You Have Permission to Just Be

{flickr photo}

Like reptiles we shed our soft baby skins and soft, playful spirits when we leave childhood. We embrace a tougher skin and more brittle insides that we think come with adulthood.

“We’re grown-ups now,” we say to ourselves. That means no more lounging around, letting our souls dream, and watching the day roll on by the way we used to as kids.

We allow ourselves to harden the way flowers do when they’re on the their way to die. And we forget that life is about growing, not sinking into ourselves.

And why shouldn’t we?

Life gives us more than enough reason to. It takes away our loved ones, our dreams, our hope. And it does so in such an insidious, unexpected way, how can we not relinquish the playfulness and whimsy that characterized our youth, and grab onto what’s left: fear, discouragement, disappointment?

It is, but a choice.

{The rest of my post can be read on my Beliefnet Health column, “Happy Haven.”}


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Did I Make the Right Decision?

I used to admire friends who could end a relationship when everything was still hunky dory because they knew it wasn’t the right one for them. It was a strong indication of their ability to follow their instincts and trust their own intuition.

I have always been a doubter trying to practice a little more faith. But recently all that leaning I was doing on the side of stability and security made me feel stuck. It also made me feel like a coward.

How could I possibly keep blogging here about courage, if I was living life with my tail between my legs?

So after 6 months of hemming and hawing and feeling stuck, I decided to do something CrAzY!

I decided to follow my dreams, listen to my intuition and abandon that little voice inside my head that said, “Who do you think you are?!” And I did it anyway.

After two years of loving my job at Psych Central (I was even recently mentioned in this article about my work for the company), I decided it was time to say goodbye. And I did it the careless way, the way people say you should never do it. I quit without a backup (with just a few gigs-a.k.a. my column with The Writer magazine and my biweekly blogs for Psych Central).

I decided I wanted to return to writing and not just editing. I wanted to stop being afraid and take a big risk. And so I did.

Making the Right Decision is Scary

Although I think I made the right decision, the process was still scary. I had no excuses, no upcoming jobs and a lot of self-doubt. I realized then that I DEFINITELY made the right decision. Why?

I was catching up on old Oprah’s Lifeclass reruns when I heard Iyanla Vanzant talk about self-growth. She said humorously and truthfully:

“If you’re not living your life at such a certain level, you have some fear, you’re living too small. If you don’t have some trembling then you’re living too small…If pee is not running down your leg, you are living too small because that means you’re in control and you’re too comfortable and you can handle it. When you are comfortable, you are not growing.”

Then guess what happened?

I saw a job ad for a writer/editor position. But not just any position. It was for a company that I had been dreaming about writing for since I began full-time freelancing, about 5 years ago. I subscribed to all of their email newsletters and tweet their posts. I have been waiting for an opening for a very long time. And there it was. I was afraid and applied anyway.

I received a call two days later. I found out that the position was in-house and since moving to Virginia wasn’t on our agenda, I was pretty disappointed. But decided to ask if maybe there were other opportunities available in which I could write telecommute instead.

Can you guess what happened next?

Yep. They had an opening for a blogger position on their health website. And they had been looking for awhile. I couldn’t believe my luck. Or faith? Or intuition?

So I have my own column there and you’ll be able to read about emotional health and wellness 4 days a week on my new blog Happy Haven! I’ll still be posting here, my writing site and my column for The Writer too. Hope to connect with you on one of the them soon!

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Waiting for a Guarantee

via pinterest. {original from}

“I used to worry, ‘What is the meaning of life? What should I be doing with my life?’ Now I see that maybe you don’t even really know why you’re doing something or what the meaning is. It’s just something you’re doing.”

– Jerry Horovitz, small publishing house Amber Lotus sole proprietor. From Carol Adrienne’s The Purpose of Your Life.

When are we ever sure we’re on the right path? Heck sometimes I’m not even sure if I chose the “right” restaurant for dinner, let alone know whether I’m doing the best when it comes to choosing a career or a place to live.

But is there really any guarantees in life?

The real threat is the impact making a wrong decision has on our ego. How much will you beat yourself up, for example, if you decide not to quit your day job or if you decide to? Being an adult means that any mistakes we make is ours and ours alone. When the buck stops, it stops right in front of you. And how you handle that is probably congruent to how afraid you are and how indecisive you might be.

That quote above by Horovitz is telling of a wise man who’s live to tell the tale. A few sentences later he says:

“Maybe you don’t see the purpose until later…Most of the time our work is probably a reflection of what we are working on inside ourselves.”

I wholeheartedly agree. Of course, a part of me wishes that I didn’t need to work as a research assistant, a PI or a therapist before I finally gave into my childhood dream of being a writer. But in retrospect, I hardly think that the person I was ten years ago was ready or experienced enough to do the jobs I’m currently doing today. All that experience has shaped me as a writer. It’s taught me how to fail miserably, pick up the pieces and keep going. It’s given me research skills and taught me the importance of patience. And of course, life experience = great fodder for a writer.

I write this to you who feel lost right now.

These random nonsensical paths you are making have purpose even if you can’t see the end of the tunnel yet. Sometimes we don’t know why we’re in a dead-end job or feel stuck in a location we hate. But maybe this is a reflection of what’s going inside of you. Maybe instead of berating ourselves for being indecisive or consistently making the wrong decisions, what if we were to completely accept and respect where we are now?

Life is not like math class. There is no right and wrong answer. All we can ever do is to guess and hope we guessed well. And even then when we think we made the best choice possible, well sometimes that’s not enough. That’s okay too.

Feel free to make “mistakes” in this universal class called life. And when you inevitably do, try not to be so hard on yourself. Remember you don’t know the outcome yet. Maybe you are on a different path than you planned, but this one is leading toward healing, teaching you how to accept your mistakes or giving you the opportunity to grow courage so that you can eventually live your dreams. Don’t rush the process. And above all, realize that whether you’re deciding between Italian or Chinese or you’re making a decision to change your life, you will get another chance. Let go of the pressure to be perfect and release the severity of the decision. We’re built to deal with the consequences either way.

Good luck!

I’m betting we’ll all be okay.

{Still don’t know what to do? Get great practical advice from Goodlife Zen on increasing your chances of making the “right” decision.}

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