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Taking Great Steps

December 6, 2014

For the past couple of years I have been bogged down working for people who didn’t value my contributions and sometimes had such a need for control that they limited my ability to contribute to a good product.

In October, I decided to take a great leap that has lead to more happiness and to greater opportunities to use my creativity and skills and be more engaged in life. My life has changed in the following ways.

  • Left my job I am now working for myself. I took steps before I left to make sure I had freelance work to step into. I wasn’t sure how long that would last, but, so far it has been great. I have found projects that allow me to do the work I really enjoy–create digital math educational products. This work challenges me and allows me to use my creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Took a free course through edx.org  The course project was to create a pitch for your own Ed Tech product. Throughout the course, classmates shared their progress and we provided feedback for each other. I found others who thought my idea was worth creating. So the course has provided me with the spark and motivation to attempt to start my own small business creating math educational materials.
  • Applied for an Accelerator Program  To help give my company a boost, I applied for a program that will teach me entrepreneurial skills and introduce me to investors. I don’t know if I have a shot at becoming one of the 12 finalists, but, even if I don’t, I’ve already benefited from the application process alone. It required me to start thinking about a business structure and plan out next steps that make sense in a business framework.
  • Happiness Course I am currently taking another free course through edx.org called The Science of Happiness. It is a self-paced course, so I encourage you to take the course if it is still available. I am only in my first week and I’m finding the intro material a little too much. But I can see that I’ll get a lot out of this course. I may not watch every video or read every article, but just thinking about and discussing ways of bringing happiness in my life will help me develop better practices.

So, that brings you up to date on my journey. I am very excited about the changes in my life over the past 2 months and the new life I’m stepping into. I hope you, too, can find your passion and ways to create the life you want.

Taking Steps in the Right Direction

July 31, 2014

Part of my resolve for getting back on track with my life was to get back in touch with my inner child, be silly, take things more lightly. The perfect event crossed my path that will immerse me in the joy of being a kid again — Gishwhes. This event is a scavenger hunt of sorts, but you have to take videos or pictures of you doing specific things. Some are silly, some are heartwarming, some require amazing creativity — all right up my alley.

Gishwhes starts next week and I’m already looking at things in a different way. I see things and wonder if I could use them in some creative way. We don’t get the list of “items” we are scavenging for until Saturday. I’m waiting anxiously for them.

For Gishwhes, you compete with a team of 14 other people. I joined a team called Joy Sandwich. Their focus is to be silly, have fun, and spread joy. Again…couldn’t be more perfect for the changes I want to make in my life.

This coming week of Gishwhes will be like an innoculation of many of the things I want to rekindle in my life. I just need to hang on to them after the week is over.

 

Another step in the right direction happened this week. I started seeing a chiropractor on Friday last week. The stress I’m under accumulated to the point that muscles were pulling my right side out of place. I had pain all the way down my right leg, couldn’t walk without limping, and couldn’t lay flat without reactivating all of the pain. Of and on for years I have seen chiropractors, and knew it was time to find one in the area. (I just recently moved here. I have been dreading finding another chiropractor just because you don’t know if they are good until after you pay for some treatments.)

Thankfully, I picked the right chiropractor. She is WONDERFUL! She offered to write a note for my boss about letting up. I thought she was going to say that I needed to not work for a few days but…even better…her note says that I cannot work more than a 40-hour week and no more than 5 days a week. (I’ve been working close to 60+ hour weeks since I started this job last Fall.) Yippity skippity!!!

My boss isn’t going to be happy, but this letter gives me the opportunity to say “No”. I realize I could have said No a long time ago. In fact, I did at one point but didn’t stick to it. I am being held to deadlines I can’t make working only an 8-hour day. But, now, the company will have to hire someone else to help because those deadlines won’t be made with me cutting 4 hours out of every day and not working on the weekend. Ha!

I’m not looking forward to the confrontation this letter from my chiropractor could bring…and I know I need to stand my ground if I ever feel pressured about it. This opportunity is too valuable to waste. I need to stick to working only 8 hours.

