As we move forward through these unsure times, I've been reevaluating the things in my life that I like and love and want to do. Some days (like today) I want to do nothing. I don't do nothing, because that's actually impossible. I actually value days with relatively little to them now. I used to feel shame and regret, and at times feel a little of that when I didn't pursue something new, but generally, I'm okay with a very relaxed existence. This might look like me getting up when I feel like it, messing around on my phone for a while, throwing things in my bag for the day after the nanny comes and then generally sitting in contemplation or waiting for inspiration while I eat some leftover cold pizza for breakfast at work. I use the term "work" loosely. Because, I have decided, oddly enough, to only do what I want at work too, so I have a hard time calling it "work" because these days the word seems to be synonymous with things we don't want to do.
It is a time of positive change for me. I have essentially left my life of being a therapist in pursuit of more creative and internal endeavors. Namely, running,ceramics, cooking, permaculture gardening, writing, video making and being with my children (not in that order though). I intend to include snorkeling, diving and free-diving to the list when we get to Hawaii (maybe even some underwater photography while I'm at it). I also like to attend small socially distant gatherings with like-minded souls to exchange deep ideas and discuss all that life has to offer. I'm telling you, it has been so wonderful.
I know this pandemic has not been a cake walk for many people and I want to acknowledge that there was a time in the not so distant past where I was in a vast amount of suffering and can feel empathy for that state of being. I feel like I must have had some very persistent guardian angels, because I ended up, against my will mind you, starting to say no to all these things that I had signed up for. One by one, all these ideas and pursuits I thought were the direction of my life, began to be impeded and fall away from me. Largely, my career as a trauma therapist, but also a lot of notions about beauty, judgement, comparison, my body, my effectiveness in helping others, consumption of goods, and expectations of others also began to depart. So in "honoring my knowing" as Glennon Doyle might say, I stopped doing all the stuff that was making me resentful toward my life and situation, which lets face it is pretty awesome. I got dealt a great hand, so I'm not going to pretend I wasn't born on 3rd base here.
I've watched this amazing channel on YouTube called "Exploring Alternatives" which is a channel dedicated to folks who have chosen a path of anti-American Dream and are pretty stoked about that choice. Some examples are conversions of school buses to tiny-home-on-wheels, living in the woods in a tent, living off grid, living in a yurt and getting by with the base necessities by choice etc. A life of non-ownership and minimalism that focuses more on experience than things, relationships over money etc. And I get them, I yearn for it. The freedom. I am deeply in love with this freedom that has entered my life. I love this idea so much, I don't ever want her to leave. I want to make her feel very at home in my heart and mind and I will continue to pursue her and ask her for inspiration each day.
I have to mention too how counter this idea is to how I was raised. And I don't just mean by my parents. I was raised by my peers in school who were all competing to get into the best colleges to get fancy jobs (high-paying or not). I was raised by the media that told me the key to happiness is in more TV and things. I was raised by teachers who were sadly trapped in a numbers game and so instead of inspiring, they judged and prodded me into conformity based on a system that was created for a world that no longer exists. Grades only measure 1/100th of the types of intelligence I have seen on this planet. What about music, spatial ability, emotional intelligence, animal intuition, sports, art, humanities, empathy and on and on. We all have gifts, and sitting in a classroom and regurgitating information may not be where they lay. I wrote an article called "Working with my Hands" about this very thing, because, sitting for most of the day and having to listen to someone drone on about something is a terrible waste of my life.
I have to say too, that just because something is hard doesn't mean it is not meant for you. All things that have been worthwhile in my life had to come with some level of trepidation. Asking my husband out, getting sober, saying no to being a therapist in the traditional sense, starting my gardens. They were all hard, but abundantly fulfilling. The saying "easy come, easy go," is around for that very reason. But torture, and ick, and the not wanting to get out of bed because if I have to listen to one more person complain I'm going to start throwing things and screaming...well, maybe it's time to reevaluate what you do. Here's the deal about me as a therapist too, and I feel a whole article about this coming, but I wasn't full myself, so I couldn't fill anyone else up. My spiritual bank account was slim to zero, so when my poor clients or coworkers needed a bit of a withdrawal I was churning up my insides to give to them. It was bad. I wanted to give so badly, but I just didn't have it. I don't know if I ever will again. It sounds nice, like something a nice person would do, so I did it for a while. I'm just done pretending to be nice, when really I might not be as nice as I wanted. I'm not a saint, and my pursuits these days are a little more selfish, but at least they are honest. And they feed me. I'll tell you what though, if you want to join me in my garden and talk about life and hang, and grow things, and have deep conversations about the origins of the Universe and how weird this whole life thing is and laugh and cry together, I can do that. I would love to do that. I can do that all day long. In fact, a coworker is putting together a little garden shack/writing office/pottery studio for me and pretty soon I may even have a chair or two to sit on to discuss things. The next chapter will unfold, and I'll adjust. This time though it's going to have more snack breaks.