Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Take it Easy

Lately I have been feeling a little lost. And it is totally understandable why I am feeling that way. I have been living in Michigan these past few weeks taking care of my Mom after her knee surgery. In order to do that, I needed to put a few things in my life on hold. I took some time off from Anthropologie and I stopped pursuing my job search since I won't be available for interviews until I get back to Ohio.

It's not like I have been getting tons of calls for interviews anyway. I just had a feeling that if I came up to Michigan for three weeks, that would inevitably be the time I would get the call. And it's not like I was finding a lot of promising job opportunities in Ohio before I left. There were a few jobs that I was curious about, but many of them were things I wasn't qualified for - at least not on paper.

And of course, I have been away from my quiet, peaceful home life with Mark Johnson. Luckily the first half of our dating history involved being away from each other for a week or more at a time, so we are experienced at handling the distance. But it is definitely harder now that we are used to seeing each other almost every day.

Even though I wasn't on a clearly defined path before I came back to Michigan, at least I had fallen into some sort of routine. And more importantly, there was always the potential that something might change or an opportunity might pop up at any moment. Right now, I can't help but feel like the well is dry.

As you know from reading my blog, I believe strongly in the power of our intentions. By clearly setting an intention, we place our attention on that thing we desire. And conversely, when we are living our life without a specific intention in mind, it can feel like we are drifting aimlessly through the cosmos. Even though the universe has a plan for us, without that sense of engagement, it might be hard for us to see it. Or we might miss out on an important clue.

This feeling of being a little lost has also spilled over into my spiritual life. I have noticed that my meditations have lacked focus. My attention span during meditation often varies from one day to the next, but usually I have a few days within a week or even a two-week period where I am really able to connect to my higher self. Either through seeing colors and lights, or by feeling divine energy moving around or even within me.

Lately, my meditations have been a lot of thinking and planning. Or they have consisted almost entirely of daydreams. I am missing that quiet space in between my thoughts where I can "just be" with myself. In that space is where I am able to obtain my deepest truth, and occasionally come to some sort of revelation.

In short, I think I am stuck. In the past, when I used to get stuck I would quit my job, break up with my boyfriend, get a new haircut and start all over again. Like my archetype goddess Shakti, I would destroy to create. But right now I don't have a job to quit. And I really love my boyfriend. And I just got my haircut a few weeks ago. I am actually trying to grow it out.

So what is this calm, rational and Zen-like version of me supposed to do when I'm feeling stuck? The answer may surprise you. I know that it surprised me. The answer, at least for now, is to do nothing.

I was reading an article in Weight Watchers magazine about mindfulness. They had some really insightful tips on how to maintain your sense of equilibrium. According to the author, mindfulness keeps us aware of what we're thinking so we can live our lives purposefully, as opposed to some of the more common behaviors of living our life on autopilot, ruminating on the past, worrying about the future (one of my favorite topics) or wishing things were different.

Essentially, all of the things I am thinking and feeling right now are just part of my experience. And there is nothing I need to do about it, except to be aware. By bringing awareness to my thoughts and responses, and seeing the patterns that repeat over time (such as my knee-jerk reaction to destroy to create) I will be able to make different choices in the future.

There are many great ideas in the article, but one of them that really stuck with me was when the author posed the question: What would your life be like if you did only what was easy?

I had to think about that one for a while, because it was so counterintuitive to me. Take a moment and think about the phrase "taking the easy way out." Maybe it conjures up images of someone who is lazy or selfish. Or someone who is trying to shirk their responsibilities in some way. But what if that phrase could also represent someone who recognizes when they are pushing just a little too hard, or fighting an uphill battle and they decide to step back and re-group.

Now think about the phrase "go with the flow." Maybe it constitutes an image of someone who is easygoing and mellow, just sailing through life and accepting whatever comes. Someone who doesn't try to force solutions onto problems, only to find that they have created even bigger problems.

What if those two phrases really mean the same thing? I am curious about why my mind was so quick to judge the hypothetical person for doing what was easy. Yet my mind felt completely comfortable with, and even a little bit envious of the person who decided to just go with the flow.

So many times I have been told that something isn't worth having if you don't have to work for it. But is that really true? And how many times have you worked really hard at something, like I did at most of my jobs, only to find that it wasn't worth it at all in the end?

None of this is meant to say that I don't have a role in shaping my future. I do. And I will. But forcing myself to do something (anything!) just to give myself the illusion that I am taking a step forward at a time where I am clearly feeling confused and lacking direction is not going to help. And doing so might even put me in a position where I could potentially miss out on whatever it is I am meant to do.

Today I am choosing to accept who I am. To acknowledge where I am at. And to do what is easy. More importantly, I am giving myself permission not to worry about the potential consequences down the road from choosing to do what is easy. Worrying, although it comes easy to me, is actually quite the opposite.

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