success is in the heart

For the first time in my life, I have a job where people don’t say, “You’re capable of so much more.” After years of working in more junior roles at the same organization, a few months ago I accepted a management position in a field I’m passionate about. Finally, I thought. For the first time, I can be proud of what I do. I have my own office filled with plants and books – and business cards! I don’t have to explain my career choices anymore.

And yet, something feels off.

In my previous position, a colleague once said to me: “You don’t seem particularly career driven.” I don’t think this was meant offensively, but I was slightly triggered and pondered her words for some time after.

The fact is, she was right. When it came to a day job, I never wanted the responsibility that came with senior level roles. I was always content to serve in a more support-type capacity, because I didn’t want to carry home any unnecessary stress. I liked being behind the scenes. I took pride in doing a good job, and I could forget about work at the end of the day.

For the most part, I was always motivated by something else, something much deeper for me. It was a personal, inner – spiritual – search. This occupied most of my energy, and that was hard (and often pointless) to explain to those who were more outwardly focused and who questioned why I didn’t challenge myself more, work-wise.

Fundamentally, I also never cared about title and prestige. It was an interesting paradox to feel triggered by the opinions of those around me, yet know deep in my heart that it ultimately means nothing. I understood I was so much more than my career.

Now here I am poised for change yet again, and I ask myself (yet again): what do I really want? Can I feel and follow the beat of my own drum, unplugging from others’ notions of what ‘success’ looks like? Seeds have been planted, and movement in a new direction is imminent. This involves leaving the company I’ve been with for many years and starting over in a new organization.

As I previously wrote, my home environment is changing too. In these times of upheaval all around, some of us are moving back to our roots (as the wonderful Laura mentions in her comment on my post). I’ve been spending time in the very neighbourhood I grew up in and, more than ever, it feels like home.

For so many years, I wanted to live anywhere but there. I had visions of starting life over in a foreign country where I knew no one and had no shackles of the past. And now, the place I grew up is the only place I want to be. I’m seeing my childhood, and the awesome beauty that surrounded me, with new and appreciative eyes.

In a way, it feels like rewriting time and history.

My friends laugh at me for moving and changing jobs so much. And yes, I am feeling a bit exhausted and want some stability. But then, is anything really stable these days? Can we accept that flux is the new norm? Though this little birdy is looking for a place to nest, she will always be grateful for the ability to fly to new surroundings and expand her horizons.

For now, my new direction feels good and as long as I trust my heart and intuition, I can’t go wrong.

the sword of the feminine

A few years ago, during my first Ayahuasca journey, I was shown the image of a sword. I’d never seen anything like it before. It was a work of art, beautifully silver and encrusted with jewels and crystals. I understood that this was not a weapon of destruction; it was the sword of love, cutting through all illusion. The sword of the Feminine.

I think about this sword often. Sometimes I feel it as an etheric presence behind or above me. The image was/is so pristine and powerful, merely remembering it brings me comfort and relief. The sword itself is a remembrance of something I intuitively understand but can’t quite articulate.

It’s interesting to think about the sword now, because my perceptions of the Divine Feminine and Masculine are shifting. I’m realizing that I don’t actually know what the Divine Feminine and Masculine are. It’s kind of humorous and humbling to admit that, because I’ve written about these concepts numerous times on my blog.

shakti's garden by sonja picard

shakti’s garden by sonja picard

For several years, I took part in women’s circles and gatherings. And during my Kundalini Yoga teacher training, I had many ideas for women’s workshops. But something happened earlier this summer. I went off most social media and entered major hermit mode. I had no desire to participate in or facilitate women’s gatherings. I actually felt hostile to the idea. I found myself going within to what seemed like a very frustrated, depressed place. Was this self-sabotage? Fear of change? Remnants of ancient patterns? Addiction to familiar emotions?

I realized that despite all the work, at my core I didn’t feel anything ‘Divine Feminine’ about myself.  How could I then encourage the divine in others, or see the divine in men? It’s not that I felt like a fraud…but ‘Divine Feminine’ and ‘Divine Masculine’ had become concepts I’d used and heard so many times that they no longer held meaning for me. I had thought that these spiritual principles, and others, transcended duality – but perhaps they just reinforced it.

