“We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
Can we change, and if so, how? We can only change with renewed self-awareness, honest self-love, determination, positive support from others, the addition of a few new skill sets, and with a willingness to go inside of ourselves to harvest the wisdom we have accumulated over a lifetime. All of this takes courage.
Determination and courage come from the absolute certainty that the way we have been living so far has not worked. When you reach that desperate moment when you know your rational mind no longer has all of the answers you seek, it is time to surrender. Admitting surrender is difficult. This admission is equivalent to acknowledging that you have failed in your efforts so far. Pure stubbornness and denial of your feelings and needs have not given you the life you had hoped for, or the answers you seek.
You would be crazy to continue on this path: Time for a new leap of faith…
Now what? Depending solely on rational thought has not worked. It is now time to welcome in the wisdom of the universe and those others who wish to help. It is now time to begin to access the wisdom of your own intuition, every little whisper emanating from your unconscious, your dreams or wherever they come from. These are the voices that will guide you back to where you so want to go.
Intuition is tricky. It is a way of knowing, yet it is often unclear how we know it. Some seem to have greater natural access to their intuition, but we all can develop the necessary skills to access this invaluable inner guidance. Extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, and telepathy are all different types of intuitive access to your right brain hemisphere, the part that specializes in intuitive, holistic pattern perceptions. Most of us have been raised to strongly value messages from our rational, linear left brain. It is now time to listen to the other side of the story and find some brain balance.
Why bother? Because by combining the power of your own intuition with your intellect, you will begin to see different patterns and recognize new possibilities, opening up your mind to many new choices that were not available to you before. As Frances E. Vaughan, a psychologist who specializes in integrating psychology and spiritual growth states in her book Awakening Intuition:
“Awakening intuition enables one to see the choices available and is thus a liberating experience…At any given moment one is conscious of only a small portion of what one knows. Intuition allows one to draw on that vast storehouse of unconscious knowledge that includes not only everything that one has experienced or learned, either consciously or subliminally, but also the infinite reservoir of the collective and universal unconscious…”
Do you believe it is possible to expand your consciousness to include your intuitive side? Do you believe you could benefit from an expansion of your level of self-awareness? If you do not believe this, than it probably isn’t possible. Don’t lie to yourself about what you believe. If you simply feel perplexed or confused, acknowledge that is where you are at right now. Welcome in all of your disillusioned parts to participate in this experiment in accessing the rest of your brain, the part that hasn’t been available to help for all of these years.
Quiet the mind of its perpetual chatter. Relax so you may learn how to listen to what you already know inside. You may need to take some time alone to access these new caring voices. They are hard to hear if the rest of your life is in chaos. Trust in your inner wisdom to show you what steps you need to take to open previously closed doors and learn why you are not open to love now.
Intuition is an essential tool to guide you towards a healthier sense of yourself and what you need to do next to attract what you want into your life.
Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. ~ Pema Chödrön
Changes outside of ourselves do have the power to shock us into seeking anew what is real within. They can cause us to finally see the need and find the courage to stop playing roles for others, and find complete honesty, integrity, and authenticity within. This is the time to finally find the strength to announce we can no longer be what everyone else wants or needs us to be. We could never save others, so for now we must put all of our energy into saving ourselves. We must stop being constantly other-focused, forever taking our cues from outside ourselves, and dig deep to discover what we want and need to happen in this final phase of our lives…
Since self-deception is a thing of the past, you can no longer count on that trusty outside armoring you have hidden behind for decades. Gone are the masks you felt so secure behind. As your authentic self emerges, it becomes ever more difficult to delude yourself with the illusions you have counted on for decades. They may have always worked before, but they are gone now.
Sometimes playing it safe is the most dangerous thing you can do
I was struck recently by a saying I heard in reference to horror movies:
Nothing is scarier than having no idea what is out there.
This seemed like an excellent metaphor for what can happen to us in midlife.
