Stage 4: Time Down Under
Midlife Leap Online Course by Jett Psaris – Stage 4: Time Down Under
Time down under, in the land of darkness, is a period of the midlife journey when we confront the realization that we cannot revive our former ego-based selves. This leaves us feeling lost. For some, this portion of the journey can feel like a death. In a way it is a death; our familiar identities are dissolving, like the body of the caterpillar in its chrysalis, in preparation for the butterfly’s emergence. In this stage, we learn how to let ourselves be lost. We learn the benefits of divesting ourselves from old ways of being that no longer fit us and that keep us smaller than we were meant to be. We learn that depression is a normal and inevitable result of transitioning out of one stage into another, and the ways that it prepares us for the emergence of our souls in the phases of the journey to come.
“As our life structures are deconstructed and stripped away, we are increasingly affected by the realization that we can no longer renew the lease on or resuscitate our old selves. When the once-established internal and external structures of our lives have broken down sufficiently, we enter a terrain with no signposts or reference points.”
“A part of us has to die to make this leap; and a part of us dies if we don’t. Which part will prevail: what has been, or what may be?”
“I was deep into what Jett calls ‘the Land of Darkness,’ the crucible of midlife depression and grief, when she offered me the chance to work with the Taking the Midlife Leap course, then in its final stages of development. It was, literally, a lifeline – the only thing that truly spoke to what I was experiencing, the one thing I could hold onto as ballast against my utter disorientation and despair. Through this material, I came to understand what I was going through as a call to transform, a developmental necessity. That understanding was profoundly important for me. That understanding helped me to not only accept what was happening in midlife – if fitfully – but to trust, even honor it all, as a spiritual passage. And, beyond the lifeline, ballast, and crucial framework of understanding – mined from psychology, literature, poetry, religion, mystic traditions, and other wells of information, perspective and wisdom – Taking the Midlife Leap helped me to cultivate patience, with myself, and with the unprecedented rigors of this inevitable passage. As I slogged through my midlife depression, I often lost hope and all perspective. Each time I returned to this material, I was grounded, enlightened, and – perhaps most importantly – held, in the imperative of living, not just enduring, whatever moment of the passage I was in.
Bending into the arc of the midlife passage may be the hardest thing I’ve had to do; it’s certainly the longest hard thing. Working with these readings and practices, which are infused with Jett’s presence as a compassionate co-journeyer and gentle guide, has moved me from judging my midlife struggle as a drama of self-indulgence, to understanding midlife as an ordeal of metamorphosis, and myself as novitiate in my own spiritual evolution. This course is a rich antidote to our quick fix culture. The readings and practices, accessible in their presentation and fine-tuned in their pacing, are a living companion on this long journey, to be sourced and re-sourced, over time. Access to this course was a profound gift as I entered midlife, and will be a touchstone and font of psychological and spiritual practice my whole life long.”
– Jenifer McKenna