I do believe in a Divine Feminine and Masculine essence within each one of us, which we project outward to co-create reality. But experiencing our essence is a deep and personal journey that goes beyond ‘spiritual’ or new age concepts (e.g., idealized depictions of gods and goddesses). And it takes time. Humanity has run on certain archetypes and beliefs for eons; some are loving and some are not. Can we create new archetypes, and are we ready to?

There is tremendous power in women’s circles, and I know these will re-emerge in my life, in some form, when the timing feels right. I know I don’t have to have all the answers, because I never will (and that’s so not the point). I also think more men’s groups and retreats would be very helpful. The men I know who’ve participated in such groups embody something that is truly…well, ‘divine’ is the word that comes to mind.

I believe the sword of the Feminine is guiding me to her truth and essence, which is in harmony with the Masculine. That harmony creates something new, beyond the labels and categories of duality.

We have seen so much of humanity’s darkness coming to the surface this year. I have my thoughts on the force of patriarchy, but I don’t want that to keep the ‘us against them’ dynamic alive in my psyche. I have observed the darkness within myself and, as uncomfortable as it’s been, it does feel like my process is creating more space within.

The challenge for me is to remain open and trusting in this space, not wanting to immediately fill it with anything, even ‘love’ or ‘light’ (which can be further conceptualizations of the mind). The space itself is highly intelligent, and from this place we can create relationships beyond what we’ve ever known.

goodbye city, hello island

Just two days after returning from London, I moved to a smaller city on an island a few hours away from my hometown. A day after that, I started work at a local university – the same university I attended fifteen years ago. The past couple of weeks have been a surreal trip back in time. I’m remembering places and streets I’d forgotten, and discovering new ones.

August was a complete whirlwind: wrapping up one job and starting another, packing up my old apartment, temporarily staying with friends in my new city, and of course the transformative journey in London. I’ve now found a place of my own to live in October…so I’m going to relax and enjoy the rest of September in a beautiful beachside property owned by a family friend, assimilating all that’s occurred.

morning sunrise

morning sunrise

This move happened very quickly. One day I had the thought of changing cities, and a week later I had a job offer and various places to stay. I had no time to ‘think things over’; all I knew was a screaming yes! from within.

I can’t say for certain why I’m here. Merely weeks before my UK trip, I’d moved into a new apartment in my hometown. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I’d found somewhere I could breathe, relax, put down some roots – or at least hang some art on the walls! I’d finally found the sanctuary I’d long yearned for.

And yet, something wasn’t quite right.

I was done with the city. I was tired of the noise, stimulation, sirens, the daily grind. I told myself the outer noise was reflecting my inner noise. But I couldn’t get ahead of it to quiet it down.

I believe that wherever you go, there you are – no matter how far we travel, we can’t escape ourselves – but sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what’s needed for a reset. To cultivate new habits. To shake up the system and connect more easily with one’s inner truth.

Here, on the Island that’s my home for an unbeknownst period of time, things aren’t quite so convenient as in the big city. I haven’t had immediate access to all I ‘need’. (What?? You don’t have wifi here?!) It’s been an adjustment, and annoying at times, but I have to laugh. It’s exactly what I asked for.

my new commute

my new commute

I enjoy being in motion. Whether I’m on a long walk or a ferry, plane, or train, I love travelling to new places. It’s often where I feel most connected to Source – where I receive my insights and downloads. Being in new neighbourhoods, discovering new terrain, excites me.

Nevertheless, as I lay in bed last week, I doubted this very fast turn of events. Was I running away? Did I give up a good gig in my old city? Did I make the wrong decision? I woke up to a voice asking me: What would make this decision worth it? And I realized that wherever I am is the perfect place to be. Because, ultimately, I’m not looking for the ‘right’ job or city or house – even if I think I am.

I’m looking to strengthen my relationship with spirit, with myself – to go within, to find the love within and without, to meditate, to practice yoga, to be more in nature and discover the peace that is my true nature. Those things aren’t necessarily contingent upon external circumstances. But I’m grateful for the Island air reverberating in my cells. And its gorgeous trees, water, and slower pace of life. The elements are supporting new habits and ways of being.

