Here’s an excellent article about Harvard psychologist, Ellen Langer, and her lifetime’s research into mindfulness.
I was impressed by her bestselling book of that name some years ago, and while I’m still often far from mindful, I am grateful that her words helped stimulate my thinking into the kind of learned behavior that’s so strong it becomes habitual.
Although her original study at the monastery was with elderly people, I suspect the positive ramifications of mindfulness for middle-aged people considering a career change are equally significant.
What I took from her book was to pay more attention to the seemingly inconsequential things and happenings around me. Why? Because it appears there’s a kind of living placebo at work within me that I’m not consciously aware of most of the time.
I found the easiest way was to begin with my breath since I enjoy running and exercise so much. Plus the automatic nature of breathing is fascinating in its own right and its gentle observation encourages a peaceful, easy feeling (as The Eagles used to sing.)
From that place of calmness eventually came another voice, one that I feel has my best interests at heart and, as far as I can tell, the highest good of others around me.
On a practical level I find this voice makes allowances for both the work necessary to put bread on the table, and the vocational aspect of what I truly enjoy doing; in my case, writing, teaching, reading and running.
The Harvard article also mentions Jennifer Aniston’s plans for a film of her life story.
That looks interesting. I didn’t know she had another book, Counterclockwise, out too.