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The Changing Values Landscape of the U.S. and How It Impacts Midlife Job Searchers

By Cheryl Lynch Simpson
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005

Imagine a huge river that has been flowing for centuries: See the thick underbrush that has grown up on either edge of the river’s expansive banks and the moss-lined stones that litter its shallow edges. Feel the power of water so deep and so strong because it has been pulsing through this landscape since the Renaissance, yet now this mighty river approaches a “Great Divide” such as has never been seen before in human history.

There really is such a river and such a Great Divide and you will witness their inevitable collision in your lifetime. Why does this matter? Because you will observe the Great Divide from within it and will likely experience personal and professional chaos as a result, especially if you now or soon face the chapter of life we call Midlife. To smooth your own midlife transition, you need to preview the chaos up ahead so that you can prepare to ride out the coming storm of change which you cannot escape except at the price of your life. But fear not, help is at hand! Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) research Dr. Paul H. Ray will guide us through the turbulence he foresees (through the archives on ( check out a summary of Dr. Ray’s research entitled “The Rise of Integral Culture”).

Through his research, Dr. Ray has discovered that this tremendous values shift now underway in the U.S will remake civilization as we know it. In the words of Dr. Ray: “At the threshold of a “Great Divide” in history such as this, the worst upset may be to know you are at a watershed where the given world diverges sharply from everything you have known, and have been, into the unknown.” He goes on to say that, “In the next two decades our world will either be dramatically better or dramatically worse. The one thing that cannot happen is just ‘more of the same’. … We are at a tipping point in civilization. This means we have to be ready to choose a good path. The quality of our ‘image of the future’, and the quality of our creative efforts based on it, will determine which way our future develops over the next generation or two.”

What does all of this have to do with you and your midlife transition? You stand at the threshold of your own personal Great Divide which will propel you into the unknown you may have been postponing. Your future life will either be better or worse. Which do you choose? Are you ready to choose a good path for the rest of your life? Do you know what that looks like for you? Do you understand how your creativity fits into this picture of your future life? Do you know what you value and why? Do you consciously make decisions that are based on your values? If these questions speak to your heart, then stay tuned for Part Two of this article as “News from the Great Divide” continues!

About the Author
Cheryl Lynch Simpson is a Spiritual Director and Solutions Coach who helps women discover and create the life they've always wanted to live. Cheryl is the author of over 30 print/Internet articles and the founder of Coaching Solutions For Women, a coaching website that produces and showcases career, business, and life solutions that improve the life balance of today's busy women. For a complimentary copy of her latest e-book, Ten-Minute Stress Zappers for Women Service Business Owners, visit (


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