Monthly Archives: October 2011

Happiness, Gremlins, and Clarity

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I’ve been in a interesting space in my head over the last few weeks. It’s questioning, fearful, uncomfortable, exciting, creative, and has the potential to move me to the next phase of my life. I am 100% certain that a new, and pretty awesome change is about to take place for me. I don’t exactly know what it is, or how soon it will happen… but I know it is coming. I’m not sure how I know…I just do.

I’ve always had a pretty good instinct so I will trust my instinct right now, knowing change is in my future… and it will be pretty awesome.

Because I am someone who knows when it is time to make a change, I also know that the changes I make will generally cause some upheaval in my life.  I also know that there are parts of the changes that aren’t enjoyable. The good thing is that these parts are manageable if I make sure to take the time to manage them. The areas that generally cause me discomfort or even pain when I am moving into something new, usually revolve around non-tangible things. The discomfort is almost always related to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what others will think, fear of causing others discomfort because my pursuit doesn’t fit into the mold of what they think I should do.  It is fear that really isn’t necessary but is always present in some form. I think that it is natural to have some fear when making a big change. The fear is there to help protect on some levels, but it is usually quite irrational and it generally fed by my “ego”…that annoying negative thought pattern that always has an opinion about my choices.

As I work on being open to whatever is next in my life, I’ve also been working on managing my fears and negative thoughts. There are two things I have been doing that seem to be working well for me. The first thing I’ve been doing is writing what are called “morning pages”. The idea came from a book I have,  The Artist’s Way. It’s about unblocking creativity. I’ve owned the book and supplemental journal for many years, but had never read it (that is a habit I have….buying books that go unread). As I was working on de-cluttering parts of my house I ran across them. I read the beginning of the book and decided to start on the Morning Pages. In the book there are many other things I could be doing to help open up my creativity…but for now I just need a method and space to clear my head of the things that keep me from being open to what’s next.

As soon as I get up in the morning, I head downstairs and sit down at my desk. I pick up my pen and start writing anything that comes to mind. Anything. I have to write 3 whole pages. The actual journal pages are pretty big, so it can be difficult to fill them up. I don’t censor myself or worry about my handwriting, grammar or spelling.  I just write. I write without stopping, without thinking, without judgement. I am barely awake when I start writing. You see, my “ego” hasn’t had time to wake-up to begin editing my writing. I write freely and purely from my heart.

It’s amazing how much better I feel after I “dump” all of my thoughts out in the morning. It really does clear my brain for the day. It clears my head of my irrational thoughts as well as gives me focus on the ones that need attention. It’s the closest thing to meditation that I have been able to do. It’s also pretty awesome.

The other thing I’ve been doing is a little harder to explain without sounding a little nuts! I’ll try to explain it though. 🙂  Once I am more awake, the negative thoughts start coming out of the dark recesses of my brain. Some call it the ego, my friend Jamie calls it her Chicken Coop (check out her blog!), and I call these negative thoughts my Gremlins. All I do is notice my thoughts. When a negative thought enters my mind, I acknowledge it and then move on. It’s simple but powerful. Once I see that I’m being irrational or negative with my thoughts I can move past them. In some of the books I’ve read, it’s also called “mindfulness” or being mindful…whatever it’s name is….. it is called “sanity” for me.

As I use these two techniques I find more clarity. Sometimes to get to clarity there is a lot of “stuff” you have to get through. I’m realizing more and more that my “stuff” is irrational stuff. It’s all fear based. It’s all based on my ego.  I’m working on quieting my negative thoughts and trusting my own instincts. My instincts have served me well, when I have listened.

A big change is on the way. I can feel it deep down in my bones. I can’t wait to see what it is. It will be good. It will be awesome…and it will happen soon….I can feel it. 🙂

I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

xoxo
e~

A lack of a 5 year plan makes some nervous. This post will not help with that nervous feeling.

