I first have to say how grateful I am for the kind words and posts about my blog–so very encouraging! It really makes me feel good. And if you could see me, I would be tapping my heart indicating WHERE it feels the best.
The last few weeks have been about catch up, so I think we are ready for the present.
I’m working from home in my compliance advisor role, and have been for the past six months or so. It was a fairly easy transition to get back into the groove, and while it comes relatively easy to me, there are always new things to learn and new people to deal with. It continues to be a source for me to practice my patience and people skills. WAY back in the day, I would blurt out whatever I wanted and ruled with a hammer. Maybe it’s all the nature I have immersed myself in, but now I tend to go for the honey vs. vinegar with positive results. It’s important to keep learning, even on the job, maybe even especially so.
I am immersed in my last semester of school with a sense of wonder and a sense of “thank-God-it’s-almost-over”. Three classes look to take a lot of my time, but nothing makes me happier than design, sustainable plants, and landscape management! It makes me SO want to do all of it full time, which brings me to the heart of this blog…
A job popped up in my email for an assistant landscape designer at a nursery that I practically haunted last summer and fall, because it was close to my office and I discovered their bargain area. It sounded perfect – get to learn from designers, work with the plants, really see it all in action. I contacted them for more info. I was concocting all things in my head of how I could potentially make this work: maybe it was part-time, and I could negotiate my current job into going part-time. If it was full-time, could I make it work? It just sounded so good. I found out it was full-time.
Now you are probably thinking, Julie, didn’t you just go down this road? Didn’t you just watch this movie and know how it ends? But a girl can dream, right? My husband actually said this time, “You know you can’t leave your current employer?”. I knew. I just didn’t want to admit it. I knew that nursery job would pay no where near what I was making, and we were still paying off bills from last year. I am the breadwinner in our relationship, always have been, and its a role I actually relished–until now.
For a few days I teetered between anger and sadness. I threw many questions out to the universe, with probably (no, for sure) a few expletives added in. But in the end, I knew. I emailed the nursery and told them I would not apply for the position. While it may have been a great opportunity, and maybe an awesome job, it wasn’t time. Maybe it wasn’t even the right path. I told the nursery that I hope to take advantage of the opportunity if it came around again. We will see.
I will have to wait to see my plant dreams come true. I believe when it is meant to happen, it will snap into place like the last piece of puzzle. It will come together effortlessly, from a place I least expect. I will keep putting my intentions out, and trust the universe to answer. Right now, it is teaching me a lesson in patience. Not one of my strong traits, apparently.
Can I survive? It may be a struggle. There may be gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands. Or maybe it could be different. Maybe if I realize that just surviving prevents me from putting forth my best self, I will want to change that thinking. I don’t want to just survive–I want to thrive. I had to go back to basics and check myself on 4 levels: cognitively, physically, emotionally and spiritually to make sure the words I assigned to those levels assured a state of thriving. What would you think if I used the following words for the 4 levels:
Not so good, right? Those words=survival. How do I get to the point of assigning new words, authentically? I have to do the work. I have to dig deep, ruminate, talk it through. I can cry, I can pound my fist, I have to release. I discover the lesson and internalize it. I came out the other side feeling at peace with my decision, realizing that I have much to be grateful for right now, and trust my path will arise before me like the morning sun when it is time. Now I authentically choose these words:
BIG DIFFERENCE. The shift in me is noticeable. It is quite magical, actually. I choose to thrive.
What does this mean for you?
- When the struggle is real, assess yourself. Note your 4 words. Study them, let them wash over you and notice how it makes you feel.
- If you find yourself in survival, DO THE WORK. Spend some time experiencing what you feel. Write down the words, draw a picture, talk out loud to yourself, release it all. So many times we want to dismiss when we are in survival, and I can’t say it enough: If we don’t do the work we are doomed to experience situations that will try to teach you the lesson over and over.
- Have your words changed? If not, reach out for help. Ask a friend to meet up for coffee. Call a family member. Look up a therapist: If you break your leg, you go to a bone specialist. Well if YOU feel broken, it makes sense to see a PEOPLE specialist. There are tons of different kinds of therapy, so find one that speaks to you.
- If you authentically changed your words – good for you! Really focus on the change on all 4 levels. Know the difference between surviving and thriving. I am sure you can guess which one feels better!
This can be quite a process, but it is SO worth doing. And the more you do the work, the more automatic it becomes. If you do it right, you can put that particular situation to bed. But just when you think you have that situation handled, anther one will present itself. It will be time to choose – survive or thrive?
If you are stuck, or need help, please Contact me. I am not a trained professional, but I will always listen.
P.S. On Thursday, January 17, the acclaimed poet Mary Oliver passed away. I leave you with one of her beautiful poems that seems particularly relevant to this blog:
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.