Dreaming into the NEW Year

“I don’t care if you walk into the “same” office or scenario you’ve been in a thousand times before. You are dreaming this dream. How do you want to play it? Look for the angels & observe the coyote tricksters. Pay attention to how everyone serves you. After all, they’re in your movie at your r…equest. Can you smell the popcorn?”

~Tama J. Kieves

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

~James Openheim

The Alchemy of Alignment

Only in looking back do you find those crumbs you dropped that marked your way forward.”

-from A Year in the World, by Frances Mayes

Tomorrow, I begin my new job.  I am both perfectly aligned–and terrified.  Let me tell you about the alchemy of this alignment~

The summer before last, an author found her way to me. Her name was referenced in a memoir that I was reading at the pond, and then I heard her interviewed on the radio on my way home that same afternoon.

Struck by this coincidence, I went to the library and picked up whatever I could find, which were novels about Chile.

Though I typically prefer non-fiction, I found myself caught up in her sweeping epics–romantic, bold and bittersweet.  It was an inexplicable fascination, until now.

That following spring, I was walking with a friend when she happened to mention that she had tickets to see this same author! in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but unfortunately her partner would be out of town.

Take me!” I gushed, without care for propriety.  And so she did.

The ticket to that show has marked the place in my journal ever since, and the name of that author–the sensuous Isabel Allende–continues to delight my mouth, as her stories of Chile delighted my senses.

It was my intuitive Irish mother who taught me to pay attention to life’s synchronicities such as these; but to be fair, my father’s Jewish family gave credence to them too–when it had to do with numbers. We were all dazzled when my grandfather, who was born on 11-17-1919, died on his birthday, on 11-17-1991, for example.

This passion for numerical symmetry explains just how special it was that I was offered this important job on 11-11.  For years, I had been staring at those numbers each time they appeared on the clock or randomly elsewhere, wondering about their significance.

What was equally striking was the news that this position would require me to travel–something I had longed to do again, but couldn’t imagine possible. That the annual conference was held last year in the most romanticized destinations of my youth–Paris–was clearly a nod of alignment.

But when I found out the location of this year’s event, I was humbled beyond reason–Santiago, Chile. Suddenly, the dream that woke me months earlier, commanding that I get my passport, made sense, as did my absorption with the novels about this country.

The fact that I had been looking for the right position for several months, yet couldn’t find a thing–until I got clear around my next writing venture–was another powerful display of the alchemy of alignment.

For months I sensed that something new needed to happen around my writing, and I decided that I needed a job to financially and emotionally support that (and my family.) Simultaneously I clung to the freedom that I had without outside employment because I had no idea where my work was heading.

Once I acknowledged these fears, allowing my writing to be in place of not knowing, it began to take shape, and suddenly, one after another, jobs of interest began to appear.

The relief of employment was soon replaced by the fear of a wrong fit, and I suspected that I was too picky, or even worse, spoiled. Though I had promised myself that this time I would  look for a job from the inside–out, I couldn’t bear to wait any longer, mentally or financially.  Once again,I resigned myself to grasping after roles that missed the mark.

When the day came to accept a position that was good enough, my insides wouldn’t stop bucking.  In my desperate desire for alignment, I searched the want ads one last time, and was able to see past a job description that I didn’t think fit, allowing me a soft tumble into the waiting arms of something extraordinary.

After that, the path unfolded so effortlessly that I could hardly bear it…

Kelly Salasin, November 22, 2010

(To read the previous post in the series, click the link: The World in Me;

or to read the post that follows this one, click this link: The Traitor.)

 

A Statement of Gratitude & Growth…

“Praise precedes faith.”

~Abraham Heschel

Right away, I should mention that the inspiration for this statement of gratitude and growth–is my feeling of disappointment and futility.   Steeped in this feeling of “lack,” it occurred to me that it was time to take a good look back–to see just how far I’ve traveled since beginning this life journey in earnest–three+ years ago.

This gratitude idea was seconded by a teaching from the well-known career author Tama Kieves who I turned to in my deep discouragement (with flickers of hope.) And, it was “thirded” by my spririt.  But it wasn’t until now, after facing a morning YogaDance class of 2, that I am settling into it.

So in the face of Swine flu, in the face of friends (and friends of friends) with cancer–another whose life partner has died and left her three children without a father–other families in crisis with their teens–a global economic crisis–and our own personal financial strain–I turn toward the art of GRACE in the practice of GRATITUDE in awareness of GROWTH… in an attempt to stay TRUE to myself and my work and my light while carrying out the day to day human act.

