Harnessing the Midlife Crisis

Posted by on January 31, 2011

If you’re a man, you will definitely have a midlife crisis. When it happens – and it can happen a number of times – you can let it lift you to the next level, or you can let it unravel your life.

Wizard Academy’s Dr. Richard D. Grant, a clinical psychologist, was chatting with a group of adult students one day while his microphone was still recording. I transcribed a bit of what he said because it explains for me the relationship between Don Quixote and Dulcinea, the common village girl Quixote admired from afar.

(In the book, Don Quixote never meets Dulcinea; she’s never even aware of his existence, though she has a profound effect on his life.)

Here’s what Dr. Grant said that day:

“One of the big things that Jung talked about that becomes more and more operative as a guy gets older is that he comes into contact with the deeper parts of himself which we call
the unconscious. The trap door to the unconscious is actually a gate that is feminine.”

“The feminine part of a man’s personality is called the
anima, the Latin word for soul. It leads him to growth and assumes many faces.”

“We should pay very close attention to what we find attractive, men, at mid-life, because that’s the roadmap of where we’re going to grow next. This is, a man’s encounters with females, especially at mid-life, tell him what he needs to connect with
in himself to have more life. That is what the anima experience is all about.”

“This is very important for guys to know because at mid-life they get re-sensitized to females, deeply, and it doesn’t have to do with their committed relationships. And it’s very confusing for many men, and they think that they’re supposed to question their committed relationships and that life itself is in a strand of that person’s hair that they would follow.”

“Actually that person is a symbol, mirroring this profound feminine part of the man that is the gateway to what lies ahead for him. And the function of the anima – the internal feminine – is to lead the man to the next part of his life.”

“The rules of relationship to the unconscious are the rules of chivalry, ‘pure and chaste from afar.’ If you decide to totally get engrossed in the idealized imagery of the feminine, you’ll lose yourself. There’s danger in that. But if you have a conscious relationship – feeling the power of that, but not getting seduced by it – you will come to awareness; you’ll learn things.”

“That might sound wild but chastity is really the ability to relate to a female human being, for a man, and to the anima in all its power at the same time and in the right respect, both at once, without confounding the two.”

“If you attribute to a woman the goddess-like qualities of the anima, a man just melts in front of her. But if you keep them separate – you know, one’s for growth and one is to have relationship with, in all the benefits of monogamy and commitment – then you can benefit from it. Chastity is the ability to do both at once and not confuse them. That is what chastity is, not wimpy abstinence.”

“If you want to see the four parts of the masculine counterpart to this for a woman – the
animus – go watch The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy has four masculine figures she deals with when she goes on an adventure into a different land, learns all kinds of lessons and then comes home after her journey. So that’s an alternative story…”

Right now I find myself noticing women who are lighthearted and carefree. Thanks to Dr. Grant’s little chat that day, I realize this is because I’ve been carrying the weight of fund-raising and construction for Wizard Academy for seven long years. I’m noticing these women because I need to make time for frivolous relaxation and play. The anima within me is whispering. I need to listen.

Men, what is your anima saying? Ladies, is the animus within you telling you where you need to grow?

Make no mistake about it. Deep and revealing conversations happen here all the time. Come. Adventure. Engelbrecht House awaits you.

Engelbrecht, by the way, means “Angel, broken” in German.

Just a coincidence.

Roy H. Williams

Spoelstra’s Latest!

People are often surprised when I say, “There are only 5 books on marketing that really matter,” but they are never surprised when I name Jon Spoelstra’s Marketing Outrageously as one of them.

Today is release day for the newly updated and revised Marketing Outrageously Redux. I strongly suggest you buy a copy. Pennie and I are buying  copies for each room in our home. – RHW

PS – If you’d like to explore the deeper parts of yourself in a perfectly safe environment and have an astoundingly good time in the process, spend 3 days/4 nights with Dr. Grant on the finally-completed campus of Wizard Academy this June. Sitting on the tower’s McInnis Stardeck at night – 800 feet above the city of Austin – contemplating the meaning of life with a glass of wine in your hand, talking with the most interesting people you’ve ever met, experiencing things each day you never imagined. Does it get any better than that? Escape the Box. June 7-9. (I’d register now. This class is very strictly limited to just 14 people.)

BUSINESS – If you want to:

1. give your employees a treat,
2. reduce friction among them and
increase teamwork and workplace productivity,

hire Dr. Grant to come to your city and spend a day with your staff. They will thank you profoundly, I promise. – RHW

“I think the idealization of women is indigenous to men.
There are various ways of idealizing women, especially
sexually, based in almost every case on their
inaccessibility. When a woman functions
as an unobtainable love object,
she takes on a mythical quality.”

– James Dickey,

Self Interviews, p. 153

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