every exit is an entry

I saw the above street art last week while walking a new route to work. ‘Every exit is an entry somewhere else’ – yes! I immediately took a photo, loving the random surprises that can happen when I vary my daily routine even just slightly.

In my last week at my previous job, we held a three-day conference for health care professionals. For this event, we brought in vendors to sell some beautiful products. I purchased a pair of unique earrings – one of which unfortunately broke the next morning.

I wasn’t looking forward to asking for my money back, or for a repair (I couldn’t find the missing piece), even though I knew this was the perfectly reasonable thing to do. I was readying myself to approach the vendor, when the thought crossed my mind: Why don’t you make something with this?

The week before, I’d visited a crafts store and purchased a lotus-motif charm. I’d recently been spending more time in such shops, looking at all the different products, soaking up the creative potential in the air. I took apart the earring that night and reworked it to make a pendant. I liked it much better than the earrings I’d originally purchased.

The floodgates opened.

I am now obsessed with making jewelry. Reading about it, watching YouTube tutorials, dismantling necklaces I no longer wear and re-stringing them into bracelets, visiting thrift stores to repurpose items, even unearthing the beads I bought way back in my teenage years.

It’s illuminating to resume a hobby I was passionate about when I was younger. As a teenager, my biggest loves included writing, beading, and being part of a drama (theatre) group. When I look back now, it seems that these activities stopped abruptly, though I can’t pinpoint where.

I’ve been connecting with my teenage self a lot lately; that potent time where I began to discover what I was naturally drawn to. That precious window where I explored my hobbies with excitement and no filters. There didn’t have to be an end product or a known purpose; I was just having fun.

Every exit in an entry somewhere else. I’ve learned a lot in the work I’ve done over the years, and have met so many kind and lovely people…but I don’t think I will ever return to a full-time office job. Being immersed in a truly engaging, creative pastime these past few weeks – staying up late, forgetting to eat, being consumed with making – has made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve felt so much like ‘me’. I want more of it.

Here’s to budding creations, on this new moon and in this new season.

choked by the pink collar

Emotional Labour. A friend introduced this term to me a while back, during a time I was employed in a job I wasn’t happy in. Well, some days I was happy. Other days – most days – I was miserable, drained, and frustrated. The constant back-and-forth in my experience – the love/hate relationship with my work and what I felt it demanded of me every day – resulted in what could aptly be described as ’emotional labor’.

I’d been performing the same type of job for years, albeit in different environments, and I was finding it increasingly hard to continue the same routine. Every day my head would battle my heart in a ‘should I stay or should I go’ debate.

I left that job a few weeks ago. I was passionate about the vision of the organization, but that wasn’t enough.

It’s not the first time I’ve quit my job; and in previous instances, I’ve eventually returned to the same type of environment. And I understand why.

Through conversations with friends and loved ones, I know that so many of us have incredibly wonderful interests and desires, innovative business ideas that we know would fill our spirits and benefit the world around us. We want to feel that our work has meaning, and brings our particular vision of beauty to this planet.

We know the old structures are crumbling. We are aware of the early conditioning and mass programming that keeps us repeating the same patterns, and we work to shift that. But transformation doesn’t happen overnight. And in the meantime, there are bills to pay.

Things have changed so much in one generation, and the world today is very different from that of our parents. What is true security, in these times?

After the novelty of each new workspace wore off, I realized how bored I was. I also found myself straining to be nice all the time. Being ‘nice’ wasn’t in my job description, of course; but given the roles I was in, it was the underlying expectation.

Women often find themselves doing ‘pink collar’ work – jobs that are service-oriented and call for a perpetually pleasant and accommodating demeanour. For a long time I prided myself on being these things. Now I realize how unnatural this is. Sitting in front of a computer screen, indoors, under fluorescent lights, supporting people doing the work they are passionate about…it had taken an energetic and physical toll.

So many of us sense there must be something more. There is a heightened sense of urgency.

For the unfulfilled among us – it is our responsibility to step out of our secure, familiar ways and create the new. We already know this. It requires courage, entering discomfort zones, finding those whose vision aligns with ours, and trusting the universe. Easier said than done, maybe. But imperative, definitely.

It’s not frivolous to want joyful work. If consciousness is evolving and a new paradigm is emerging in all this chaos, it makes sense that all our creations, including our work, would align with this energy. In most of my conversations, a meaningful career has far less to do with individual wants and desires, and more about making the human experience better for all.

