My 40’s: moving into the external world
Moving into my 40’s was about moving from my interior world to the exterior world. This fits the Myers-Briggs understanding of personal development. That we start out more interested in one of the worlds and then switch to the other at mid-life. (Actually we alternate between them: from birth to adolescence we are more interested in one, we switch in adolescence, then back to the first one in our twenties and then back to the other in our thirties. Which brings us to mid-life and the big switch. That is: if you start out occupied with your interior world – I was quite a dreamy kid – then in adolescence you switch to the exterior – I had lots of plans to change the world, in your 20’s back to the interior – for me sorting out my emotions and values – and in your 30’s back to the exterior – for me this was when I finally got around to thinking about a ‘career’. Then in mid-life the big switch to the exterior. (I am now venturing out into the world of blogging and seeing if this can become part of my ‘career’. If you start out interested in the exterior world reverse them all the way.)
After my marriage ended I set out to create a series of retreats and to write a book about my particular approach to psychotherapy. The retreats didn’t eventuate but a friend and I did write the book. It’s Living Authentically: living from the core of who you are for lasting satisfaction. This was my own approach to the process of awareness used in gestalt psychotherapy combined with a Taoist understanding of our experience.
I discovered from a program on Australia’s Radio National (the Australian public broadcasting network) the work of an ex-patriate Australian called Michael Marmot. His work showed that the two biggest influences on health are the individual’s sense of agency and the strength of their relationships. Yes, more than fitness, diet and so on (this only applies to the moderately well off, not the starving). The details are in his book The Status Syndrome. It is well written, thorough and easy to read. This seems to me to be the most important finding about our health for many years (at least since the discovery of penicillin). It means we have to completely rethink our approach to health (or at least western biomedical people do – this approach to health has been championed in the alternative/complementary health world for many decades).
The next step in my journey with health is putting this understanding out into the world. This blog is part of that next step. I haven’t found it necessary to give up any of my prior commitments. I still see myself in the christian tradition (though those I grew up with probably wouldn’t). I still value enormously Gestalt and Transactional Analysis. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is still as valuable to me as ever. I still think it is important to have a wholistic understanding of people and our relationships.
From this blog, some time during 2008 I plan to launch a course. It will follow an eight-stage process of our experience and will deal with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of each stage. I’m also writing a long article to become a free report about living authentically and hope to have it ready to go early in 2008.
Which is pretty much up to the minute with health and me. I hope this long story has given you an idea of what has shaped me, ‘where I come from’, and my approach to health. You are most welcome to ask me for more details about any of it. I may not be able to answer but I shall do my best. Looking forward to hearing from you. Evan