All My Days

Last week, I turned down a job as an office manager/bookkeeper for a lovely nonprofit. I agonized about the decision for at least a week. Almost everything about the position checked all the boxes: great, positive people; beautiful work environment; a position where I would be supported and could learn new things; flexibility of time after several months in the role; amazing, mission-driven environmental organization. ALL the boxes except one – financially feasible. Ugh.

Yes, it’s true that working for a nonprofit generally equates with earning a lower wage rate. And, this place was paying the going rate for the position. I may have more to say on that in another post. But, what made it infeasible was its distance – 36 miles away. That means a 45 minute to one hour drive each way, in traffic, each day not to mention the cost of gas and wear and tear on my car! Because lunch was unpaid and a 40 hour work week required, the time invested would have been from 8 am to nearly 7 pm, 5 days a week. That doesn’t even factor the time you spend getting ready for work and prepping meals.

Yeah, yeah … I know. “Whine whine whine,” you’re saying. Most people live this, do this; some with longer commutes. And many, I would guess, do this with lower paying jobs. I honestly can’t wrap my head around this. How? And … why?

What, I wondered, is my time worth? At what point does paying the bills (and this pay rate wouldn’t have allowed me to break even) offset what you sacrifice in life balance? Ok. Let’s even throw “balance” out the window. What about quality of life?

But, I’ll be honest. I would have temporarily sacrificed balance, quality, time, all that, if the numbers worked out and I knew that I would eventually stop having to draw from savings to make ends meet. I wanted to work there. Everything about the place was and is amazing. But the fact of the matter is that wage rates in this country have not risen to account for cost of living in even the most basic sense. The baseline is too low to make what would’ve been an unending sacrifice. That whole can of worms is a discussion for another time. Sadly, the years it would’ve taken to reach that break-even point may have put me into my retirement years.

Many a road, you know
I’ve been walking on
All of my days
And I’ve been trying to find
What’s been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

Making the decision to say “no, thank you” lifted a burden off my shoulders. The entire process of crunching the numbers, considering the costs versus the benefits (I was a business student,           ya know!), and struggling with the frustration brought on a large amount of anxiety. That anxiousness was on top of the everyday concern that I really do need to get a job, or make enough somehow, to stop drawing from my dwindling savings. Yet, I know I’m blessed. I have financial means to fall back on. My worry is not that great.

What about the hundreds of San Diegans I see with two-hour work commutes, each way, every day? How are they not just sitting in a cesspool of anxiety as they sit in unending traffic, knowing that their incomes just barely support their lifestyles? What about the time, an irretrievable commodity, they sacrifice away from family, friends, healthy activities, and anything else that fills their hearts? It is no wonder that people suffer from anxiety disorders now more than ever. You want numbers? “About one in five Americans cited unemployment and low wages (22 percent), and climate change and environmental issues (21 percent) as issues causing them stress. (APA, Nov. 2017)” Money and work are among the top three most common sources of stress, in fact. (I’ll add the infographic link at the bottom.)

Many a road, you know
I’ve been walking on
All of my days
And I’ve been trying to find
What’s been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

Why do I bring this up? Because this freaks me the fuck out! I worry about the future of our nation (which, btw, is the number one most common source of stress) and the people in it. And, it’s obvious I’m not alone. This … THIS is a huge reason I’m building an organization that addresses anxiety disorders. We want to teach people how to be less anxious using nature therapy as the main modality. Nature is free and readily available. Interacting with nature chills us out and leads to creating deep connections. Those connections we have with nature and each other make us more compassionate, loving beings. I would guess compassionate bosses are more likely to pay an actual living wage (a bit of sarcasm here), therefore, less stress/anxiety, better life balance, etc. You see? There are so many ways this can go that are cyclical and beneficial.

Time really is an irretrievable commodity. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And, I made the decision last week to spend the time I would’ve been sitting in traffic to building something that will benefit everyone. It’s called Earth Connect. I hope you’ll check it out.

www.earth-connect.org

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/11/lowest-point.aspx

 

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I Am the Walrus

Finished grad school. Now what?

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly
I’m crying

The Beatles’ song, I Am the Walrus, was the B-side of their hit single Hello, Goodbye. When I found that out on Wikipedia, I thought it was serendipity, and I’ll explain that in a bit. I wanted to write this blog as an update to the last blog post – what did I end up doing and where am I now? I’m inspired by listening to songs, so I Googled one for “where am I now.” The walrus song popped up, and it just felt fun and right to me.

