"You're on the Verge of a Miracle" - A Journey with Fear and Hope

August 28th:

Yesterday wasn’t a good day.

I was feeling niggly feelings of despair starting to take residence in my chest, like an unwelcome squatter. It had been growing over the past week or so, but yesterday was the worst.

Today I’m sitting on my mostly clean deck, enjoying the sun and chewing Dr. Pepper Hubba Bubba gum, feeling a lot better than I did yesterday.

Way back in high school I had a good friend whose advice to all of us young angsty girls, was if you chew grape Bubble Yum, you will fall in love. I chewed a lot of Bubble Yum. (Clearly I’ve been a dreamer for a long time…)

Yum!

Yum!

Obviously, it didn’t work. I didn’t marry the love of my life until I was the ripe old age of 32. As an adult with a fully formed brain I know how ludicrous the correlation between grape gum and falling in love it, but I still associate that sugar-filled gum with good, anticipatory feelings. (Don’t worry, I don’t chew it all the time…)

The reason for the recent niggly feeling of anxiety that has been creeping in the same part of my head that my fierce determination usually resides, is because I started to question this whole idea of self-employment. I knew going into this journey it was going to be hard work. I’ve learned that self-employment isn’t for the faint of heart. The truth is that the first eight months were actually pretty easy for me. Opportunities came fairly easily. It’s not feeling as easy right now, and that’s making me question things.

Summer is just slow. I realize that organizations and businesses just don’t plan for workshops and trainings in the summer. It’s like the part of the brain that wants to learn simply slows or shuts off in the summer for most people. When I think about it, I realize that it’s actually a really good thing that happens. Summer is the season for as much FUN and PLAY as possible.

Now that fall is nearly here, realistically it’s going to take time to get things rolling again.

Still, it’s hard. We can know that there is a realistic reason why something is the way it is, yet it can still eat away at our self-confidence if we let it.

Last night and today I got several good pep talks from some of key supporters. I’m feeling much better, more hopeful.

I feel like it is important to share my struggles with self-doubt. There can be a perception that some people have it all together, and nothing bad ever happens, and we are always emoting 100% confidence.

Well that’s simply not true. We all have times of questioning things—those moments of self-doubt. I’m realizing that it’s so important that I persevere through it, since everything in my being is still saying YES! I still feel lit up about what I’m doing and dreaming about doing, so it’s time to dig in and make it happen.

I have a Truthbomb deck by Danielle Laporte (author of The Desire Map). This afternoon I decided that I would try a little writing project and pull a card out of the deck. I said to myself that I would write about whatever card I got. I gave myself no opportunity to put it back and take a new one.

This is what I got… “You’re on the verge of a miracle.”

I found a blog post by Danielle Laporte says about this truthbomb. She says, “A Course In Miracles defines a miracle as “a shift in perception.” I love that, because that definition covers a lot of bases.”

A shift in perception. Nice.

 

September 28th (exactly one month after I started this post):

Well…I wasn’t able to finish this post for a month, because I couldn't find the time to finish it. It's felt so refreshing to have just the right amount of busyness in my life and business, especially after such a slow season. I feel so much better than I did when I started this post.

Since then I have facilitated a five-day facilitator training with a group of amazing people, and I have another one coming up next week. I'm working on an Appreciative Inquiry project. I have three or four new small projects and some potential contracts in the works. AND as an amazing bonus, I got to hear Brene Brown speak live in Seattle.

This is the best picture I got of Brene Brown that night. I chose to put my phone away and just listen. It really is her...I promise.

This is the best picture I got of Brene Brown that night. I chose to put my phone away and just listen. It really is her...I promise.

Interestingly enough, the tagline of her new book Rising Strong is, "The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution. If we are enough, often enough we fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up." I'm loving her book right now. So fitting for how I've been feeling. 

I feel expansive.

I still have anxiety about self-employment- keeping busy and having enough to pay the bills, but I’m honouring my core desired feeling of abundance.

There is enough. I know that I’m following the path that I want to be on. A path that very clearly has my name on it.

I am trusting.

I believe that good things are in store for me and my family, because...well, it just plain feels right.

 

In the wise words of Brene Brown, “I am enough.”

As I was writing this, I took a little facebook break…and came across this quote by Parker J. Palmer. He is someone I deeply admire and his writings have profoundly affected me. This quote pretty much sums up my emotional journey over the past couple months. I got a little weepy reading it. 

We have places of fear inside us, but we have other places as well – places with names like trust and hope and faith and joy. We can choose to lead and to live from one of those places, to stand on ground that is not riddled with the fault lines of fear. To move towards others from a place of promise instead of anxiety. As we stand in one of those places, fear may remain close at hand and our spirits may still tremble. But we now stand on ground that that will support us, ground from which we can lead others toward a more trustworthy, more hopeful, more faithful way of being in the world.
— Parker J Palmer

So…“You’re on the verge of a miracle.”

Heck, yes I am. 

 

(AND...I bet you can be too!)

This is me

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.” - Anais Nin

 This is me.

 I have shrunk, and I have expanded.

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I was sitting at one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in town. A place I rarely have the opportunity to go to unless I go with a friend, because my 7-year-old has, let’s say, a less-than refined palate.

I was relaxed, and spread out in a booth at the back of the restaurant, snuggling my sleeping 6-month old baby girl. My good friend was sitting across from me with a smile on her face. She is one of those long-term friends—the kind I don’t get to see all the time, but there is a deep love, respect and authenticity between us.