The un-learning and deconstructing of the past is important. So is patience and self-compassion. I don’t have any how-to’s or solid next steps. I only know that every minute is precious, and I must get these words out.

a letter to my friends (speaking my truth part 2)

Dear Friends,

I know I haven’t been the greatest friend lately. It used to be that you’d email me, and I’d respond right away. I might even answer my phone, or call you back in a timely manner. But something shifted when I quit my job last summer. Removing such a central element of life – one that had been in place a very long time – affected everything else, in ways I wasn’t expecting.

I’d quit my job with big ideas of future career directions…starting a business and finally being my own boss. I would be doing the kind of work I’d always done, I was good at it, and the demand for my services was high. It was a no brainer.

But it seems the universe had other ideas, and removing my 9-5 created the space for it to show me something else. Spending so much time with my own self, with nowhere I ‘had’ to be, plunged me deeper into my spiritual journey.

Quitting wasn’t just about becoming an entrepreneur, I now see. It was about aligning me with my authenticity and integrity. It was showing me those long forgotten places my true desires lay buried. Was this new venture something I really wanted to do every day? Or was it a more palatable variation of something that had never made my heart sing?

I see more clearly where I’ve been compromising myself in life, particularly in relationships. Most of you, my dear friends, haven’t seen the whole me – what I’m truly passionate about, what I deeply believe, what I want to do in this world, the role of the Divine Feminine in my life. I’ve compared myself to a lot of you, wondering why it’s taking me so long to get where you are. I haven’t fully understood the power of what’s taken place within.

We live in a material, 3D world where much of the planet is operating in fear, scarcity, and doing what’s always been done. It’s not ‘real’ if we can’t see or prove it. This mass consciousness is like a magnet, and we often get sucked into its programming, losing our hope and momentum to create a new paradigm based on love, interconnection, and empowerment.

The necessity to pay my rent is a reality, and I’ve been fortunate to have small jobs these past few months to get me by. But I’m hesitant to find something more permanent; intuitively it feels like a slippery slope. Months can easily turn into years, and I don’t want to act from fear and survival, putting myself in the same situation I was before. Doing something that doesn’t resonate with my soul takes an energetic toll that’s difficult to articulate.

What kind of work do I really want to do? What does it look and feel like? Do I believe it’s possible, that I’m capable and ready? Can I charge for it? Will people actually pay? Do I need more training? Am I good enough? What if I fail…exposed as an imposter?

Stop. Breathe.

If I don’t value my work, I won’t find those who will. There is a sense of urgency that compromising, in any form, is no longer an option. This planet is shifting and consciousness is evolving. Transformation and intensity are the norm, and the universe is ramping up what doesn’t serve. We can no longer fake it!

Many of us stand at a crossroads. We’re on the verge of something big, but we don’t have all the information. Sometimes all we have is a tiny shred of hope, and we must hang on to it with all our might. We’re creating a new reality in every moment, with every thought we think and action we take. It takes major courage to unhook from the old and put our faith and trust into something so brand new.

The more I speak my truth, the more I find others who are speaking theirs. And it’s a beautiful thing! This is the ultimate act of self-love…expressing our true selves because we value what is within us.

Friends, I’ve been given myself some much needed space and solitude. But I’m slowly emerging from my cocoon. Ready to show up as the real me, as she’s being revealed. Ready to see the real you in my reflection.

blog? what blog?

Life looks very different than it did just a few short months ago. Since wrapping up my job in September, things seem to be changing – internally and externally – at warp speed.

I have to say that these last weeks of 2014 have been some of the most eye-opening and emotionally intense in recent years.  I completed a school program, cleaned up messes and restored integrity with loved ones (this seems to be ongoing!), had an old flame contact me after years of distance, landed part-time work in a completely new field, started my own business with a dear friend, and met some amazing people who will undoubtedly play a significant role in 2015.

In all this, blogging took a backseat. And I’ve missed it!

Image courtesy of Vaughan Lewis

Image courtesy of Vaughan Lewis.

I remember sensing that once I quit my job, other aspects of my life would also change. And I don’t mean this on a purely physical level. Giving up my easy, cushy 9-5 was telling the universe that I trusted there is something more to life than the routine I’d become so accustomed to. It was saying – ‘I may be crazy, but I’m willing to take that risk. What could life really be like?’

I won’t lie that for the first few weeks after quitting, I was seriously second-guessing my decision. I realized that I deeply missed the structure my job provided.  Not the actual work, but having somewhere to go. My walks to and from work, and the daily coffee joint with the other ‘regulars’. Socializing with my friends and colleagues. Feeling like I was contributing to something.

I’m now appreciating the total responsibility I have for creating my entire life. It’s the first time in many years where it’s 100% up to me to plan my day.  I miss the structure of my old job? Well then, I must implement my own structure. It’s really that simple. (It’s our stories that make things complicated!)

Starting my own business has brought up a lot of stuff – excitement, fear, creativity, and doubt, to name a few.  But at this point there is no turning back. There’s a sense of urgency in the air and I know many of us are feeling it. Time is speeding up, and one year could easily turn into five.

If not now, then when? How do I want to design my life? And what am I actually doing to create that? In these last few weeks I’ve had to be really honest with myself about my procrastination tendencies…well, that’s another post. Suffice it to say that the universe supports me, but it’s not just going to pick me up and plop me into a new life without any action on my part. I need to give it something to work with! This is the power we have as creators. This is where our mettle is tested. Where I walk my talk.

***

On a different note, when I was in Bologna in 2013 I met a lovely couple from my hometown, and since we’d travelled to the same places in Italy, they kindly sent me their beautiful photos. Just recently I received a Christmas greeting from them.  I was immediately drawn to one of the pictures attached.  It was taken in Tulum, Mexico at a Catholic church on December 12, the Dìa de la Virgen de Guadaloupe.  There is a whole history behind the association of Mexican Catholicism and Aboriginal spirituality, but I personally was transfixed by the image of the mother and daughter, and the colours and feathers. To me the photo symbolizes the passing down of feminine knowledge and the role of the divine feminine on planet earth at this time. I knew there was a message for me here. And it has something to do with 2015.

With that I will say ciao – and that it’s good to be back! Wishing everyone a love-filled, creative, and inspiring new year.

 

 

 

 

my new world of tweets, hoots, & loops

My first week of school is officially over and I am using this weekend (my days off are Sunday/Monday) to r-e-l-a-x. As much as I can, anyway – I do have homework!

So what’s it like to go from full-time cushy-job employment, to a student with no paycheque? I don’t know if it’s quite hit me just yet, as things have been incredibly busy since my last day of work just over a week ago. I’d had an amazing sendoff from my colleagues and friends – they really spoiled me with love, wine, and gifts (including a stunning mala bead necklace). Days later, I was sitting in my first class.

the gorgeous sunset on my last day of work, at my farewell party

the gorgeous sunset on my last day of work, at my farewell party

For my reader friends who don’t know, I quit my job and am studying Digital Communications for a few months, so that I can fully understand the realm of social media and incorporate that knowledge into a business I’m starting. Might as well put my social networking skills to good use! 😉

But that’s the thing: though I have some of these skills, there’s so much more to learn. The social media world is fast-paced and requires near-constant keeping up with…everything! And there is a LOT of it going on in my city (the birthplace of Hootsuite!).

I’m having a great time learning about it all. My brain is pretty saturated with the influx of information, but it feels good to actually be using it for something new! Already I’ve been schooled in the worlds of SEO, HTML/CSS, news releases, social media (Twitter & Hootsuite), and using Final Cut Pro and GarageBand for video promos. (Side note: how’d it take me so long to discover the joys of GarageBand?!)

I’m even learning more about our good ol’ WordPress world!

And there is more to come. It’s easy for hours to fly by, immersed in all the different platforms. I must remember to take time away from the computer every now and then. And to be ‘real’ with what I put out there, instead of adding to the noise.

***

Do I miss my old job? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sad moments. But in those moments it’s not really the job I’m missing. It’s the comfort and the familiarity (and the paycheque!), but mostly it’s the people: my awesome, loving colleagues; the best ‘boss’ ever; even the hot Whole Foods guy I’d see most days as we ordered our morning coffees (and who I went on one date with, but that’s another post).

I know I have made the right choice, and despite the moments of discomfort in this transition, it will all work out. My mind is opened to new possibilities. I’m encountering different people every day as I walk through my city’s business district to and from school. My body is happy that it doesn’t have to sit so much. And I’m finally starting to understand Twitter!

Most importantly, now that I’ve taken this leap, I’m inspired to think bigger and greater for my future creations. Why not? There is nothing to lose in dreaming big.

#peaceout #findmeontwitter #alohaleya

september: it’s showtime!

Thank you to my blogger friends Rob and Sindy for their tweets inquiring as to my whereabouts, and to Linda for her recent award nomination of my blog!

It’s true; I have been very quiet lately. After my last post, the urge to blog had disappeared completely. It was strange – I felt I had no words in me. In addition to that, for the last couple of weeks things have been changing at such warp speed. I’ve been so busy preparing for what’s coming next that I haven’t had the time or focus for blogging.

expansionnowopen

Probably the most monumental thing that happened for me in August was participating in the Landmark Forum. This is not your ordinary personal growth workshop. Over three intensive days, my beliefs about my life and the world were brought to my consciousness in a very powerful way. It’s difficult to articulate just how profound this experience was. Suffice it to say that I was able to express myself on a level I never could before. And this has transformed everything.

