This June will mark six years since I walked away from my last corporate job. Six years since I cleaned out my cubicle, said goodbye to the abuse and cashed my last corporate paycheck. There were SO many unknowns at that time - but one thing I was absolutely certain of was that I could never, ever go back.
What led up to that day is a long and tired story that doesn't really matter all that much anymore, except in the context that it was all part of the journey that led me to where I am today. And today I'm doing a lot of work with my business coach Lael over at SheChanges to undo the damage, and get my head out of my ass so she can light a fire under it. She's doing her best to make me feel uncomfortable and awkward and anxious and vulnerable and sweaty - and it's working. These blog posts are part of that process. Being uncomfortable and sweaty means we're facing down fears. And that means we're winning. And winning means celebrations and margaritas. As in plural - because just like Pringles, nobody can have just one.
Lael and I have done a lot of work to sort out my cluttered nonsense and figure out what I want and where I want to go. That work has left me energized and exhausted, with the clarity to move forward on a path that is completely cloaked in fog. I recently listened to a podcast that originally aired on December 31st of last year which said that 2016 is calling for people to be their true, authentic, most exuberant selves. That we are opening ourselves up to deeper awareness in 2016, moving toward unearthing the truth - of who we are, of what we want, of where we're going. I definitely feel that shift. Do you?
I'm having a hard time writing anything that sounds intelligent or coherent right now because I'm jet-lagged and I didn't get my nap today - WAH WAH - but what I think I'm attempting to do is honor my intuition for guiding me out of a part of my life that simply was not working for me. While it isn't easy, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to let go of things that no longer serve us. By doing that one thing, we make space for other people/places/things that do.
If you're feeling the pull to expand, to change, to release, to become, to create - I celebrate you. Trust yourself. Honor your heart. Do what makes you happy. Six years ago, I was the dog that became the wolf. And - like the road less traveled - that has made all the difference.
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Some of you may be aware of my spectacularly bad travel karma. It's bad. So bad, in fact, that people are actually afraid to travel with me. I've had jet fuel dumped on my gate-checked "carry-on" (thank you, DELTA), been boarded, un-boarded, re-boarded, and canceled more times than i can count - once because "it snowed and got on our planes," (again, thank you, DELTA - like it never snows in BOSTON) and had my seat re-assigned because a child exploded in it on the incoming flight.
Not just a seat in my row. But in my actual seat.
Now, I just got back from a week-long girls' trip to southern Utah which was part of my good friend Melissa's "Month of Love" (more on that later in another post). She's aware that I have displeased the travel gods, and she was apprehensive about traveling with me. I have to admit, with the exception of a couple of sketchy dudes we peeped at the Las Vegas airport, everything went remarkably well - and I don't really have any dreadful stories to tell. But I do have some Do's and Don'ts for you if you happen to find yourself in extreme southern Utah by way of Vegas. So without further ado :
1. DON'T : pick up anything in your Vegas hotel's minibar or snack bar unless you want to pay for it. Don't even touch it. BECAUSE THEY KNOW. And they will charge you for it, whether you've used it or not. For instance : I was fascinated by this witchcraft in a bottle called "Never Too Hungover" (sugar free AND gluten free!) so I moved it to a side table, snapped a picture, and put it back. It ended up on our bill. Sneaky, sneaky bastards. (I'm looking at YOU, Hard Rock).
2. DO - check out of your hotel, even when the hotel says you don't have to. Why? See item #1. Make sure you're only paying for the witchcraft you used - not for the stuff they THINK you used.
3. DO - Step away from the craps table, people. Death Valley, red rocks, mountains, canyons and wild donkeys await. WILD DONKEYS.
4. DO - get the Fry Sauce. If you stop into a gas station Burger King in a fit of desperation and the woman asks you if you want the Fry Sauce, the answer is YES - you absolutely do.
5. DON'T - schedule a trip that spans three time zones for the week after a "spring forward" time change, and that also requires a red-eye flight back to the east coast a week later with a 15 minute connection in Newark at 7 am. You simply won't recover. At the very least, schedule yourself an extra week off after you get back - because NAPS. Your body will demand them.
6. DO - bring your own coffee and filters. Especially if staying in a little town in Utah called Tropic (population 519). There is no coffee there in the off-season. I'm going to wager there is no good coffee there at all. Ever. There is also no pizza. And no discernible food. You will most likely have to drive about 15 miles north to find any semblance of coffee, and will likely end up spending $25 for instant mashed potatoes at the all-you-can-eat Cowboy Buffet in the local Best Western. Yes - it's as depressing as it sounds.
7. Also, ladies... DO NOT - under any circumstances - use the white wash cloths to remove your black mascara during your stay in Tropic. Don't do it. The stain police won't even bother to track you down. They'll just bill you for the damages, you thoughtless hussy trollops.