Sunday Blues

July 20, 2014

The last few Sundays have been the same, emotionally speaking. I thought it was just a hormone thing, but it’s been going on too long for that to be it. And, it only happens on Sunday. I feel:

  • Frustration — another weekend is going and I’ll be back to work tomorrow
  • Guilt — I didn’t do much work over the weekend
  • Anger — I shouldn’t have to work over the weekend
  • Guilt — I didn’t visit Mom or call friends who have called me during the week
  • Sadness — I want to spend more time with others, but I’m so worn out by the time the weekend comes that I just want to relax
  • Irritation — most of this negativity comes from one source — my job

i have made some progress from since last week. I’ve had a couple of good conversations with friends who have encouraged me to start making my exit plan. There’s potential for a great freelance project this fall if it comes through, and it provides full time work OR I can find other projects to fill the gap, I’ll make my exit. Between now and this fall, I will open my eyes to other opportunities…even those outside my current line of work. 

 Unexpectedly, I discovered Gishwhes this week. What a perfect way to get in touch with my inner child. I know it will inspire my creativity while also push me outside my comfort zone. I’m so glad I found it in time. I’m a little anxious, but also excited and want to get started. I’m trying to find friends/family to join me, but no luck yet. I’d like to have someone local on my team. But it’ll also be great to “meet” 14 other people from around the globe. 

This week I will continue to look for opportunities to express my creativity, earn a living outside my current line of work, and feed my inner child.  

Another year. . . Still lost

July 13, 2014

Here I am. Another year has past since my last post and I’m more frustrated than I have been in years. I moved AND I changed jobs. That wasn’t enough stress. My new job is the worst I have ever had.

I have to to say that I am grateful for the move. It got us out of a house we felt stuck in because of the housing crash. The house just wasn’t a good fit. It contributed to our feelings of depression and isolation. The house we are in now is more open. I feel like I can breathe again. And it has put me more in touch with nature. I spend at least a few moments outside almost every day. There’ same lot we want to do to this house. In a sense, it is a blank canvas. I am frustrated sometimes over everything we want/need to do. I just need to remember that it doesn’t have to all a be done at once.

The move has also allowed me to be more in touch with my family. I can visit mom and provide  some help as she needs it. And I have time with my siblings at holidays. I’d like more time, but we are all so busy, myself included. I make efforts to take more time. Sometimes I wish I could see them making the same effort.

What at is NOT working is my job. I’ve been in this spot so many times in my life–a spot of total frustration, dissatisfaction, and total negativity about my job. I often wonder if it is me. Am I just never satisfied? But then I talk about my job and my boss to others and they are outraged on my behalf. Certainly, the way I describe the situation could cause that response sometimes. But even when I describe the situation objectively, almost taking my boss’ side, I get a similar reaction. By comparison to other jobs, I really didn’t have anything to complain about.

No matter if anyone is at fault, I am once again at a crossroads.

  • Do I leave the soul-crushing job, even if I don’t have anything stable to replace it with? (Is it time for another leap of faith?)
  • Do I stay at this job and work in myself–learn ways of depersonalizing the situation and protecting myself from a toxic boss?
  • if I did leave, what would, I want to replace this job with? What do I really want out of a job?

to help gain some perspective outside the little hamster wheel in my head, I pulled 3 cards from the Spirit of the Wheel Meditation Deck. In those three cards, I found a to do list of sorts–things I need to do to improve myself and my situation. And, in doing so, I think I’ll find a place of certainty where I’ll know what I am to do next.

  • Recognize that I do have lessons to learn. Accept those lessons, then move on. Never miss an opportunity for self improvement.
  • I dwell well too much on the black and white, yet balance is in shades of gray. Letting go of judgements and staying connected to my inner spirit will draw me out of the black towards the white. And, in doing so, I’ll find a state of balance.
  • In addition to the previous statement, I need to find a balance in the time I spend on work, rest, restorative activities, etc. In addition to curbing some work hours, I need to spend less time on activities that do not feed my soul, like computer games. Nothing wrong with playing games. I just need to not let them consume all of my non-work time.
  • Listen to my inner child. My child knows what gives me joy and a sense of freedom. And doing things that feed my inner child will make that voice stronger.