I’ve heard, and I sense, that September is a very potent month. What we do with all the delicious, available energy is up to us. I’m choosing to not squander it on fear.

11 reasons i quit my comfy job

It’s sinking in that I’ve quit my job. There is no turning back; my employer has advertised my position and the wheels are in motion. Though I don’t regret my decision, I have my anxious moments! So it seems appropriate to remind myself why I made this choice.

rubbing juliet's bosom for luck in verona, italy.

rubbing juliet’s bosom for luck in verona, italy. work your magic!

1. ‘Reality’ was cementing. My day became a fixed routine, going through the same motions over and over. A feeling that ‘This Is Reality’ was lodging into my cells. I know that over time, it would have sunk in deeper. And it would become harder to leave.

2. Where do I want to be in a year? Questions like this have always stumped me, because I’ve viewed them in terms of externals…job, geographic location, living situation. Instead, I began to think about how I wanted to feel in one year. Vibrant. Vital. Proud. Excited about life. Energized. Staying where I was would only lead me in the opposite direction. It was already happening.

3. My body was telling me to leave. In the last year especially, I could feel my energy weakening and my body becoming tired and depressed. It’s always been much easier for me to listen to my head than my body. But it got to a point where I felt very strongly that if I didn’t leave, the decision would be made for me. And I didn’t want to take that risk.

I’m the only one who suffers when I don’t listen to my own voice and intuition.

4. I was stagnating. The comfy jobs can be the hardest to leave because there’s a long list of convincing reasons to stay. But when you’re reminding yourself daily why you ‘should’ be there, it’s not a good sign.

We have to be vigilant with what we tell ourselves, and where that voice comes from. Because ‘comfort’ can also mean lack of growth. And it’s a clever disguise for fear. What about uncertainty, the unknown…and the creativity, aliveness, and excitement that comes with it? I’ve forgotten what that feels like!

5. I have nothing to lose. When I really examined my fears, I realized they were all manageable and, in some cases, irrational (survival-based).

What’s the worst that can happen? I can’t pay my rent? I have friends and family that would take me in. I can’t afford food? Said friends and family would never let me go hungry. I regret giving up my job? Doubtful, but I would deal with it. (And, having that clarity, probably find something better as a result.)

6. I was living in creative and financial debt. When we’re not doing work that creatively fuels us, we compensate for it in other ways. We eat out, we drink, we shop. And the ego may be sneaky here – because we can over-spend on ‘healthy’ stuff too!

I’m tired of the hamster wheel I’ve been running for years. I am totally okay with living minimally, if there is authenticity, inspiration, and creativity to balance it out. That being said:

7. I’m allowed to ask more from life. I’m very aware of the negative self-talk I’ve been feeding myself over the years. Self-defeating thoughts such as ‘There’s only so much to go around’ or ‘Good jobs are hard to come by’ or ‘ Things could be a lot worse’ have only discouraged me from finding what would truly make my heart sing.

So many of us are affected by tired old self-sabotaging thoughts. And it has to stop.

time to feel some colour

time to feel some colour

8. I’m shifting with the cosmos. There’s so much talk about the expansion of consciousness and humanity during these times, and the assistance (seen and unseen) that is available to us in creating what we want. But do I really believe it?

Well, I’m choosing to believe it now. Trusting in the expansion, and surrendering to all the divine guidance that’s available.

9. I wasn’t serving in a way that felt good to me. I need to feel like I’ve made a difference, that the work I’ve done is meaningful and has had some positive impact.

I know that we can be of service in many ways, and that it doesn’t have to be some big grandiose thing. But my work must reflect who I am and what my values are. It can’t just be about me, me, me.

10. When this changes, so will all else. Removing one central element of life naturally recalibrates all other elements. Everything must shift to accommodate that change. This doesn’t mean things fall apart – they just re-organize. And probably for the better.

11. I was resenting my job instead of having gratitude. My job has been wonderful in so many ways, and I will always be grateful for the people I worked with. I don’t ever want to lose sight of what it clarified for me. I wouldn’t have stayed so long, if the people weren’t fabulous!

***

At the end of the day…this is not just about the job! Making this decision has applied to so many areas of my life. This is about ALL the beliefs and behaviours that we know we need to let go of, but haven’t been able to.

