abundance · scarcity · vision

Idyll

10-11-18.jpegAs I continue with my spiritual, self-progress work, I’ve been returning to the idea of “ideals.”  In some groups doing this work, we’re encouraged to write a sexual ideal (where the rub becomes, “Okay, now go become that yourself, little one.”), and in other groups, we’re encouraged to write job ideal.

Unbidden, lately I seem to be creating these lists in my head like a master paint mixer, taking a little from ex-boyfriend A, a dash of B, a dollop of C.  And then stirring in a few qualities none of them may have expressed but placed them in the “ex” category to begin with.

I’ve been coming across some of these old lists as I’ve been clearing out my shelves of files and writings and I’ve set them to the side, information for later.  Soon enough though, later will be now and I’ll have to/want to read them and see what is the same and what needs adjusting.  What qualities were important to me then that I’ve now learned are necessities?  What qualities can I release as they don’t align with my values of today?

Similarly, I’ve been inking over again and again in my head the ideal of a better commute.  Because my previous job had a 13-15 minute drive time and is now an unpredictable 45-90 minutes…each way…I am feeling a bit grim.  So, I’m looking at the numbers: what does it cost to move, do I want to move, is my home location or my workplace more important?

And then I take a breath and realize that I’m trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.  The ultimate truth (for me!) is that I am running myself ragged for little benefit.  My return on investment here is not gleaning me very much, so whether I live in A or B or work at A or B really makes no difference.  I’m attempting to get some feeling from a circumstance it is impossible to get it from.

What I really need to do is to write a new set of ideals, with no holds barred, no scarcity Sirens singing me onto their rocks, telling me that’s not possible, eat your crumbs you ungrateful wretch, things are better than they were can’t you just stop here suck it up and eke it out til death?  Why look to the horizon beyond, that’s not for you, you were birthed in a harbor of hardship and must exist in a harbor of hardship like every other miserable wretch on this planet? What makes you any better or different or deserving?  Head down, row your oar, eat your soggy peas.

(I do wonder if this voice is familiar to you, Reader, too?)

What I really need to do is to unfetter my eyes and unbury my heart so that I may feel into what it is I’m being called to do next.

This may be a several year process (in fact, I imagine it will be… but then again, I must remind myself humbly of the unlimited power of Grace and that I always think things will be harder than they end up being!), but it doesn’t matter initially what the “timeline” is or what the destination is.  What matters now is that I simply(!) allow myself to look up from these teensy movements of pennies here to pennies there, and open to the wider vista that is calling to me.  To notice the kind friend ushering me laughingly to join her on this warm, nuanced, burgeoning adventure.

 

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growth · scarcity · truth

I’m a teacher, so…

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I spoke this quasi-sentence on the phone Monday when talking with a potential couples’ therapist.  She and I were getting to the brass tacks portion of the conversation, settling in on the, “How much is this gonna run me” dialogue, and I offered up that half-phrase.

“I’m a teacher, so…”

What implications are in that sentence?!  I am underpaid; I don’t have any money; I cannot afford your full fee; I cannot afford even close to your full fee; I am in a profession in which I will never afford your full fee; I am poorly paid; I am undervalued.

Oh, honestly.

Whose “fault” is this? Well, surely, I could say it’s the “system’s” fault, it’s America’s fault, I could even say it’s the president’s fault.  And while each of those might have grains of truth, there is no honor in blame of others.

To be clear, a) it’s my “fault” I’m a teacher, and b) I’m manipulating the codified undervaluing of our country’s education system to seem poor and weak and un-robust so that I can get a deal on something.

I realized in recounting this later, that this is such an “underbeing” phrase! How can I stand in one breath and tout the munificence of the Universe AND ALSO pervert the archetype of the broke teacher to my benefit?

