Monday, August 23, 2010

Chirp, Chirp

I believe it has been around six weeks or so since I last posted, and that post was my last day of work … that work. A lot has surfaced since then.

My plan was to give myself a month … a “dream month,” bought for and paid by my former place of employment through my unused four weeks of vacation, hence the month. Although it’s quite arbitrary to think that a person will come to realize all that they must within a designated time frame, having one provided a balance of practicality and creativity.

My dream month was filled with a blend of wondrous nothingness and predetermined purposes. Each morning I rose when I did, hoping to catch the wake of an early morning hour, so I could taste the sweetness of sunrise. To me, there is nothing more magical and calming as the quiet of the morning hour.

Most days, after I completed my morning journaling and cup of coffee, I summonsed by dear dogson, Charlie, and we headed out for an adventure. This part of the day was something we both looked forward to.

By 10 a.m., I would begin to feel a sadness creeping in—a mourning of sorts as another day was about to come and go. It wouldn’t hang around long; just a passing. The afternoons were always up for grabs. Some days I listened to music lying on my bed, allowing myself to be inspired. A few different creative projects were given birth because of it. Other days I cleaned and organized my house, had dates with friends, played arts and crafts, or went swimming in my aunt’s pool.

Besides the rest and relaxation of my mind, body, and spirit, a number of practical things were accomplished during this time. I planted two gardens—corn in the back yard and a bed of perennial plants in the front yard. My husband and I planted the perennial bed together, which I felt was super meaningful and symbolic. It was beautiful.

I also constructed a compost bin in the far corner of our back yard. That felt really, really good to complete.

Yoga has been a physical practice that I’ve enjoyed over the years and it has always provided me with a greater sense of balance, so I signed up for a seven-week unlimited yoga pass. It has been working wonders on my body, mind and spirit. I’ve been feeling incredibly balanced and centered. I still have a few sessions left.

Lastly, I took a four-week Memoir writing class at a local writing center. There were only four classes, one each week, so it went by really fast, but I learned a ton. Words can’t begin to capture the shift that happened in me as a writer from taking the course. It was significant and is helping me to move forward creatively. I’m really thankful.

So, this is all the stuff I’ve been doing on the surface, but honestly, I really have been spending my time living below the surface. I’ve been deconstructing beliefs and thought patters, and I’ve been excavating blocked areas within my self in order to gain a better sense of my Self. I’m not talking about pumping up my ego-self…I’m talking about reconnecting with the real me, the one who changes at all times, in all spaces, in all places, who loves and shines bright. It’s been nice to reconnect.

It’s nice to feel at home, within. It’s even better than spending time at my mom’s house.

A few questions, big and small, have been answered:

1). Do you want to work for your own company? Yes, I want to give breath to it … give it more life by utilizing all the communication skills I have learned by working with and for other people, combined with my own innate skills. This can be done in alignment with my desire for flexible and creative entrepreneurship.

2) Are you a creative person? Yes.

3). Are you allowed to find your own rhythm to living life? Yes.

4). Can you create the life you desire? Yes, by taking action each day, small or big, that’s in alignment with what I desire, and by staying present.

Some questions still remained unanswered:
1). Exactly how will you pay your bills?

2). How can I sustain this feeling of balance?

This post is the start of me coming out from my incubation. The shell has cracked. Who knows what we will find.

Friday, July 9, 2010

And So It Is Here

It’s here … my last day in the office. I’m getting ready to head out in just a few minutes.

Seven months ago when I started this blog, the reality of me stepping away from my current employment seemed untouchable. Since it has provided my husband and me a steady source of income and benefits, it felt impossible to give up. Yet, the impossible turned out to be possible and I’m letting it go, with peace, joy and gratitude in my heart.

I’m not sure what the future holds. The only thing I am sure of is that tonight, at about 5:30 p.m., I will be on my way for a summer Columbia Girls gathering (my college girlfriends). Perfect timing, right? I couldn’t have asked for a better way to transition into this next stage of my life.

My husband always tells me to not make a big deal out of the decisions I make, such as leaving this job. He says, “Decide like it’s nothing; no big deal, and move ahead. Don’t act like it’s a big deal.”

I understand his advice. It makes sense logically. There’s no need to give it more than what it is, a decision. Yet, there is an emotional and spiritual aspect to this decision that isn’t so much drawn to creating drama around it, but to honoring the passage.

Thanks for walking with me.

I look forward to sharing the events, feelings and insights that unfold over the next five months. The whole intention of this blog was to document for one year the journey of making decisions in life based on the commitment to living aligned with our innate joy and bliss. It is an experiment, a test of faith and destiny. Could it be possible to actually make decisions that don’t seem logical, but that answer the call of the spirit, and that it turns out not just being OK, but perfect, whole and complete?

It’s not about grandness, but precision.

It’s not about knowing in advance, but trusting.

Only time will tell.

Quote of the day: “The world is not interested in what we do for a living. What they are interested in is what we have to offer freely - hope, strength, love and the power to make a difference! ” —Sasha Azevedo; Entertainer

God bless.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pushing Through

Quote of the day: “Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul.” —George M. Adams; US Representative from Kentucky

I am a walking pamphlet of anxiety. All the signs and symptoms are evident in my waking life. If you put me on the cover of the brochure, you wouldn’t need to write anything. All people would have to do is look at me and they would be educated.

It’s very uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s odd or uncommon to feel such anxiety when making a big life change, as I’m doing beginning on Friday, but it doesn’t mean that the knowing of this makes me feel any less anxious. It just gives me one word to express the 10,000 emotions I am feeling. In a nutshell, I’m feeling anxious.

The foundation to this anxiety isn’t the life change, though. It’s me not feeling grounded and centered in myself. I’ve been through enough changes, risks and adventures in life to know that it’s not so much the agent of change that is causing these feelings, but instead the place I am at, or not at, within myself. When I’m feeling grounded and in touch with my spirit, I would feel excited, alive and inspired, not this intense feeling of dread, fear and disconnect. Thankfully later today I have my last meeting with the counselor I’ve been able to see on a temporary basis since I have been working at the university. This has been one of the many great benefits to being employed by the university – free short-term counseling!

When I was on one of my soul-searching cross-country trips some years back, I had an overwhelming urge to get a tattoo on the inside of my left forearm of something that symbolized balance of the mind, body and spirit. At that stage of my life it became evident to me the importance of this balance. I recognized then how, for me, this balance was the essential truth I needed to understand in life. And, for some innate reason, I felt the need to tattoo it on my body, which I did in Black Hills, South Dakota. Right near Mount Rushmore.

The reason why I am expressing this is because for the last few entries I have been inclined to write about this need for balance, as it is the most pressing issue of all for me at this moment. And yet I haven’t been able to settle into myself as I would hope over the last few weeks. I’m not exactly sure where the resistance to do so lies, though I trust and pray that I will be able to do so once I physically, emotionally and spiritually get through this time and space of “leaving the job.”

Maybe I’m passing through the birth canal, if you will, and that can’t be comfortable for any parties involved. Hopefully in the end, everyone will be smiling and it will have been worth it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Washing My Eyes

Quote of the day: “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.” —Alex Tan

My dear boss informed me yesterday that the office will be taking me out for a going-away-party lunch on Friday (with cocktails) and that I am to go home after the party because it doesn’t make sense to then go back to work, even though next Friday (July 9) is my official last day. I was really touched by this invitation and am looking forward to it.

So I’ve been brainstorming gift ideas to give my fellow comrades at the party. My closest friends know that I’m not really a “gift” person, meaning I’m not someone who buys “stuff” to give others. I’m more of a heartfelt, tell-you-I-love-you and appreciate-you kind of person. Thinking about Friday’s lunch has started to make this leap feel much more real, along with me filing away all the miscellaneous stuff on my desk. I continue to point out how influential the past month of busyness has affected me, and today I see clearly how detached I am from the reality of me about to step away from this office. I know there has to be way more emotion hidden beneath some layer inside of me because I am a super emotional person, and up to this point, the well has been pretty dry. I did, however, have a small breakthrough today.