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Somewhere in our lives we are taught that we need to grow up, be responsible, have a savings account, be insured, buy a house, get married, have a 401K, earn, save, plan and all of the things that supposedly make us “grown”. As I was thinking about this idea, I am not that person. I never have been (as you will read…I’ve tried to be)…but I am here to tell you that it doesn’t work for me. 
 In a post a few weeks ago I wrote about my lack of a 5-year plan. That thought has been on my mind a lot lately. I changed careers from one in a more creative field to one that is more stable. Before that I had many various jobs that make my resume look like a patch-work quilt of randomness… I am thankful for all of those amazing adventures. The places I’ve been, the lessons I’ve learned, and the amazing people I’ve met have made my life fun, interesting and pretty fantastic!
My current “career” path is one that has stability and longevity. It’s a “respectable” job that has all of the normal bells and whistles that make one “secure”. I have moved up quickly in my profession and now that I have reached the level of being a “leader” (I use this term loosely)… I’ve realized that I moved to my current position for the wrong reasons. When I began in this career it was truly a calling. A moment when I had a realization that I was supposed to become a teacher. It was random, sudden and urgent. It was clear I was meant to follow this path. I went back to school, got my degree and started to teach. it was awesome and I was pretty good at it! I taught for a while and began looking at options. The options were to move into a leadership role. 

My current leadership role came out of necessity (necessity because the position I was in was being cut) as well as a desire to make more money… eventually.  This isn’t how I’ve done things in the past. My choices are based on passion….this was based on money. 
I’ve ventured away from my calling….to “climb the ladder”. I don’t regret taking this detour in my life,  because it has allowed me to see that it isn’t the path for me. I won’t have to wonder if it was meant for me.  I know for sure. It isn’t.  I’ve learned that I like to work where there isn’t much that is black and white…where the possibilities outweigh the restrictions and creativity is looked at as a contribution to the greater cause.  Where rules are flexible or created as you go, where taking risk is celebrated and failure is a tool to learn and do something even better.  I’m never going to work for the money again. I’d rather live in a rented studio apartment and have my soul sing on a regular basis because I love what I do, than have lots of stuff that I don’t really need. 
As my realization grew that my current job isn’t “my calling”,  I’ve discovered that I’ve missed teaching. Teaching brings me great joy. I love sharing ideas, collaborating with colleagues and helping people discover new things. Teaching is as much about sharing as it is about learning. I miss that. A lot.Where I am now isn’t the right “venue” (for lack of a better word). It is too restrictive. I’ve had to box away parts of myself to fit into my current role. I was very idealistic when I took this job and the reality is clear…I need to be in a place where I can be creative, take risks and ask questions that may seem silly to others but that allow me to grow, flourish, and create. 
I miss parts of me that I feel like I gave-up to “grow up”. The risk taker, the parts of me that followed my heart (even when it makes others nervous or uncomfortable). 
In chaos comes clarity. I am working on finding that clarity. It isn’t easy, but the rewards are great. 

 Maybe that is why I am going through a phase where I really want to get rid of a lot of the stuff I have acquired over the years. It’s just stuff. And I think the more I am attached to my stuff, the more I feel I have to be what is considered ‘grown up’ so I can afford all of my stuff.
Sure, I know I need some things…. Money for food, bills, and shelter… clothes and books. Insurance is important. I get it. But I think I got lost in my desire to secure a job that made those around me feel secure about my future… and in doing so I was willing to conform to a point that doesn’t work for me. Now I’m realizing I need something different.  I am  thankful for the career path I’ve been on. It’s brought me so much joy through the amazing friends I have made as well as the millions of things I have learned about myself through the process…but I think I have come full-circle in realizing that somewhere on this journey I neatly put aside some parts of myself that I really miss.  I’m looking forward to “unpacking” and rediscovering the creative risk-taker that has been on hiatus for a while. 

 watch out world…I’m making a comeback!

~e