Sometime last October, in general conjunction with my new year’s intention setting, I threw a wild, loud promise to the universe that I would listen to my inner voice, my voice of instinct. Listening is two-fold – not only is it hearing something, it is also responding to what is heard. I can no longer remember whether this was before or after I set my intention for the year, but here is the scene:
At the very end of September, I started a new job, and I was excited about it. In October, I settled on the intention of “letting go of that to which I cling”. I had some very specific, small things in mind – the idea that a yoga class should be physically challenging, for example. Also, sometime in October, I spontaneously threw out this promise of listening to (not just hearing, but hearing and responding accordingly) my inner voice. Less than a month later, while watching a colleague’s demo of some software he wrote, I heard my inner voice say “I do not want to do this. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS.” My excitement for the job had already waned, but this was a death sentence.
For me, my inner voice always speaks the same words twice, in a commanding tone of voice, and, yes, I hear it it my head. My normal response is to notice this, think something to the effect of “how interesting!” and then proceed merrily on as before, knowing it has always been, and probably will be, to my detriment. I ignore, because what the voice says is usually the hard choice, and I am human, and humans like what is easy. But, dang it!, I had just made this promise to listen.
Ever since training as a yoga instructor, I’ve had a desire to do something healing on my back burner. I enjoy teaching yoga, but I’d rather take a class like I want to teach. I recognize that part of what drew me in to yoga was a teacher who did some wonderful assists, regularly. At the time, it was the most physical touch I had received in a long time, and in an environment where I could accept it with gratitude. That connection latently sparked interest in massage for me, and it’s something I have thought about, lightly, for a few years.
My inner voice’s command sparked reflection and research – if not software, then what else? I settled on massage as a choice that could create stability while I pursue the other half of what I’m even more interested in (exposing people to the power of meditative practices – meditation, yoga, breathwork). By the end of November, my course was set, although I was too scared to admit it to myself. I shared my intentions to friends and family, and largely received overwhelming support that encouraged me to proceed. By April, I had signed up for school, had a financial plan (this transition will cut my income by probably half, possibly more), and intended to make a transition by mid-summer of 2017. I was ready to take it all on, and jump.
By May, I was having night terrors. Two or even three nights a week, for several weeks, I’d wake up in a sheer panic, unable to breathe, taking hours to return to sleep. One terror that I can remember was me, floating in an ocean, and until the world tilted to near 90 degrees (the water with it), and my clawing fingers couldn’t keep me on the surface of the world, and I was falling into the void.
Somewhere in this time, I realized that my intention was being tested – instead of letting go to some of my silly ideas, I was presented with the opportunity to let go of one of my most deeply ingrained ideas – my sense of financial security and what it takes for me to feel financially stable. I was standing on the precipice of my belief, and jumping off WAS NOT OK. This is an area of my life where I do not yet have trust.
In this time, I talked to a massage therapist, who encouraged me to take it slowly. I talked to my Reiki practitioner, who reminded me I don’t have to do it all at once. My fear was that, if I didn’t boldly jump, I would lose momentum and forget, that I would fail myself and my intention, that I’d get stuck in a job that was unfulfilling and frustrating, that I would settle, that I would succumb to my attachment. While I struggled with all this, a new job opportunity in my current field presented itself. I struggled with this, too – was it just a shiny version of the same thing, trying to keep me attached? Would I get comfortable in it and take the easy road?
After a lot of internal deliberation, I accepted the opportunity. I had to re-frame my perspective: I will treat this job as a gift from the universe to make my eventual transition less like a flying leap off of the crumbling precipice. I will use it to make a solid platform to jump from, to learn to feel safe enough and bold enough – to trust enough – to leap away from my attachment to financial security (in the form of a traditional, salaried job) in exchange for doing something that I am passionate about. This is the story I am going to tell, the perspective I am going to use as I begin this next phase of my life.
As humans, we have a precious opportunity to author the meaning of our lives. The universe offers us grace, but doesn’t give us the story to go along with it. The stories we tell inform others of who we are, who we think we are, and who we want to be. The stories we tell shape how we see our world and our future, and even what we are willing to accept and experience. The universe has given me elements; I want the story I tell to be one of courage and healing and light, and apparently I just need to insert a few chapters on the journey there.