Maybe you have your own version of the above sentence?  I’ve certainly said iterations of the same: “I work in nonprofits, so…” “I’m a student, so…” “I’m in the arts, so…”

I don’t enjoy realizing that I’ve capitalized upon the pity, or generosity, of my fellows to cajole a few dollars out of them, but I do appreciate learning that my understanding of my profession as an “underearning” one lurks beneath my thoughts, as does the notion that I need to depend upon others’ pity to have what I want in life.

It will be up to me to change the thoughts, or to change my profession (which I don’t wish to happen any time soon), or to increase my income in alternate ways.  In any case, using my “pain” to foster empathy in others is a low (and borrowed) form of power, and I vow to give it up, even a day at a time.

 

 

 

abundance · joy · scarcity · time

Chunk.

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During a professional development on Executive Functioning last week, they expressed the need for students to Chunk.  “Chunking” is looking at the big picture of an assignment and breaking it down into bite-sized chunks of Time.

Have a 5-page paper due in 2 weeks?  Here’s how you back-track and pencil in smaller tasks… so it’s not the night before with 5 empty pages before you.

To varied success, I use a chunking practice for my own time, much as I use a spending plan for money.  To write my “time plans” I sit with a hot cup of coffee, a fresh piece of paper, and (most importantly) a pencil.  From there, the first item is always, “8 – 8:05am: Coffee and Time Plan.”  And I catalogue the day’s tasks on.

The frothy thing about a time plan is that it’s…fluid.  Moveable, crunchable, expandable.  And by “frothy,” I mean “maddening beyond all belief.”  Took 6 minutes to write your time plan, not 5?  Mom call you at 8:10, during your 30-minute journaling?  Run into a friend at the store and spend 15 minutes in a chat? **Eek!**

Time plans are fluid because my day is not a Swiss clock.  I find this troubling.

When I put my time into a plan, I feel like I have order, control over my day, my life, my emotions, destiny, successes and failures. But time, and experience, are wily bitches and I can’t pin them down any more than a mud wrestler.

Because I’m scared, much as with money, that there will never be enough. Our time here is short.  Yet I don’t want to strangle life so firmly that I don’t enjoy it!

Time is not to control, but to partner with. Time is a kid running up a forest trail ahead of you, then lagging behind to witness a beetle’s progress up a leaf.  I must be open to that fluidity… but I also must have a general map of our path through the forest.

There can be side trips and cavorting in crystal streams — indeed there must be, or I shall die — but without a destination, I am too lost in the forest of life (and procrastination and Netflix).

So my task for now is to be looser with my time, to recognize the abundance of it.  To deeply know that if I aim my time in the direction of my dreams, there will always be enough — whether or not I finish my blog at 8:55am.

commitment · faith · fear · scarcity · stagnating · work

oh, that again.

So, I’ve restarted my work on relationships with a new mentor, someone who shares the lineage of the woman I’d been working with, which means that this morning, I got to read aloud my entire sad history of relationships and sex. Again.
Good. Times. 
Interestingly enough, though, I was struck this morning about how my avoidance of or aversion to commitment in relationships parallels my aversion to commitment in my career and work-life. 
I’ve said and heard it a thousand times: Romance and Finance are two sides of the same coin. And I knew that working on one would bring about change or awareness in the other. 
But, somehow rereading my pattern — of splitting when things get weird, or choosing partners I don’t want, or not being open to those men who are into me — highlighted what is happening for me in career-land. 
A friend said to me last week that it sounds like it’s time for me to choose a career path. Not a job. But something I can follow through on. 
Eek. I hate that. I’ve always hated the idea of having to choose one thing. But I recounted this all to my mom and told her that it’s similar to how I had to choose theater over music. I miss music. And it’s not like I’ll never play again, but I had to choose to put my creative efforts into theater if I wanted to get anywhere with it. 
I hated that. I hate that I can do and be so many things, and I have “so much potential,” and so many varied interests, that choosing one is incredibly frightening for me. Like I’ll choose poorly, to quote Indiana Jones. What if by choosing theater, I’m turning my back on a fate in music or painting? What about all the other roads my life could take?
And yet. By not choosing one, I take no roads, or follow a little of each, and I feel stymied and frozen. 
Commitment leads to freedom in that way. 
And when it’s going to come to career, I’m going to have to choose. Sure, I could easily and very successfully be: A teacher, a writer, a psychologist, a mediator, a community engagement executive. 
I could be any of these things. Hell, I could even be a doctor or a lawyer or a spaceman if I wanted. 
Well, maybe not a spaceman
But I haven’t wanted to choose. Because what.if.I’m.wrong
What if I choose something and it doesn’t turn out well? What if I fail at finding “my calling” this lifetime? What if NONE of those things listed above actually make me want to get up and go to work?