We used to work together, and have seen each other grow and expand over the years. She has also seen me at my worst. Like when I was going through an existential crisis, a dark night of the soul, she gave me support and encouragement through it. Always believing in me—in who I am, and what my gifts to the world are. 

At this particular moment in time I was halfway through my maternity leave. I know, I know, I am a lucky Canadian who was very blessed to have a full year off with my baby. I will never take that for granted. It allowed me time to contemplate life, my future, how I want to feel, how I want to feel at work.  I knew that I really needed a change, but I was scared. Terrified, actually.

Me: “I really don’t know what to do after my leave is up.”

 

I had been contemplating taking the leap and starting my own venture for years. I am someone who is a natural visionary. People who aren’t visionaries, can sometimes find this quality of mine kind of annoying. I am well aware of this. I’ve heard so many people give me advice over the years. Advice to slow down, don’t put the cart in front of the horse—all those, in my opinion, not so helpful words of “wisdom.”

I am a pioneer and have the need to expand and grow in my work. I often have a few irons in the fire, and that works well for me. I had many opportunities to stretch myself within my job, but the opportunities were becoming more and more rare. The program had grown exponentially and was now in the maintenance phase. Although I was a leader, I found the new normal, limiting, and the program needed fresh eyes—a fresh perspective. The grassroots phase was over, and the reality is I wasn’t finding it invigorating anymore.

For many complicated reasons, I hadn’t taken the leap. All the what ifs were plaguing me… What if I can’t do it? Who am I to think I can start my own business? What if I can’t pay the bills? What if I give up my job, the business doesn’t work, and can’t find a new job? I can’t express how difficult wrestling with this decision was for me. It kept me up at night. I had days I felt immobilized.

I knew in my heart of hearts that there was something out there for me, but it was so very scary to give up the security of a long-term job with six weeks vacation, the community of support at an office, and the collective power of a group of people who are lit up by the same mission.  And the people, oh the people I got to work with were so inspiring and resilient. The connections I had made over the years had changed me. Quite literally.

My friend looked at me in the eye and sternly said: “Jenn, God/the Universe has been giving you sign after sign that you can do this. It’s really TIME, really. It’s the end of an era and the beginning of a new one for you. I will be sad if you come back to your old job.”

 

I wish I could say that was the moment where it all changed for me, the moment where I decided I could do this. It certainly made an impact, but I continued to wrestle. I continued to see many signs that I should make the leap, and I also saw red flags that I shouldn’t go back to my old job. Still, uncertainty sat on my shoulder and muttered at me all day long, every day—for months. Then one afternoon in the heat of the summer, only weeks before I had to make my official decision, I had enough.

I drove to the lake, sat in a lawn chair for 4 hours and contemplated. This was when the epiphany hit me. I asked myself if I decided to go back the usual, the status quo, would I regret it in five years, in ten years? The answer was a resounding YES! The reality is that I’m not a spring chicken anymore. In regards to my career, I don’t have time to “while away the hours, conferring with the flowers.” It was time. NOW.

Go BIG or go home.

So I did it.

I took the plunge.

It was courageous and expansive.

It scared me to death. (The irony of being a visionary afraid of big risk is not lost on me, by the way.) Some people do these things all the time, and it’s not a huge deal for them. For me it was a big deal. My family was in a situation where the risk could’ve been quite destructive. But things have worked amazingly! The other day my husband Dave and I were at the park watching the kids play, and we smiled at each other with a knowing look—things are good. We are in a good place.

I have to say that eight months after that day at the lake, I KNOW that I made the absolute right decision. I am now in a place where I am walking in my potential. I am on a journey to be the best me I can be, and I feel my decision impacting the world around me. I’m experiencing a new sense of freedom that is so life-giving. During my wrestling phase I learned about The Desire Map. It’s about delving deep and figuring out how I want to feel every day. It’s GPS for the soul. I figured out some of my core desired feelings are freedom, expansion, joy, abundance. I needed to be true to myself, by honouring those desires and feelings.

This story is very key in the vision and purpose of my new business Luminate Wellness, I want to support other people in following their dreams—in learning about strengths, building on them, and reacquainting with the expert within, or the inner teacher. Can you imagine a world where everyone has figured out how they want to feel and they are making choices to live that way every day? Imagine the synergy, the energy, and love in the air. Wow. I get charged up thinking about that.

Another thing in my thoughts is that I want to be mindful to enjoy every step. Some days are hard. Some days that little voice of uncertainty still pops up on my shoulder and mutters at me, but I know I am grounded. Most times I am able to tell him off fairly quickly. I know that I have made the right choice. 

A huge successful, moneymaking business isn’t the most important end goal for me. I want to savour every moment—that’s my goal. The amazing, and the not so amazing. I want to learn from it all. Time passes quicker than I wish it did, and I don't want to miss anything out of fear or mindlessness. I want to BE. 

Who knows where this will go? I honestly don't know, but I’m all in, and I'm up for the adventure.

 

As for my fear around losing my tribe when I quit my job, well that hasn’t happened. I am intentionally building a new community around me. Just yesterday I sat at that same table, in the same Vietnamese restaurant in town, with a new friend—a friend who is also a visionary, a leader, an entrepreneur. We had a deliciously calm, kid-free lunch and talked about all the fun projects we are working on, and the new collaborations we have up our sleeves.

Life is good.

Stay tuned.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin