Faith in Uncertainty

When life feels settled, things feel certain, and there’s little time for guessing what’s around the corner, it seems as if breathing comes easier. A little bit of boredom at least means that there’s probably not a whole lot to be losing sleep over. 

But when everything is up in the air – hanging like a cloud, debating whether to pour rain or let the sun peek through – it’s easy to concentrate on the question mark hanging over each and every situation. My life, as of late, seems to be one GIANT question mark.

I don’t know how everyone else handles lulls like this, but for me, I check everything. And re-check. And check again.

I check job boards, I check emails, I check my bank account, I check Facebook, I re-check emails, I check blog stats, I re-check Facebook, I check new job boards, I re-check emails. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It’s a little pathetic, I know.

The thing is, I don’t even really know what I’m looking for. 

I’m waiting for that one BIG thing – the job offer that would put my monthly income where it should be, the opportunity that would give me something to talk about, the lifeline that might pull me out to solid ground again.

And that’s how I know it’s not going to happen right now.

It’s not about being pessimistic, it’s about knowing that every big thing that’s ever happened in my life occurred when I wasn’t looking, wasn’t too invested, and was able to let go enough to be ok with any outcome – a place I’m so far away from at this point, I’d have to take three planes and a boat to get there.

Right now has become my mantra. I want to be swimming in an overflow of financial abundance RIGHT NOW. I want to have some amazing book deal in my hands RIGHT NOW. I want to be free from the stressors that I’ve been feeling RIGHT NOW.

Screw divine timing. I want things to happen when I want them to.

Unfortunately, I’m too aware of the fact that things just don’t work that way. But in the meantime  (did I mention that I HATE the meantime?), I have got to go through a “checking fast” – disconnecting from the uncertainty that comes from obsessing over email, job boards, etc.

Before writing this blog I was toying with actually setting parameters for myself – getting rid of Facebook on my phone, only checking email once a day or when I know that new emails have come in, severely restricting my online time to certain hours of the day. Then I started questioning what I might miss out on if I committed to such stipulations.

Clearly I wouldn’t miss out on anything substantial. But my mind is a stubborn asshole that likes me to believe that good things only come to those that dedicate themselves to being a psycho go-getter.

The truth is, all of this only shows my utter lack of faith – in myself, in the process, in the greater good. And that’s just not going to get me anywhere.

So for now, I’ll start out small. No more checking my inbox immediately after opening my eyes in the morning. No more checking Facebook one more time before I go to bed at night. Hopefully the rest will come naturally – with just a little bit of prodding.

Here goes nothin.’

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Releasing My Inner Control Freak

I used to be excellent at being in control. Well at the least the kind of control that you think you have, the kind that makes you wake up at 3am with thoughts of what tasks need to be done, what relationships need to tended to, and what the future might look like, should look like, or probably will look like. It wasn’t as if I woke up due to some unknown force and these thoughts slowly crept into my awareness. No – they were fully constructed entities catapulting through my mind before my eyes even had a chance to open. Now that’s some control craziness.

The truth was, I was never in control. I didn’t have control over the people in my life I thought were my mainstays. I didn’t have control over whether things remained firmly in tact or fell apart at the seams. And that’s why change knocked me flat on my ass.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take hurricane force winds to knock a control freak over, it only takes a small breeze. Why? Because they have so much invested in the outcome that anything different from what they expect can be a massive blow – as I’m slowly learning to recognize.

Controlling anything takes a ridiculous amount of energy for little reward. In fact, the reward is even a sham because it wasn’t the controller that made the situation what it was- it was likely what would have happened anyways, minus all the meddling. It’s just the ego’s way of puffing out its chest and saying, “Yeah, I did that. No big deal.”

Nice try ego.

In reality, all the moments in my life that I would call my “worst” have one thing in common: they all turned out ok. No matter the anxiety or the number of ugly cries I had, it’s always, in some way or another been ok. Maybe not great, but not life-shattering either.

What do I have to show for all the energy I put into wondering how things could possibly fall into place? Nothing. Not. A. Thing.

So I’m giving up the reigns and taking a nap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an active participant in my life (you really think my type A personality would let me give up full control??), just in a more laid-back, go with the flow kind of way. It’s like replacing a New Yorker with a Boulderite. Yeah, I’m making that much of a change.

It’s so much easier to let everything just be and figure out the logistics later. And usually the Universe is much better at steering than I am, so things can only go up from here. 

Giving In, Letting Go, and Following My Yellow Brick Road

When it comes to starting projects and seeing them through to the bitter end, I’m usually a little wishy-washy. In fact, I’m a lot wishy-washy.

The beginning is always fresh, like breathing in another city’s air on the first day of vacation. This part has me buzzing with possibility, sharing my ideas with anyone that will listen because I am SURE that this business idea/venture/life goal/etc., etc., etc. will be different, that I’ll make it to the top of my Everest with a flag bearing the symbol of my greatness. Every beginning starts with the same phrase – “THIS. IS. IT.” 

The middle is when things get a little dicey. This is when I start to realize that my yellow brick road has been washed out in a recent flood and I’ll have to walk barefoot in the mud to get through to the other side. My problem: I’m not too keen on getting dirty. At this point I’d rather turn back and pick another route that doesn’t seem quite so complicated.

Unfortunately, this means returning to the starting line with a little bit of shame, a dented sense of self-worth and a LONG period of reflection before I find another worthy business idea/venture/life goal/etc.,etc., etc.

Most of us are repetitive beings, trying the same thing over and over again even after we realize that the results are not what we expected or desired. Then, instead of shifting our actions and re-evaluating ourselves, we buckle down and try again – hoping that the circumstances have changed so we don’t have to. After all, why put effort into changing us when we could instead switch jobs, pick a new partner,  or move to a new place? Pick bright new shiny circumstances and we’ll become equally as bright and shiny…right?

Wrong. 

I realized eight months ago that the changes I needed to make were extensive. And exhausting. And so annoyingly irritating to tackle. I’m still in that process. Still trying to make sense of a new existence that doesn’t include all of the things that I thought were so SURE. I’ve become calmer, more at peace, more confident, less wrapped up in bullshit. And a lot of it is bullshit. 

I’ve learned to walk through the muck and the mud without turning back (well, at least not returning all the way to square one). I’m shedding my baggage along the way, one piece at a time.

This wasn’t a project I had intended to take on – in fact, it was one I avoided/feared/loathed all at the same time. Ironically, it’s the one I can say I’ve continued to push through.

Sometimes the things we are forced to go through shape us in more profound ways than any experience we ever choose for ourselves. And being led to face the things we fear the most can provide far more relief then simply never having to see those fears become a reality. 

I’m learning, growing, and letting change happen. It’s a liberating journey. Now who’s coming with me?