What if I put my trust and faith in the wrong career, or — to parallel — in the wrong man?
Well, sorry, lady, you gotta eat. 
And you gotta choose. 
Sure, people change careers throughout their lives, but I’ve changed mine so many times before age 30 that I think I’ve played that card out. 
Therefore. One of these things is going to have to be it. Whether it makes my heart sing or not. No, I didn’t want to “give up” music. But I did, and the theater thing I love, even if it’s slowed down for now. 
None of the above professions makes my heart sing, per se. There’s no glow surrounding any of them saying, Pick me Pick me. But each inspires me to help bring others together, to inspire others to heal, to bring unity into the world. 
So, no. I don’t know, still, what I want to be when I grow up. But I am warming up to the idea of choosing one path. And actually moving forward on it. 
courage · dreams · fear · fulfillment · hope · scarcity · self-denial

Life: Whether you Like it or Not.

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For many years, I’ve considered my personal and professional
stagnation as though I were a traveler sitting at the base of a crossroad. The
sign pointing in many directions reads any manner of options, but I sit there,
gazing at the sign for eons, waiting for one of the arrows to light up, to
indicate, This, here, Molly, is the way to go. This is the path to your
destiny. This is the path to fulfillment, release, energy and passion. It may
be cloudy at parts, but we promise, this is the way toward your highest good.
Yet, signposts have an annoying way of being inanimate, and this revelation has never happened.
But as I sit today, I recognize something new. Beyond the
fork in the road, I’m beginning to see another path that I hadn’t identified
before. It’s the path of my true desires.
I have sat waiting for the gods to tell me a or b, but
secretly, I’ve always wanted c, and refused to see that as an option. “It’s
hard for your to let yourself dream,” a therapist opined recently.
And it is.
To speak aloud what you truly want is to invite criticism
and disappointment. Better to keep the dreams locked tight, even to the
detriment of myself, because it’s “easier” than going after what I really
want.
The problem with that pattern is that it means you don’t
develop a history and a catalogue of places where you have moved beyond those
doubts and spoken up, acted up, been seen. And so you continue to assume what
you really want is not something you can have.
The history of denying what I want is long. It is best to be
quiet, unheard, unseen, have few needs, because the lower you set the bar the
easier it is to meet the meagerness.
I reflected yesterday on the way to our preview night of the
play how you can always set yourself up to “succeed” when you place the bar
achingly low. When you paint over your dreams with “realistic expectations,” you’re never called to reach out of your comfort zone. You can sit on the couch
watching Netflix until the end of time, eating peanut butter out of a jar, and
quietly erode all sense of the divine spark within you.
Not that I’ve done that. (wink)
But the divine has a way of being omnipresent, no matter
what you do to ignore, dismiss, or erode its guidance and encouragement.
I haven’t a clue what experiences I’m opening up to as I watch this
third path unfurl before me. Recognizing foremost that I’ve denied myself the
ability to see what I’ve always wanted is a start. Recognizing that I’ve
refused to acknowledge that I can have what I want, that my needs don’t have to
be pauperistic, that it is safe in the reality of today to express myself is a
start.
I’ve written many times before about the emerging option of
being safe and seen. Safe doesn’t mean “not bold,” or setting the bar low,
here. It means that I am not going to be punished for wanting what I want this
lifetime.
This is a hard concept for me to integrate. But, more slowly
than I would really love, I’m accepting that the sanest, safest, and surest way toward
fulfillment is actually believing it’s available. Whenever I’m good and ready
to set down the peanut butter and walk toward it. 

action · caree · exercise · recovery · scarcity · self-care · work

The Dailey Grind

So, here I am, back to my Monday morning shift at The Dailey Method exercise studio! My 5:30am Monday morning shift…!

