Over the past year, there have been some reoccurring themes in my life. Messages and lessons that pop up again and again.
2016 mostly involved me being hit over the head with patience. Patience. Patience. So many things that happened forced me to take a step back, and just breath, try my best not to spiral into an anxiety pit, and know that things would work out if I just let them. It continues to be a struggle, but I’m learning to be ok with waiting. I’m learning to be ok with planting seeds, and not giving up on them if they take their sweet sweet time coming to fruition. This has also gone hand in hand with getting better at just feeling ok. Things will be fine.
If you’ve read many of my blog posts, you’ll know that I have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder, that can at times make it difficult to believe that things will be ok. So when projects, jobs, relationships, you name it, aren’t progressing at a good clip, I can start to feel like nothing will ever progress; I will never be more successful; I will never have a partner; I will never have the kind of life that I hope for that blends stability, adventure, family, generosity, creativity, and travel; I will die alone with nothing to show for my life. Basically, I can go to a place where nothing is possible. As you can imagine, this is neither healthy nor productive. It also fosters a manic energy that leads to me flitting from priority to priority, spinning my wheels, and never really progressing along any one path, but rather a million teeny tiny paths, taking the teeniest, tiniest steps forward.
Then, in late November, I attended the CreativeMornings Global Summit. I was feeling a little lost and unsure of where to turn next in life. What kind of job should I take? What are my priorities? What do I actually want from my life? I felt untethered.
The very act of being in the presence of so much of my tribe was heartening (the CM Summit brought together 250 organizers from every corner of the globe.) But in particular, a talk given by James Victore got under my skin, and hit me deep in my gut. The main messages and takeaways were that the things that are weird about you are where you get your creative vitality from, so just embrace them; you don’t need energy, you need purpose; just start – whatever it is you’re doing; and Action Action Action – not one action. three actions. All the actions, full steam ahead.
I went back to my team’s Air BNB after this talk, and fell apart. What was I doing? Why was I aiming for Plan B, C, and D in my life, instead of just going for gold? Why did I keep settling for jobs, projects, and people that left me feeling unfulfilled, and like I wasn’t reaching my potential?
I decided that I was done, and that if I really wanted to leave behind the reoccurring feeling that I was going nowhere, I would have to start making real moves towards going somewhere that I actually wanted to go.
Post-Summit, I was sitting with some other folks from the global CM community, eating tacos, and Kevin Huynh (former CM COO) asked us, “What’s a question that you want me to re-ask you in 2 years to see how much progress you’ve made?” My first, somewhat jokey response was, “Are you still in turmoil every day about what you want to do with your life?”, which I then changed to, “Have you learned to balance stillness and action?” I wasn’t 100% sure what I meant by that, and in the weeks that followed, I thought about getting in touch with Kevin to change my question – I thought that it sounded pretentious and vague, and wasn’t sure how I was going to answer it 2 years down the road.
But then something happened – Action and Stillness began to show up unrelentingly in my day to day.
I did a tarot card reading with some friends that said that I needed to learn stillness to fuel action in my life. Another friend identified me as having a Pitta Dosha under the Ayervedic body types – Pitta is the fire constitution that again, needs to find inner stillness to be able to use their fire constructively. I was injured and started doing yoga again for the first time in years; it reminded me how fucking chill I felt when I left Vancouver for Toronto and had been practicing yoga 5 times a week, and that I need to balance all of my intense physical activity that requires action and fire, with the inner calm of grounding activities. I spent a lot of time in self reflection, and the times that I have felt the most powerful, are also the times that I have found certainty and calm within myself; the times that I was able to quiet all of the chatter right the fuck down, and feel still, are the times that I also felt that everything was possible. It’s interesting what happens when you actually start to listen to yourself.
Stillness and Action.