I don’t pray in the prescribed sense – I don’t read from prayer books or kneel down by my bed in the evening to recite. Sometimes my soul calls out to the universe and an answer comes back to me when I have almost forgotten I had asked for anything. A long, long time ago my soul started to call out for balance, for joy and for patience. I didn’t believe I deserved anymore breaks, since my call for love and belonging had been answered in the most amazing way. And yet … here I am, recognizing another answer coming back.
The catch is, whenever I call out for something, there is first the demand of a price I have to pay. And, for me at least, it has always been the shedding of something I no longer needed or that no longer served me but that felt like comfort, “the way we do things”, socially accepted behaviors. Eleven years ago the price was losing my “good girl” image, risking everything (or so I thought), leaving things behind and decimating my list of “friends”. Oh, and plunging into the unknown, heart first.
Today the price I am paying is financial and professional comfort. And because I have been down this shaky road before, I know that comfort can be a curse in disguise, a slow shrivelling, a death. I called out for patience, joy and balance and the universe sent the bill: I had to quit a job of two decades which no longer fulfilled me, give up financial stability and have the courage to dive into the unknown, yet again. I know that, at some point, I will find what I need, I can feel it in my bones that there is no way back that I want and that the way forward is growth, but today my heart beats fast and the demons, suspecting their impending exorcism, are louder than ever.
Back from an amazing vacation with my family, I stepped foot into my new professional path and … freaked out. Comfort had tricked me into believing that I was all set, that the changes I needed to still make in myself were small and surface adjacent, that going forward was simply a cruising … . And when truth showed me differently, I freaked out. Today, at the bottom of yet another learning curve, looking up, drawing a breath, I felt overwhelmed. Panic ensued. Nothing new, I had felt this before, but I was never 45 when I had.
I chose to join a young and dream like professional team. They are all that I have been reading about in books for the past years and yearned for. They are excited about their work, they learn and apply what they learn in their work and look to always grow and be better. They respect each other and have fun together. They do emotions and truth. And before I could enjoy my excitement, my demons took over: I am the oldest, they were juggling IPhone profiles, speaking digital marketing and business jargon I had not heard since … the last book I read on the subject. I had brought a notebook and colored pens to highlight ideas I needed to remember; I was making myself memorize terms to google once I was out of their sight. They were explaining to me that what links us vertically is not office hierarchy but just our vision and common goal and that we are all empowered to use our gifts to further that. I had to bite my lip at least ten times today to ask, ok, so who is in charge? Through the day, learning about processes and making strategies for my going forward, I had to hold on to the metaphorical chair not to want to tell someone what I was doing, what my plans were, to ask if it is ok. And when I was told that I don’t need to ask for permission, but just act, I felt as if I was being spoken to in Chinese: surely, I must report to someone, ask someone for their agreement … .
I am surprised at how rigid I have become amidst comfort, how set in my ways. I used to say that I am flexible but I had no idea what that meant. Judging by how scared I got today, I know, more than ever, that this is precisely what I have to do. That this is a path that leads to progress, to growth, to building something amazing. Shedding the dead weight of decrepit beliefs is always liberating and always lightens. I have been so set in my ways that I feel the pains of change in my body: my jaw is tense all the time, I forget to breathe, my stomach is tied up in knots and my back muscles are locked tight. I thank the universe and my doctor that my safety net – my medicine – works. This is no easy feat.
I can still remember the days when I scrambled to buy a pretzel and a bus ticket and stayed inside because I had no money to do anything. And I fast forward a lifetime (it seemed) and remember the first moment I realized I was well enough financially that I was not even looking at what I was buying, at price tags or the balance on my card – I was that secure. So I asked for balance, right? Here I go: I got my first paycheck when I was 15. My last one was last month and a tsunami of prejudice hit me. (I would say out of the blue if I did not know that I allowed the tsunami to be built in me over the past 30 years or work). I am blessed with a partner who, for the past months, weekly, if not daily, tells me we are financially secure, that my wellbeing is more important, that she can support us until I course correct. And yet, the demons yell, out of their mind: of course, you enjoy all of these things, but what is your worth if you aren’t making money? How are you supporting your family? What is your contribution – to your family, to others? You have travel lined up, how can you justify traveling, enjoying it, creating, growing, if this puts a financial burden on your family? Most times I am able to just push this to the category of white noise but it is still too early in my transformation to be able to sustain that for long. There is always an earthquake in me before balance arrives. It likes to make an entrance. 🙂
Being able to make a change like this is an immense priviledge and a huge leap. The demons whispering constantly in my ear that I am probably not all that and that will go nuts in the process soon scare me. Bring me to the precipice of panic many times. But the drop into the abyss is prevented by the love I feel around me, by the joy in my heart brought on by learning and the gidiness I feel from time to time that I get to do something new.
Photo by Leslie Saunders on Unsplash