Four weeks since last blog – and while getting ready this AM, I thought, “Should I do some blogging this morning?” This was followed by, “No, not today, not being moved to say anything.” And within 60 seconds, another thought, “I’m different from where I was at the start of this inner journey.” The big difference? I’ve learned to trust and follow Source.
Since my last blog, just a bit before Thanksgiving, my life has been a lot like yours. Clean the house. (“Deep cleaning.” All women intuitively understand this. We need to clean before we can do anything, like decorate for Christmas.) Decorate for Christmas. (I decided that it was time to go all out and put on a bit of a show. “Acting prosperity” creates “having prosperity.” And naturally, this entails multiple trips with co-residents to hardware and crafts stores.
Christmas cards. (I’m really making an effort this year, and seeking to be more organized about my people-connects than before – but this is a very slow process right now!)
And – wouldn’t you know it? An uptick in client work. (Doesn’t it always happen at this time of year?)
But finally – I’ve turned in grades for the single college-level class I’ve been teaching, and sent each an email thanking them for their excellent work. (Personalization – that’s so important. And it does take much more time! And the truth is – we really can’t automate real personal relationships!)
So there I was yesterday, in the midst of several hours of out-of-the-house errands; bank, Post Office (through a small miracle, a very short line!), grocery store, library (thank God, those dear people are taking a few good days off starting Thursday – it means getting all my stuff done now.) You all know what it’s like. And there, in the grocery store check-out lane, I got one of those little internal “knowings.”
Over the past two years, I’ve rebuilt my life based on these “knowings.” The little internal “nudges” that say, “Do this,” or “Don’t do that.” These can be minor. (“Go to the Post Office now!”) They can be major. (“It’s time to write a book.” And there goes the next year-and-a-half.)
This was a nudging that said, “It’s time to stand down, now!”
This nudging came after I had gotten up and (with growing trepidition) filled out my Day-Planner with task after task, all of which seemed very important. I had been reading and absorbing all sorts of wonderful business and marketing books. (Thank God, once again, for the fabulous Fairfax County Public Library system, and all the wonderful people who work there.) And based on this reading and absorbing, over the past more-than-month, I had both realized and decided that the coming year was going to be all about sales and marketing.
For a classic introvert, this is somewhat daunting. It helps to know that my MBTI Type (and I haven’t forgotten the closure to the last post, simply postponed it a bit) is INFP – the “P” comes when I’m being really honest with myself, and if I’m filling in the questionnaire when feeling life-stressed, I come out as a “J.” Meaning – for those of us who’ve temporarilly forgotten our MBTI lingo – that I’m great at building close, intimate, one-to-one relationships. But I’m awful at “broad-market” blasts, and very awful at things which require lots of people-density. Much more one-to-one.
But sales it is. And with that somewhat challenging thought, my “to-do” list has lots and LOTS of tasks on it.
In the midst of all of this (and while internally whuffling and whining, and feeling rather sad for myself), I got the internal order to “stand down.” Stop working, stop “filling out the form.” Stop creating and fulfilling endless rounds of tasks. Just stop, be quiet, settle down.
So I did my last tasks and went home. Didn’t stop with the tasks, of course – there were still a few hours of things that “had” to be done before I could cease and desist. But I completed those that were truly necessary, made dinner, went to bed, got up in the middle of the night for a long meditation, and am slowly working my way into the “quiet zone.”
Which is really what our Solstice season is all about, anyway. While we do desire connection – along with calorie-rich food and fireside warmth – what we do not want is a lot of running around and “doing.”
Biologically, we are programmed. Not necessarily to hibernate, but to ease back a bit. We’ll start feeling – all of us in the Northern hemisphere – a bit more “juice” come Imholc (Feb 2nd). We’ll be feeling a lot more of it come Spring Equinox. But now is the time for being inward; for gathering our thoughts and dreams, and for quiet reflection.
And just like you, even though I know this, it’s been hard to do. We all succumb to the pressure to do more, just as our biological programming tells us to “slow down.”
But when I got the “nudging” (from Source, or Divine Inspiration, or Higher Power — take your pick), I was able to follow it and go home and just start the transition to quiet zone. I told myself that those gifts that had been mailed out were fine. Those that were not yet purchased, wrapped, and posted would have to wait – and various relatives would be told that they had a somewhat eccentric auntie who got things done when she got them done, but not necessarily on schedule. Opening gifts under the Christmas tree be damned; sometimes a gift or card is more welcome in January or even February, when it’s cold out and we want a little emotional cheer-up.
A few years ago, I couldn’t have done this. Of course, I was still locked into corporate culture at the time; a system where we have to play “Captain, may I?” every time our inner knowing contradicts a corporate calendar. But even more, I was earlier locked into a mindset that told me that I “had” to do things in a certain way in order to “survive.”
