Awakening at Midlife: A Guide to
Reviving Your Spirits, Recreating Your Life, and Returning to Your Truest Self
by Kathleen A. Brehony
Riverhead Books, 384 pps.
We have found this book to be one of the best for helping coaches, and clients in a midlife transition, to understand and appreciate the challenges and celebrations of midlife.
Brehony is a Jungian psychologist who approaches the midlife transition as a normal, developmental process that is designed to bring us towards wholeness.
Within this context she explores the themes that show up
for us in this transition: coming to terms with death, spiritual emergence, reassessment of goals and values, and the arising of unconscious psychological
characteristics - the shadow - into consciousness.
Awakening at Midlife is divided into two sections. The first
section sets the context for the midlife transition by describing what it is and the issues to be addressed. The second section offers specific strategies to facilitate the
transition, including dreamwork, creativity, meditation and the awareness of the body.
The reader will find Section 1 provides an excellent map
for the territory of the midlife transition that is readable, and yet grounded in sound psychological principles and theory. If the reader or coach would like concrete tools to
use in support of this transition, those are outlined in Section 2. At the end of each chapter in Section 2, Brehony offers thoughts, suggestions and exercises to practice using the tools she recommends.
Through the use of numerous case studies, Brehony
demonstrates the many ways people respond to this inner call to wake-up to who we really are spiritually and psychologically. Her view is that the symptoms of
depression, anxiety, relationship problems, dissatisfaction with career or work and feelings of emptiness are all in service of our movement towards wholeness. Her
worldview aligns beautifully with the coaching perspective that we are all whole and seeking the fuller expression of our wholeness.
If you are coaching anyone between the ages of 35 and
50, you'll find lots of meat in these pages to help you offer more meaningful coaching.