Some days… some weeks… things just don’t seem to flow. This has sort of been one of those weeks, and I’ve been a bit of a mess inside. We had some unexpected bad news – a job loss – and in my usual patterned behavior, I start questioning, doubting, re-thinking, trying to plan and fix the situation with lots of worrying.
You know – questioning my decision to leave my fulltime job last year that was sucking me dry of energy, doubting my desire and pull toward creating a sustainable creative life for us, comparing myself to others, wondering how we’ll make ends meet. Sometimes it all seems so impossible.
Truth is, I start to go through this back and forth sway from paralysis in the things that truly feed and help my soul into a frenzy of over-doing, over-thinking, often unnecessary moves and decisions that end up putting me further away from my Wiser self, further away from my Playful self.
Which is silly because those are exactly the two facets of me that I desperately need when I don’t know what we’re going to do or how things are going to work out.
For a few hours this week I truly considered looking for another fulltime nursing job. I tell myself it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world (and it wouldn’t), and that I just need to suck it up and play the adult game, that my deep dreams and ideas don’t matter, that planning and working for the financial future is the ‘responsible’ thing to do – even if it means taking a job my heart is not in because it’s the best pay I can get with the credentials after my name. It would be the logical thing to do in the average person’s mind, I think – you know, not living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, having benefits, saving money for retirement or a house or vacation for us.
And I’m a good nurse. I love my patients. I love the connections and learning from them. I like feeling helpful. It’s just a load of other horseshit that goes along with the profession that I hate. And then there’s this – I’m a good nurse because I’m good at most things I set my mind to (except origami…?). As Stephen says – Just because I’m good at something doesn’t mean I have to do it. And I surely do not want to become one of those burnt out bitter nurses that we’ve all encountered….
But there’s even more than that. I have been reacquainted with a side of me over the past six months that I had completely forgotten about while living the life I was living as a nurse, with not one drop of energy left for myself or anyone else at the end of the day – let alone for any creative endeavors.
I woke up a side – no, the very ESSENCE of myself that makes me want to Live, Love, enJoy, Feel, Believe, Breathe. I have to write, paint, play and do the various intuitive activities that awaken my creative essence. I HAVE to. I need it like someone needs water and breath… it makes me whole. It centers me. It IS me. And it makes me a better person for the rest of the world. Bottom line. I mean, I can be a downright funky bitch when I don’t get my creative me-time.
It’s the foundation of my service. So a job that sucks that out of me just isn’t the right fit for me. Even if that means that we eat ramen for a few weeks, or that we sell a guitar for rent, or that I take a quieter more mundane job for half the pay because it leaves me energy at the end of the day to follow my heart’s beckoning.
We are blessed to be healthy and to live in a place where we can even make this risky decision. I am not ignorant of that – and, in fact, I believe we have a duty to honor the gift of those freedoms as best as we can, in order to live a life that is of most benefit to everyone we may influence in our day to day.
My heart calls me to different work, work that is deeper for me, work that is of greater service for my unique journey… work that is of a devotion that is encoded in my very cells. Do I know exactly what that looks like? No, not at all. But I’ve had a glimpse, a tiny taste since I’ve returned committed to my creative practice and our goal of building a life of vitality to our souls. And that taste has jolted me back into Life.
So I don’t know what’s going to happen exactly. Truly, we never do. I do know that there are options, though. There is another way not as obvious as the credentials from some degree or the well-trodden path. And that I don’t need to doubt every decision that has been right for me up to this point just because some silly unnurtured part of me never feels like she’s doing enough.
I need to be gentle with that part of me – gentle and reassuring – while I trust that we will be provided for, with exactly what we need, and that in the end, it will all be OK. Because it will – it always is. I mean, we are creative, after all, if nothing else. And when I say “we” – I mean everyone of us.
My Playful side says just keep moving, lighten up, smile, know joy, go with the flow, all is well, Silly – you will see. A job is a job, money is just another flow of energy – and it will come. THIS is Life.
My Wise side says be frugal through this tender time, stay humble but true to you, take slow steps forward not back, offer the universe your intention and let it go, and pray, Sweet One. THIS is Life.
So, though I feel like a mess throughout the day, I am guided. I am aware that really there is no mess at all – just blurred vision for the moment and an overactive mind latching onto the stability of old doubts and fears because that’s all it knows how to do in the conditioning of life and in the face of change.
I remind myself that change is good and that we are safe, and that there is honor to be felt and offered for being called to a Creative life – for both my Sweet Stephen and me. There is exactly the lesson we need in this, exactly the nudge we have been prepared for by a knowing greater than ourselves. There is harmony to be found even in the dissonance.
So I remind myself to be gentle and open, moment to moment – and to Pray, Play, Trust and Paint.