In the middle of our lives we may find ourselves ensconced in what seems like the safe and familiar, but somehow all of that apparent safety can begin to feel threatening. We may think: “I’ll just follow this safe route for the rest of my life. I’m too old to do anything different at this stage of the game.”
What I learned through my own experience is that sometimes playing it safe is the most dangerous thing you can do. Sure, you could stay in the same job, career, or relationship, living the same life indefinitely. That sounds safe, but is it?
Doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always had. If that is all you are seeking in life, then go for it. But is there perhaps a small part of you that wants more? Is there a quiet part of your brain that begs to differ on this plan to never deviate from the safe and trusted path?
What might you be missing by playing it safe?
It is not uncommon for some life-changing event to cause us to question anew the entire plan we have laid out for our life. Maybe we aren’t even aware that we have a plan, until something screws it up. Sometimes just one more birthday can help us to reconsider our overall plan and open us up to options we never dreamed of before.
Nothing is scarier than the daunting realization that we have not even tried to live up to our full potential. Sure, we did what we were told and found some success in our endeavors. Being “good” definitely has its rewards. But do you ever spend time focused on all that you could have been and then realize that none of that will ever happen? If you are anything like me, all of those “details” can only be ignored so long.
In midlife we may realize, sometimes for the first time ever, that our time here on earth is running out. When it does, how will we feel as we look back over our lives?
The best thing about being alive today is that if or when we come to this realization and achieve this new perspective, we generally have more time to seek out the tools, the inspiration, and the necessary resources to do something about it. We can begin to plan a new and different future for ourselves, if we can find the strength and courage to dig in and live the dream!
Remember, the opposite side of the coin of fear is excitement. When was the last time you felt like anything could happen? When was the last time you allowed yourself to feel your full potential to grow and change and be all that you could be? This apparent crisis is offering you the opportunity of a lifetime. Do not miss out.
This is a brief excerpt from my book: Find Your Reason To Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife. It is only available in e-book format through Amazon. Feel free to contact me at MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com if you would like to purchase one of my last few paper copies.
My last post about misfortune and friendships turned out to be somewhat controversial, at least to some. Putting my anger so obviously on display can be seen as weakness. After all, aren’t we supposed to get beyond that sort of thing as we age? Can’t we turn our anger into compassion for ourselves and others?
I like to think we can, but not immediately. A loving friend, who knows of what she speaks, observed yesterday that my response to my own failing health is so normal and so a part of “The 5 Stages of Grieving.” Yes, grieving is not just about losing a loved one. It can also be about losing a belief that sustains you. In my case I lost my illusion that my body is strong and healthy, and somehow immune to the millions of accidents and other misfortunes that life can throw at me.
It has been so confusing to me to be angry that I even caught this disgusting infection, while not blaming those who refuse to be around me because of it. I so understand their fear of contracting it. It’s the worst! But where do my feelings figure into this discussion?
My husband Mike is an interesting person to talk to about illness and friendships. He lost friends when he somehow contracted Myalgic encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at age 35 in the early 1990s. He had no idea what he had at first and either did most doctors. They would do lots of tests, and when they couldn’t figure out a proper diagnosis, they took to blaming him or his depression. His friends also had no idea how to react and some just decided to vaporize, but the hardcore ones remained for decades by his side. Of course he of all people understands fear of illness, but he also had no interest in looking up those who vaporized when he was very sick.
Mike has grieved for years over the loss of his high level of health before he suddenly became ill in his 30s. He has also developed an amazing level of compassion for those who struggle with illness, pain and frailty. He does not seem to judge anyone. He just understands.
I will continue to deal with my own losses day by day. I do feel sorry for myself sometimes, and when I do I remember one of my favorite lines from an incredible therapist I saw for five years in my 30s:
“At least when you are feeling sorry for yourself, you are feeling something for yourself.”
I have spent most of my life feeling quite good, no serious illnesses or injuries until age 53. Then one sunny May morning I went out for a leisurely bike ride around my neighborhood and ended up unconscious on the ground with a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs and contusions all over my body. Healing took months and certain parts would never be the same again, especially my brain.
