The Challenge of Being Fully Present in Your Life

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”  – Deepak Chopra

A few years ago I presented a talk to a group of unemployed Americans in their middle years. When I was finished, the first person to raise her hand asked me,

“Do you believe we have to hit bottom in our lives before we truly begin to change?” My answer at the time was, “I did.”

The fact is that most of us will not change until we become uncomfortable enough to admit defeat. Most need to be absolutely convinced that the “plan” they had for their life is simply not working. The way this usually comes about is through a major crisis which demands our complete attention. Divorce, serious illness, the death of a loved one, or long-term unemployment, especially when these occur in our middle years, seem to be the most common stimulants leading to the end of our naïve notion that we somehow can control everything that happens to us. These events become ever more common as we age. These unforeseen and often unforeseeable occurrences tend to inform us in no uncertain terms that changes in our life plan are now in order.

We may first try to defend against the onset of pain and confusion by denying or ignoring this sudden lack of certainty or security in our lives. Most seek to escape into bad relationships, drug addiction, religious faith or even artificially extreme feelings of independence, as they defend against their need to depend on others in their lives.

Even though it may seem completely counter-intuitive at this tough spot, you may discover that accepting and embracing the chaos and uncertainty you feel surrounded by is your first best step towards peace. Stop, sit down quietly, and begin to feel the enormity of this apparent crisis, realizing that this may be one of the most important opportunities of your adult life.

Can you trust in the power of your own psyche to survive this crisis, and in that way heal yourself?


“Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up.  – Pema 

Know that this is the beginning of your own personal rite of passage into full adulthood. This is a natural, normal stage of human development studied by psychologists like Carl Jung, when he experienced it himself.

Recognize that you are not the first to feel chaos and uncertainty in your middle years. This is a well-documented transition of personal change, growth and human evolution. And the best way to move through this life stage smoothly is to embrace the new information and knowledge you will be given now.

By allowing this in, you have the ability to access the unique instruction this moment has for you. Instead of attempting to run from it, embrace the uncertainty. Begin to believe this moment is giving you access to your own unique brand of power, one you may have never known or acknowledged before. Begin to see that you alone know somewhere inside what needs to happen next. Spend the time necessary to listen to the small, still voice within, the one you may have been ignoring for decades. Recognize this voice perhaps for the first time as your inner guide, brimming with accumulated information and wisdom.

This source knows where you need to go next. It will instruct you in how you must change, grow and evolve into your best self in this moment. The sooner you begin to believe in its power and trust this valuable inner resource, the sooner you will follow its instructions, and find more structure, certainty and peace in your life.

This is a brief excerpt from my book, Find Your Reason To Be Here: The Search For Meaning in Midlife.  Please contact me directly to order your own signed copies of any of my books!  

Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me:

How do we choose what to write about?

writing penThis morning I found myself wondering why we find some topics so worth writing about, while others would never make the cut? Why, when I’m sitting around thinking about nothing in particular, will I mark one idea in my mind as something to go back to when I’m writing, and all other thoughts aren’t worth mentioning?

How do we choose what to write about next?

The only answer I could come up with was personal taste. Sometimes I simply say to myself, “That’s an interesting thought.” or “I’ve never looked at things that way!”

Internal thoughts like these actually do determine whether readers come back, because they find my choice of topics or thought processes more interesting than others. But why? I can only surmise that my readers and I share certain values or views on life. Perhaps they find me curious, or in some way similar to them.

I decided a long time ago, when I first started writing a blog, that if a topic was interesting enough to me to cause me to research and write about it, than there certainly must be other readers who would find it interesting.

I started out writing about my own midlife changes. By writing on this topic I met others who had also discovered what a perfect time midlife was to take a long look at your life thus far, and then perhaps change a few major things, before it was too late. Do-overs before it’s all over!

With research I learned exactly how healthy midlife change can be. Who knew? Not me when I first started suffering through a divorce, job/career loss, etc. I thought this was just my own personal hell. Not so!


Somewhere over the rainbow…

Midlife crisis is the gift that keeps on giving! I went from my sad and lonely, unemployed position to finding love, a new career I love, and moving to a fantastic solar home in the southern Colorado foothills.

How’s that for some serious do-overs?