So, the things I’m reading about I Am the Walrus is that it was written as a nonsense song. At this moment, right now as I write this, I feel like “nonsense,” in its most whimsical sense, is the very word that applies to my life. Two years after my last post, I did “do it all!” I went to grad school and graduated this past June with an M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, a specialization in spiritual psychology and certificates in transpersonal ecopsychology and creative expressions. I did everything I could possibly do in the time I allotted myself for school. But …. now what?

Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun
If the sun don’t come, you get a tan
From standing in the English rain

I went to grad school not because having the degree would enhance any career opportunities I might have. I went simply for the love of learning. And, the program I entered taught all those things I had already been (unknowingly) learning for myself in the articles, books, and random webinars and seminars I’d been taking. However, I did go in thinking that, over the course of the two years, I would come out with a better understanding of what I was to do with my life, career-wise.

Four months after graduation, as jobless as I was before and with no idea of what types of jobs I can apply to, I might say I’m no closer to fulfilling that particular area of “adulting” than I was two years ago. I might say that, but I won’t. Since July, I’ve embarked on three potential career opportunities. One of them didn’t pan out; another has been put on hold. And, the third just presented itself a couple of weeks ago.

Though I did not come to a definite idea of my career path while I was in grad school, what I did learn (and continue to discover) is my authentic Self, my purpose in this life, the innate gifts I possess, and the knowledge and experience I have to offer. At the moment, all these things point to coaching as a profession. The irony is that I’ve been telling everyone who has suggested coaching (or that I go into the coaching program) a firm and definite “NO!” I have had a business coach and a life coach, so it is definitely something I believe has value. It was just something I couldn’t see myself doing. So, I reframed my idea of coaching.

In my first quarter of grad school, I was writing in my journal and channeled a poem (this was just the beginning of how my innate gifts began presenting themselves to me and me remembering what some of them are). In it, I was told that part of my life’s purpose is to be a “healer of healers.” The understanding of what that means has been, and is, unraveling slowly. Coincidentally, many of my former classmates are, themselves, healers of all forms – from energetic healers in the esoteric world to people who have or want to create programs that help people heal from their various traumas. And, as I worked through my grad program, I found I have an ability to “hold space” for people. Again, in the esoteric world, this may mean energetic space. But, what does that really even mean? From a very grounded and practical standpoint, it simply means that I can listen well, with compassion, without judgement, and with total acceptance of the speaker’s truth, pain, challenge, or what-have-you. Isn’t it interesting how changing verbiage allows one to change perspective to better understand?

I say high, you say low
You say why and I say I don’t know, oh no

 I decided that part of my “job” in this world is to help those who help others in the way I can best do it just by being myself.

So, if it didn’t occur to you in previous blog posts over the years, I’m a bit of a “woo-woo” gal. You wouldn’t know it to look at me. I rarely wear the uniform or have the affectations of someone you’d consider a neo-hippie or spiritual seeker (though my one allowance to this was to wear a flower crown for my graduation). And … gasp! I have an undergraduate degree in business from a top-rated school. My work experience has been with helping small businesses get into the black or increase their profitability by implementing policies and procedures and streamlining their efforts. These are seemingly strict, hardline things for the flowy, free-spirited person I am. Yet, it all works together, within me. I can dream big, embrace and practice the spiritual, and still convert all of it to practical actions explained with mainstream terminology. And, vice versa! What I have found I’m good at doing is advising (still don’t like the word “coach”) creative and spiritual people like myself establish their businesses/nonprofit/career path by identifying their fears, reframing their understanding of them, and break through blockages so they can take affirmative action.

The serendipity I mentioned before is found in that the intention for this blog post is that it is my way of completing the last chapter of my life and starting this new one. So, really, I’m saying, “Goodbye. Hello!”

You say yes
I say no
You say stop
and I say go go go

In our current socio-political climate, there is a tremendous need for people who help others and spread the love in their own authentic ways. The time for recognizing, acknowledging, and putting into action our individual gifts to benefit humanity is NOW. That sounds so lofty and high-reaching. But, is it really? How often do we suppress our authentic selves, disregard the knowledge and gifts within for fear that we won’t fit into social norms or that doing so would affect our financial lives, or . . . whatever. There are so many reasons, so many excuses. Most point to fear. Is it possible that the fact there are now thousands of coaches offering their services point to the fact that tens of thousands are tired of living this way? In my own way, I have decided to do my part to heal the disconnect many feel in their lives.