LESSON #1:Most people have no idea how to react to or respond to life-threatening injuries. No, an e-mail or text doesn’t cut it, and phone calls don’t work well with brain injury patients.
Life went on with significant brain challenges for the next nine years, until I received an unexpected diagnosis of COPD last year. This included a fair chance of developing lung cancer in my future.
LESSON #2:Friends and acquaintances who presently have no known illness (yet!), may feel lucky or even superior. You poor schmuck. They may also look for reasons why this could never happen to them. (You smoked right? NO!)
My most recent unfortunate illness was most revealing in terms of friendship. I acquired a horrible and easily transmittable infection last October. Granted it is communicable and I would not want even my worst enemy to contract it, BUT
there is nothing so depressing as feeling extremely ill and TOXIC at the same time…
If you don’t believe me, try it sometime!
LESSON #3:Serious illness is perhaps the only way to find out who really cares about you, and who does not. Caregivers are angels!
The thing I find most interesting about those out there who feel superior to those who are suffering, is that we all will experience some sort of terminal illness or injury someday, because we all will die of something. It’s just a matter of time…
One thing that continues to increase, since we moved to southern Colorado, is the number of families who move here to be able to properly medicate their children who suffer from severe seizures. Imagine having to make the choice between a good job and the health of your child. That is what our government is asking from these parents. Some move down here because it is so inexpensive to rent or buy a home here, compared to the cities up north.
I have to admire Alexis Bortell, a 12-year-old girl who is spearheading a campaign to legalize medical cannabis across our country. She and her family had no choice but to move from Texas to Colorado to find adequate treatment for her severe epilepsy. Now, her family and a handful of others are suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), demanding “cannabis for the treatment of their illnesses, diseases and medical conditions.” Ever since Alexis began her cannabis treatment, she has been seizure-free for 974 days.
Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and small clinical studies from a number of years ago suggest that cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis, could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures. Conducting studies can be difficult as researchers have limited access to marijuana due to federal regulations and even more limited access to cannabidiol; there are also increased financial and time constraints.
Open-label studies in the U.S. of Epidiolex (a drug derived from cannabidiol or CBD) are being performed. Epidiolex is a purified, 99% oil-based CBD extract from the cannabis plant and is produced by GW Pharmaceuticals to give known and consistent amounts in each dose. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given some epilepsy centers permission to use this drug as “compassionate use” for a limited number of people at each center.
Recently, gold-standard studies (double-blind, placebo-controlled studies) have finished for difficult epilepsies such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) in children and adults and Dravet syndrome in children. Information from these studies has been presented at major scientific meetings and in press releases by GW Pharmaceuticals.
Results from 214 people who received Epidiolex (99% CBD) in an open-label study (without a placebo control) and who completed 12 weeks or more on the drug were published in Lancet Neurology.
Enter Sangre AgroTech
The most exciting development for Huerfano County, our “orphan” county with around 6,000 souls, has been in the tiny town of La Veta Colorado. WEED, Inc. announced this past July, that it recently acquired Sangre AT, LLC (dba “Sangre AgroTech”), with plans to open a Sangre Bioscience Center, investing over $1,000,000 into the Colorado Medicinal Cannabis Industry.
“At Sangre AgroTech, we are focused on the development and application of cannabis-derived compounds for the treatment of human disease. Targeting cannabis-derived molecules which stimulate the endocannabinoid system, we are developing the required scientifically-valid and evidence-based cannabis strains for the production of disease-specific medicines. Yes, medicines.”
Colorado is the home of legal medical and recreational cannabis, and come to find out, we have history with this stuff. When Colorado became a state back in 1876, both hemp and cannabis could be grown legally, and they stayed that way for decades. By the late 1800s, cannabis oil was a common ingredient in medical tinctures. Asian-style hashish dens were common in larger cities like New York and San Francisco. Increasing popularity led to concerns that hashish would lead to mass addiction, and in 1906 the federal government imposed the first regulation on cannabis intended for consumption: A product simply had to be labeled if it contained the herb.