Ch..Ch..Changes

June 9, 2013

Location in Franklin County in MassachusettsI’ve been through a lot of changes in my life. I’ve moved 7 times and am about to embark on my 8th move. I’ve had several jobs starting my most recently one this past January. As I approach my 50th birthday, I want to be sure that this move and another upcoming job change is “right” for me and my partner. I am really tired of moving and would like to settle somewhere.

This move was brought on by the job change in January. I agreed to move to Austin, TX. I have been working remotely since Jan. 15th and the company I work for is getting a little antsy about my move. Winter wasn’t a good time to put a house on the market here in Massachusetts, so I had good reason for the delay, but the delay also helped me see that the people in the office would be a challenge to work with. They can blow things out of proportion and create drama where there is none. It’s hard enough working with them from a distance. Even though I had been excited about moving to Austin (it seemed like a cool place to live when I visited for my interview), I decided it wasn’t a good move for us.

Gateway arch, St. Louis, MO, USA. Español: El ...But, we still have to move. The salary from my current job won’t support a mortgage in Massachusetts. It’s just too costly to live here. So we started considering a lot of different places–Madison, WI; Bloomington, IN; St. Louis, MO; Ashfield, MA; Columbus, OH; somewhere closer to M’s mom; Port Townsend, WA–all places we’ve either lived in the past, visited, or thought might be a place we’d enjoy being. After weighing all the pros and cons, we settled on moving back to where I grew up. I have two siblings nearby, lots of nieces and nephews, and a mom who could use a little help. The cost of living is 30% cheaper in my hometown than where I currently live, and housing is 46% lower.

By the sounds of what I’ve written, the move is settled. But I’m still a bit anxious about it for the following reasons:

  • The biggest pro is to reconnect with family. Am I only getting my hopes up? Only my mom had time for me when I lived there 7 years ago. My siblings have started helping mom more. Will they stop once I’m there?
  • I HATE the heat and humidity during the summer. I HATE that winter and spring each last about a week.
  • I won’t be in a “publishing” area, which could make it harder to find a job in the future.

Of the three, the first one weighs most on my mind. My sister says she’ll have time for me. My brother was never really interested in making time for me. My nieces and nephews are in their 20-30s and have lives of their own. I’ll probably only see them on holidays.

View of a church in Madison, WI

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then there is the care of my mom. It was after I left, 7 years ago, that my brother and sister decided to start visiting her once a week. While it may not happen immediately, it will be too easy for them to stop their visits, especially if I live nearby. I hope it has become an ingrained habit, but it may be something they are looking for a good excuse to give up. Will I then become the only one to care for my mom as her health fades?

In addition to the questions about the move, I’m questioning my job, too. The company offered me a promotion last week, but I turned it down. The salary was no different from what they considering the bonus they offered for moving to Austin. My current position has the option of not moving to Austin. This new position did not, plus it has a lot more responsibilities attached. They want to think over the idea of giving me the promotion without moving.

My job involves helping the company grow into a new area. I’ve been helping them do that since I started in January. They know that I’ve done this kind of work for over 20 years and have a lot of contacts what will make their expansion easier to do. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but I’m a little pissed that it took them over a month of searching and interviewing to come to the conclusion that I could handle this promotion, and now they have to think about it some more.

The bigger irritant is that the head of the company says they want my suggestions for improving, yet every time I make a suggestion, it is shut down or completely ignored. So I don’t know how effective I can be at helping them grow.

I believe this is the site of the old Union Wh...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the meantime, I’ve had someone I’ve worked with in the past talk to me about working for her. Her personality is a little abrasive at times, so I have avoided the idea of working with her. I’m learning in-your-face abrasive is a whole lot better than behind-your-back judgements that you only find out about months later when there’s little you can do to diffuse the situation. The latter is what I have experienced in my current job. I’ve never met so many people in one company who do not know how to deal directly with an issue. They would rather simmer about it, build up drama and resentment, and let it hurt the company. Crazy!

Ok, so that should tell me that I really don’t want my current job. The problem is, the other company may not be able to match my salary. I’ve already taken a 25% pay cut from my last job. I really can’t afford another cut. Besides, what will it look like to leave a job after only 3 months? And, am I really only picking the better of two evils?

