Tag Archives: right work

on passion (& vintage typewriters)

vintage typewriter

“Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for. Mold your career around your lifestyle not your lifestyle around your career.”
Anonymous

I saw this post online (if you click the photo up top, it will take you to it – I hope), along with the caption.

I really want one of these old typewriters – one is on my wish list…

But… I’ve come to find that I have made peace with the dichotomy of passion and earning a living not necessarily being one and the same…

One can be passionate about one’s work – its quality, the service it provides to those we are hired to assist, the higher purpose of the organizations for whom we work, the connections we make with inner and outer clients, our sense of usefulness in our roles… those are many things we can be passionate about in relation to earning a living.

I was stuck for so long for much of my adult life fretting about how to turn the things I was passionate about (my writing, my art, my creative pursuits, my volunteering work) into a living, so much so that I lost sight of the passion and also was in a constant state of discontent at being unable to make this shift I so wanted to make yet was incapable of defining.

It turns out that I’m damned good at my “day job” and despite having one (when I’m not unemployed) I can still engage in the things I am passionate about on my own time because they energize me and infuse me with enthusiasm.

I’ve learned that those two parts of my life are not mutually exclusive. Joy (and passion) can be found in all things.

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gonna go ’round in circles

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As I gaze outside the window I see that a fresh batch of rain has left micro puddles in the creases of the patio chairs on the deck. I at once feel a sense of urgency to “get things done” (“things” not being entirely defined) and a need for continuing on with the process of self-inquiry to determine the things that I should be getting done. It sounds like a small civil war has unleashed from my son’s room down the hall, as continual gunfire from the video game he is playing pounds at my temples.

Apparently my foray into town yesterday evening and imbibing in happy hour revelry is something I am sadly out of practice with. I didn’t have that much to drink but the little was still enough to keep me from feeling fully rested after a night’s sleep and left me with a hint of a headache right behind my left eye.

The Spreecast for the book group meeting that has been an ongoing Saturday morning “thing” for the past month was canceled with short notice this morning and I’m feeling a bit adrift – I look forward to it. Clearly, I don’t get out much.

I fired off a half dozen or so job applications this morning. This process of applying remotely is a bit daunting. Yet another way we dehumanize the process of interacting with the world. I wonder if I will find work soon, and whether it will bring me the kind of satisfaction that I am hoping to find. I want to contribute saliently and also be my genuine self. It seems like the two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive but I’ve found that it often is. Why is making a decent living wage such rocket science these days? It didn’t used to be, and finding work was relatively easy.

I want to dissolve into play, or get lost in a book, yet when I try to do either I seem incapable of full absorption. Movies then. Maybe I ought to watch something and suspend the brain chatter that way. Giving the crunching a rest while it works in the background to figure things out might yield more valuable results.

So… this is a meandering post, to go with my meandering mood. The rain has started back up again, in earnest, yet the sun has broken through a parting in the clouds to illuminate the trees in the front yard. Another explosion booms from my son’s room. Today feels like it will be a very strange day.

I should vacuum. Maybe I ought to knit something. I think there’s an ibuprofen gelcap with my name on it. A donut sounds really good… fresh and chocolate dipped.

morning pages… thoughts on right-work

ReminderJournal

I’m sitting here at a quarter to noon with a black skin clarification mask smeared on my chin (an attempt to rid it of a spot that is and one that isn’t quite yet) post-yet-another-freebie-coaching call (this one with Stacy Nelson – who was awesome, by the way), freshly showered and dressed in what I fondly refer to as my gene string footless tights and a faded and hole-y lounging tunic.

I’ve been a blog whore lately, abundantly engaging in All That Is Free in the blogosphere (because, seriously, I’ve got less than thirty bucks to rub together until my very first EI check arrives some time during the first week of February, and I’m also wondering whether I should spend any of it on a card for my son’s birthday, which is the day after tomorrow, or just focus on what’s important and buy ingredients to make him a birthday cake instead). Decisions.

And really, that is all I have been focusing on… decisions.
Decisions I’ve made.
Decisions I have to make.
How my decisions will affect my life and the ones of those in my intimate circle.

The question that keeps coming up in all of these is:

What Feeds Me?

That’s a big question.

So much feeds me. And much also doesn’t.

Coming back to center and figuring out what truly feeds me rather than what I turn to when I seek to be fed is where I struggle. It has been a struggle that I’ve had for a very long time, and clearly I have not yet found a way to operate which truly allows for that balance to manifest.

And… I’ve been avoiding this sitting with myself bit. Over and over again. When I have (in the past), I’ve come upon the uncomfortable realization that nothing that I was or am doing, professionally (and I’m using that as a loose term because “legal administrative assistant” may sound like a profession, but really? let’s get serious…) is getting me closer to how I want to be and feel in the world. So I stuff it all down and hunker down for another bout of sucking it up and trying to be myself as best as I can in an environment that stifles and rejects uniqueness and most of the values that I, well, value most.

I make a choice. Then another. And another.

Like a pendulum, I swing wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other.

I make a choice that ends up taking me further away from center… it swings to the farthest reaches of discomfort and then, at the end of its course it has no choice but to start swinging backwards.

