©2008-2011. Tama J. Kieves. All rights reserved
Tama J. Kieves is the bestselling author of “THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love,” and is a sought after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands worldwide discover and live their creative dreams. Visit her at www.ThisTimeIDance.com and sign up for free inspiration and support through her monthly e-newsletter.
"Surviving meant being born over and over again.” ~Erica Jong
Freedom is not just about being able to choose anything you want. Freedom is ease with oneself. Believe me, you know this, when you’re in a transition faced with goblins, jewels, and choices. See, the problem isn’t that you don’t know yet which life you want. The real problem is that voice in your head— which is just way too much like a jumpy crack junkie, or, say, a cattle-prodding “concerned” relative, who needs you to get a fix in the park—rather than take a walk in it. This junkie is calling out the inner militia to make you DO something. But here’s what you are doing: You are learning to trust yourself, your life and your spirit. You are learning the art of living a more inspired life.
Between the worlds often requires that we hang out on the perimeter, before diving in. Of course, you may look around at others, thinking they’re so “productive.” But what are they getting done? Another day at the office swallowing yawns, truth, and boredom and spending the bulk of their week with people they don’t admire or cherish. What do you think will matter to you at the end of your life? Will it be that you attended another business meeting or swept another floor? Or will it be that you took the time to be with your own heart beating and that you created a life that swept all doubts away? Learning how to trust your deepest desires and yourself are among the most important things you can do with your breaths on earth.
Why Transition Can Unsettle Us
I don’t know about you, but for most of my early years, I led a paint-by-number life, granted the deluxe corporate lawyer edition. I pleased teachers and scored top grades. Good grades got me into a good law school. The great law school got me a great job. I did well at the great job and got the bonus. I was a superior rat. I always knew the lever to press to get the cheese. I didn’t have to have an opinion or instinct or emotional connection. I could accomplish whatever I was told. Of course, I had no idea what to do, if I wasn’t told. I’d never listened to myself.
You may think effort is difficult. But let me tell you effortlessness is way harder.
Living your calling is a path of effortlessness. It’s a path of walking headlong into grace. It doesn’t have an external program or drill sergeant. This kind of reinvention is all about listening to the angels instead of the crowd. It’s about becoming the authority of your destiny. It’s about listening, breath by breath, to wisdom and kindness and discovering that being your own true nature is a direction in and of itself.
Change will change you, and that’s the point. Still, it’s not fun to be between worlds, jobs, lovers, or identities. The good news is I’m here to tell you don’t need to eat yourself into two new pant’s sizes. I’d like to help you navigate this sacred dimension. This is a time out of ordinary time. That means it’s extraordinary time. And I recommend you make extraordinary choices. Here’s three I recommend.
1. Stay the Course
Being between worlds can be expansive and disorienting. Give yourself the opportunity to fly. “I’m thinking of going back to school,” says “Mary” a client of mine. “Of course you are,” I think, grin, and say. Most people want to jump on a track again instead of stay in the intractable pudding of being with themselves and the gloppy unknown. They want to go back to school, get certified in something, marry the T.V. repairman or anyone else who can come up with a picture at this point, or micro-manage someone else’s life. But I don’t recommend pasting a patch over a volcano. There is a birth in progress and I want you to trust the rumbles and discomfort. Besides, the Universe, in its infinite Universe wisdom, wants to be sure you have lungs and feet before it sends you down a path. Have patience for the mystery of creation.
There’s a reason your full blown path doesn’t just materialize. The mystic poet Emily Dickinson said, “The truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind.” And Anais Nin wrote, “There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment... by successive developments, cellularly, like a...mosaic.” I thought you might believe it more if other people said it.
Remember, an architect doesn’t attach the expensive Spanish windows or frame the structure of a castle until the foundation is secure. You are establishing foundation, scraping through dirt and finally laying concrete. And if it’s taking time, it’s because you keep questioning the foreman and holding up the shovels.
You can ease your anxiety if you strengthen your commitment to a spiritual path, religion, meditation practice or some way of uncovering your own inner voice.
When clients or students feel frustrated about not having clear plans, I soothe them, “You don’t need a map, when you have a guide.” I want you to experience a nonlinear source of strength, comfort, and clarity. You will make more progress by choosing from strength instead of fear.
2. Rest, Rest, Rest, and the Rest will Come:
Most of us need to rest. We’ve worked hard. Or we’ve experienced unspeakable tragedies or deviations from our dreams. We may have ignored our own cries for help. This is a detoxification process. Also, freedom, that houseguest with a thousand questions, can be exhausting.
I tell my clients to rest. They tell me I’ve done that. I took a nap or a long walk or I blinked my eyes, and now I want to get on with it. I tell them again to rest. I don’t mean just sleep. I mean stop the judgment in your mind. I mean slip into a place where the narrator isn’t on the bullhorn critiquing your every move, all days of the week, all hours of the day. Rest means let go of judging the process—and start opening to the nuances, whispers, and surprise moments of buoyancy, clarity, and secret rustle of wings. When your eyes adjust to the dark night sky, a thousand stars appear. But the stars do not blaze when your flashlight is on. Turn off your searching devices, and sparks appear of themselves.
Sometimes, I meet people who cannot find peace or name their joy. It’s because they have a sadness or injustice that requires forgiveness. You cannot go forward onto new holy ground with bitterness in your heart. Come into present time. It doesn’t matter what you could have done twenty years ago. It doesn’t matter how things should have turned out. Start now. Lift the burden. Honor the life before you.
3. Experiment and Explore:
Sometimes you will feel like you’re not getting anywhere, and it’sbecause you need more information.
I remember when I first bought a house. I had no idea of what I was looking for. The realtor asked, and I looked at him blankly, and maybe even provocatively, as though with a little encouragement, he might tell me the right answer. So we started with whatever I did know. I did not want to live next door to a meth lab and that sort of thing. Then the realtor showed me different neighborhoods and styles of homes. Over time, as we looked at different places, clarities began to emerge. I realized I loved older homes, but I wanted closet space, and I loved the idea of being close to a coffee house and restaurants but having a private backyard and garden. Then came skylights and hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings where possible. Pretty soon I was rattling off require- ments, as though dictating a recipe. I would never have gotten that clear in my mind. I got clear in the car, as we drove and visited properties. I didn’t figure it out. I recognized desires as I looked at houses. I couldn’t imagine anything in the beginning. But when I saw choices, my imagination ran wild.
When you’re between worlds you may need to sample new lives. Start taking classes, reading books, seeing what hooks you now. Invite curiosity with you, but keep decisiveness on a short leash. Visit the cult, don’t join it. Play, sample, and dabble. Don’t be concerned that you are not committing, incorporating or building a website, hiring staff, and appearing on the Today show within the week. That’s the point. I don’t want you to grab at anything. I want you to be grabbed by it. That’s when effortlessness enters the room.
It’s not easy to walk around without business cards or skin. It’s not easy to part the clouds. It’s not easy but it does lead to an ease that is unshakeable. Transition is a precious oppor- tunity to give birth to your true life. It’s not for the faint of heart. Baby, it’s for the full of heart.