The MEA Process: Why We Need a Process for Midlife.

January 21, 2024

The MEA Process: Why We Need a Process for Midlife.

May 29, 2023

We are living longer. Today, if we live to 50 in America, we can hope to live well into our eighties. This demographic shift in life expectancy and the fact that we have not only increased our lifespan but also our healthspan means we have to radically reimagine our lives. Beginning with midlife.

Living longer means we face more changes and are called upon to recreate ourselves, to change and repurpose ourselves more than ever before in human history. The MEA Process has been designed to help people of any age understand the social and physical science of longevity and the art of living well Our process is based on the idea of “long life learning,” how to live a life that’s as deep and meaningful as it is long.

MEA offers three Pillars in the Process that build upon themselves: Navigating Transitions, Cultivating Purpose, and Owning Wisdom

  1. Change Happens - You Need to Learn to Transition Better

As we live longer, we face more and more change. Think of it like this; change is what happens to you; either because you chose it or because something happened to you or because the world changed.  According to research done by MEA faculty member Bruce Feiler, you can expect to face 36 big life changes in an adult life and upwards of three “life-quakes” (multiple changes happening at once). This means we are constantly having to transition in our lives, maybe losing a job, a relationship, a loved one, changing where we live, even how we live. 

Up until now, there has been no roadmap for how to get better at transitioning. Our Navigating Transitions week is designed to help you better understand the changes in your life; what it means to be in a transition and how not to get stuck in your old behavioral models that can end up leaving you feeling lost or incompetent.

Our Transitions week will take you on a deep journey to help you:

  • Do an inventory of the changes you are facing and the transitions you are in (beware, this inventory may surprise you)
  • Develop your overall transitional awareness - exploring The Anatomy of a Transition and understanding how transitions work (this will help both with your patience in transitional processes as well as giving you a clearer understanding of where you are struggling, stuck or just in-process)
  • Build your transitional intelligence or ‘TQ’ by learning how to manage your transitions more effectively and create an effective transition plan for the next stage of your life
  • Learn how to become more ‘generative’ in your transitions by learning to transition in ways that help you grow and transform no matter what is happening in your life.

There’s a Navigating Midlife Transitions online course starting at the end of February. . 

  1. Being on Purpose

We are all aware of how important purpose is to our lives and careers.  Research at Stanford by Dr. Phil Pizzo has shown how having purpose is one of the keys to a thriving life as we age. Knowing this can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse if we find ourselves asking “what the hell is my purpose now?”

As we live longer, we find that the idea of a singular life purpose can be hard to achieve. We have so many roles over the length of our lives that it’s easy to feel like our purpose is diluted or lost. Staying on purpose can feel complicated or even divisive for many of us. It’s a possession everyone else has, but we feel lacking.

Our Cultivating Purpose week recognizes this complexity and offers a framework for thinking about purpose that allows for the idea that the purpose journey over a longer life is a more nuanced thing.  During our week together you will:

  • Understand your values today and see how they match with your purpose(s)
  • Do a deep dive into your ‘Success Scripts’ and understand how your context has framed your thinking about purpose
  • Do an analysis of your “Purpose Portfolio”
  • Define your gifts and how they relate to your purpose
  • Design a more intentional purpose system that aligns with your values and interests
  • Create a purpose pathway to help you cultivate and grow your future purpose portfolio 

The next time I’m teaching a Cultivating Purpose workshop is in Baja March 25-30. 

  1. Owning Your Wisdom

Wisdom is what allows you to thrive and grow  as you age, to remain an important part of your community, your work and the world you live in.  But wisdom, like anything else worth having takes investment; not of money but of time, reflection and practice to understand and live in the wisdom of your own life.

We often say that Wisdom is ‘metabolized experience’ that is balanced with the compassion we gain over a lifetime. Wisdom is a distillation of your experiences into something more meaningful. You need time and personal space to reflect on and synthesize experience into usable wisdom. You also need other people to act as honest reflectors, wisdom is most meaningful in relationships with other people. 

The concept of Wisdom is the most important of our three offerings and it is grounded in some critical science and insight. It turns out that our attitudes and mindsets as we age profoundly impact our wellbeing and even our lifespan. In his research on Blue Zones, MEA faculty member Dan Buettner suggests that being in a nurturing community can add fifteen years to someone's life. Yale’s Becca Levy suggests that our mindsets about aging can add upwards of seven and a half years to your life.  How we show up in the world and how we are received in our community is the most profound reflection of our life’s wisdom.

The way we interact with other people and the way we feel about aging can fundamentally alter the path of our lives. Based upon this, we can either live a life of generativity or stagnation. In the MEA Wisdom pillar, we help you to reflect on the four key elements of wisdom: 

Self-Awareness

  • How do you notice yourself, your emotions and pay attention to the world around you?
  • How do you take your life lessons and experiences and use them as the raw material for future wisdom?

Develop Social Wellness

  • How to actively create and maintain friendships and connections as a core life practice.
  • How do you participate in a healthy community?

Being Generative

  • How to choose to grow options and possibilities in any situation.
  • How to develop practices that allow your wisdom to flow more naturally in every aspect of your life.

Transcendence

  • Exploring how we connect to our unique legacy and spirit to go beyond our own ambitions into something transcendent.
  • Understanding how to move beyond the self into intergenerational and long-term thinking.

Our co-founder Chip Conley is teaching our Owning Wisdom workshop in Baja April 22-27.

-Jeff

Jeff Hamaoui is a co-founder of MEA and Regen Communities and an entrepreneur, sage, wit, and poet.

P.S. from Jeff: I was talking with Mark Nepo today about our upcoming workshop week, February 5-10.  I have taught with Mark a few times now and each week is a special gift in my calendar. This time Mark is teaching about resilience and how we discover our own strength in trying times. 

What we ended up talking about however is his latest book (not ‘Surviving Storms’) but one he has just finished on friendship that I just wrote a cover recommendation for. Apparently the idea of slowing down is not interesting to Mark at all. The concept of friendship as a key resilience practice was so resonant and rich that I can see a course looking at friendship as a practice emerging from it.  I am so excited to spend time with Mark this February deep in these topics, experiencing the shiver of awe when someone expands and explodes your mind on something I really care about. 

I was asked recently who my favorite teachers were and Mark made the top of the list. If you are interested I would love to see you down here in Baja. I know it will be worth your time and it’s a great time of year to be here.

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

Apr 22, 2024
 to 
Apr 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Apr 22, 2024
 to 
Apr 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

April 22, 2024
 to 
April 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Apr 22, 2024
 to 
Apr 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico
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Life Begins at 50: Embracing Your Second Adulthood with Jeff Hamaoui

April 29, 2024
 to 
May 4, 2024
Baja, Mexico
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Radical Transitions: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself with Stacy Peralta, Christine Sperber & Teddi Dean

May 6, 2024
 to 
May 11, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

Apr 22, 2024
 to 
Apr 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Apr 22, 2024
 to 
Apr 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Owning Wisdom with Chip Conley

April 22, 2024
 to 
April 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Apr 22, 2024
 to 
Apr 27, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Life Begins at 50: Embracing Your Second Adulthood with Jeff Hamaoui

April 29, 2024
 to 
May 4, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Radical Transitions: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself with Stacy Peralta, Christine Sperber & Teddi Dean

May 6, 2024
 to 
May 11, 2024
Baja, Mexico