Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Midlife Crisis or Dis-identification process of the Ego?

Heya there,

So, let's continue on my big epiphany I shared last time where I discovered a process called "dis-identifying from one's ego". I mean, really, who ever laid out the cards for us and enlightened us on "Well, first, when we are born, we will begin life by going through a pre-egoic stage. Then we will enter a phase where we will construct and form a separate sense of self, known as the formation of the Ego. And yes, we have learned that the ego's function is quintessential to our survival, so the Ego is not something to get rid of, but merely needs to be "repositioned" for the next phase in our life. And that process is called the Ego Dis-Identification process (for reference check out James Hollis: Finding Meaning In The Second Half Of Your Life, How To Finally Grow Up). Or traditionally known as the ALL-THREATENED MID-LIFE CRISIS! Wow! Like I said, that was a huge epiphany for me. Let me explain.

I pretty much figured that over the last 2-3 years I was going through a mid-life crises. There were so many changes and challenges! For specifics and details, see prior blogs where I'm questioning life and the world.  Most of the time you don't know you are going through a crisis while you are in the midst of it. You are just full of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, depression, etc.  Friends would advise "maybe you should see someone", or "just be happy, at least you have a job in this economy", or, "here read this book", etc. Now, instead of calling it a mid-life crises, I prefer Hollis's label, the Ego-Dis-Identification process. Verbalizing it that way allows for a space to engage with my experience, explore it, process it, and (hopefully) evolve from it. Calling it a mid-life crisis feels somewhat dead-end, limited, non-organic, it somehow has a bad reputation as associated feelings and emotions like depression and unhappiness get viewed as something negative. From an evolutionary perspective though, depression, unhappiness and dissatisfaction are all symptoms of entering a different stage of development. Perhaps you may already be well familiar with all of this, but as for me I don't have a degree in psychology (although I'd be interested), nor did anyone in my immediate environment enlighten me about this. Therefore, coming to this conclusion was a world-revolutionizing discovery for me.

As I said, calling this transition the Ego-Dis-Identification process implies an evolutionary/developmental context, one of process and growth. It's the transition where we let go of the essential skills that once served us during the early stages of constructing and navigating life from our Ego. However, just like James Hollis mentions in his book, in the second half of life those very same ego strengths will betray us, hinder, perhaps even limit us later in life if we keep on employing the very same Ego assets, considering we are entering/living in a different stage of life. I guess you could call them outdated, perhaps even primitive? They are no longer of service as a sole resource as we transition into a new space, namely developing a sense of self that comes from an internal space (from within), versus an external one as we did during the egoic phase. The self has matured enough, and gained the confidence where it no longer seeks validation from the outside, the external world. Has it finally grown up?

I guess you could consider it "finding home". It's the process of developing a different kind of sense, or perhaps a new sense of self, or should we say finally arrived at one's true, authentic self...ones soul. I have a much clearer perspective now, but for the longest time it has been a very confusing journey. I am not sure what will happen next. I will navigate it with the same kind of curiosity and exploration as I have traveled the first path of my self-discovery so far. The only difference is that my next stage of life will (hopefully) be generated from this new reference point. Let me just say that I hope that there will be no further "selves" to come. Really! Through how many more cycles of new self-identification processes do we really have to go through? Can you imagine how complicated this would get?

Anyhow, since I'm a female it could be all about finding a deeper authentic self that is centered around the context of "the feminine", considering that the previous stage of developing my egoic self took place in a time period that is still engrossed in a masculine, patriarchal value system. At least that's what Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit from Women On The Edge Of Evolution are suggesting.  By now I have probably listened to about 30 of their amazing free "online women interviews". See, we all have been entrenched in a masculine dominated value system for so long, that in order for us to rewire our neurons into a new value system, we have to align ourselves with those who already have made the reconnection. We have to expose ourselves and engage in conversations with those who already are living outside of the current paradigm the rest of us is trying to get beyond. You can't do it alone. Think about it, how are you going to evolve into a new space of knowledge, if your entire database of knowledge and experience resides within that very same space you are currently operating from? In fact, I wonder how many people actually get "lost in transition" and end up stuck in between those two developmental stages, hung up on prescription drugs, alcohol or any other sort of addictions so as to deal with their "midlife crises"? Also, it may be helpful to get some historical perspective on the topics of submission, oppression and suppression of the feminine. I highly recommend to check out the 55 minute documentary The Burning Times. There was an enormous split between men and women throughout history (hence all the talk about us entering a new age of co-creation between men and women, between the masculine and the feminine). No wonder we women still carry this cellular fear in us to step out and up into our own power. This documentary really hit home for me!

You know, I have always been a curious spirit when it comes to self-growth and development. And I have been exposed to many different books, people and even workshops that introduced me to new ideas, philosophies, vocabulary and therefore new possibilities, like consciousness, awareness, emergence, ego, soul, source, just to mention a few,. I took it all in and somewhat managed to get a sense about this other kind of existence that seemed to be emerging from the depth within. However, somehow it still was all kinda' confusing. Regardless, I listened, I participated and practiced merely out of trust to the best of my "awareness". Yet somehow I was lacking that big picture perspective of getting it all, because you don't really get it until you have lived it. Experience still is the most profound teacher, and going through the experience of my described mid-life crises is what brought it all together for me. You need to live it in order to understand it, otherwise it remains all theory. So it seems, a mid-life crises is something to be embraced. It's a symptomatic effect, and part of life. In fact it is part of the process to evolve, just like the egoic phase was. 

I have to thank James Hollis for his book I mentioned above, as well as Claire and Katherine for sharing these amazing audio files online. They have assisted me greatly in gaining a wider context about the "transition" I went through. It has been of great inspiration to listen to the wisdom of these mature women, and to learn from their experiences as I did not have any other resources at my disposal to compare my experiences to. I got to realize that I'm not alone with what seemed confusing, conflicting feelings at times in my life, and that the drive for "bursting my windows" was the start of my Ego-Dis-Identification process as I was (and probably still am) transitioning into the next developmental stage. Now, not only did I find clarity and comfort about my own process and transition as an individual at this time, but also there seems to be a collective transition taking place amongst women across the globe as pointed out by Claire and Katherine. Or said differently, this transition of moving from an ego-referenced life, to a soul-referenced life seems to be taking place on a micro level, individually, and on a macro level, collectively. I'm wondering if this development, this process has existed in prior generations, or are we looking at a new stage of evolution here?

Also, I'm kind of curious if men are going through a similar kind of re-orientation process? No, I'm not saying that a mid-life crises is gender bound. What I mean is that since we women seem to be making that transition into our true authentic voice within the context of the feminine inside a patriarchal society, what does that transition look like for men who already are navigating from inside the masculine?

So long....

Tatjana Luethi