Do you struggle sometimes? I’m guessing you do. I struggle sometimes. I struggle with life in general (existential ponderings have always been a part of my daily life) and also with this Dream Into Change Practice. (When is it going to “take off?” What exactly is it, in elevator-pitch format? Shouldn’t I be farther along on my path to self-employment and right livelihood?)
Does any of this sound familiar? I think a lot of it is basic human stuff, and some of it is First-world-smart-creative-young-or-middle-aged career angst in 2015. Part of what Dream Into Change means to me is that I support others along their paths. Part of that support is my sharing my own struggles and vulnerability… as well as celebrations and, sometimes, hard-won insights.
Where I’m at right now, which I would like to share in a spirit of camaraderie and uplift, is that sometimes I struggle with “productivity.” There are many things I think I “should” be doing to build this practice. I should go to more networking events. I should be working harder to write my book faster. I should be working on putting together more workshops, and digital products.
I’m doing some of this stuff. And I feel excited about it… most days, at least.
But I still get down on myself for falling into these early twenty-first-century traps we are all susceptible to, like excessive screen time, not exercising as much as I “should” be, not eating or sleeping as well as I “should” be, and not working as hard as I “should” be.
Right now, though? I’m accepting things—and myself—as they are. As I am. My life is pretty freaking amazing, all things considered, and why do I need to be in a big rush? I really believe in savoring the journey. So… this summer, I’m doing that. Especially in a Portland summertime, savoring is essential for our wellbeing. We wait all year for this languid, warm weather. When I go to networking events, I sometimes run into people who seem hard on themselves for not doing enough. When I observe this in them, I can see that I don’t want it for myself, even though my mind and heart frequently fall prey to it.
So, what I’m focusing on right now is opening a warm, joyful space for magic to show up for me.
I’m sleeping late when I can. I’m eating delicious food. (Yeah, probably more of it than is optimal for my body. I’m accepting that imperfection in myself… most of the time. Did you know, for example, that Portland just welcomed its first all-vegan cheese shop? How can I not go and support that wonderful new business?) I’m taking time to go to the beach. I’m taking time to eat the fruit that dangles from all the trees and vines these days. I’m making time for delicious sensuality with lovers. I’m taking time to cultivate and nourish my primary relationship with my amazing partner, who is doing beautiful things in his own life that I am honored to support. I’m checking out books from the library. I’m listening to gorgeous music.
I’m also keeping my day job as long as I need it, which affords me the stability to do much of the above. I needn’t judge the fact that I have had it for twelve years.
And… by nourishing myself in all of the above ways, I find that I do have the energy to respond to wonderful opportunities when they arrive. For example, I took a chance just last week to submit a piece of writing to a website called Inspire Me Today. While bicycling home from work that day, I began to compose the 500-word submission, pulling over to the curb on three occasions to jot down key phrases. I sent in the piece, titled Trust the Open Space. I received an auto-reply, which let me know that they had received it, that the process was competitive, and that they would let me know within two to three weeks whether my piece would be published. The next day, however, I received an acceptance email: the site will publish my writing on August 17th!
Had I been pushing myself hard with long to-do lists every day—and collapsing into bed, exhausted and disappointed for having completed less than 100% of them, which has often been my M.O.—I doubt I would have had the energy to make the submission.
So… it’s summer. I’m enjoying myself. And I’m still making progress, at a pace that feels satisfying, if slower than what I have sometimes wished for.