I love to travel, and I imagine many of you do, too. I just returned from an adventure to Central America, and had time to reflect, re-energize, and get some major vitamin D. This fall, after leaving my previous job (of 4.5 years), I had some unused vacation time paid out to me, and I decided to use some of that for a vacation I hadn’t yet taken. After a very stressful past couple of years at work, I thought it was a well-deserved treat. I don’t know if you’ve experienced those years, or times in your life, in which you think to yourself, “You should be grateful. You have a job ~ and it’s one you care about ~ and there’s no reason to be unhappy.” And yet, you’re unhappy. You’re terribly stressed. You cry. A lot.
I’m thankful that despite the cognitive dissonance that was occurring (I liked the idea of my work, I cared about the organization, and it felt meaningful), I had people in my life who care and pay attention, and with whom I shared my honest, confused feelings. They reflected back to me my unhappiness, even if it was neatly tucked beneath my consciousness, beneath the things I thought I “should” do. I was not happy; I was cranky. I wasn’t having fun, and I suspect I wasn’t much fun to be around sometimes.
So, after time periods of strife, some major soul-searching, combined with some happy accidents, I realized what I wanted to be doing for work. I wanted to teach and coach. This idea, with the support of wise friends, mentors, and coaches, blossomed and became all sparkly to me. After I became clear, it was as if the Universe just opened up for me. Seriously! I mean, it took action on my part, but within four months of saying out loud and clearly, “This is what I want to be doing,” it was happening.
“How?” you may ask. I’m not entirely sure yet, honestly, but I’ll keep you posted as I learn and grow into this new identity. I suspect it has to do with clarity, intention, endless gratitude, following signs, openness, action, and patience.
So I began my two-week international adventure thinking on this unraveling of my previous identity, and traveling towards my more recent identity, as teacher and coach. Both identities are me, but I’m growing and learning and becoming an even better version of myself. A happier version ~ a truer, more authentic version. I am slowing down when I walk. Breathing deeply. Accepting. Getting quiet. Being open. I’m trusting that I can be a force of good in the world, perhaps more of a force of good in the world, if my heart is happy and I am taking care of myself. I still cry sometimes, but a lot less often and more frequently over beautiful things. What can I say? I’m an emotional person. But my heart feels more open, I’m having more fun, and I feel more authentic.
As we begin the new year, I encourage you to get real and honest with yourself. What needs to be unraveled in your life? Where shall you travel ~ physically or metaphorically? 2013 is full of possibilities…where will you go?
With love, learning, growing, and sparks~