That’s where most of us are.
When I talk with colleagues and friends, I realize that most of them are making survival-based decisions. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they have (just as I had) internalized a set of “rules” about survival that say, “If you want to survive, you have to live your life this certain way.” Often, that means doing work that they don’t love. Often, that means sacrificing that which really calls to them, and continuing to force themselves to fit into a mold that increasingly doesn’t work – but they continue to contort their psyches anyways.
Over the past two years, as I’ve found my way towards working on Unveiling, and then done the actual work itself, I’ve lived primarily in what I’ve started to call the “Miracle Zone.” That is, life without so-called security or guarantees. Just trust. A huge amount of reliance on Guardian Angels. And really, on Source. Trusting that as I do as I am led to do, God (Source, Higher Power, whomever or whatever) will ensure that the little details – like survival – are cared for.
This doesn’t mean that we neglect practicalities completely. In my case, I’ve done an enormous amount (and surprisingly wide range) of various “jobs.” All part-time (although sometimes very time-consuming.) All of them ultimately allowing me to commit myself fully to Unveiling, as none of them required the kind of long-term, whole-life commitment that most “professional” jobs require these days.
This has yielded certain consequences. I’m not going to call it trade-offs, and I’m not calling it anything of a negative or unfulfilling nature. But let me say that when there is no money (on the apparent or superficial level) for going “shopping,” then my time has been spent writing, editing, connecting with people whom I’m quoting. In short, the decision to go with the main “nudging” entails lots of other, smaller decisions or commitments – and life circumstances work together to make it easier to align myself with these other, smaller commitments.
What I will say is: This works.
Here I am, a year and a half later. Two years, really. And I’m still (somewhat to my own surprise) alive. And I have a book. (Shortly, you’ll have this book also.) And somehow, by aligning myself with my inner guidance or “nudgings,” I’ve gotten to this point.
The work has taken much more time, energy, focus, and commitment than I ever imagined. Hugely so. And yet, it’s been worth it. Every ounce of effort along the way.
So now, I’m counseling my friends. (They’re “practice trials.” Shortly, I’ll be mentoring others on a professional basis.) I’m encouraging them to first, identify their dream or vision, and second, start to align their lives with this vision, and third, to disengage with the survival-based, fear-based, panic-based thinking that says that they must indeed continue to contort themselves (or overly emphasize one part of their psyche) in order to “fit in” and “get a job.” (Or to “keep their job.”) The “job” may not be the path for survival and social status, but rather, a means of so contorting their psyches that they become disassociated from their true selves.
This takes courage. Fortunately, we don’t have to look at the whole long path in advance. We simply need to make microscopic little decisions about our priorities and our time.
One final word – to those who are curious about Unveiling. I’ve been writing lots of “teaser” material. (And I’ll continue to do so – why not? It’s fun!)
But Unveiling, when it comes out, will whop out at about 500 pages (and this is after we’ve increased page size and decreased font size and line spacings.) It will have over 300 references. It will still be readable. It will still be a “girlfriend” book – the kind that you curl up with when you need nurturance and comfort, and insight into who you are and how you can approach things.
But really, Unveiling is five different books in one. That’s because there are at least three major discoveries, two minor discoveries, and several “inventions” in the book. Major discoveries, such as: The ancient, original archetypal system that applies to all humans – but is especially pertinent to women. This is the one that helps us understand the “What next?” and “Where next?” questions that we have as are on the cusp of a life transition.
There is another “discovery” – this is one that I regard as minor, although whole books and dissertations could be written about this – on what constitutes a Heroine’s Quest. We already have the Hero’s Quest. (Think Star Wars. Think Joseph Campbell, and The Man with a Thousand Faces. Think all the well-known, and greatly loved “young man comes of age” life sagas.)
What we’ve not had is the concise, thumbnail-level, high-level-overview understanding of what constitutes a Heroine’s Quest. But I found it – through nearly chance-comments from friends, and some reading where this just “popped up” – in the final editing stages of Unveiling, late last summer. This alone – which is not just huge, it’s profound – is actually a minor piece of Unveiling. It is in the tail end of Chapter 6. (The really good stuff starts in Chapter 7, and continues in Chapter 11, and picks up again in the last five chapters.)
So enough with the tease – you’ll hear more. But today is devoted, more-or-less, to “standing down.” To being in “quiet time.” And at the same time, I will still be doing much as you’re doing – a little shopping, a little card-writing, a little client-care. But from a more introspective, centered, internally-quiet state. Less trying to accomplish all that can be done, and checking things off the list. (Although lists are still important; they free up our minds from having to mentally track things.)
And in this spirit of Solstice-quiet, I wish you – truly – the “peace and joy” of the Season.
yours – Alay’nya