Then I make a polar opposite choice (or one is made for me) and I swing in the other direction… still an unbalanced way to work things, right?

One extreme; another extreme.

So despite my myriad yearnings for many other things or feelings… what I need to find first is balance. But what does that look like? How can I find middle ground without feeling like I’ve sold my soul?

Stacy asked me what it is that truly lights me up… what feelings are the ones that make me feel most seated in myself? They were:

The act of creating
Connection / Communion

Those two things are the feelings that resonate the most with me, and they drive everything that I do in my life, including that pendulum that swings back and forth, back and forth. I reach for those two feelings and sometimes get them sustainably, and sometimes get them at great expense. The process I am trying to wade through now is what expense is necessary in order to sustainably reach both of those feelings most of the time.

I mean… we all need a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. And I’d like to up the ante a bit and say that I want to maintain a nice, beautiful and comfortable home and good food, not just sumptuous and delicious but good, vital, food. I want to not have to worry about getting to the check out counter and have to remove things from the basket in order to have enough money to pay for the groceries. I want to not have to choose between a birthday card for my son and a delicious meal to serve him on his birthday and a birthday cake.

These are all things I didn’t think too much about until a few months ago. I had enough to have and do these things, in moderation, but not more. Everything was always carefully calculated and stretched out just so. I lived pretty much within my means (give or take about a $500 gap) but couldn’t account for any contingency plan should my income disappear or greatly diminish for any length of time. I tried to plan my escape route and line up another job, but it didn’t happen in time.

Since then I’ve worked with a legal placement agency (because that is where two decades of my experience lies) and I’ve been presented as a candidate for several positions.

The radio silence is numbing. In many ways it also shadows the very feelings I have when I am in the sort of environment that I’ve worked in for the last several decades. Numb. It definitely doesn’t evoke either of those two core feelings that I wish to feel that I listed above, and while I feel connection with the people I work side-by-side with, seldom do I feel deep connection to the companies I’ve worked for, or to the driving ideology that underlies them.

For one, many of them support the kinds of things that I am diametrically opposed to (like supporting natural resource exploitation spin doctored to sound like they are being done in a “corporately responsible” way but… yeah, right… and the corporate shortsighted focus on the bottom line at the expense of sustained socio-economic stability).

I don’t have answers to the socio-economic issues that plague the modern day world and expect that there are other far more skilled and able people out there working on viable solutions, but I do know that I don’t want to further contribute to its failings by being an active participant, even peripherally.

Which greatly limits my options at the moment.

So I find myself having to make some decisions.

I’m having to search out what my core values are, and realign with them once again.

I’m having to seek opportunities for earning a livelihood that will create the sort of feelings I want to embody, in which all of my needs are met. By needs, I don’t mean surface needs – I mean the ones that underlie those surface needs and anchor us to who we are in the world.

I’m having to not feel ashamed that I have needs in the first place, and that having needs doesn’t mean that I am needy.

I’m having to view my limitations, and really look at them to figure out whether they are actual or perceived, and figure out what to do about them.

I’m having to swim through an overwhelming sea of information and figure out what is pertinent, and pick out what will be useful to me to get me back to feeling those two key core feelings that I am most happy in.

I’m having to counterbalance my wish for right-work and right-livelihood with my skills and experience, and the marketplace, and see if there is any wiggle room in there that will allow me to contribute in meaningful ways without the credentials and the experience and, frankly, perhaps even a demand for what I have to offer.

I don’t suffer fools easily, and this paradox applies to myself, equally. I can very much be the fool at times, and being the fool puts me on a journey towards self-discovery. It always leads back to self… to spirit, and that connection that I yearn for with others as well as with myself.

This is a walk of the highest vibration, which I must struggle to maintain because if I don’t, I’ll make another counter-intuitive choice. I must constantly be aware of where my thoughts are, and how everything feels in my body.

And my body is telling me this:

It’s taken almost TWO MONTHS to recover from the dis-ease created by TWO YEARS (compounded upon TWO DECADES) of walking around in someone else’s life.
Find yours. Find your life. Find your place.

And really? I’m just trying to stop from become the screaming dude in Edvard Munch’s painting…

Peace. (or peach… as I incorrectly typed and then changed, but oddly, it’s fitting, because *juicy*!) xo

dreaming on…

The opening quote (from George Bernard Shaw) for a book I’m reading (“Body of Work” by Pamela Slim) says:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself.”

 

I’ve been on quite the journey since being laid off. I saw it coming, so it wasn’t a huge surprise, though one is never really prepared to let go the safety rope when the time comes. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time, over the years, mulling over what I wanted to do with this one and precious life but I’m still dumbfounded, some.

There is a difference between dreaming wildly about something and determining and implementing specific steps towards something.

So I’m at that discovery place…

The “What can I do that someone might value and be willing to pay me for?” place.

The “What is it that makes me shine from the inside out?” place.

The “Where can I find ways in which to share the shine?” and the “Where can I find the support network that will help me build the infrastructure to enable this freedom making dream to materialize?” place.

