Openness breeds connection.
This past week has been such a whirlwind for me. I wasn't quite sure what would happen as a result of starting this journal and didn't really take the time to stop and think about it or set any expectations.
(Note to self: if you just do the things you know you want to do without thinking about it too much or for too long, there won't be any time for the negative voice in your head to start talking bringing up fear, worst case scenarios, doubts that you don't know what you're doing, etc.).
What I knew was that writing had always helped me understand myself. I also knew that I was in serious need of that understanding and guidance in finding myself and what makes my soul sing. Plus, I know I do a way better job of following through on things when I am accountable to someone (or something, like a Squarespace website for instance) other than myself.
What I didn't quite expect or imagine was the incredible response and support that I have received thus far. Even more than the likes, views, and positive feedback, I've been most touched by the people who have reached out to just share with me that something I wrote resonated with them and that they understand where I am because they are - or were - there too. So many of these people are those that I haven't spoken to in a long, long time and may not have even had a very close relationship with when we were in my social circles. I'm in awe of the level of trust and connection, and I love and cherish it so much.
Even outside of this online world, I have found that almost every interaction I have had in the past two weeks or so has been deeper. I guess I could believe that I have just happened to cross paths with people who want to talk more and talk more about real things, but I am pretty confident it has more to do with a shift in my energy, in me deciding to do things that scare me, excite me, and connect me to people, the world, and to the core of my spirit.
There was a time when this sort of approach to life was completely natural for me. A decade ago, when I was living "the life" in NYC, managing a restaurant and advising culinary students on their career options, I was working with people so directly every minute of my work days and socializing in every way possible outside of work. I always assumed that it was the energy of restaurants and NYC that I loved so much, but I think it is the connection to people and the moments in their lives that I had the privilege of being a part of, in some way, coupled with this big city filled with so many people and opportunities for just about anything. I had all the fuel I needed - maybe even too much sometimes - to feed the energy of my spirit.
I thrive off of the energy of people. I have come to this realization in such a hardcore way in the two years since I moved and started working remotely. Working from home always seemed like a dream and the ideal for me, and there are a ton of perks that I really appreciate, still. But the experience of not seeing my team or having the majority of my communication with clients and co-workers over be email has, over time, killed my spirit. Of course, I don't ever think there's just one thing that causes something like my spirit dying. I'm sure it also had to do with moving across the country away from my family and the closest of my friends. I'm sure it had to do with me being confused about my business and where it was going. I'm sure it had to do with my relationship and the pressure I unintentionally put on one person to fulfill the social connection that I so need to be who I am. I don't believe any parts of ourselves can be isolated when it comes to this sort of "stuff" - in talking about your career, if you're honest, you'll probably end up talking about your family life or money issues or dreams you wish you followed or dreams you are following. I believe it's so interconnected and that's what makes it so hard to navigate through when something starts to not feel right.
Although I do recognize I have a shelf-life when it comes to strictly remote work, something strange (again, unexpected) happened in the past week or two when that shift happened in me. All of a sudden, I had a shift in my perspective about my day job too. I didn't intend for it to happen, it just sort of seeped into that part of my life when action and hope started filling the other parts of my life. It's probably something I've read in many of the self-improvement books I've read over the years, but to experience it and to recognize it... it's pretty incredible and also makes complete sense. It's amazing to me how many simple things in life we make so complex in living.
Since I enjoy sayings, here's one I may have just made up: openness breeds connection. It was a week ago that I made the decision to start this online journal, committing to being absolutely honest and open in this process, wherever it may lead. The change that I have felt in me and in my connections in this extremely short time - a week - is insane. I wonder: Why did I not start sooner? To answer my somewhat hypothetical question, I'll leave you with this bible passage which my godmother sent to me this week, after reading one of my posts. In all honesty, I don't feel extremely connected to the Catholic Church these days, and wasn't even quite sure how to respond but the name of my new game is: be open. These words have always moved me, especially when sung, and they still do:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
~ Ecclesiastes 3
As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe timing is everything. It is most definitely my time to be open and connect... to heal, and to dance, and to embrace, and to search, and to speak, and to love.