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Carol Adrienne Your Unfolding Path
A Quarterly Column
Winter 200
by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.

When Life Changes or You Wish It Would by author, Carol Adrienne
Carol's New Book


Carol Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great inspiration to me!  In August of 1998, about four months after my father passed away, I read about one of Carol's workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the bookstore.  The themes of her teachings were familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before his passing.  Her books and workshops ignited my spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path, which led to the very creation of SoulfulLiving.com!  Carol's participation has been an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul level!  Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com

Live a Successful Life

Recently, I attended Angeles Arrien’s workshop, The Second Half of Life: Opening the 8 Gates of Wisdom, based on her book of the same title. Angeles, a cross-cultural anthropologist, award-winning author, educator, and consultant to organizations and businesses has a gift for tracking the presence of the Soul.  In her latest book, she shows us how to pass through the eight gates of wisdom—the gates that open us to the deepest levels of our unfolding purpose. 


I highly recommend that you read the book for yourself, but I wanted to share some ideas and useful practices that came up during the weekend. It’s not possible to recap the whole wonderful weekend. Here are the 8 Gates of Wisdom:

The Silver Gate - Where we reconnect with our creativity.  When new things enter our life.  Often marked by the entrance of an important stranger in each decade.

The White Picket Fence Gate - Where we drop our roles and uncover our true face.

The Clay Gate - Where we deal with sexuality, intimacy and the ever-changing nature of our body.

The Black and White Gate - Where we assess ourselves in relationship. Where we lose our cleverness, need to control and appease.

The Rustic Gate - Where we reconnect with our creative fire and leave some part of our life dream behind.

The Bone Gate - Where we shed the false self. A place of exposure and revelation.  Where we let go of the idea that other people are responsible for our happiness, or that we can change them.

The Natural Gate - Where we discover what makes us truly happy, and trust our natural being and our inner wilderness.

The Gold Gate - Where we learn about non attachment.  Where we can care deeply and remain objective. Where we feel fulfilled and have closure, knowing where our life has had love and meaning.

Assess Your Life So Far

In our twenties we plunge into adulthood ambitions, relationship and career choices. Usually, the ensuing duties keep us focused on meeting external expectations and bench marks rather than noticing our internal process.

At about age fifty—give or take a few years—we face new developmental stages.  We begin to notice these stages when, for example, coping with changes in the body, or facing the measure of our success and the development of gifts and talents.  We begin to feel the weight of the past, and long to let go of past inhibitions. We tentatively wonder what about what legacy we will be leaving.  Looking at the flow of our lives throughout the decades of life gives us a chance to track three important areas:  Where have I felt a creative fire in the past? Where have I been challenged? What have I not yet achieved or experienced?

According to native peoples, there are two questions whispered in our ears:  Destiny says, “Are you living fully to your purpose?”  Death says, “Are you taking life for granted?”

During the seminar, it occurred to me that I have been entering into an integrative phase of my life.  Angeles says, “We are creatures of nature.  Natures’ rhythm is medium to slow.  Nothing survives if it is fiercely independent or too dependent. We need time for both growth and for integration.”  I had noticed this year that my rhythm has slowed down, and it feels right.  I don’t need to pursue everything that comes along.

Pay Attention to Your Inner Process

As we move forward, we need to leave something behind.  Perhaps we leave behind an old dream because we recognize that it is no longer something we really want.  Perhaps we come to a place where we can finally forgive ourselves for past choices, or forgive someone who caused us pain. We let go of this old attachment so that we can move on without needing to identify ourselves by these old wounds.

Adult development takes on new energy in our fifties, as we begin to prepare for the wisdom years.  With forty-odd years of experience, we should now be able to realize what we need to do to take care of the body, so that it will take care of us! 

Our ever-present need to make a contribution in the world gains even more strength. We ask: What are my gifts and my purpose?  What am I supposed to be doing?  Is this all there is?  What new thing is calling me? 

The sixties are the youth of our wisdom years, the seventies are the mid-life, and the eighties and nineties are the true time of elderhood.  Throughout these phases two things keep us on track: Learning to pace ourselves, and moving toward that which has most meaning.  Alignment to the true self’s talents coupled with practice, moves us into craftsmanship.  Or, our creative curiosity and fire may move us into a dramatic shift into something completely new..  For example, Dr. Seuss, the well-known author of outrageously-drawn and rhyming children’s books, had been an illustrator of very detailed works until age fifty.  At that point, he said, “Enough!” A new body of work emerged that impacted generations of children and adults. 

Far from the idea of “life being over” after fifty or sixty, we are challenged to find our generativity and creativity—else we face stagnation, boredom, and despair.  The route to fulfillment lies in involvement in mental growth, selflessness, openness, flexibility, realistic body awareness, exploration, a sense of being needed, and daily contribution to life and other people.

The Silver Gate—The Gate Of Birth And New Things

I resonate with the Silver Gate. What drives me most is learning.  I like the idea practiced by people in the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain. Each month on the date of their birth, they make a point of doing something they have never done before. (Unknowingly, I was taking this class on my day—and in August I will be in Idaho on a family vacation to a place I’ve never been.) 

The Silver Gate demands possibility thinking, which is different from creative problem-solving.  At this Gate we take the perspective of curiosity and patience (I’m learning to be more curious than critical—and am always learning patience.) 

Angeles commits each year to studying a person who has inspired her.  For instance, she explored the work of philosopher, Spinoza, known for being a consummate mediator of individual and community conflicts. When asked how he kept an equanimous state of mind, he said that a guiding principle for him was, “Nothing eternal is at stake here.”  This comment has remained with me. 

Another phrase that stood out for me in the class was: (I think it was from an indigenous people’s philosophy.)  “Happiness. It’s just a choice away.” 

Focus on where You Feel Creative Fire

I often hear the question, “What should I do?”  What deeply touches us is worth knowing and exploring.  Connecting with our creativity (whether it be in areas such as, gardening, writing, music, teaching, counseling, designing, or business) puts us into the process of being, rather than having things.  Creativity, discovery, and curiosity are more apt to bring us fulfillment than ambitions based on looking good, acquiring status, or increasing our material things.

Practices for Opening Your Life to Creative Flow

Some of the inspiring suggestions offered in The Second Half of Life that have remained with me are:

·         Give away or discard twenty-seven items each day for nine days

·         Spend an hour outdoors every day.

·         Spend at least a half hour every day in silence

·         Notice and give gratitude for all that makes you happy and brings you joy

·         Make a list of interests you have put aside.  Are there any whose time has come?

·         Take a step toward realizing a dream

·         Be capable of taking action, even though feeling fear

·         Set aside one full day each month to spend in silence or nature.

What is the most important thing to remember as we move towards the end of our journey (or even now wherever in life you are)?  Angeles quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson, who says: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you live—that is to have succeeded.”

Have an adventure this month!

Carol Adrienne

For more information about Angeles Arrien’s books, workshops, and programs, please visit www.angelesarrien.com

Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. is an intuitive counselor and life coach who has helped thousands of people work through doubt, procrastination, and obstacles to create the life they want to live. Private consultations and coaching available. Contact her at Carol22@sonic.net

© Copyright 2006 Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

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Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her latest book is When Life Changes, or You Wish It Would. Oprah hailed, The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense a must-read. She is also an intuitive counselor and life coach who has helped thousands of people work through doubt, procrastination, and obstacles to create the life they want to live. Visit http://www.CarolAdrienne.com to register for free newsletter subscription; free numerology birthdate analysis, or order numerology charts and forecasts. Private consultations and coaching available.



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