Can You Start September Without Falling Back Into Workaholism and Measuring Up?
Everywhere I look, it’s back to school. It’s that time of year and while the child in me wants to stay a little longer and play in the summer sun, the grown-up part of me is excited to get back to routines, schedules and work. But why?
My husband’s 3-year old granddaughter was just visiting us and she’s at that age right now where everything we say is followed up with “But why?” I wonder too, what would happen if I kept my inner child alive and let it play carefree for a while longer? Is the structure I look forward to in September actually good for me? Or, is it the social and conventional ball n’ chain that ties me back to systems I worked so hard to break free from? Could I have a “new beginning” without falling back into workaholism and measuring up?
The other day I shared with a friend that it’s taken me 2 years to accept and then embrace my desired life(style). It’s been that long since I left my 9 to 5 routine behind and dove into entrepreneurship with big dreams and high expectations. I wasn’t expecting one of my biggest obstacles to be acceptance of time freedom– it was what I was looking forward to the most! And yet, there I was making sure I was sitting at my computer by 8 am and not leaving my desk until 6pm. I had to make sure I showed everyone how busy I was building my business to justify not having a full time job.
I have learned a great deal about patience and the natural evolution of the growth cycle during this time– something I felt particularly removed from because everything else in my life is so instantly available. I learned a lot from the begonia bulbs I planted in the spring. Nothing happened for months and I was becoming envious of my neighbours’ pots of blooming flowers… then, one day (and it felt like it was overnight) my begonias were so tall and full and beautiful–more beautiful than I could have imagined.
My biggest lesson, however, came in the form of a break. Well, multiple breakdowns but it was the double-fracture kind of a leg break that laid my husband up for a good six months that forced us both to hit the pause button and surrender. It changed everything. Den got a crash course on accepting help and I practised sovereignty. Health and wellness became an even more imminent focus than ever before. Suddenly, it was crystal clear to me that without our health (I don't just mean physical), we’ve got nothing. Everything we evangelize and prioritize is worthless without our ability to actually enjoy it. And there it was again… JOY.
What’s it all for anyway?
We spend so much of our time trying to fit in and be good and the best at what we do so that we can make an impact, get into a good school, and earn lots of money so that we can buy ourselves more time, health and freedom… And I ask again, but why? What if we just approached LIFE like we go into summer? Childlike, without worry, enjoying every day because we know it’s not going to last?
Have you ever heard the story of the fisherman and the businessman?
September 4, 2015 by Paulo Coelho
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite a few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and when evening comes I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I have a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, and sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled. “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
The thing is, none of this is new information, but it’s the first time it has actually “landed” for me. It’s new to the woman I’ve become. That’s the thing about lessons, they come around until you finally get it. So this September, I have a particularly potent desire to not fall back into the mind-numbing, joyless hustle. I want to embrace this season of change without abandoning joy*.
Joy is where creativity lives.
In my experience, getting caught up in the how tends to lead down the “not enough” trail. That’s a hard grind to recover from. In his book: “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” Dr. Joe Dispenza unveils another option: “We can learn and change in a state of pain and suffering, or we can evolve in a state of joy and inspiration.” Have you considered the latter? Many of us only change when things have gotten so intolerable that there is no other way. Uhmmm remember my husband had to break his leg for us to stop and assess the path we were on!
I’m oversimplifying what Dr. Dispenza proposes here, but in a nutshell, we’ll repeat what we know because it’s anchored in feelings and emotions. To evolve our life in joy (our creative heart) we must change our inner world (feelings and emotions) to affect transformation in our outer world (people, places, things). We must start with how we want to feel differently.
How do you want to feel?
When I first heard that question, I was dumbstruck. “What? I dunno!” Can’t you just give me the answer and make the pain go away? Turns out, there’s a scientific explanation as to why we find it difficult to connect with our feelings, especially when we’ve reached our emotional threshold or let things go for too long. Dr. Dispenza calls this being addicted to being a somebody:
“When the stress response is turned on, whether in response to a real or conjured up threat, a powerful cascade of chemicals rushes into our system and gives us a strong jolt of energy…”
“In time we unconsciously become addicted to our problems, our unfavorable circumstances, or our unhealthy relationships. We keep these situations in our lives to feed our addiction to survival oriented emotions so that we can remember who we think we are as somebody.”
Here’s the good news… you can break free from this addictive pattern. And the first step is surrender. Surrender doesn’t mean we give up. Surrender doesn’t mean we condone. Surrender means we accept, with kindness, what is– and by doing so, clear the space for new possibilities. One way I’ve found to be very helpful is identifying how I want to feel.
You have a say in your life.
What comes into our cupboards and closets, what goes into our bodies, the people with whom we spend our free time, the gifts we give, how we worship, the thoughts we focus on. Clutter is a choice. Anger is a choice. Resentment is a choice. But so are spaciousness, flexibility, laughter, compassion, tenderness, and resilience.
Choosing to lean into the feelings you most want to feel is one of the most powerful things you can do with your life. The Desire Map workshops, based on the bestseller by Danielle LaPorte, take your through that process. As a Desire Map facilitator, I take you on a guided experience to discover the way you most want to feel and set goals and intention based on those feelings. More ease. Less striving. All pleasure.
If this process resonates with you but you want to know more about it, I totally got you covered. I am hosting another Introductory Workshop for people to get a taste test of the Desire Mapping experience on October 12th. I’d love for you to join us.
I know you’ll love it, because you’ll begin to feel the way you want to feel more often than not. Decisions will be easier to make. You’ll know when to say “No, Thank you” and “Hell Yes!” You’ll be more optimistic, more open-hearted. Your life will ease up on the grinding and and fill up with more…ease.
For more details on exactly what we’ll cover, dates, and location, click here.
I know that you are destined to feel fulfilled and realize your full potential. You are here to design a life that feels good: when you wake up, when you go to work, when you cook dinner, create something, spend time with your loved one. The Desire Map has radically changed the way I live my life, and I am so thrilled to share this experience with you.
***Also read Are You Numbing Out to Joy?
** Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose YOur Mind and Create a New One by Dr. Joe Dispenza