I find there is a lot of fear around this cutting lose of dreams and audacity. Not just mine but others’. People want you to stay realistic, practical – the same. Well there is a place for practicality, once the dream is determined… the steps to implement are practical ones, and finding leads and sources of income are practical… even the doing of the work for which one hopes to be paid is practical… but the visioning and the dreaming… that must remain something impractical, and MINE. Something incorruptible and MINE. I must take ownership of it in order to make it happen, and it will never be if I continue to let others influence what MY dream must look like.

And then there is the ridicule, the doubt… the removal of support from those who think that machete-ing my way through an untread upon path will surely result in failure, because.. look at me, I’M the unemployed one here.

And it’s tough, this place. This place of beginning and not knowing… not knowing the what I have to offer, its inherent value and how to go about offering it.

So I look like I’m at a standstill, engaging in creative things like journaling and painting and writing. It’s not that I’m just playing and wasting time. It is my honest attempt to unlock those very answers that I’m sure I’ll find the keys to when I’m engaged in something else.

In the meantime, I hope to find support, whether financial or otherwise, from the people that are close to me, those who care. I hope they will stand in solidarity with me, until I’ve cut through to clarity.

Work and life are changing. We are at the cusp of a new work paradigm. We have the power in our hands to craft our lives into something radically different. Our reach is wider spread than ever. The potential for success is greater now than it has ever been. Why are we so afraid to take that step? (And by “we” I mean me, but if you identify with this perhaps you as well.) Let’s talk. Comments are open, below. Add your voice to the discussion. Peace. xo

finding purpose… or the search for the holy grail

Recently we had a rather lively conversation in our little artist group Salon about preferred mediums, the nature of titles (artist or not, etc.) and purpose (as in the “what is my purpose?” question). So I’ll share here some of what I wrote there, because I’m sure that we creative types all process these questions over time.

I’ve called myself, on and off, both a writer and an artist, but they’ve always felt like unvalidated terms, because I’m not thriving in either area, though I would like to be.

Sometimes I wonder why we (humans, I mean) feel compelled to categorize ourselves. There is joy in the making and the doing, and so I’m not sure whether calling oneself one or the other really is what makes it so, and why it should matter to anyone else but ourselves.

We are so much more than one or two words.

I am a maker of wonderful chocolate chip cookies, with butter and semi-sweet chips.
I am a great sorter and hoarder of condiments.
I am the creator of wonderful hugs.
I am the holder of space for people in which they can safely express.
I am the keeper of an open heart.
I am the seeker of tins of rolled caper studded anchovies in oil (why can’t I find these anymore?).
I am a teller of stories, in words and pictures.

I’ve been pondering on direction since being let go from my last job. Clearly I need to make a decent living, but HOW do I choose to make a living? Do I go about it in the same way that I have up until now? I don’t know… I’m still thinking on that one.

The ephemeral question has always been “what is my purpose” (which is also one of the questions that has come up during the 30 Day Journaling Project).

I find it stigmatizing, this question. We are all here to be here and show up as our unique selves, in whichever way we grow into ourselves throughout the course of our lives. Our search for ultimate meaning seems to take away from the meaning of our journey. Every person whose lives we touch finds meaning in our presence (and vice-versa).

I’ve struggled with that question for time immemorial. Seriously… I’d BORE my early twenty something peers with the question. It’s always been a sort of quest, and feeling like Percival in his search for the Holy Grail, not seeming to ask the right questions. I think maybe it’s that we don’t need to know. Maybe we just need to live.

And this circles back around to being an artist and/or a writer. I have felt compelled to do both since I was a little kid. It is how I express myself in the world, or rather, my inner world outwardly. And some may or may not like or appreciate how I do that, but that’s not for me to worry about.

Somehow, I believe, we are all our own masterpieces.

Sniffle-y… snivelling…

I have a cold but hopefully am on an upswing now. I’m really excited about the writing workshop I’ll be attending in San Diego this weekend! I’m ready to get lost in my imagination! I’ve had “one of those” weeks, particularly the last couple of days. Human nature throws me for a loop each and every time. I often feel like an alien trying to live on a planet that is not my own, and people’s behavior’s are so different from my own planet’s populace, that no matter what I do, I do it “wrong”… or not like what would be expected of a proper citizen of this world.

This business… this corporate WORLD that I work in, must immerse myself in on a daily basis, feels like that alien world. I can’t seem to get it right, and even when I wear the right clothes, do the work… try to be “professional”… I still don’t fit in. It’s the pettiness… the lack of empathy toward others… the inability to shift paradigm to see another person’s perspective and say… “I understand”… those disturb me. They disturb me on a level that I can’t even begin to explain with words, but of course, I will try.

Purpose

Do you ever get the feeling that greatness is in your periphery, but as soon as you move your head to gaze at it directly, it shifts again, there, but only just out of reach? I get this feeling often, particularly when I try to pin down my ‘purpose.’

As with most, I have many purposes–to raise a child, to earn a living, to fulfill the role of wife and mother, but what I’m talking about is that THING that I was created and put here to do.

That purpose. That thing. If I could only pin it down, life would go much more smoothly. At least I’d know what to pay attention to… what to foster… what to focus on. Besides all of the other things.