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Time To Awaken The Dragon?
July 15, 2006

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #062, July 15, 2006

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

· Time To Awaken The Dragon?

· Higher Antioxidant Intakes Reduce Risk of Lung Cancer in Male Smokers (Or Former Smokers)

· Book Review: Blink


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2006


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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

I noticed that as I entered my 50s, I felt more emotional. Scenes about the health of the earth, or people helping children in books or movies that never used to affect me, now brought a lump to my throat. A friend of mine says he is even moved by news stories about people being rescued.

I believe this 'rising of emotions' is a natural part of the midlife transition, and in some ways is a 'dragon' that we must face, but now we must befriend it, rather than fighting it.

If you smoke, or have ever smoked, antioxidants may help you avoid a heart attack. It may be best to take a combination of antioxidant supplements though, rather than just one.

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

All the best,



Time To Awaken The Dragon?

The dragon is one of those ancient, archetypal figures that the whole world is familiar with. In the west, the dragon is a fearsome beast that must be fought. In the east is represents the vitality and bounty of the waters and swamps.

In the past, the dragon was assumed to be real. In fact as recently as 400 years ago, sightings were common in Europe among people of all classes of society (commoners, kings, scientists, etc.). I suppose today UFO sightings have replaced dragon sightings.

According to Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, the dragon represents strong emotions, and symbolizes ego and greed as well as the ability to see things clearly, or see into the heart of matters.

Dragons have different functions at different ages:

In first half of life, particularly when we are children, we are emotionally 'wild'. We lack self-discipline, and as we grow up we must 'tame our nature', and bring our wild emotions into submission.

In the language of story, we must be the hero that fights our dragon, the great battle that represents the development of our ego, which learns to control the wild emotions of childhood. There is a danger here: If the ego gets too carried away with the heroism of slaying the dragon, he will become a dragon himself, and become over-bearing and self-centred.

The Dragon At Midlife

By midlife the dragon has changed. In folktales, it usually lives in a cave, guarding a treasure and a beautiful maiden. It has no use for either of these things, but it doesn't let anyone else get near them.

Campbell says in this case the dragon represents lack of movement, stagnation, or stuckness. Slaying the dragon now represents freeing the anima (our inner feminine), and gaining the treasure (energy) guarded by the dragon. When everything in us demands change, and we resist, we meet the dragon. This, to me, is the dragon at midlife.

The dragon still represents emotions, but rather than taming our wild emotions, at midlife we have to get back in touch with our depth, and desire. It is time to awaken the dragon.

This may be why at midlife we long to 'kick over the traces', and try something new. At age 42, I left my job and went back to university to do a master's degree in agriculture. At the same time my second wife decided it was time to end our marriage, and I agreed. I had married her a year after my first wife died, which was much too soon, and it had been a struggle for thirteen years. Within a few months, I was in a new relationship, but Elizabeth and I waited two and half years before we got married. Our seventeenth anniversary is coming up at the end of this month, and we have a very harmonious marriage.

Although these things looked like stereotypical midlife crisis behaviours, none felt like a crisis. In some ways, I felt as though I was finally 'on my true path'. I had a clear life mission, and I was taking action to fulfill it.

"Return to the Dragon"

Rediscovering our emotions is the path to the dragon. We have to get 'back to nature', having been 'civilized' for too long. For men especially, being 'civilized' means not showing our emotions, even to ourselves.

But now we have the maturity of adults, so our 'nature' isn't so wild and chaotic as it was in childhood. Having tamed our emotions in youth, now it is time to let them emerge under our control, so we can experience a wider range of emotion. It is also time to learn how to communicate our emotions with others, especially our spouses.

Been feeling stuck? Stagnant? Maybe it is time to face the dragon again. For most men I know, learning to experience emotions is just as scary as fighting a real live dragon. But the rewards - better relationships, more self-confidence, more love - are great.

Not facing the dragon can mean a life of increasing depression and emptiness. As the old zen saying goes: He who dies before he dies does not die when he dies.


Ring the Bells that still can ring

Forget the perfect offering

There's a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.......

Leonard Cohen


Higher Antioxidant Intakes Reduce Risk of Lung Cancer in Male Smokers

Antioxidant supplements can be beneficial if you are a smoker or former smoker. A new analysis of dietary records from a research project done in the 1990s showed that male smokers with the highest antioxidant intake, including beta-carotene, had a reduced risk of lung cancer.

Yale University researchers evaluated dietary records of participants in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC). A group of more than 27,000 Finnish male smokers aged 50-69 had food records analyzed along with intakes of carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamin E, selenium, and vitamin C. Evaluating the overall intake of antioxidants in this group showed that the men with higher overall intakes of antioxidants had lower relative risks of lung cancer, regardless of their assigned study group (beta-carotene or placebo).

While researchers concluded that high-dose beta-carotene supplementation may increase lung cancer risk in male smokers, a combination of antioxidants reduces lung cancer risk in men who smoke. Am J Epidemiol 2004 Jul 1;160(1):68-76


"A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it." - Jean de La Fontaine


Book Review: Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking

By Malcolm Gladwell

I read this book a while back, and found it interesting. You might too. Gladwell is also the author of The Tipping Point, which I also found interesting.

Here is an excerpt from a review in Publishers Weekly that gives a reasonable summary:

Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts—and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more.

Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing "a rogue military commander" in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

There is an interesting Harvard site ( where you can test your subconscious attitudes toward things. I did the countries test a few times, and always came out with a moderate automatic "Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for the United States compared to Canada". This surprised me.

I wonder whether it is because we have so much American presence in the media that it dominates my subconscious? I am not aware of having a preference for the US, and would never choose the USA over Canada as a place to live, but the US has a more "can do" overt attitude, which perhaps I find appealing?

Try it and see what you think.


ON A HAIR DRYER: Do not use while sleeping.


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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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