I wasn’t up for exercising on my lunch break because our morning meeting ran late and by the time we ended, I was too hungry to work out. I needed to eat lunch. So instead, after I ate, I journeyed to my favorite retreat spot on campus, the University’s chapel, and picked up a cup of coffee.

Last summer I spent many, many lunch hours in the chapel reading, praying or resting. It is a beautiful, majestic space. I often prayed for the wisdom, patience and spiritual strength to make a change in my work life. And now, one year later, I’m making the change … the layer began to peal.

I thanked the chapel for holding me this past year, for allowing me to express my feelings and for giving me a space to connect with my innate holiness. I cried in gratitude.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Delicate Art of Balance

Quote of the day: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” —Helen Keller; author, lecturer, activist

Part of this “regrouping of Self” effort I’ve put into place over the past week has been to sit in silence. Oh, I forget how restful it feels to spend time alone, in the quiet, only to hear the sound of the moment. I think it’s truly the only time I am actually present. I love how you can feel the present in moments of silence. It fills me up like a delicious meal.

Another important element to this rejuvenation effort has been to spend more time in nature. Just the other day when I was spending some quite time alone my spirit was instantly drawn into memories of being on the beach in Kauai. Because it is such a special place of peace, harmony and balance for me that whenever I feel inklings of these feelings I am immediately reminded of my time there. The elements of nature are so exposed and accessible, and they always seem to spark visions and dreams for my future. Hopping on a plane and retreating to Kauai isn’t an option at this moment, so getting myself out in the beauty that surrounds me here in Central New York is a must, and has continually proved to be a necessity.

I am two weeks away from the leap and I find it ironic that before I was swept up into that crazy four-week span I was feeling calm, balanced and centered about the direction my life was taking. Even a few manifestations of creative work had appeared. Now I feel like I am slowly putting the pieces together to get me back to where I was prior to the storm. Truth to be told, there is no “going back” to how I was feeling before. It’s all about, and always is, moving forward from today with hope for balance and purpose. But I really do find it absolutely amazing how the center of our beings, though perfectly positioned in balance, can feel like a slippery slope with no grip in sight. I guess it’s all about building character … hmmm (see today’s quote).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weathering the Storm

Quote of the day: “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”—Alan Alda; actor, director, screenwriter

It has been a busy few weeks to say the least. I’m not into recapping the events that distracted me from writing. I am more interested in the fact that I always seem to dismiss the acts that bring me peace, balance and a feeling of connection when the business of life knocks at my door. This, to me, is critical awareness of my own patterns and behaviors that have led to repeated cycles of imbalance.

Why is it that when our to-do list lengthens our self-care list shortens? No longer does the immediate, knee-jerk answer of, “Because there is not enough time,” seem logical to me. It once did, but not anymore. It actually feels illogical to me that I would remove the rituals in my life that bring me peace and harmony in order to complete other life tasks. It’s illogical because I will have lost myself in the process of completing the tasks, which in turn will affect my experience when completing the tasks, i.e. I’ll become miserable, and potentially the outcome of the tasks. If anything is to be removed from my lists in order to get done all that I need to get done, it will be my external commitments or expectations.

This awareness of my pattern helps me to better understand how I am in the imbalanced space that I am in today; however, the real challenge is in me being able to change this pattern. Awareness is one thing, and a very important step in the process of change, but I must not stop there. The next step for me is being able to use my voice.

In looking back over the past three weeks, which included organizing the public relations, marketing and reception efforts for a benefit performance at our studio, along with coordinating our teachers and students in putting together presentations, and negotiating a new lease with our landlord, and at work getting 32 pages of content and photos to our designer, while unpacking more than 40 file cabinets at into a new filing system, I’ve realized that one way in which I could have also been a positive leader to my Self is by using my voice. What I mean by that is I could have asked for the time that I needed. More specifically, one of my daily practices that strongly influences the rest of my day is being able to sit quietly for a little bit in the morning. I could have asked my boss if I could alter my hours during those crazy weeks for me to be able to get the time that I need. Yes, she could have said no, but I just assumed that I didn’t have any options. I just assumed that I had no choices. I could have asked. I can’t help but to wonder how often I live my life according to the assumptions that I make.

I’m thankful I’ve recognized this pattern in me because I can choose to change it. Before, I don’t think I noticed the pattern.

