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Going to a funeral
March 31, 2006

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #055, March 31, 2006

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

· Letters from Readers: The Mankind Project

· Going to a Funeral


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2006


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.

In my experience, as we age, we become more emotional. Around age 50, I found myself getting choked up about things that never used to affect me, particularly stories about the health of the earth. Others find stories about reconciliations with fathers very emotional. Men's groups can be helpful in learning how to deal with emotions.

Ever been to a funeral? Wonder what people will say at yours? See below :-)

There are about 1400 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take you about five minutes to read.

All the best,



"We can't fear the past. Fear is a future thing. And since the future's all in our heads, fear must be a head thing." Tom Payne, Career Development Expert


From Our Readers

The Power Of Men's Groups

Hi Noel

Thanks for putting your newsletter out.

I am surprised you don't speak to the enormous effect on expressing feelings, emotions, etc that being in a men's group has. And what great work (in my judgement) the ManKind Project is doing towards this. Do you feel differently? A link in the newsletter would go a long way to connecting men and the women who read your newsletter with some other possibilities.

On another note I am part of the Canada West board and we spoke about you recently in relation to putting together an Elder retreat. Is this something you are working on? For warriors only or...?

I hope you are well and I get to see you sometime (like at an elder retreat!)


CliveMichael (CM)Justice

I create, celebrate and mentor village community by fostering harmonious relationships.

Editor's Note:

I agree wholeheartedly with both statements, CM. Being in a men's group has many benefits. I am a member of a group of middle-aged men who meet every other week. We have all been through the New Warrior Training (which I recommend to ANY man wanting to explore more deeply his role as a man in the world), and I have the greatest regard for the work of The Mankind Project (

I don't know why I have not featured it more prominently in this newsletter!

Yes, I am co-leading an Elder's workshop near Edmonton, Alberta August 17-20. The other two leaders will be Rob Charlie, Chief of the Burns Lake First Nation in British Columbia, and Terry Jones, author of The Elder Within.

It will not be restricted to Warriors, so any reader of this newsletter can come. I will be giving a more detailed description in a future newsletter, but in the meantime, if you want to be on a list for getting the details a bit earlier, send me an email at


Calcium reduces colorectal cancer risk in men

Men who get the most calcium have lower risks of colorectal cancer. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed over 45,000 Swedish men with no history of cancer who were between the ages of 45 and 79. Their food intake and diet were analyzed and they were followed for an average of 6.7 years.

Men whose calcium intake was in the top one-fourth of participants had a 32 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than those in the bottom fourth. Dairy, the main source of calcium in Swedish diets, had the greatest protective effect on the colon. Men who consumed seven or more servings of dairy per day reduced the risk to 54 percent below that of men whose intake was less than two servings per day.

In an editorial in the same issue, researchers added that in addition to calcium, vitamin D may have also played a major role in the reduction of colorectal cancer seen in these men.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 83, No. 3, 667-673, March 2006.


Going To A Funeral

If you are old enough to subscribe to this newsletter, you have probably been to at least one funeral. You may have even sat in the front row at both of your parents' funerals, and realized it's your turn in the box next.

You know by now that funerals are for the folks left behind… a way to say goodbye, and reminisce about the person who died. No doubt you also realize that the kind of life a person lived depended entirely on them. We all know folks who faced more trials and tribulations than most of us, and yet remained cheerful and optimistic, and were always glad to help a friend or neighbour. They just seemed to bring a little extra light into everyone's life. On the other hand, we know of people whose lives were not especially difficult, but who felt hard done by, unsupported, and imagined disaster around every corner.

So the question is, what will people say about how you lived your life after you die? Will they see you as having been the kind of person you want them to see you as?

Going to your own funeral

In the goal-setting part of my Holistic Management training programs, I use an exercise called "Going to a Funeral" from Stephen Covey's book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". The purpose of this exercise is to help you identify those values that are particularly important to you. Once you have done that, you can look at the way you are living your life now, and see whether you need to make any changes.

This is a particularly good exercise to do at midlife, so grab a pencil and give it a try:

In your mind's eye, see yourself going to the funeral of a loved one. As you walk down to the front of the funeral parlour or chapel and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face to face with yourself. This is your funeral, three years from today. All the people present have come to honour you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life.

As you take a seat and wait for the services to begin, you look at the program in your hand. There are to be four speakers. The first is from your family, immediate and also extended - children, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who have come from all over to attend.

The second speaker is one of your friends, someone who can give a sense of who you were as a person. The third speaker is from your industry. And the fourth is from your church or some community organization.

Now think deeply. What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life? What kind of husband, wife, father, or mother would you like their words to reflect? What kind of son or daughter or cousin? What kind of friend? What kind of industry member?

What strength of character would you like them to have seen in you? What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember? Look carefully at the people around you. What difference would you like to have made in their lives?

Write down your thoughts.

After writing down the things you would want people to say about you (which in many ways is your personal vision), write down the things that prevent you from being the kind of person you want to be (i.e. what are the obstacles to attaining your personal vision).

And remember, this is what you want people to say about you, not what you are afraid they would say if you died right now :-) If you are not living the kind of life you want, there is still time to change!

From time to time I ask myself this question: When I get to my deathbed, am I going to look back at my life and say "I'm glad I lived it that way", and is what I am doing right now one of the things I will look back on and say "I'm glad I did that". If it isn't, it is time to start making some changes. I figure, why wait till I am going to my own funeral?

What about you, friend?


Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company.

One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked, "Father, me dog is dead. Could ya' be saying' a mass for the poor creature?"

Father Patrick replied, "I'm afraid not; we cannot have services for an animal in the church. But there are some Baptists down the lane, and there's no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do something for the creature."

Muldoon said, "I'll go right away Father. Do ya' think $5,000 is enough to donate to them for the service?"

Father Patrick exclaimed, "Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus! Why didn`t ya tell me the dog was Catholic?


I do this newsletter and host the website as a service to other men, and am happy to do so. Just the same, it costs some money, and if you would like to make a small contribution to help with those costs, I would really appreciate it. If you would like, you can make a donation at:


The Mankind Project

The ManKind Project® offers trainings which support men in developing lives of integrity, accountability, and connection to feeling. Our trainings challenge men to develop their abilities as leaders, fathers, and elders as ways of offering their deepest gifts in service to the world.

The ManKind Project's New Warrior Training Adventure® is an intense, transformative men's initiation which invites men to forge a deep conscious connection between head and heart. The NWTA offers men a powerful, challenging opportunity to look at all aspects of their lives in a richly supportive environment.


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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