January 2007


In this issue

·  Upcoming Events

·  About Midlife Journeys

·  The Season of Renewal

About Midlife Journeys

For many people, midlife is a time of transformation, a time of seeking greater purpose, joy and meaning in the second half of life. Midlife Journeys is a monthly newsletter designed to support you in reconnecting with your authentic self and energizing your life through deep self-nurturing, creative expression and heart-centered living. Each issue contains inspiration and resources to help guide you on your journey to greater aliveness, joy and fulfillment.

Upcoming Community Events

Women's Sacred Journeys Winter Workshop: Enlightened Renewal. This Saturday, Jan. 20, 6:30-9:00pm. Come align with nature's wise reflection as we take time to listen deeply to the callings within, honor our inner light, and clarify the values and visions we wish to faithfully nurture in the new year to come. With Mary Donovan at Santa Monica Yoga. Register under Upcoming Events.

Navigating Transitions and Discovering a New Future. Explore life transitions and tap into inner resources that build courage and confidence in successfully navigating changes in the second half of life. UCLA Extension, 4 Thursdays, 10am-12pm, Feb. 15 & 22; March 1 & 8. For more information, call: (310) 825-9971 or go to www.uclaextension.edu.

To ensure that you receive your editions of Midlife Journeys newsletter, please put the following email address in your email address book: newsletter@midlifejourneys.com

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The Season of Renewal

"There is a stillness in the heart of every moment. Not a pull outward, not a push to do, just an inner quietness calling me to center. In this place of stillness all things are possible. The past, the present and the future become a portal to infinite opportunities. In the stillness of this moment, the breath of my breath, the beat of my heart, and the quiet whisper of the spirit move me inward."
– Rev. Safire Rose

Happy New Year! Actually, Happy New Moment! Each new moment truly is an opportunity to begin again, to start fresh, to take a deep, slow breath, releasing the past (perhaps with a sigh!) and welcoming the exquisite present in all its fullness.

Winter is the season of hibernation when creatures rest safely in the comforting embrace of the earth; a time when seeds quietly and patiently gestate. Aligning with nature
’s rhythms, we feel our own inclination to turn inward, to find stillness, peace and rest from the busyness of our lives. This is the season of renewal as we prepare for new life that will emerge in the year to come.

This is a wonderful time to begin or to deepen a meditation practice: to train our minds to be more present, to cultivate peace and equanimity, to place our focus on being rather than doing.

Meditation produces restful, restorative changes in the body. In addition to wonderful health benefits such as decreased heart rate, breathing rate, and oxygen consumption and increased alpha waves in the brain, a regular meditation practice can enhance the sense of peace and focus we carry with us throughout the day.

The good news is that even when most of the meditation period is spent thinking, beneficial bodily changes still occur. And every time we let go of thinking and return to our chosen focus of concentration (e.g., our breath, a mantra), the mental muscles of awareness are being exercised.

Here are some tips to create a simple practice of meditation*:

1. Set and setting. Sit in a quiet, comfortable place that feels peaceful and inviting and where you won
’t be interrupted. This can be either indoors or outdoors. You might create an altar or special place where you have sacred objects, a lit candle, and incense if you like, creating an atmosphere that will automatically draw you into the divine presence.

2. Letting go. Wherever you have chosen to meditate, begin by closing your eyes and stretching. Take a few letting-go breaths. Breathe in deeply, hold it, and let it go. As you pay attention to your breathing, feel how each outbreath is an opportunity to let go to the deepest part of your being. When you feel your body begin to relax, check your posture. It is easiest to mediate if the spine is straight and the body posture is symmetrical.

3. Connecting with the Higher Self. Remember a
“holy moment”, a time when you felt deeply connected to life: watching a sunset, creating something of beauty, feeling deeply in touch with another person, loving a pet, feeling present to life. Once you have felt this fully, let the memory fade and focus on the peaceful feelings that remain.

4. The sacred word. To direct you into the sacred presence of the divine, it helps to focus on your breathing, noticing what it feels like to breathe, how your body rises up slightly as you breathe in and settles back as you breathe out. Notice the space in between breaths. You can also choose a sacred word, or mantra, to repeat. Some examples are the Sanskrit om nama shivaya, which means
“I honor the Self in all” or the Hebrew shalom, meaning “peace”. Secular words such as “peace”, “love”, “thank you”, and “oneness” can also work well. The magic isn’t really in the words as much as in the intent to use them to direct you into the sacred presence of God.

5. Establishing a practice. Choosing a consistent time of day for meditation and making a commitment to do it daily is the easiest way to get started and to keep going. It is best to practice for a minimum of twenty minutes. The longer you sit, the more you will be drawn into the silence. But if ten minutes is all you have on a given day, ten minutes are much better than no minutes! Good times to practice are early morning before the day begins, and in the early evening before supper.

Wishing you many Happy New Moments in the year to come!

Peace and blessings,

*Adapted from Joan Borysenko, PhD, Fire in the Soul

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Womens Sacred Journeys
Winter Workshop: Enlightened Renewal Saturday, Jan. 20,2007, 6:30-9:00pm

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