I sometimes hear whispers from my self that comes from far deeper in my soul than I realize exists. I know my inner voice. I know my patterns and thoughts and reactions. But every once in a while the unfamiliar voice out-of-the-deep, shadowed unexplored spaces of my self comes in a whisper with a message that seems random an out-of-sync with my inner workings.
I opened a new chapter in my career. My choice. My decision. And good god – it’s terrifying! After spending years in a position that became a comfort zone – one that has left me wanting something more, something else – I resolved to move on. And beyond. Unfortunately, I don’t know what that on or beyond is.
The roundabout conversations with my wife bemoaning my current situation and my frustrations kept leading me back to the same point – nothing is going to change if I don’t make a move. And if i don’t make a move, it’s time to shut up and suck-it-up. But making a move is scary. It’s especially scary when you don’t know where you’re making a move to.
I’m not one of those people that can find ease in the midst of change. I don’t deal well. I get all cranky and worked up. My temper whittles down to a razor-thin tolerance zone and I become hypercritical of myself and everyone around me. But this time around, I’m finding the exact opposite: I am completely at ease within this time of transition. Even though I don’t know what I’m transitioning to. And I’ve figured out that my deep-down unfamiliar me-voice is what’s keeping me flying steady into the unknown. It was that deep-down me-voice that stopped whispering into the chaotic void of confusion and unhappiness that I was mucked down in; my me-voice started speaking up a little louder. And I turned a deaf ear to what my me-voice was saying – told myself that I needed to make the wise and practical decision and stay put in my job because we need to provide a known income to our family, told myself that I couldn’t leave my position in higher ed because this is what I’ve done for over a decade and it’s what I went to school for and it’s what I know and what my professional passion and purpose has been, told myself that mamas don’t walk away from a solid position in an organization just because I questioned the organization’s treatment of their employees as long as I received a steady paycheck and benefits. And my me-voice started yelling riotously. My deep-down me-voice was tired of being ignored and questioned; it was out of patience and tolerance. It grabbed my soul and shook it violently. My me-voice dug in her heels and shook my body until I vomited. Literally vomited. Over and over again. And in the still moment after being physically ill and emotionally worn-down, my me-voice quietly, calmly and steadily told me, “It is time to move on. You’ve served your purpose here and your time here has served it’s purpose in your life. Being well and whole will not happen here. Stop being a chicken shit. There is SO. MUCH. MORE.”
Over and over again, as I’ve yielded space in my head to my me-voice that has been so unfamiliar to be – that I didn’t knew existed – my worry about what’s next has been transformed into excitement. I have tried to shut up my inner life-director that usually fools me into believing that I know what’s next in life and which moves to make. I have spent more of my minutes asking my me-voice to speak clearly and help me figure out what I want these next chapters to include. You may not be surprised to hear that the more I listen to my me-voice, the deeper I’m led into understanding why I am continually pulled towards certain interests: community education and advocacy, writing, story collection and a few other areas. I’ve gravitated towards and experimentally waded into these areas for years. But never committed. How could I? I have a job – a career – a family – a life. All of that doesn’t allow for experimental wading. Silly woman! But when the next chapters become ones of your own crafting, how do you continue basking in the comfort of excuses that your inner-director told and re-told to the quietly-submerged, unfamiliar, deep-down me-voice? All of the excuses that drowned out the unexplored passions and purposes in the daily rhythms of the practical and known are being deconstructed and my bullshit is being called. Big-girl decision time. Keep on going on a road that is in front of me because it’s nicely paved and clearly marked or create a new way for me to be. Not sure if it’ll be a road – a path – a superhighway or a grassy-rocky unmarked trail.
I’ve chosen the latter. Not sure where this option will take me. Don’t know if this risk will result in an adequate reward. But I don’t feel shaken anymore. I have been physically ill or even ill-at-ease since I made my choice. The unknowns are terrifying for me and mine. We know when I plan to exit my current role. But we don’t know where I’m going. We know that we need a second income source (come on, people! We live in Hawaii! One income simply doesn’t cut it.). But we don’t know where that second income is going to come from. Not yet. But I know it will come. I know that these nexts will be pretty spectacular. As long as I let them be. Because, the truth of it is simple, this little life that we live is only as great or mundane as you make it. There are the things that we have no control over and, don’t get your panties in a bunch, we’ve had our share of those uncontrollables and, I’m sure, we’ll continue to. But the rest of it – its the rest of it that is yours to make great. Or not to make, for that matter.
My me-voice is getting stronger every day. I wake up with a little more clarity of what I want to do with myself and my time. I have a stronger voice in declaring what I need and want and much more comfort in releasing what I know is not serving me. I have opened space in life for the new to come in … and boy-oh-boy! The new is definitely coming in. Possibilities and opportunities that I could never have imagined are starting to pop up from many unexpected and surprising places and people. I don’t know if any of them will manifest into my something-next, but I know that they wouldn’t have even been known to me if my me-voice was ignored. I don’t know what I’ll be writing in this space 8 weeks from now. I don’t know if I’ll be cursing my me-voice or if I’ll be celebrating my new risky self. But, I do know that right this second I feel good. I feel hopeful. I feel sure that the nexts will be more beautiful than my lasts and presents. And this ain’t a bad place to be. Not a bad place at all.