I arranged to have a sub for me during the weeks Addams Family was in performance (and then an extra one last Monday, since, hey, I was tired!). Now back to a 5am Monday morning wake-up call again. But I do think it’s worth signing people into class and folding towels for three hours in trade for the free unlimited classes I get. Granted, I’ve been so tired and busy lately, I haven’t been able to come at all. And my muscles feel it. But I’ll be back soon.

In the meantime, I get to use this time (despite the thumping music in the studio room) to do job research, … and do a little line memorization. Today will be the first run-through of Act 1. There’s a lot more for me to learn, but I’m glad I decided to take it (more) easy this weekend.

I still didn’t get done all of what I wanted, or study my lines as much as I’d have liked, but progress. I feel like I’m staving off the cold that I was about to succumb to. I got to clean some things up in the apartment, and I cancelled the non-necessity engagements.

Interestingly enough, I was approached yesterday after rehearsal with some potential work opportunities, but until there’s more conversation, it’s all ethereal. That said, it was gratifying to see that people notice what assets I can add and what skills I have. More will be revealed on that part.

It’s also time to work on the final (for now) section of amending relationships that don’t sit well with me. Third and final is, huzzah, work. Specifically my current employer.

Funny to me that I wrote this list back in the summer, and now as it’s my last week of work there, I’m getting the chance to work on this now. There’s nothing in specific that I need to necessarily “make amends” for; it’s more about attitude. It’s also about showing up on time(!), which this week will be harder, as I flit from dentist appointment to interview to… another dentist appointment.

Did you know that Covered California doesn’t cover dental? I didn’t! Until I was reclined underneath my dentist’s light last Friday afternoon, and she said, Yes, you do need these fillings — and then dropped the “not covered” bomb. Hence the several appointments this week.

So, that’s more information as I continue on my “looking” path. In fact, my dentist had a great recommendation for an alternative private school, and I just applied to them a minute ago.

I have my second interview tomorrow with the alternative private school I met with last week — whom I told I would only be available to work 30 hours per week. And that seemed to go over fine. With the wage I asked for (which I’ve been regretting I didn’t increase), I’d be able to make the same amount as I do now working 40 hours a week. I have my fingers crossed — but if it’s a good fit, it’ll happen, and if it’s not, it won’t.

The school is also located in the middle of an industrial park, office-building wasteland in Walnut Creek. Which is quite the far cry from the verdant landscape outside my current office in North Berkeley. But, sometimes you make compromises!

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on what I can do at the job I’m at now, watching my attention, (my facebook time!), and how I’m interacting with my coworkers. It’s not any of their faults that I am not fulfilled at work and therefore it’s not fair for me to seethe toward them, or show up late as a petulant rebellion.

I have no doubt that part of my amending my relationship with my current job is, a) to leave, and b) to understand what it is that got me into that relationship to begin with so I don’t end up here again with another employer.

All of those on my list are relationships I have stayed in too long, out of fear, out of scarcity, out of an idea that I can’t get what I truly need.

(I hope) I am taking action and self-inventory that will help me to move forward differently. That I’m gaining a semblance of understanding that I don’t have to sell myself short; that with work and vision, I can get where I want to, and be the person I want to. I can have the life I want to live, and I don’t have to demonize those who are not behaving how I want them to.

