Friday, August 17, 2012

Up to My Elbows in Grasshoppers

(Joanne Cummings....Thank you so much for capturing with a photo the thoughts that were in my head.)

This is my statement of surrender, hands in the air, the white flag. Every good fight eventually comes to an end. I have worked all my life to make things happen, to plot a path, pave a trail, knock down walls. I have gone where no one thought I ever could. I am driven and determined, persevering and persistent. I have left not a thing to chance. I have crafted my life, created my story, and crowned myself queen of it. Well. I am done with that.

I was talking with a friend the other night. I told her that I am feeling wrong lately at the soul level. You would have to know me to know that I believe it is possible to be doing what looks to be everything right and still to feel wrong at the soul level. Some of the best moves in my life have been when I have been accomplishing wonderful things, but felt that I was going the wrong direction. When my children were little, I built a business selling lipstick and blush. I did so well that I began to teach other women to build businesses selling lipstick and blush. I was queen of customer service. I was queen of sales. My clients loved me. My team loved me. Other consultants cheered me on at weekly meetings. I earned pins and ribbons and dishes and totes. I nearly earned a car. My director began grooming me, training me for the day when I, too, would be a director. I was this close to going into qualification for car status and the right to wear the snazzy black blazer with the purple trim reserved only for those who have paid their dues in elbow grease, sweat, and cases of gentle cleansing formula, brow pencils, and holiday bronzers. I was this close, but a voice in my head pulled me back. This voice said, “You are doing a fabulous job, dear, but you are going the wrong direction.” This is when I applied for a master’s program in developmental psychology.

Well, I am getting that feeling again. I am getting the feeling that I am forcing things, that I am working to fit square pegs into round holes. I love what I do, yes. And, for fear of sounding arrogant, I feel that I am doing a fairly decent job. I am teaching. I am writing. I am back in school as student. I love it all, but is this where I am supposed to be? A full-time position came open last year in my department. My gut said, “No, do not apply. Do not. You don’t really want this. It is not for you.” My head said, “Yes, you fool. This is what part-timers do. They apply for full-time positions. Of course you want it.” But I didn’t. I didn’t want it. At least I don’t think I did. But if not that, then what? I am writing. I have a book, but I am not marketing that book. I say that I am, that I want to be an author, but mostly the words just sit on my computer looking at me like a puppy that wants to go out and play. I am going back to school, too, for my doctorate. I have always enjoyed learning. I have always known that I would get this degree. Except, with every discussion post I turn in, every paper I submit, I question why I am doing this. Do I enjoy the learning now? No. Am I feeling the thrill, the excitement, the passion that I have felt in the past? No. Then, why? I am feeling again, that I am working too hard to make things happen, things that perhaps are not supposed to happen. Am I doing a great job, but going the wrong direction?

I just got back from a walk in the woods. The meadow was thick with grasshoppers. They flung themselves at my arms. I tried very hard to focus on my meditative silence, to find that happy place in my mind, and to not look like a freaked out karate ninja master in this big empty field. Don’t get me wrong. I love nature. I just don’t love it on me. But as I walked, I began to see the answer to my life questions. I began to see the answer in the grasshoppers. I did not go searching for these critters and stick them to my arms. Neither did I contemplate whether they should be there. I simply walked. I turned my face to the sun, breathed in the sweet grasses, and took the meadow step by step. Well, life. I am doing the same with you. I am turning my face to the sun, breathing in the sweetness of the days, and taking you step by step. Fling at me what you will.

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