I have spent much of my life trying to fit in. Trying to conform and belong, and to feel comfortable in my own skin. To find purpose. To discover my dreams and live them, fearlessly.
It’s been quite a journey!
Recently I was asked if I would consider sitting on the board of a not-for-profit. It’s in a sector I’m passionate about. It’s an issue I care about deeply.
There are other ways for me to give back to community without immersing myself in the politics, grind and gristle of making change happen.
For many years, Kerry Parsons, my dear wise friend and amazing founder of The Academy of Emerging Women, would caution me about becoming too to ‘the pain body’. I didn’t really understand what she meant but would usually answer, “I’m not attached to it. I’m like a piece of Swiss cheese. I let the pain flow through me so I can nourish the whole.”
We don’t know what we don’t know until we step out of what we believe we know to see how much we don’t know, or don’t see, because we think we know it all. (Whew. That’s quite a convoluted sentence!)
Recently, while walking with another wise woman who was also once my boss and who is one of the most intelligent people I know, I was asked how long it took me after leaving the formal workplace to know what I wanted to do.
“I’m still working on that one,” I told her. I also told her that it took me a year just to get to a place where I didn’t feel like I wanted to be pulled back into the fray of the homeless-serving sector. Like my unique talents and gifts weren’t essential to ending homelessnss.
Fact is, others have stepped into the spaces I held and doing a mighty fine job of ‘the work’. Yes, their way might be different than mine. The truth is, every way makes a difference. Every way matters. And every way has value and benefits that my way could not achieve.
For me, after almost 20 years working in the homeless-serving sector and not-for-profit, I’m done.
Woo Hoo! It’s only taken me a year and a bit after leaving the workplace to be able to see that statement is my truth today.
I’ve come a long way baby.
I also told my friend that one of the things I realized about six months into my ‘rejuvenation journey’ was that I was addicted to the stress, chaos and turmoil of working in the sector. I was, as my dear friend Kerry suggested and I denied, “attached to the pain body.”
There is a belief that says you can’t get rid of a bad habit without replacing it with something more nourishing and healthy.
To replace my ‘pain body attachment’ habit, I am employing, deploying, engaging my joy muscles. I am all into attaching my body, mind, spirit, soul and vital essence to joy.
Like a wildflower in a field of plenty, I am growing wild and free. I am joyfully swaying with the winds of change sweeping through my entire being. Like a child dancing in front of her adoring parents’ eyes, I am flinging my arms above my head, leaping wildly in the air and screaming out loud in joyful abandon, “Watch me grow!”