New age teacher Marianne Williamson challenges the concept that personal transformation can be achieved through a to-do list.
The deepest level of change can only take place when there is a change in your beliefs, she says. And while there are actions and new ways of thinking that will improve our inner life, lasting change is a miracle.
"A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love," says Marianne.
Here are three ways Marianne suggests we learn to love, and not fear, our age – to truly enjoy the next chapter in our lives.
Shift from Body to Spirit
"[I]f we can speak about the miracles of aging, the first shift is when we begin to move from body identification to spirit identification," says Marianne. Perhaps one miracle of aging is when we realize midlife is a second chance to find meaning, a chance to fix things we may have gotten wrong when we were younger.
"Looking at ourselves is not navel gazing. I'm at a point in my life where I'm cool with being in the second half of my fifties, but I had to allow myself the grief of losing what is no longer there. Menopause is a second puberty."
Generally an energetic ball of fire, Marianne found herself one afternoon wanting to "rest her bones" when her daughter called to her to come play in the garden. Uncharacteristically, she declined, and as she sat in the wood paneled library, surrounded by books, she realized that resting allowed her to enjoy other aspects of life.
Instead of jumping out of bed, throwing down a cup of coffee and running head-long into life, she suggests, "Stop and slow down. Meditation in the morning can be a strong anti-depressant. It is an adjustment of the soul, so you don't behave out of your internal chaos.
"We need to create more wisdom on this planet or our children will not survive," says Marianne. "I don't want to dance the night away, and I no longer have that adrenaline-based urge to be doing." Slowing down supports the cultivation of reflection and wisdom.
Reframe Your Beliefs
Infinite ideas and scenarios are available to each of us, but we have to know how to rewrite the script. Take a look at every thought and cast out the negative.
"I'm too old if I think 'I'm too old'. That thought [can be] reframed to 'it's my time now'," says Marianne. "I pray to consider the possibility that there might be another way. When we turn the other cheek, we're moving our head to look at life from another perspective."
Marianne Williamson's most recent book is titled The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife. She is once again is lecturing weekly in Los Angeles, helping us see that we are what we think.
Facing Your 40s and 50s Fearlessly!
Photo Credit: Rich Cooper
Adele Slaughter is a poet currently finishing her first novel, Jealousy. "I know that my dharma is to teach, because I love working with people. It's an unusual trait for a writer, which means I end up producing movies, teaching creative writing and writing for print—all in all a great life."