During that weekend, I had heartfelt and genuine conversations with my mom, dad, and sister. Conversations that once seemed impossible (or, more accurately, conversations I didn’t even know I wanted to have.) Conversations in which I let them see who I really am and how I really feel, which on some level I’d always hid from them. Conversations where I could barely speak through my tears, apologizing for the toxic blame and resentment I’ve carried within, and the unrealistic expectations I have held of them.

This has been incredibly freeing for me, and the timing of it all was so synchronistic, given that my job is finishing in two weeks and I am making some big plans for the future. I’m seeing how everything in my life is so interconnected. Suppressing who I am in one area affects all areas. If I can’t express my true self to my family and friends, how can I express it to the world? To step onto that larger stage, take risks, and feel safe and confident?

***

So what is on the horizon for me? My plans include studying digital communications for a couple of months at a local university (maybe I’ll finally understand twitter!), and starting my own business with a friend and former co-worker. She and I have been discussing this venture for months, and had spent many an hour at the office sharing our vision for what we want to create. (She quit a few weeks ago.) We are ready to go for it!

This summer has been full of activity – planning, connecting, preparing – and now is the time to ACT. Landmark powerfully cleared away so many stories, interpretations, and meanings I’d concocted about my life, other people, and what I am capable of. It gave me the deep understanding that those stories were never ‘real’ to begin with. It took away my sense that life is a series of problems to be fixed, and delivered the epiphany that there is nothing fundamentally ‘wrong’ with me or my life.

I am seeing everything with new eyes, and this is invaluable as I take my next steps. Yes, it does feel stressful and it does feel challenging. But it also feels electric, intriguing, and alive. I have been craving these feelings for a long time.

working for joy

I was very inspired and moved by the supportive comments from my last post on quitting my job. It seems there are many of us who are disconnected from our work, and we are longing for something more.

I was also happy to discover those readers and friends who’ve jumped the employment ship and never looked back! I’ve heard stories of challenge and uncertainty, yes…but not one of regret.

One thing’s for sure – quitting my job has definitely brought up my up core beliefs surrounding money.

I often hear things like ‘Money is energy’ and ‘We live in an abundant universe’, where ‘There is more than enough to go around’ and ‘It’s our birthright’ to have everything we desire. Being a big Abraham Hicks fan, I’ve found myself thinking and speaking these same thoughts. And I have felt the freedom, joy, and expansion in them.

But in many moments I don’t feel this way and I wonder…on a deeper level, do I really believe these concepts? I mean really, truly believe them?

I’m being very aware of my money stories – those deep beliefs I’ve carried my whole life – because I’m so vulnerable to their powerful influence right now. Beliefs like ‘There’s only so much to go around’ or ‘You can’t get paid for doing what you love’ or ‘To have a lot of money isn’t spiritual’. And ‘How can I ask for more, when most others have so much less?’

It’s as if there are two Aleya’s battling it out inside me. The one with the limiting thoughts, and the other who sees those thoughts as reflections of old consciousness. The latter me would like to believe that as we evolve and transform, so do our views and experiences of abundance – not just individually, but for humanity at large.

When we live in scarcity consciousness, it permeates everything. But scarcity is not just about money. It is also about love, trust, and security. ‘Not enough’ becomes our dominant paradigm when something fundamental – beyond the material – is missing in our lives.

Noticing and appreciating all my abundance, in its many different forms, is essential. For example, last week I received a ‘random’ email from an acquaintance offering me a complimentary invitation to an event featuring women discussing shakti (divine feminine energy, power) and ahimsa (non-injury).

I brought my notebook and took notes as each woman spoke. I felt inspired and in awe to be in their presence. I would love to do more of this, I thought. To find similar events and interview such women, sharing their wisdom and insights.

As soon as my mind turned to how I could ‘get paid’ for this, I tensed up. And I realized that in doing more of the things I love – enjoying them for the actual experiences and not the result – I probably wouldn’t focus so much on money per se. And this, in turn, would allow more of these experiences to flow into my life. Money can never substitute for the deep meaning and satisfaction that comes from feeding our soul.

It’s good to examine our core beliefs. But there comes a point where we’ve exhausted our analyses, and we know that nothing new or revolutionary is going to come from repeating our old stories.

I don’t know that my core beliefs can disappear overnight, but I’m hoping that shining a spotlight on them releases their hold on me.