Between 1915 and 1917, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada all banned cannabis, and in March 1917, Colorado legislators made the use and cultivation of cannabis a misdemeanor. Those who broke the law were subject to a fine up to $10 and a month in jail, part of the growing national temperance movement that led to Prohibition in 1920.
On November 7, 2000, 54% of Colorado voters to approve the use of marijuana in the state for patients with written medical consent. Under this law, patients could possess up to 2 ounces of medical marijuana and cultivate no more than six plants.
Since the enactment ofColorado Amendment 64in November 2012, adults aged 21 or older can grow up to six marijuana plants privately in a locked space and legally possess all marijuana from the plants they grow, and possess up to one ounce of marijuana while traveling,
According to the most recent iteration of the 40-year-long “Monitoring the Future” study from the University of Michigan, 85 percent of Americans 50 plus have used illegal drugs, including marijuana, in their lifetimes.
Since 2006, marijuana use has increased significantly among adult Americans age 50 plus. A decade ago, roughly 4.5 percent of people ages 50 to 64, and 0.4 percent of seniors above age 65 had used marijuana in the past year. By 2013, those numbers had increased to 7.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. In percentage terms, marijuana use among 50- to 64-year-olds increased by 57.8 percent, while among seniors ages 65 and up, it ballooned by 250 percent.
This study, based on over 45,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, isn’t the first to note that marijuana use is increasing rapidly among older adults. But it digs more deeply into the demographics of older Americans’ marijuana use, uncovering some interesting findings. For example European-Americans and African-Americans are much more likely to indulge in cannabis than Latinos. Low-income and married Americans are more likely to partake than separated or divorced, but single or widowed Americans use cannabis the most.
Many 50+ Americans are using cannabis to deal with mental health issues. Among those 50 and older, people who have suffered with depression or anxiety in the past year are much more likely to use cannabis medically. A number of studies have shown a link between marijuana use and mental disorders. Given the widespread prevalence of medical marijuana laws, some seniors may be turning to cannabis as an alternative treatment for the ailments of old age.
One study found that Medicare reimbursements for a number of common prescription medications dropped sharply after the introduction of medical marijuana laws.
Medical or not, it’s clear that the rise in cannabis use among older adults is driven by the aging of the baby-boom generation, who dabbled extensively with cannabis in their youth and may be returning to it in old age for a variety of reasons.
Let’s face it. Most Boomers are different in their views of cannabis use compared to the generation before them, and since there are still plenty of boomers under 65, this trend toward increased use in old age is likely to continue into the future.
It is important to note that in some countries, like Israel, medical use of cannabis is considered standard treatment. Medical marijuana use has been permitted in Israel since the early 1990s for cancer patients and others with pain-related illnesses such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients can smoke cannabis, ingest it in liquid and caplet form, or apply it to the skin as a balm.
So here we are facing Valentine’s Day again, a Hallmark holiday whose origins, much like Halloween, are rooted in pagan partying. This lovers’ holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat or dog skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility, so says classics professor Noel Lenski at University of Colorado, Boulder. What do pagan parties have to do with love? Nothing.
I was quite lucky. After decades of struggle, study, and contemplation I finally met someone who was worthy of my love. Of course I didn’t know that at first. In my case I felt certain of his love whenever I was around him, but completely uncertain when I wasn’t. It took me a long time to truly trust him with my heart, but he was always patient and loving around my trust issues.
For us it was a life and death struggle in a world full of complete nonsense. He had a chronic illness which had challenged his will to live for decades. I had lost my will to live after so many decades of disappointment with the human race. He wanted to find new reasons to live, and he wanted to help me find new sources of joy.
We decided to make life great again TOGETHER…
From this I have learned that when you struggle together against great odds, you can build a powerful, trusting relationship, and you will never be the same after sharing struggles like this.
Thirteen years later we still face many health challenges, but we know we will face them together and we will find a way to win.