I can feel how much of myself I have been suppressing, and ultimately I’m relieved. And I must remember this feeling in moments of self-doubt.

my ancestors made me quit

The last few weeks have been full of activity and last weekend’s super full moon was the pinnacle of intensity!

For starters, I had my amazing international family in town and for nearly three weeks, we ate, drank, laughed, cried, and learned family stories (and secrets!) that spanned lifetimes in India, Africa, Europe, and North America.

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

The amount of information I was given about my ancestors was extremely powerful and emotional…illuminating my own existence in the here and now. I can more clearly see my life as a product and continuation of those who came before me. And I have no doubt that these revelations had something to do with me quitting my job a few days ago.

Holy sh#t. I quit my job.

I’m still in a bit of a daze over that one. It’s no secret to some blogger friends that I haven’t exactly been happy in my current employment. In fact, I’d given my notice way back in 2013, but changed my mind at the last minute. I did the same thing this year! Instead of quitting outright, I asked for some tweaks to my position, hoping that would quell my dissatisfaction.

But last weekend, something happened. I knew without a doubt that it was time to leave my job for good. And the following Monday morning, I gave my notice.

I truly feel that learning so much about my ancestors somehow crystallized this decision. I felt so much of their pain, trauma, success, abundance, loss, and sacrifice in hearing their stories…and it made me realize how vital it is for me to create what I want in this lifetime. To know that ‘anything can happen’, yet not be passive and let life just happen to me. To not allow 3, 5, 15 years fly by in a job that’s been ‘comfortable’, but has dimmed my fire.

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

In the months before my family’s visit, I’d been feeling a real curiousity about my ancestors. A deeper interest to know who they actually were, and what their lives were like.

Being the first generation born in the West, my ancestry was always something to be hidden or avoided in favour of Western culture – of white people. Only now am I really starting to feel my ancestors as people with real lives and feelings and hobbies and passions. People I’m still affected by.

To be honest, I’ve wondered mostly about the women. Who were they? What did they desire? Did they even allow themselves to desire, and did they know what that desire was?

But, as is often the case, it is the men’s stories I’ve heard – and they have something to teach me too. I’ve learned that these men were powerful creators who started several successful companies and businesses, ultimately losing everything when they were expelled from their home country in the 70s. (There’s a lot more to it than that…but it would require a whole book!)

I can’t help but feel my ancestors’ presence reminding me: All this strength is in YOU. This is your lineage…and we’re looking at YOU now! Where are you going to take us…what are you going to do on Planet Earth this time around?

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Well…I seemed to have quit my job.

And nope, I don’t have another one lined up. I certainly don’t have six months of savings to live off of. I do have some ideas on what I’d like to pursue, but these seedlings may take some time to grow.

A foolish decision? Or a life-affirming one? Either way, there is no turning back now.

I must trust my intuition, and the universe at large. Now more than ever. There is nothing wrong with ‘playing it safe’, especially when you have others relying on you. But right now it is just me that I am responsible for. And I don’t want to spend one more minute doing things that don’t inspire or energize me, for fear that there is nothing better out there.

What is life going to look like at the end of summer? I don’t know. But I do know I’m getting ideas and this delicious feeling of ‘what if?’. What if I did that, and that turned into that, and that turned into that? I know things will be challenging – no illusions there – but I also know that listening to my body and intuition is my priority.

I’m ready for a new direction. And now it looks like I have no choice but to create one!

follow the excitement

After my powerful women’s circle a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my good friend L. about our individual ways of knowing.

There’s no doubt that within the circle, I’d felt very connected to who I really am, to my essence. Moreover, it felt clear that my life’s work does not involve sitting behind a desk all day in a windowless office, coordinating processes and procedures that have little personal relevance to me.

But where in my body was I feeling this clear connection to self, this resonance with my truth? I didn’t necessarily feel it in my heart, or in my mind, or in any bodily sensation. It was just an overall feeling of…rightness. It was an absence of resistance, rigidity, and tension. It was Me, stripped of any outside roles.

