Here's the second excerpt from my new book, The Reinvention Equation. For those of us over fifty, we expected a different outcome for our lives. What happened to freedom fifty-five?
Now, rather that look externally we must look internally to reinvent and rediscover the creative nature at our core and apply that to our life going forward.
Excerpt Number Two: Why I am Writing This Book
Things were supposed to be different.
I remember walking home on a cold February day from high school knowing my mother was sick but holding deep in my heart she would be ok. She had been sick for a long time. There had been times over the past seven years when she had been in hospital, still no one talked about it like it was a serious illness.
My dad had worked hard as an Osteopathic doctor to provide a beautiful two story home in an old tree lined neighborhood. My bedroom looked out over the river from high up on the hill. Everything looked perfect.
I realize now I lived in an adapted cocoon where what was really happening was either not talked about or made to look better than it was. Not this time. There was no escaping the reality of what was happening when I got home.
The doctor was there, my dad was there, as well as my aunts Peggy and Helen, my mother’s sisters. The atmosphere was somber yet outwardly calm.
I made myself a peanut butter sandwich which always seemed to calm me. Outwardly looking calm, my stomach churned like a mixer stirring up cement. Sitting at the dining room table my aunt Helen was talking about my mother but it just sounded like white noise to me. I was deep into my own thinking not paying attention. My learning had been to put away feelings and not show people how you felt.
I pretended nothing was wrong as I concentrated on math homework while my mother’s groans of pain wafted down the stairs from her bedroom.
I was called up to see her. As I lay my head on her chest, tears flowed as I felt her shallow breathing. She held me in her fragile hands brushing her thin fingers through my hair. She was fifty-two years old ravaged by cancer. She died that night. I was fourteen.
The specifics of how I managed are a blur but I remember the sense of responsibility and aloneness I felt. The death of my mother ripped through my heart. Yet, I buried what I deeply felt, not realizing the impact that would have on my life.
When we ignore what we feel inside we turn away from our true self, our essential self and engage in life from the outside in. It was this realization that started me on the path to living from the inside out. That is where the hope is. That is where, when you say yes and don’t know the path that Divine Guidance and the Universe can show up. If you are able to listen you will know what to do in the moment.
We children are so adaptable. I adapted to my father’s grief. I adapted to the leaving home of my older sister and brother after my mother’s death. I adapted by not talking to anyone about my feelings. I adapted to someone close to me dying and feeling alone in the world. I decided at that time I was on my own. I was the one to make sure that I took care of myself.
I took up partying and found solace in alcohol. Alcohol became the filler of the empty spaces within me for the next thirty-four years.
When we adapt as children, we think our adaptations are who we are. We take these beliefs, behaviors and attitudes into our adult life unexamined. I had been close to my mother. She was where I felt safe in the world. When she was gone so was safety. The strategy of living as though the world is not a safe place is one which, as an adult, attempting to make it in the corporate world led me to pretend to be an extravert because that was what was called for in the working environment. I knew deep inside me the outward appearances did not match my inner feelings of aloneness.
My generation had expectations. We were to have the freedom fifty-five lifestyle. We expected to marry, have families and retire with free time to travel and play in the sunset years. What I observe now is fear, personal health crisis, family loss, divorce, career and economic tsunamis that are creating suffering and disrupting our plans big time.
Now is the time to look inside and examine the inner topography to see what is flourishing, what is dying off, what we don’t need any more and what is to be discovered up until now has not been seen. The creative parts within us are small green shoots striving to grow and be nourished. We must nourish them now because that is what is called for at this time in our life.
The old beliefs, behaviors and attitudes do not serve us any longer. To hold on to ways which we have used for many years is like locking ourselves in a cage with no way out. It is time for us to turn away from the journey of our life as we have known it in all its adaptations and take the journey of discovery to mobilize our essential self to be in a life we love.
Our world needs each of us to access and mobilize the creative power within us that goes beyond our age old adaptations and embraces the truth residing within us.
This is why I am writing this book.
This is my passion and I hope this book provides a road map for you to do that in your life. I am with you on this journey.