With this blog post, I close with “goodbye” and hail with a new “hello! So glad to see you again!” I will be posting other blog entries through two other channels on www.earth-connect.org , the social organization I’m in the process of creating with a friend, and on http://www.spiritualreflectionsadvising.com, which isn’t yet live but will house my spiritual business advising (coaching) efforts. I hope you’ll come to visit me there. For personal, spiritual editorials, you can continue to find me here at Falling Upwards.

Btw, for those who read the last post, my son also took an alternate route in life. He took a “leave of absence” from his undergrad where he was bored, unmotivated, and unhappy. He came home. But instead of taking a year off to breathe a little, he applied and is going to grad school. It turns out you don’t necessarily need an undergraduate degree to get your masters if the graduate program is an out-of-the-box, alternative one that values knowledge and experience over degrees. My wonderful son is also innately a healer and is studying Oriental medicine.

I hope you’ll continue to follow me in my journey. I have so much to share with you – stuff I learned in school and stuff I’m learning on my own, but which I think I may have known all along. I’m sure there’s stuff I can also learn from you. Maybe we can explore a topic a month together? Let me know!

P.S., I’ll update this once I create my spiritual business advising website. And, if you want to find out about healing through Nature, follow our fanpage on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EarthConnectOrg/

Dreaming about the things that we could be…

Yesterday morning, I stopped to talk to a man in my fave, local coffee shop. He was sitting at a table making chain mail. Yup… you read that right… chain mail. I questioned him about it at length; asked who he was making it for and what its uses were, etc. He giggled, thinking it was funny that some random little girl was asking him about chain mail. I told him I thought it was a very cool hobby and an interesting skill.

The night before, I’d had a lovely conversation with my son who has called me less than a half dozen times since starting college last Fall. So, the few times we’ve talk, they’ve been longer conversations during which he’ll talk about something on his mind that he needs a different perspective on because he can’t figure it out for himself, and it is often the social aspect of college. My kid is inherently introverted and finds it difficult to make friends. In fact, though he seems to be superficially outgoing and friendly, he finds it difficult to understand and deal with people in general. It’s genetics. His father was the same, and so am I. His dad and I both had to come out of our “shells” in college and learn how to socialize.

“And my face is flashing signs
Seek it out and you shall find”

I told my son that when I meet someone, I ask them about themselves, not only to get to know them but because I love to hear people’s stories. Every person I’ve ever met has had an interesting, often times inspirational or educational, story to tell. Every person has something crazy cool about them, regardless of how they may appear on the surface. Had I not seen the man making chain mail at the coffee shop, I would never have known that this random person has an interest in, and has deeply researched, a period of history and a specific craft that one would think is obsolete in this day and age. In fact, he told me that much of what he makes is used by divers and people who handle animals, among other things. It’s amazing what things you learn just by talking to people about their interests.

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard,
Said, no more counting dollars
We’ll be, we’ll be counting stars”

I read a free iBook yesterday about a man and his robot girlfriend (His Robot Girlfriend). The robot pretty much started doing everything for him, all the menial, household tasks that he wasn’t doing for himself because he was busy sitting on the couch watching TV. By changing his diet and encouraging him to exercise, she helped him to become healthier and have more energy. And, with her industrious example, he started to use his time to do projects around the house, then to start working on a book he’d been meaning to write. The robot girlfriend encouraged him to be disciplined, care for himself and put time into his passions, to become a better, more complete, version of himself; reach for and attain his “possibilities.”

Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
I don’t think the world is sold
I’m just doing what we’re told
I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly”

Through my conversations with people, I’ve learned  a couple of things : (1) we are all the same, and (2) we are all crazy interesting and unique.

Every single person, every human being, has their story, whether happy, sad, hopeful or whatever … we all come from someplace and someone, and we all have our “whys” as to how we got to where we each are at this moment in time. We have this commonality across the board.

Also, every single person has their “possibilities,” whether we are currently acting upon them or they still lie in our future. These possibilities are unique to each person. What makes you drown makes me fly. There can be no judgement there because, despite how differently you see the world, how different your beliefs, your interests or actions, now or in the future may be, despite our “differences,” we are truly all the same in that we each have a story.

And, in this world that seems so divided by politics, religion, social and economic perspectives, or what-have-you, we all live under and count the same stars.

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard,
Said, no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars”