Tag Archives: uncertainty

Embracing Uncertainty and Adventure

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when nothing is for sure

It’s begun again: change. I have applied for a 15 day course in San Francisco on directing tours. The school has an excellent job placement program. I’ll be matched with companies to apply to become a tour director upon graduation. I called the school where I am currently a post- grad student this morning and asked if I would be jeopardizing my standing in their program if I was not ready to start my class I registered for in October. I was told that I would remain in the program but have to pay $100 to drop the course, a small fee considering most of the cost of the actual class would be refunded to me and I could return at any time. Soon, I will have food and housing paid for me while I travel the world and my paychecks toward my student loans from grad school. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make enough money at some point to rebuild my savings as well. I’m going to do it: quit work and school and go traveling! I can’t wait! I hope that I will learn so much from my travels! Who knows where I will go or who I will meet…the opportunities that I may come across!

I’m wondering if my housemate is angry at me. I waved to and greeted her several times this morning and had no reply. I may have offended her in my last interaction with her when I announced my plans to her. You see, she inspired me to do this in some ways. She is a person who is not afraid of change. She came here from another country and started a new life and career. I told her about my plans only yesterday and her reaction was, “You need to have a plan. What about job stability and security?” It’s funny that a person with a marketing and MBA degree would question my taking a risk. I thought business people take risks. I replied, “ I want to travel!” She says to me, “I had a job that allowed me to go on business trips three times a year once so I did a lot of traveling. You need a long term plan.” In love with the idea of traveling more than three times per year, I scoffed, “Your way is boring! I want adventure!” She defended herself, “ If I were boring, I would not have moved to a different country and started over. I am not afraid of adventure!” Feeling her enthusiasm, I beamed at her with a big appreciative smile and gave her a thumbs up because I was so happy for her. Perhaps that was offensive.

Scratch that. Just got a friendly text message from her. Perhaps I was transferring my own fears onto her…. My fears of leaving the world I know, the life I know for something different.

I never intended to go into teaching when I was a child. I wanted to do something thrilling, more creative and even risky but because people around me looked down upon it, I went into teaching. I fell in love with teaching! It is so fulfilling to know that before you met this student, he could not read or she was not toilet trained….She could not talk and so forth but something clicked and I got to see it happen! I loved it and miss it! Will I ever return to it? I do not know! I am okay with not having a plan! I just want to do something for myself instead of my career and I have enough money saved up to do it. By getting a job as a tour director, I can work to pay off student loans while traveling. I want to feel I am worthy even if I am not a teacher, wife or a mother.

Something I’ve done often over the years is to just choose a road and just travel on it. Some people see no purpose in this and would see it as stupid, unsafe and unprepared. The thing is, I love not seeing what is in the road ahead. I like surprises. I have found so many fascinating places by doing this! This is how I want to live my life! If I tire of exploring; normality, routine, school, career, goals and plans are always still back at home waiting for me to rejoin the rat race.

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Yes, I quit my job without having another one lined up. No, I’m not crazy. I have every faith that things will work out. Sometimes, you just know…I had my motivations. Yes, I do sometimes still get depressed over it because I love my kids and staff, but I also know this is not the place for me.

And yes, I sent out job applications and even looked up ashrams I could stay at as well as yoga teacher certification programs I could fly away to when my employment contract ends even months before I am anywhere near ready to move on. I did the first at the urging of a friend who told me it would make me feel good. She was right. Where I have found two places of employment that seem to reject me in the past few years, I was able to feel accepted through each and every interview in the last month. Yes, I am interviewing just because I am good at interviews and it feels good to nail it even though I can’t really leave my place of employment without breaking my contract! Haha! Well, at least I have options for when my contract ends! I guess it is only human nature to want some sense of belonging.

I even interviewed to join an intentional community/ co-op before getting any job in that location. I know many people do not understand why I would apply to live somewhere where I have no job yet, but again, I have every faith that it will work out. I have no regrets.

Do you ever get that feeling? That feeling when you get to a place or meet certain people that this is where your next home is…it’s where you belong? I’m not certain what life will bring me next whether it be new jobs, new skills/ knowledge, new friends or even pain….I just know that whatever it is, I am okay with it.

“Life is like dancing. Dance with the flow! ”

http://www.thetutuproject.com/

Winds Here Tonight are 28mph

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Fear-Quotes-44It is Monday night. I love Monday nights because I get them to myself. I get almost every evening to myself, but Mondays are particularly poignant after a day back from the weekend. I don’t go out on Monday nights.

It’s quiet at home and I can hear the winds picking up outside. After my daily work routine today, I rushed home on the freeway trying to keep my sleepy eyes open to come back here to this quiet, and yet, somehow I was bothered by the stillness. Spontaneity and happiness is easy to embrace when I find myself at sunset climbing the tops of trains in the middle of No Where (I love the view of the horizon at such places):

HarveyHouse_Steve_DiffenbacherOr perhaps unexpectedly creating floral arrangements out of alien-looking protea pincushions: protea flowersBut when it’s still and there’s only my Dear Old Friend: Wind speaking to me…I find myself a little scared.

I’ve been so happy, but tonight, I find myself a little sad…and that’s okay.

It’s begun again. The shocked, “What?! You aren’t coming back next year?! You’re the best teacher I know!” from my colleagues. It’s like I rewinded the VHS tape (Yeah, old school-like) and am playing my life all over again the way it was a year ago, but in a different town, at a different school. I know it will be soon time to go: 37 days of school, not counting weekends and holidays, according to my aides. I feel a bit of pang leaving the piano and the desert winds, but I’ll carry these with me inside.

RiskTheUnusualLong before life sprung this transition on me a second time, I already had my safe little backup plan. Trust me, when you hear things like, “The year I taught here, they pink-slipped every teacher that year,” you make back up plans and more backup plans….Perhaps I just over think things. My backup plan: it’s nearly fail proof, but part of me rejects it!

Plenty of my friends have considered me their “adventure buddy” but my small daily adventures don’t seem to be enough to keep me motivated at times. Sometimes I dream of taking bigger risks. Some may think it foolish, but I’m bored with knowing despite the fears of not knowing…. Yes, I know how to always have a job and a home. I’ve had no trouble with this, so I am very fortunate. I know it’s a luxury to think this, but what if I took a financial risk and pursued yoga and writing children’s books instead of this sure little path I am on? I wanted to do something more risky before I ever began this journey when I was 18 and selecting a career in college, but I took a safer route simply because it was expected. What if I did something unexpected? After all, life is short. I may never have time to pursue this adventure if I pursue my “safe plan” first. Shouldn’t I eat dessert first or would that be undisciplined? Following The Safe Plan would nearly guarantee that I would have money to follow the Unexpected Plan. Following The Unexpected Plan first would, on the other hand, nearly guarantees that I would have the time for it, as life, as we all know, is short. I don’t have to decide yet, I’ll have income through June or July. There may be a way to combine both Plans. Only time and exploration will tell.

To Ride the Waves

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Outside3aSaturday, March 22, 2014

       All of my life, I have suffered at the forces of my own mind and lacked the ability or will power to focus on one thing at a time. Always, my mind jumps to the future. I am good at letting go of the past and letting bygones be bygones, but always, I look forward to the future. This creates much stress and tension because I am unable to concentrate on the whereabouts of my own two feet in the present moment and often I stumble.

        As I grow older, bit by bit, I learn to let go of what I cannot control. I have learned that just because I have a plan, does not mean, the results will be as I planned. One blog of a yoga teacher, Karson at happy-u.org of San Diego, describes this feeling:

Every day, I make it the 1.5 blocks to the ocean to grab a piece of perspective. To remember my size in the grand scope of things, to see God’s work in the beautiful horizon, and to breathe in the fresh energy of the Pacific. More often than not, there are surfers out there (see those little dots up there?). And even more often, I see them sitting on their surfboards, NOT riding the waves. They are waiting… patiently waiting and trusting that the waves will come. Sometimes, a wave comes and they watch it pass. Sometimes, they ride it. Sometimes they fall, sometimes, they ride it all the way in. They know that they cannot choose when the waves will come, the ocean does that. So rather than forcing waves, they ride them as they come. And if a wave never comes, they try again tomorrow.

This is surrender… The fifth of the Niyamas, Ishvara Pranidhana.

I find the need “to surrender to the waves” in my life now.

    “We are so much more than where we came from, where we live, what we studied, what we have done and what’s been done to us,” Kelly Connor of Sunrose Yoga in Portland wrote. We cling to our stories of our past and to the plans for the future because those images give us the illusion of certainty. I was always uncomfortable with uncertainty. When it is time for dinner or bed, do you have the ability to put down a novel before you’ve reached the end or to turn off the TV before you’ve found out “whodunnit”? I do not. How does someone so uncomfortable with uncertainty find happiness?

    When you were a child, did you ever hide and cry when the people in the house were watching scary movies? I did. I remember also, as a child, hiding in a back bedroom in tears while everyone else in the living room was watching a documentary on the history of the creation of our universe on The Discovery Channel. I thought of the universe and all of its uncertainty a scary place.

    The day after I turned 20 (years old), while learning how to drive, I drove my boyfriend’s car off a cliff. We took our survival as a sign that our young relationship was meant to be and eloped even though I should have had deep misgivings because I have never believed in taking what was not mine, and his heart belonged to another. I believed naively that I had found my one and only true love. I discovered firsthand, that despite what society may imply, “happily ever after” definitely does not come from marriage!

    After the end of that marriage, I pursued what I thought would be a steady career that would end uncertainty. I would find a stable job and settle down and have kids. I had worked my “dream job” for a couple of years and was ready to buy a house and adopt kids when life happened: I lost my job. I was quick to find a new and similar job and quick to lose it as well in a turn of events that I could neither foresee nor control. Buddhist monk and author Jack Kornfield stated,“The realm of form is a realm of change.”

    All of my adult life, I have been attached to my status as a married woman or a teacher. I’ve been attached to what I cannot hold on to. I became a teacher to save the world and sometimes I think, I should have studied science because then I could really save the world. Now, I realize I cannot save the world and I do not intend to! The world is not here for me to save. It is simply here to carry and transmute those within It. I choose to trust Our Universal Intelligence in all of It’s mystery, wit, awe, irony, ugliness and beauty to transform and use me as It sees fit, accepting the world and those within It as We are. I choose to live as much as I can with the wonder and wide-eyed infectious joy of a child inspired by each ray of sunshine, each moonbeam, drop of rain, each imbuement and curve of the rainbow…

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.”

William Blake, Auguries of Innocence