Monday, April 8, 2019

Insights on Fulfillment


Twelve years ago I began embarking on a journey that led me to where I am today. I had a steady job with a good boss and coworkers I loved. But there was something missing, coupled with an insight that all my life I had worked to help build successful businesses for other people. Although there was pride in that, there wasn't the fulfillment I was looking for. I enlisted the help of my coach and now friend, Erin Mesceji to gain the confidence I needed to take the leap to go out on my own as an artist and forge my own path in the world. Twelve years later, I am revisiting this year long course with Erin.

In our most recent session, the subject matter was Fulfillment. In this chapter, the book exclaimed, With fulfillment, you make a difference. Check. You feel rewarded. Check. Your quality of life improves. Ch...(cue in sound of needle screeching off the record). I told Erin that that was the struggle for me. When I was working from home, in my own little cocoon, I was very content, stress free, doing my thing, making my art, happily keeping house for our little family. I knew that I had a bigger purpose in this life, but I also knew that it wasn't going to happen within the small space of my home studio. What I had yet to realize was that part of my journey to lead a life of more fulfillment was to learn some life lessons for myself.

Making the leap from being somewhat of a hermit in my home studio to having a store front that is open 5-6 days a week, constantly being months ahead in planning workshops and events to keep the business going as well as dealing with the public, has taken an emotional and energetic toll that I could have never imagined. In the past three years of running my store and studio, I have been introduced to levels of stress, anxiety and sleepless nights, that have completely overwhelmed me. That being said, every day I go into work and look around me, I have such immense gratitude that I created THIS! Every time I am feeling down, I serendipitously have a student come into my office and tell me what a godsend the studio has been for them, a place of refuge in a tough world. It's been an intense dichotomy and I can see why several friends in the recent past have given up owning their own business, or close up the “storefront” to go back to focus on whatever their passion was that drove them to share it with the world on a bigger, public scale in the first place.

Sunrise in Bacalar. Where I go in my head on a tough day.

To try to deal with this dichotomy, I've been searching inward, I've been listening to great inspirational books, defining what self-care is for me. I've even been contemplating what life might look like not doing what I'm currently doing. What I keep coming back to is that we are all here to learn. This "Path of Fulfillment" has made me look deeper into who I am and how I present myself in the world. Am I walking my talk? Most of the time yes, but when I'm not, I'm REALLY not. I find myself being overly critical and judgmental with zero patience. I told my coach that my focus for the last few months has been being mindful of my compassion towards others. 90% of the time, I am the most compassionate person in the world, but that other 10%? You better watch out! And although she said that is being human, there's a big part of me that says I can do better. 

I always say that you never know what a person might be going through in their personal lives, what huge obstacles that they might be facing, what burdens they might be carrying. Here's where I can be guilty of not always walking the talk. That student who didn't read the confirmation email with important logistical information for class, may be overwhelmed caring for an ill loved one. The person who can't figure out how to sign up online for a class, might be an older person like my mom who isn't as technologically savvy as she wishes she could be and is just hoping for someone kind on the other end of the line to help her out. But I do find myself getting bogged down by the day to day stuff- The student who doesn't listen and I have to redirect a half dozen times. People who show up late. People who show up 45 minutes early. People who need my undivided attention and show up without an appointment. Students who wait until we are about to cancel a workshop to finally register. People who call for information easily found online. Misconceptions. Miscommunications. I don't know why I let myself get so frustrated with things like this, but I do and it's time for it to stop. Sure, there's always going to be the asshole that just wants makes things difficult, but really, over the last three+ years of doing this, I've only encountered a couple of people that fit that description. I think most of the time, people are lost in their own world, with their own stresses, health problems, family issues and burdens I likely couldn't even begin to comprehend. Maybe my lesson in all of this is to find that lacking compassion in the 10% of me that gets so frustrated. What was that book, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"? Perhaps I need to dig it out and read it again.

Does there have to be the dichotomy that I have been experiencing? I'm figuring out that I CAN have it all. I can have this great life and purpose AND live it with less stress and anxiety. It is my choice and I can choose what perspective to live from. Easier said than done, but now I've said it. Every day, even every moment is a chance to "begin again". I can tell you that for me, a regular yoga and meditation practice is important. And reminding myself that the proverbial "inbox" will never be empty. That as we checkmark things off our list, that another list is already in the works. The fact that when you have a business dealing with the public, there is just a certain amount of hand holding that will be required.

Embracing the impermanence of it all is key. Compassion and Grace. We are all a work in progress.


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