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Mindful : October 2014
This middle period is made up of doubt, discomfort, and disorientation. Accepting uncomfortable sensations is one of the monsters to be faced at this stage. Navigating the Zombie Zone After the end of the fa miliar, it ca n seem like you’re stepping into a void. In this foggy maze, there are no signposts with arrows assuring you “This way out.” You can feel lost and zombie- like or at least unmoored and disoriented as you wa nder the earth. The old rules don’t seem to apply a nymore. What used to work well no longer does. You feel stra nge and not like your old self but not yet something fully formed. Does the caterpillar in its pupae stage on the way to butterfly-hood ever think to itself, “What the hell is going on with me?!” A common feeling here is anxiety that takes the form of a desire for answers and a rush to a settled future. A student of mine who had worked for the sa me orga- nization for decades found herself unemployed. As we sat together at lunch with two half-eaten cobb salads sepa- rating us, she implored “How can I get through this as fast as possible?” What distinguishes this middle period is doubt, discomfort, and disorienta- tion. Learning to return to the present and accept uncom- fortable sensations is one of the monsters to be faced at this stage. We sometimes think it would be preferable to give up on life because the story of who we are doesn’t fit any- more. When we believe our story too much, we feel like not only has the story come to an end but maybe we’ve come to an end. Why not just get out of the misery? In my case, mindfulness allowed me to recognize and be with depres- sion and uneasiness without getting swallowed by it. The depression a nd the desire to isolate oneself might be our system’s way of asking us to slow down and take stock. What rules apply now? WhatdoIneedtoletgoof? Letting go of what doesn’t work anymore is the next monster. Maybe what needs to be released is a belief, a resentment, or an identity. The process is deconstructive. A utilities executive who was a war refugee as a child came to terms with letting go of her view of herself as an underdog who always has to fight to get what she wants. She realizes by not seeing life through the lens of a constant battle, she ca n live easier. Just as a hot air balloon must drop the weight of sandbags to 74 mindful October 2014 in practice insight AD The Pursuit of Happiness curriculum is a personal or classroom guide designed to teach important skills that will help you navigate your personal journey to happiness. “Robin Blackwood’s conversion of my book, Too Soon Old, Too Late Sm ar t, into a...course is at once flattering and very impressive. The principles contained herein—that we are defined by our behavior, that we are largely responsible for what we make of ourselves, that we need to be astute about whom to avoid and whom to cherish as we move through our lives—all are ideas of vital importance. We can never know enough about the pur- suit of happiness.” - Gordon Livingston, M.D. C For more information about The Pursuit of Happiness, find Blackwood Education on facebook or at