties and early fifties, as that is the traditional time for a man to move into elderhood. Just getting older doesn't do it. You have to pay attention to your life, make the inner journey and examine your life for lessons learned and lessons yet to learn. It requires paying attention to your spiritual life as well.

I have been giving a fair bit of attention to what it means to be an elder during the last year or two, which is why I was in Indiana. I want to become an elder, not just elderly.

Here is a review by Barry C. Schlimme from the website that sums it up pretty well:

Jones, in very simple English, tells us what happened, where we're at, and where we need to go. I couldn't put the book down. There is so much wisdom in less than two hundred pages.

I spoke to two men who seldom finish a book, and both said they only read a third of the book, but what they did read was good. I told them that all they read was how we got off track. The how-to, the action to take, the gold, is in the last third of the book, just like it is in the last third of life.

Jones dispels the belief that our final years should be either of self-indulgence in our motor homes and on the Florida beaches, or of sitting around wondering why we can't be young. He provides all sorts of ways to be in truly enjoyable service, and suggests that our indulgence can come in the form of sharing our stories and watching as our mentorship makes a difference in the earth, our community, or in the life of a mentee.

Since the majority of Americans are going to be in the over-fifty range soon, the book could not be more timely. This book will change your way of looking at either what you've been missing (if you are over 50) or what you have to look forward to (if you are under fifty). At 54 and recently laid off from my sales career, The Elder Within has shown me the path for the rest of my life. It will be my handbook from here on out.


The government says that there are nearly 50,000 people with HIV in Britain, a third of who do not even know that they have it. Is it just me, or is it a bit harsh that the government knows and hasn't told the poor sods? (from forums)


Got your copy of Picking Up The Burning Feather yet? It will help you on your spiritual journey.

Just go to Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men.


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.

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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