Tweet No I didn’t come home with a car. I didn’t leave with a photo, a “favorite thing,” or a dream fulfilled. But when I left Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend, I was inspired, invigorated and hopeful that I would not only aspire to […]
Creatively inspiring you to follow your dreams.
Tweet Actress Shirley Maclaine sat with Oprah a few Sundays ago on Super Soul Sunday to talk about aging, wisdom and life. I’m a big fan of Maclaine. I agree with Winfrey’s characterization of her as a “spiritual trailblazer.” Every statement she makes drips with profundity. […]
From Out of Control to Controlling
I felt out of control a lot as a kid. We all did. We were completely dependent on tall, powerful beings that controlled what we could eat, what time we could go to bed, and what we did. While there is comfort in depending on others, it made me feel trapped, unhappy and unsafe. As a result, I developed ways to carve out a sense of freedom in little ways.
It turned me into a nerdy perfectionist. I demanded A’s in all of my classes. And when I didn’t get it? I pulled a Cher (from Clueless) and talked my way into one. This may not sound surprising to you. But imagine a C average grade school student who was so shy she would rather fail a class than do an oral report, and you might understand how shocking this was. But getting good grades was so immediately gratifying! There was nothing else in my life that allowed me to get direct and positive results like that. The idea that I could change my world by simply working hard taught me an important lesson about life:
Hard work = Good grades
Unfortunately, I learned after college and graduate school that life itself didn’t work that way. Sometimes you can try your hardest and still end up failing.
What Failure Means In Your Life
There are many moments in my life when I feel like a failure. I feel it when I don’t get a writing job. I feel it when I’m having a bad day. Sometimes I’m overcome with self-doubt when I wake up in the morning. But I never let it stay.
I realized that I am not God. I don’t know why things are happening so why sabotage the gift of what is for the gift I want.
On Super Soul Sunday, spiritual teacher Panache Desai said something so profound that it completely altered the way I saw my life.
He said, “Life is happening for you and not to you.”
It was just a play on semantics, a simple juggling of words. But the idea stayed with me, shook me up and changed the way I saw everything in my life.
Maybe that writing opportunity I didn’t get wasn’t right for me so it fell out my grasp. Maybe that house I was dreaming about wasn’t taken from me, but hidden for me so that I could find the true home of my dreams.
I used it on a trip to California last week and saw gifts bloom like flowers in Spring time. I didn’t hem or haw over lost sleep one night and the next morning I was grateful for the fatigue-I slept like a baby on the plane. I wasn’t worried about being on standby and got first class instead. I didn’t plan our trip to Monterey and found places my husband and I, who have been there multiple times, had never been. In the week that I was there, I learned that by letting go of my own expectations, I made room for life to unfold as it should. And the outcome was more beautiful, and more breathtaking than I could have imagined.
The thing about failure and about being “good enough” is that it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. Maybe what you’re labeling as failure in your own life is simply your life..
unfolding for you
not to you.
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!