Through Midlife Transitions
Photo Credit: Martha Abelson
Whether it’s menopause, starting a new job or empty nest syndrome, life’s passages can make us feel lost, isolated and powerless. Sarah Karnes, the founder of Spiritual Nourishment, is a life coach for women going through midlife transitions who helps them reclaim their zest for life using practices in creativity, self-reflection and field psychology. Through workshops and individual coaching sessions, Karnes gives women the tools to feel more alive and move forward with unfolding their unique life mission. “I engage curiosity, compassion and humor to help my clients connect with their authentic needs and ideals, and explore how to achieve what they really want in their lives,” says Karnes.
Women are especially hard on themselves when they feel vulnerable or frightened. Karnes strives to help clients cultivate a kinder and more caring relationship with their body, mind and spirit. “Women need to become truer friends to themselves. We live in a world where we are always comparing ourselves to other people, whether that’s the mom at the PTA meeting, the coworker who just got a promotion or the celebrity whose life seems to be perfect,” says Karnes. “The truth is that nobody has it all together, and everybody’s situation is different. Making comparisons is an emotional and energetic drain. We wouldn’t treat our friends that way, and we need to stop doing it to ourselves.”
A willingness to change is required. Karnes’ approach works even better when women are proactive and engage in the changes they want to make, rather than wearing down until they hit a breaking point. “When we avoid change, it affects our health, relationships and energy dramatically. Women in midlife are realizing that they want to contribute more to society and make decisions for themselves. They want choices, to be seen with respect, and to be heard,” explains Karnes.
Karnes’ training began 27 years ago, when parenting turned her world upside-down and gradually drew her out of severe shyness. She is a practitioner of The Way of the Heart (TheWayOfTheHeart.com), a unique approach that transmutes old patterns and difficulties, allowing extraordinary guidance, empowerment and connection to come through. The Way of The Heart method helps women increase their courage, self-love and acceptance, overcoming cultural and hereditary limitations so they can be more authentic, claim their joy and make a powerful impact in the world.
Karnes supports women in making the shift from a fixed mindset in which they feel stuck in their present situation to a growth mindset where they are open to explore new possibilities. “You have to be honest with yourself about both what scares and what excites you. I also advise my clients to pay attention to inspiration that keeps coming back to them. Is there a thought or idea that pops up on a regular basis? Sit with that for a few minutes and see what it feels like. Imagine what it would be like to make that shift or who you might become when you take that chance,” says Karnes.
One of the simplest, but important things people can do during transition times is to give themselves regular breaks and pay attention to their breathing. “Deep, intentional breathing not only helps to reset the nervous system, but it literally gives us time and space to be responsive, rather than reactive. When you come in the door after a long day, take a minute to check in with yourself before unloading the groceries or starting on another project,” says Karnes. “Be mindful of your breathing, your energy, how you are feeling, and then you can shift your focus with intention instead of falling into the same negative patterns.”
Karnes also facilitates a number of workshops that encourage making shifts from the inside-out. “The group environment is emotionally safe and judgment-free. We all have areas in which we can be more courageous and confident, and it’s really very doable,” she says. Some of her workshops include The Art of Feminine Presence, Your Self as Your Friend, and Life Mission Exploration, and Karnes will customize an individual or group workshop depending on her clients’ needs.
We all have a remarkable strength inside ourselves and an innate capacity for love and joy, states Karnes. “When we invest in self-reflection and start to uncover our inner truth, we can move forward and embrace the messiness of life instead of fighting it; from there, we can intentionally create the life we want,” she notes.
Way of the Heart Level I and Level II courses are coming to Northbrook in February. Call 262-745-8362 for information and registration. Karnes is located at the Inner Balance office, 350 Pfingsten Rd., Ste. 107, in Northbrook. For more information, call 262-745-8362, email SarahKarnes@me.com or visit SpiritualNourishment.org.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.