English: Looking west over Bloomington, Indian...

A photograph taken by User:EMcCutchan. Category:Images of Bloomington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Yah, please help me know what is best for me and M. I need to feel confident about the move and the job. I would like this to be our last move. I’d like to build a comfortable nest. I know I could learn a lot from both jobs/bosses in different ways. I know neither will be easy, even though that’s what I’d prefer. Which one will serve me best in the long run? Help me know.

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Declaration of Intention

September 4, 2011

I am reading a book about past lives and the fears that we often bring over from these past lives. It is a very

Healing your past lives to realize your soul's potential

intriguing topic. It provides a possible explanation for some of the illogical triggers we all seem to have.

The first exercise in the book is to declare your intention to work to relieve your soul’s fears with the help of your spirit guides. I’m intrigued by the idea of having spirit guides, but I have never had an encounter or experience with these guides. As recommended, I’m suspending judgement on whether or not there are such guides about me and going with the suggested activities. Who knows what I may draw from them? I may or may not encounter a spirit guide. I know one thing for sure, I know I will never encounter a spirit guide if I’m not open to the possibility.

So, without further adieu, here is my declaration of intention.

Dear Soul,

I promise to do everything in my power to relieve fears that hold me back in this life. I will strive to meet the 10 goals that will allow us to live in greater peace and harmony.

Spirit

Image by 29cm via Flickr

I promise to remain open to spirit guides that have as their intention assistance that will further me on my path to my highest self. I may have trouble recognizing your guidance. Please be patient with me and help me to hear and respond to the guidance you provide.

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Why do I avoid myself

November 28, 2010

It’s been a long time since I’ve journaled. I did a little bit a few months ago on paper, but I had to really force myself to do it, like I am now. I feel fearful. I feel like I have let a speck of germ go unchecked for too long and now it has grown into a great, big, hairy monster. I tear up just at writing this. This is nuts!

I don’t take the time for myself, for expressing myself or exploring what’s happening in my psyche by way of my dreams. I waste a lot of time watching TV or playing games — things that drown out the volume of my own inner voice. When I sit down to write, I HAVE to listen to that inner voice. It’s all that is there.

I know I SHOULD take more time to express myself in any number of ways — writing, dancing, creating (without the TV on in the background), just sitting in the stillness. When I drive to work in the morning, I always have to have the radio on. A few days (I can count them on one hand) I spend some time with the radio off. I’ve spoken out loud about the dream I had the night before and was able to analyze my dream and take away an important message.

So, what am I going to do so I don’t get these pent up emotions that are all bent out of shape because they feel ignored?  It would be helpful to set a day and time at which I intend to be quiet and allow my inner voice to be hears. If I just say I’m going to have a quiet time once a week, I’ll weasel out of it. So, I’m going to set aside time on Thursday nights. That’s the night I have my class at 8:30. Morgan may be attending a meeting that night at 7:30, so I’ll have an hour before my class to settle in and be quiet. I may do things like knit, but I’ll knit in the quiet. I’ll pray or meditate with each stitch. Or I may dance…or I may write. Anything that allows my inner voice to be heard instead of blocked is fair game.

I think I’ll also set a goal for having quiet time in the car. I think at least twice I week I could do this. During that time I can speak aloud what I think I would be writing. Speak anything that comes across my mind — like a verbal form of Morning Pages. That will keep me from bringing home frustrations from the day. In the morning I can speak about my dreams or I can talk through a situation I want to prepare for at work.

So, what’s the commitment?

  • I commit to quiet time in the car at least twice a week. This can be on the way to or from work. If I haven’t done this by Friday, I MUST spend some time both in the morning and in the evening in quiet.
  • I commit to quiet time on Thursday nights. It will begin the moment Morgan leaves for her meeting (if I wait, I know I’ll spend the time playing games).
  • For these quiet times, I will spend at least 15 minutes to start. I hope to eventually spend more time than this, maybe even the full hour before my class on Thursdays or even my entire drive to or from work.

Just making this commitment makes me feel a lot better. I feel a weight off my shoulders.