career · dreams · exhaustion · fulfillment · meditation · theater · work

Day 21

Today ends the 21-Day Meditation “Challenge” by Deepak Chopra and Oprah I’ve been following this last month. Today’s “thought” is about Fulfillment.

And despite coming home on Tuesday night (finally tucking into bed after a chaotic day of work and a busy night of rehearsal) and bursting into quiet tears of overwhelm, today as I get ready for the day, the soft tears are of a different sort.

Fulfillment.

Two years ago on Yom Kippur I was diagnosed with Leukemia. Last year around this time, I hosted an “I Didn’t Die” party and played in a band on the bass I’d carried for over a decade but never learned to play. This year on and around the anniversary of my diagnosis, you’ll find me onstage in musical theater, another dream set down for over a decade.

Fulfillment.

In workland, I continue to feel like the hockey player who gets checked into the boards, my own path crowded out by the demands of others and by the very nature of the perpetually-behind game in which I find myself. I continue to know that things need to change, want to change them, do research on changing them, … and haven’t (yet) changed them.

I continue to desire giving myself the “right” kind of time to flesh out ideas for a different mode of working, one that means more fulfillment, less time, more stability. I continue to lament that the nature of the game I’m in doesn’t allow for pausing. Except when you’ve been sent to the bench. Which I call Netflix-binging. But that kind of pause isn’t productive, and I know this.

I am looking for the space in which to create a different kind of life, to have the space to dream and plan and implement. And, it’s not this exact moment. Which can be really hard for me. Believing as I do, that my stasis in this position (over-working and underearning) creates a dissatisfaction in me that bleeds into other areas of my life, and keeps me feeling less-than and stuck and not ready or viable or worthy.

And yet.

As I’ve spoken of it, one foot may be in the bear trap, but the other is passionately trying to walk anyway – or, as in the Addams show, to tango. I continue to have one foot in the direction … no – in the reality of a vision and a dream of mine. It’s not the direction, it’s the reality.

And truly, how different I know this is than it was. To be in it, instead of dreaming of or lamenting it.

Can you be half-way fulfilled? I dunno. But, I do know that the hours spent in band, in rehearsal, in laughter, and in friendship are times of pure engagement, presence, and self-forgetting (sometimes!). That absence of commentary, of doubt, feels like the presence of fulfillment.

If I have created, and worked hard toward creating, a third of my waking hours to be ones of fulfillment, I have to acknowledge that the scale is tipping. It isn’t there yet. I still lament and cry and question if I will pursue, but those hours spent in joy …

*insert silent wonder*

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