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“A Midlife Voyage of Discovery”

June '11

Does negotiating the midlife passage feel like shooting rapids at times? Some experts use this analogy to describe major life transitions. Having been tossed out of a raft by a level-five rapid on the Chattahoochee River (think “Deliverance”), I believe they may have a point. Like any personal transformation, shooting rapids involves dealing with obstacles and sometimes making painful adjustments in order to move forward.

At least that was the case for me, as the following scenario reveals.

“Madam, there is no room available.”

“But I made reservations at this desk a week ago,” I cried in disbelief.

“I’m sorry; there is no room.”

“What am I to do?” I asked urgently.

“I will call other hotels and try to locate a room. I cannot promise success. It is a busy week in Cairo. May I suggest dinner?”

This dialogue introduces a story I wrote called, “A Midlife Voyage of Discovery,” in the newly published eBook, The Wisdom of Midlife Women. I had originally called it “Clouds over Cairo,” but a wise editor changed it to reflect a deeper truth. (I guess she didn’t get my subtle reference to the sun’s blinding brilliance in the Egyptian desert.)

But hers was the better title; my hotel difficulties in Cairo reflected a deeper crisis for me – a single Mom with an emptying nest on a year of sabbatical travel around the world. Like many women at midlife, I was seeking to learn more my authentic self and what she truly wanted out of life. On this journey, I continually grappled with external hurdles that mirrored the internal impediments to my sometimes overwhelming midlife transition.

After years of moving to the rhythms of others at home and at work, my freshly emptied nest and a year’s sabbatical had given me the space to tune into my own rhythms. In addition, travel to lands never seen, had propelled me into unfamiliar territory where my usual ways of coping were no longer functional, so I had to adapt. With these two thrusters, I gradually began to find that true self of mine – but not without many, many “rapid-running” experiences. My story in The Wisdom of Women at Midlife is about one of them in Cairo.

There are twenty chapters altogether in this eBook. Should you read it, I recommend you bring your awareness to the women’s experiences that resonate for you. In this way you’ll learn more about that authentic self of yours. Some of their stories may even inspire you, because the purpose of this eBook is to explain through personal narrative how a midlife crisis (with it’s inherent painful adjustments and challenges for growth) can became a true midlife awakening.

If  you want to encounter the wisdom gained from the midlife crises of twenty different women and also see how my tale unfolds after I was kicked out of the Hotel Concorde (my story begins on page 37), click on the icon for The Wisdom of Midlife Women in the side menu. You’ll be taken to a site where you can download the eBook. Should you decide to dip into these stories, I’d love to hear your comments about them.

Happy summer reading (with all those books you love),
Bonnie

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