03/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

In Tenuous Times, Get Back To Basics

Tenuous Times

With the economy's Dominos Effect kicking in these days, most of us are feeling the pinch. Increasingly, we hear gloomy predictions of what's up ahead. We need ease in the system. Yesterday wouldn't be too soon. And yet, we are beginning to grok the fact that, apparently, it will take several years to get us out of this mess. As citizens of the world, we are doing an impossible juggling act. Sooner or later, we know we've got to hunker down. We've got to take a break, give ourselves a rest from the noise. Wisdom neither comes without rest nor solitude. And when Lady Wisdom comes, She helps us find: (1) perspective; (2) peace in ambiguity; and (3) replenishment. Without perspective, we'll get terminally stuck in overload, hopelessness. Without learning to live in a world where the ground is shifting, we'll never be able to find that unshakeable ground to which we were advised by a teacher long ago: "Build your house upon a rock." Without owning our need for replenishment, we will , like Icarus, go down in flames. It is an inflation of epic proportions to think that we can keep running around like crazy people and get a different result. Sometimes, we've just got to stop. At least, for a while.

Getting Back to Basics

The very idea sounds blasphemous, I know. How can you 'just say no' to taking on more? Especially for women, the very idea of disappointment leads us all too often to 'eating our disappointment' in comfort foods, rather than admitting that we cannot go one more step without our turn at the juice bar. How do you know what to release, and what to attend in a ground swell such as this? Shifting times bring confusion, overwhelm. I've heard it said that 'the confused mind says no.' 'No,' to purchases, 'no' to opening up to something new, 'no' to taking a risk in relating to ourselves and others in more intimate ways, 'no' to walking through unexpected doorways, 'no' to slowing down, and 'no' to letting go.

This difficulty in the rest break department is particularly tough for elder Baby Boomers and their older siblings. We were nursed on the milk of soldiering on. We were schooled in the curriculum of 'never say never.' We were raised with the notion that when hard times come, you just buckle up, galvanize and get out there and 'make things happen.' The really tricky part of all this is developmental. Somewhere around midlife, life energy shifts. The vital force redirects itself from one of being on the ascent, (goals, ambition, achievement, recognition by the collective) toward one of descent. Here, the responsibility turns toward our undeniable duty to our own Soul, living out Its Call for the Authentic Life. Far from psycho-babble, the fact is that if you ignore this requirement of growth, you end up in what is diagnosed as a clinical depression. What you are really experiencing is a Spiritual Crisis of 10 on the Ricter Scale. The later years have everything to do with preparing for the ultimate letting go. So today, we are amongst great numbers of people whose Soul demands attention on the inner realm, and the releasing that such a task requires. At the same time, we feel the pull of the global disturbance, and wonder how we can best assist without losing our Self, or our minds, in the process?

The In Between Space

Tonight my husband and I sat with one of our favorite women. Joannie shared with us her frustration. At 69, she is woefully aware of the passing of time, and the fact that a whole new developmental cycle is opening up. She stands on the threshold between how she's known herself, (as a giver) and the Unknown. Unaccustomed to receiving, she is impatient. Like many of us, she wants to know what she is to do. I can relate. I am sure that the woman in the Parable of "The Lost Coin" could, as well. Before the latter finds that coin, recall, her hands are empty. She searches high and low for answers to what she's lost. Only by tolerating the in-between-space that separates what was from what will be does she prevail. Every single day in private practice this story is relived again and again. Our ego desires nano-second answers. Our Soul desires freedom. The question is how comfortable are we with doubt? Francis Bacon summed up our situation this way:

"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he will end in certainties."

To be continued...

Meanwhile, let us hear from you. What hooks you into overdrive, and that attitude of 'soldiering on' when you are pooped? What gives you rest? Where would you like to have more ease in the system? Let's get a conversation going!

Photo via Amanky