A Necessary Good

About six weeks ago, I was in the middle of marketing for two or three really large projects. Working late, forgetting to eat lunch, still not enough hours in the day to finish everything. Nearing the end of the craziness, I had a moment where everything crystallized and I thought “I really hate this.” Not the stress, or the busy-ness. The work itself.

I’ve had moments in my life of such clarity–an insistent prompting from my heart that was impossible to ignore. A few times in college (one that led to a degree change mid-way through junior year), and twice in my adult life. Each time, it has been the truest desire surfacing: the thing I actually, really wanted–the hidden part of my heart begging for recognition. Each time that I’ve listened to it, I’ve been led to a place of deeper fulfillment.

So when I heard this Voice, i was a little taken aback. Sure, I don’t have a degree in Marketing, and I absolutely hate salesman and feeling even a tiny bit like one. I’ve known for a while I wasn’t very good at marketing and that I didn’t really want to do it, but I really enjoy the people I work with and the company I work for. I knew that if I didn’t buck up and try harder to like it AND be successful at it, I wouldn’t have a job for much longer. So to hear it so startlingly clear, so unapologetically forward, I cringed a bit. I HAD to like it. There wasn’t much of a choice.

I’ve been doing a lot of re-evaluating of my life and the choices I make lately, thanks in large part to several of the more severe blogs I read. One of them, Whole Larder Love, is written by a man who is passionate about the change Real Food can make in your life. He was a total consumer: overweight, seriously unhealthy, and dependent on medications, alcohol, and food products. Deciding he wanted to live a better life, he’s been raising, hunting, or foraging the food for his family, writing a cookbook, teaching workshops, and building a hefty blog following, all the while improving his health and finding peace.

One of the ways he changed his life was by walking away from his IT job to focus more on growing his own food, and doing odd jobs to support him and his family. He learned to garden, hunt, fish, and forage. He is insistent that his removal from the cycle of consumerism and insertion into the natural rhythms of the world is one of the ways he’s begun to heal, and that it’s also one of the most important ways we’ll be able to heal our planet. His message is unapologetic & clear: we should not be constantly taking but giving back as well, nurturing the cycle of life & death and acknowledging the impact we have on our communal home.

After my body-love breakthrough a few months ago, I’ve been steadily working at changing some basic things–rejecting grains & sugars in my diet, drinking enough water during the day, incorporating basic workouts into my week, using natural-based soaps & shampoos, and turning to essential oils & herbs for my medicine. It has been a slow, steady, and fruitful exercise in discipline.

I’ve long believed in eating organically & locally, using less and recycling more, making my own hygiene products, rejecting chemicals in my food/water/shampoo, etc. I just haven’t been as active about it as I can be, because convenience & laziness won out more and more. But I’ve been on a journey of recognition & renewal these last six months, working to align my actions with my beliefs. The realization that this body is TRULY the only one i get and that there is no “next time” has revitalized my efforts to be as kind to my body and world as I can be. If I want to be healthy and energetic and truly experience what is out there while I am here, then I am the only one who can make these things happen. No one else cares about my body the way I can. No one else will fight for my well-being the way I will. I am the sole decision-maker for my health.

I’ve read Rohan for a few years now, and it may be a cumulative effect, but after I heard my heart’s Pronouncement, I started to somewhat seriously mull over what it would look like in my own life if I started to live it the way I believed it should be lived in every facet, if I took the same brave steps he did. While I have been working on personal choices that affect my internal world, I started to wonder what it would look like if I started applying it externally, if I stopped doing things I hated and started doing things I loved.

And then the Boss’s niece started working as our “marketing intern” a few weeks ago, and she is 100% better at it than I was, even on my best day. It helps she has a business degree and that she actually enjoys a lot of what’s required here. When I realized that within two days of starting that she’d effectively taken over the marketing part of my job, I started to wonder if I could still do all our transcription (about 25 hours of work a week)….and quit the security of my full-time job.

A large part of this was motivated by the very real stress of commuting through Austin traffic five days a week, the aches & knots in my shoulders and neck from sitting in front of a computer for 40 hours a week, and feeling like my only contribution to the world was imaginary. I longed to use my body, to contribute in a real, healthy way to the world. I wished to do something that would have an impact, that wouldn’t be part of a mindset that says you should work towards your own personal solvency first & foremost. But the thought of no insurance and losing half my income weighed just as heavily as the burdens of stress and physical aches.

So I ignored that Voice. I tried to ignore the dreams planting themselves in my mind, pushing through the cracks into every moment of my life, demanding my attention even during sleep.

Until.

My Boss and my boss told me that they were giving me a few weeks, but that I would be moving into a part-time position, with the benefit of being able to work at home–a long-coveted dream come true. And instead of fright, instead of pain & bewilderment, I felt relief; immense relief. My heart lifted and wept with tears of gratitude. It seems dramatic to say so; let me tell you: it is nothing short of the truth. I felt like bowing down in gratitude. Not to them, but to the Creator of dreams & opportunities. This had been birthed regardless of my hesitation. My dreams were so powerful they pushed past my hesitancy to make them reality.

Of course, once I had moved past the initial joy, fear came creeping in, pad-footed like a cat. It stole up next to me, reminded me of a mortgage, utilities, student loan payments. I felt the zing of rejection from my company, started to question what my place had ever been in the fold. I had a few tears of self-pity, but soon enough I shook myself and reminded myself this would only be negative if I allowed it to be. I’m choosing to see the opportunity, the overwhelming gift that it truly is.

Boss told me, at the end of our conversation, that the best piece of advice he’d ever received was “Leap, and the net will appear”. Which is easy to say when you’ve got health insurance, but I’ve been trying to keep the mindset that what brought me to this precipice will see me over it. So here’s to a new adventure. I raise a steaming cup of tea on this cold soggy Sunday to the future, and all of its wonderful, terrifying possibilities.

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