I also realized one other important piece of my human-self puzzle during this non-writing phase, and that is I avoid writing when I am scared to feel, or in denial of, my emotions. This is a huge “Aha” moment, as Oprah would say, because I so desperately in my soul desire a life of literary art. And, it is precisely my ability to connect with my emotions that allows me to write because I am then feeling. If I’m not “feeling” life, then I have nothing to say because I am basically just living in survival mode.

However, the stress and strain was so intense that I didn’t want to feel any more than what I was feeling. I couldn’t have handled it! I needed to stay in survival mode in order TO SURVIVE! (hence why they call it survival mode).

Now, I’ve made it through … I’m on the other side. I have weathered the storm and am picking up the pieces of my Self one by one, starting with this entry.

Thank you for holding me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Not Your Average Spring Cleaning

Quote of the day: “Be yourself. There is something that you can do better than any other. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that.” —Unknown Author

The “new” work has begun. I’m in my third day of a four-day movement workshop and it has been quite the experience already. I’ve completely stepped out of my comfort zone in terms of “work,” and into my artist zone. This is all new territory for me. Well, not really. I need to be honest with myself. I have been doing this work for 8 years now. It just has now evolved into a new form.

There are moments where I am completely and utterly terrified. I begin to doubt my Self, my talents, my expression. I feel consumed by the fear of failure. And then, just when the darkness is ready to seal me shut for good, I muster the strength to reach my fingers, then hands, arms, head, shoulders, chest, hips, knees and feet out from under its curse and I step freely into the unknown. I perform.

Being with my husband, who is a professional artist, for the past six years, has had a tremendous influence on me. I’ve had the privilege to witness the life of a working artist. I’ve joined him in the studios, on the stage, in the classrooms and in the media. I’ve nurtured his growth in this city and state. I’ve been his right-hand woman; there to write press releases, resumes, biographies, grant proposals, business plans, flyers, contracts and invoices; to create videos and a web site. I’ve been with him, step by step, as he’s worked, and I’ve worked, to create the dance center of his dreams.

With all this time and energy spent being his partner, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from him as an artist. I’ve watched his mannerisms, how he interacts with the public, how he presents his work, how he communicates his passion, and how he represents himself as an artist. What most impressed me when I first met him is still what impresses me the most today, and it is his professionalism … the way he trusts himself in his work and his ability to not waiver from it.

What has been my greatest challenge in being partnered with an established working artist is that I’ve never felt there was room for me to pursue my creative passions full-time. I’ve always felt stuck, needing to work the day job to bring home the benefits and steady paycheck. Because of this, I’ve dismissed my own artistic dreams and desires. I’ve compared myself to him and felt “less than,” which has discouraged me on my own artistic path. And, to be fair, though not to blame, he has discouraged me from pursuing such a path, for he has lived the struggles, the highs and lows, free from the romanticized ideology of what it means to be a working artist.

I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth about this internal conflict if I didn’t touch upon the many times I’ve wondered what my life would look like, artistically and creatively, if I hadn’t married a professional artist. Would I have recognized and accepted my creative Self sooner? Would I have developed my talents faster if I hadn’t been putting them on the back seat this whole time? Would I have taken creative risks earlier before the mound of “adult” responsibilities bestowed upon my shoulders?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband, and I love being married to him. It’s just that I haven’t found room for my artistic Self in our marriage over the past six years. And I haven’t found the room because I never made it a priority.

Now, it’s a priority, and thankfully, he trusts himself enough to be still as I wipe away the dust from my once adventurous, free-spirited self and reintroduce her to our lives.

Spring Cleaning: To Do List - in no particular order and still in creation

1). Resign from my office job. DONE
2). Get a pug. DONE
3). Take some time off. IN PROGRESS
4). Act on my creative inspirations with movement each day. IN PROGRESS
5). Write on a daily basis. IN PROGRESS
6). Write a book.
7). Publish the book.
8). Plant a vegetable garden.
9). Landscape front yard and back yard.
10). Paint back deck and add flower boxes.
11). Have a baby.
12). Follow my bliss - do what feels good. IN PROGRESS