The only person’s behavior I can change is my own — and, well, I believe I am. (Come what may!)

adulthood · adventure · direction · dreams · fear · responsibility · scarcity

Light in the Dark.

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According to my pock-marked memory, my dad held at least 5
jobs, sequentially, during the time I was growing up. Every few years, he
seemed to move on to a new job, eventually landing someplace he retired from.
My mom variously was engaged in the following classes or
hobbies:
bread-making
cake decorating
special effects make-up
Mary Kay-style beauty product sales
crocheting
knitting
part-time make-up artist
The closet became filled with half-finished projects and tools of a trade long abandoned. 
My dad also told me a few years ago that he rarely finished
projects he began around the house (the wallpaper all done, except for that
spot there; the fireplace paint stripped, but not re-stained) because of his
own childhood lesson that if you finished something it could be criticized.
And I wonder what of this I’ve “inherited” through observation.

I’ve realized the Fulcrum idea only works if I’m earning more per hour and
working fewer hours. It doesn’t, and won’t work, if I’m only working fewer
hours!
I feel a little afraid today. Afraid that the time I’m
intending to “buy” for myself will be eaten up by odd jobs in order to cull a
living.
I guess I mention my parents’ work habits because I’m afraid
that I’m like them. And can certainly see the seeds and small shoots of their
behavior in my own.
Molly doing theater. Molly doing all organic cooking. Molly
in a band. Molly wanting to take math classes, tutor kids, fly a plane. Molly
quitting another job. Again.
And.
I’m not sorry I’m doing this.
It’s funny. Last year, playing bass in a band, I said I was
finally living out a teenage dream I’d never let myself have. If I were more
honest with myself then, I would have studied theater in college or engaged in it
then. I would have tried the magpie
lifestyle then. I would have held odd jobs, instead of the immediate office jobs.
I would have been a mildly responsible but creatively
engaged young adult.
But, I wasn’t. That wasn’t my experience, and that wasn’t
allowed. Coloring outside the lines was not allowed in my house. Or so I
understood it.
I thought last night about this past year+ since returning to
work post-cancer. About how I’ve been doing the things that a teen and
20something would do. It logically does
follow that my professional work pattern would change, if I’m sort of going
back to live the kinds of experiences I’d aged myself out of then.
And perhaps I’ll do them differently than I would have at 20
or 25. Perhaps trying to live outside of the lines at 33 is easier, or more
grounded. I don’t know. But I do see that I seem to be veering toward a life
that a lot of young people live, as if I’m reclaiming a lost youth, a lost
innocence and curiosity and naïveté.
Is it “fun” to
about to launch into the unknown? Well, yes and no. It’s fun to feel engaged in
the creative world and think outside the box. It’s less fun to know the
realities of salary requirements and health coverage and car payments and also
try to think outside the box.
I don’t know. I don’t know what will happen. I know I have
more work to do, more actual sitting down and developing a plan to do. And I
think I’m going to have to reach out for help from folks to help me hold the
space to do that.
It’s funny. (I keep on saying that! But, this all amuses the
observer part of me, I’ll tell you!) Over a year ago, I sat with two women who
helped me form a game-plan for alternative classes I could facilitate.
About 6 months ago, I sat with a different pair of folks,
who helped me develop a different plan for an alternative after-school program.
I’ve been dipping my toe into these waters, and have subsequently thrown
my arms up into their faces and said, But I don’t know, I don’t know enough and
it’s too hard and I don’t have the tools.
I’ve abandoned this line of thinking as many times as I’ve
lit the fires in the eyes of my friends, who’ve said, Molly, this is totally
possible.
So, I guess it’s time for me to dig my notes out of the closet like my mom’s half-finished quilts. Time to breathe
deeply and let myself live the life I’ve consistently told others I want to
live.
It’s also time for me to call those friends back in and have
them hold my hand as I sort through those notes and make moves in this direction. Because, as I’ve said
before, Sometimes I need someone else to hold the lantern of hope.