Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Mantra: Things I Cannot Give Myself ---> Revelations

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Let your inner ponderings lead you to new revelations

Society 6
The greatest power a person possesses is the power to choose.
- J. Martin Kohe

Last week I had a few moments of pure and complete frustration with my life. My continuous struggle for, like, ever has been determining how to live a life doing the things I love. Because I do believe in following your dreams, but I don't believe in becoming bankrupt in the process or in not having multiple backup plans to protect yourself.

I wrote myself this note, below, and then something wonderful happened: I saw my way through the bars that had been holding me inside my own personal cage.

Things I Cannot Give Myself: Freedom

I'm studying something in school that doesn't ignite passion in me, yet I'm afraid of going to school for things I might love doing because I don't want to be caged in by definitions and dimensions that other people have decided. I'm afraid I'll never have a life doing a job that I love, truly. How do I give myself the power to be a traveling-photographing-writer who does interior design and studies French and medicine? How do I give these things to myself and still make a living? How do I make a life, I suppose, is the real question?

I do not know, yet, the answer to this.

I do all of these things, but in fractions of moments rather than fully and completely.

I admire the dreamers, the pursuers of passions, the people who give it everything they have. I also fear them, fear their decisions, fear the failures of everyone who did not make it, everyone who tried and lost. I am equal parts dreamer and realist and those two battle it out regularly. I know too much to be completely wild and abrupt, yet not enough to stop me from trying. I walk a very tiny tight rope in-between both realms of my person.

Is this life enough? Will this satisfy my soul?

It turns out the answer was yes. And no.

I couldn't stop thinking about the decisions I've made that have led me to this life, this path that I'm on now. For two days I went over each of my career dreams - the things I could very well do, given the right amount of time, money, and dedication - and the dreams that are probably attainable in some way, yet seem so unattainable, like being my own version of Elizabeth Gilbert. I mean really, who doesn't want to be like her?

Anyway, I graduate with a degree in business this year. It's a helpful, good, very wise choice that I made, this business degree. But it does nothing for my soul. It does not ignite a fire within my heart...and that bothers me, haunts me, even.

So I thought about all the things I love doing or wish I was doing full time in a way I've never quite allowed myself to think before.

A. Writer/traveler/photographer 
- Do I have an outlet where I write now that brings me true inner bliss? Yes 
- Is that enough? For now
- Can I accept "for now?" I guess so
- Will I continue writing whether or not I ever "make it?" Yes
- So why isn't this enough? Oh....It is. It totally is.

- Would I love a job where I could travel around the world all the time? Yes (but I would miss my baby Bean a lot)
- Will I be satisfied continuing on my own travel adventures as long as I put the same dedication I've always put toward them? Absolutely
- Then, do I really need to have a "travel job" to feel complete when I've already promised myself the world? No

- Do I really want to be a photographer if that means changing what and how I photograph (the world vs. people, weddings, etc.) Not really, not really at all
- Am I happy being able to take the photos I do now and be good with that and nothing more, nothing else? Yes

What have I learned? I have an incredibly blessed life to be able to do all of these things I love. No matter my circumstances, I will always pursue these. They will always be with me.

B. Interior designer
- Do I have the patience to follow someone else's directions for this (in school)? No
- Have I proven to myself that I have what it takes to be a great interior designer, degree or not? Yes
- Would I really be happy having other people tell me what to do vs. seeing out my own visions? Probably not

What have I learned? Flipping/remodeling/redesigning would become far less appealing if I had boundaries to hold me in. Having this as an outlet, a hobby, is fulfilling in ways it would not be otherwise.

C. Naturopathic doctor
- Do I love holistic medicine? Yes, so much, yessss!
- Do I have 4-5 or more years of school in me to become a doctor? Dude - probably not. I need to have babies (actual people babies vs. my dog babies) one day. And, you know, sleep.
- Is there another way for me to incorporate holistic health into what I do? Hmm...possibly...

Which led to...

D. Psychologist

And there is was - option D.

I'd put aside the idea of this for years, even though it's the one thing I've studied without hesitation my whole doggone life. When I was 12, I was going to be a psychologist. When I was 14, and 16, and 21, I was going to be a psychologist. My associates degree is in psychology. I've studied it my entire school career and yet, for some reason, it used to seem so impossible, like it would take me a century to do this, and even then, it wouldn't be enough. It got mixed in with all the other dreams I carried in my heart and buried away.

I can be all of the things I want, in all of the ways that work best for me. I can have a holistic minded approach to my psychology. I can decorate and travel and write until happiness pours out of my ears. I can do all of this because I let myself find a way to do it.

Why did I just share this really long story and the weird thoughts in my head with you?

Because maybe, just maybe, you know exactly what this feels like.

I know people who knew what they were going to do with their lives when they were 5 and they went on to do those exact things. But I know a lot of people like me, like this. Overwhelmed by possibilities mixed in with uncertainty and so, so many dreams.

Maybe, just maybe, we have to let ourselves have each and every one of those dreams. And in doing so, maybe we try on different dream hats, living our dreams out in different ways until we find what works for us. And maybe, because of that, one day we understand how it all fits together.

It took me two days after I forced myself to sit down and write this all out. Two days to go from being on a kind-of-sort-of career path to knowing exactly what I'm going to do, how I'm going to do it, and what it's going to look like.

I know one thing for sure, one thing we should never do: give up. We should never stop dreaming, settle, give in. We follow what makes our hearts happy until we find a way to make it all happen.

Until the revelation is revealed.

Until you realize you can give your dreams to yourself.

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