I used to think that my intuition must speak to me in some really obvious way. I’d try to feel things in my heart, or in my third eye, or wherever else I thought I ‘should’ feel something – usually based on what others felt. And when I didn’t, I figured my intuition wasn’t very strong.

But as I told L after the gathering, maybe those aren’t my ways of knowing.

When I initially saw the women’s circle advertised in my Facebook feed, I just knew I had to take part, in the same way I immediately knew I wanted to enrol in a ‘Foundations of Conscious Leadership’ course offered around that same time. There was no second-guessing; my desire to participate in both was like a laser-beam. Sharp and focused, bypassing my analytical mind completely. No room for doubt. Yes.

These things excited me. There was a sense of aliveness and intrigue. And this excitement is my knowing.

Excitement moves things and shakes the universe up, irresistibly compelling it to work with us.

In a recent post I mentioned that, by total fluke, I’ve become the organizer of my high school reunion. (Let me be clear – I was not the party planner high school!) What literally started as a joke a few months ago has now become a hugely fun side project for me, sparking an interest I had no idea existed: I enjoy event planning!

I love making connections and seeing things come together. I like making s*** happen! I’ve been using my creative faculties in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated, and it’s because the universe put a cleverly disguised opportunity in my path – one I could’ve easily ignored.

***

So whenever I find myself saying ‘I don’t know what I want’ – and I’ve done that a lot, especially when I feel stuck in situations that don’t seem to be moving – I will remember these events of late. And know that I didn’t have to do anything to make them happen. In fact, I couldn’t have done anything, because they just kinda showed up unexpectedly.

I must follow my excitement and be open to things looking totally different from what I’ve been conditioned to believe is possible or likely. Opportunities can show up in the most random of ways, if we only have the curious eyes to see.

And we can trust that the universe is merely showing us what is already within.

 

Image credit: Rob Scharein, with my modifications

my lucky urban rabbit

A couple days ago I saw a rabbit in the most unlikely of places. I was walking my usual route to work, when I spied something scurry into the bushes at the foot of the bridge I always cross. I only saw its ears, but they were unmistakable. How could this be? As I got closer, there it was. A black rabbit.

It was so random.

my morning surprise

After my powerful women’s circle last weekend, I met up with my dear friend L, who is an amazing life coach. (Actually, life coach doesn’t begin to capture what she does.) We talked about life being a dance with the universe. About not trying to force and control things – actions which seem so natural to most of us, when we really want something.

I’ve always thought – how will the universe know what I want, if I don’t act in ways to show it? I’m beginning to feel – it doesn’t always work like that. I’m getting more comfortable trusting that the universe’s plans, intelligence, and love for me are beyond my mind’s capacity to understand.

Ok, I’ve known this for a while – I’ve been studying it forever – but something is softening inside. It’s subtly moving from a mental concept to a bodily knowing.

Sometimes there’s a sense that if we don’t ‘do’, we are vulnerable to the whims of the universe, where anything (unwanted) can happen. We feel the need to control, but it comes from a limited place. And this rigidity becomes habitual.

I haven’t been working with the universe, not really. I’ve been giving it lots of information…but assuming it will forget, or think I don’t want certain things, if I don’t keep reminding it. This isn’t total trust.

L also reminded me that the universe has a great sense of humour, and this is often how new and unexpected opportunities enter our life.

Perhaps this is why I currently find myself planning my high school reunion – something that originally started as a joke, but I’m now having fun with. Those who know me are surprised to see me in this role…but I can totally see a new career as an event planner! (Not weddings though.)

***

So, what does my random black rabbit mean? I started some Internet searching into Rabbit medicine, but then it dawned on me. Expect the unexpected. Watch for synchronicity. Keep letting go of the reins, unclenching your fists so that magic can flow to you, finding you in strange places.

Actually, when I woke up that very morning, I decided that it was going to be a lucky day. I even chose to wear a pair of lucky underwear. (TMI?) I didn’t know what that luck would look like, but I think my rabbit was its representation. An affirmation from the universe: Yes, I hear you. I’m going to show you want you want, but it might look a little different. Maybe you’ll even laugh at my ingenuity!

I like the idea of the universe always trying to tickle my funny bone. Surprising me. Being creative with me.

Thanks, Rabbit.