8. DO - make sure to nosh at Escobar's Mexican Restaurant in downtown Kanab, Utah. Like, every single day. Rosa will HOOK YOU UP.
9. DO - pass on the "coffee" and the attitude at Jakey Leigh's cafe in Kanab - although the bagels are probably the best in town. If it's coffee you're jonesing for, try the espresso bar inside Willow Canyon Outdoor. You won't be sorry. That girl can barista. While you're at it, pick up a stylish hat to ward off sunburn whilst huffing and puffing through national parks and movie sets.
10. Last but absolutely not least, DO - go to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary at least once in your life. Take the tours. Volunteer. Walk some dogs. Scratch some piggie bellies. Chat up the horses. Do some hiking. These rocks and canyons have seen an incredible amount of history, and they have stories to tell. Accidentally happen upon a flock of wild turkeys doing... ahem... inappropriate things in public. Do some sleepovers with some amazing animals who deserve it. Stay on-site at one of the cabins, or reserve a spectacular RV site that overlooks part of the canyon. You'll be horrified at what humans are capable of doing to animals - and at the same time will have your faith in humanity restored by the amazing people who dedicate their lives to saving them all.
I've struggled with whether or not to add a blog to this website. I've struggled with this website, period. My Asshole Inner Critic has been on my case HARD about this for three solid years now. THREE YEARS. I've always known he was there, lurking in the shadows, judging my every thought, every move, every minor consideration - he was always there, this large, dark shadowy figure dancing and jeering just outside my periphery. But I couldn't actually SEE him. He was just... there. All stalker-like and judge-y. A creeper in the woods.
Through an amazing moment of serendipty (which I'm certain now was never serendipity at all) I've been working with the amazing Lael Cooper Jepson at SheChanges. Lael helps women create conscious transitions by honoring their instincts and intentions. She instantly diagnosed me as creatively constipated, and launched into action to help me focus my scatterbrain and get my own thumb out of my ass. After some major minor pre-work, we tackled this spooky mo-fo head-on. Lael pushed and prodded... and pulled and pushed some more, trying to get me to humanize this... this THING that was so goddamn stealthy and slippery I could never get more than a glimpse of a blackish blur. The dude was slick - and he was smart. He outmaneuvered me at every turn. He knew I was onto him.
And then suddenly... after questions and more questions and OHMYGODLAEL - the questions!... the lightbulb went on. BOOM. Finally. There he stood, fully illuminated in all his creepy, crusty, Carpathian glory. My nemesis had a face. And a name.
Allow me to introduce you to Vigo - my Asshole Inner Critic.
Thanks to Lael, I am now in the process of actively breaking up with my feisty Carpathian nightmare. Partly because he's creepy as shit, but mostly because I don't need him anymore. Not all the time, anyway. He's impeding progress, and while he's definitely somebody you'd want on YOUR side (and not the opposing one), he's really not the nicest guy. Lael instructed me to come up with a phrase to send him packing back to his spooky old Carpathian haunts when I sense him lingering... so when he shows himself nowadays (and he does), I imagine him dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire. And then I say - out loud -
Viggy, Viggy, Viggy, you have been a bad monkey! Toodle-oo, Motherfucker!
Because it's really hard to take him seriously dressed as a man dressed as a woman brandishing a vacuum.
Ditching old Viggy here and his Carpathian Scowl of Contempt is why this website is actually getting done. It's been a Sisyphean effort, but I'm fighting my way through it - with lots of help. One thing I'm learning is to trust your struggle. Oh, the struggles are real. Putting on pants in the morning is a struggle. Making the coffee without first having the coffee is a struggle. But those aren't the struggles I'm talking about. You know the ones. The ones you can't quite put a finger on. The ones that are either shapeless vapors flitting about in your periphery, side-stepping you and slipping behind the veil of invisibility before you even know they're there - or the seriously gigantic elephant standing nose-to-nose with you that you don't see (SERIOUSLYHOWCANYOUNOTSEEIT) because you choose not to. THOSE struggles. Trust those. Because somewhere inside that riddle wrapped in a mystery inside that big, fat fucking enigma is a lesson you need to learn. Once you're ready to learn it, shit's going to change. And change in a hurry. It's all part of a wiser process that's happening behind the scenes in the dark, cavernous recesses of your mind.
Trust your struggle. The struggle may be real, but the struggle is YOURS. You own it. And that means YOU have the answer. It's in there. Sometimes it just takes a little pushing and pulling and prodding by someone who isn't so much invested in your struggle as in helping you bushwhack your way through that nasty, sunless jungle of fear and bullshit that you've so carefully cultivated. Someone who can give you a fresh perspective on where you've been, where you're at, and where you're headed. And then kicks you squarely in the ass to get going.
Be patient - but persistent. Be unshakable. The clearing is just up ahead. And bring your sunscreen - it's gonna be a beautiful day.
Thank you, Lael, for being my ass-kicker. Ride Sally, Ride.