YogaDance

SO…  well, WOW… amazing to think that from the blank canvass of “Who can I be?” that I found  a Kripalu YogaDance (KYD) Instructor who teaches 4 classes a week to people of all ages.

As a pioneer with KYD,  I’ve gone beyond my training and said “YES”  to exploring this form of movement and music with preschoolers and elementary aged children.  I’ve also used my talents and new resources to provide music for a wedding; a local campaign party, a workshop, and an all school event.  Additionally others have asked about future collaborations in teaching and consulting, as well as in celebrations.

All of this has evolved in the past two years since I began my training at Kripalu.  The story of how I came to visit Kripalu for the first time that previous December–and returned that spring to become a KYD instructor–is a hero’s journey for sure.

In this journey, I’ve realized a spoken dream of living in song and answered a yearning for expressive movement in my life.  Over a hundred classes later, I continue to be amused that I’m the one creating play lists for a living, getting dressed in stretchy pants, donning a headset, and leading  handfuls of others in play while I have fun and get a workout myself.  Astounding.

Brainstorm: Let the money and the participants be a gift, not an expectation.  Stay connected to that which I enjoy–the music, the movement, the offering–let the rest come or do what it may–without my attachment.

Coaching

Interestingly, I was in the midst of exploring training options  in the field of coaching when I took the sudden detour to Kripalu for YogaDance.  I knew it didn’t make “sense,” but it was all about the voice of my heart and soul–and so,  I (mostly) trusted that it would lead to something.

It was during the fall of 2006 (during my 3 month writing sojourn) that I settled into coaching as a career option.   And yet, I  postponed any decisions until I had more certainty.

I did, however, exit the field of education and boldly took a job in organizational development–in order to get an inside feeling for one aspect of the coaching/consulting profession–and be paid for it– rather than head back to school prematurely; and then pay for it for a long, long time.

This experience with business coaching let me know that I was more interested in personal work, but I took another detour by taking a leadership role in spiritual education–just as I completed my YogaDance training.

Just a few months into this new role, coaching stirred inside me again, and I somewhat magically found myself back Kripalu studying coaching–exactly a year after my very first visit there.

During that coaching intensive, I reconnected with my passion for YogaDance and discovered that in many ways, I was a natural coach who had already developed a large amount of skill, including the rooted practice of NVC (non-violent communication.)

When I returned home, I decided to begin working with “practice” clients to “feel out” the profession even more.   Within a month, I was solicited by a paying client by word of mouth.

As I finished up my year as Director of the Religious Education Program, clients continued to trickle in and continued to do so through the fall–with a consulting contract, a writing client and a handful of new coaching clients.

As winter ’09 approached, I began to feel my growing (and predictable) discomfort with the one-on-one aspect of coaching, as well as the demands of scheduling.  Knowing that this aspect of coaching wouldn’t be a fit for me was in large part what kept me from immersing myself in an extensive training program.

Additionally, my work with clients ended up being very deep rather than practical–which was powerful–but so subtle that it left my ego wanting for more measurable success.  But the more directed and practical work with clients did not flow as well, and neither was that an aspect of myself that I wanted to develop any further.

Most of all, marketing to two areas of self-employment (YogaDance and coaching) was tiring and depleting. I didn’t like putting myself out there–over and over again; and though it was often a creative and self-generating process, it left little inspiration for writing.

I continued to work on short writing pieces as I always had, but my original idea was to let coaching and YogaDance support a larger act of writing which hadn’t happened while managing a business.

Writing

By January of this year, 2009,  I came up against the desire to throw in the self-employment towel and return to the classroom as an assistant–and voila a “perfect” job appeared. In the process of applying, I realized that my ego was very attracted to the clarity of being chosen.

In a soul-defining moment, I decided against “the job” realizing that my need for autonomy and self-direction was paramount (“Administrate my own passion”) and also realizing that what I was seeking with this “job”–was a “pause” from the demands of self-employment.

With the onset of winter roads and then the impassable muddied ones, I took that pause, or it took me.  My coaching practice dried up and I delightfully used the freed up time to immerse myself in the bin of journals that had been waiting in the basement.

For weeks, I passionately devoured them, reading from morning till night.   The  next step–to begin writing–was daunting, but to my delight, once begun, it also flowed as easily as the reading.

It is this place that I find myself now–seesawing between flowing inspiration and anxiety-ridden concern for the practical.  After facing our budget during tax preparation, I put out a inspired coaching piece and got nibbles, but no bites.

As I immerse myself in writing, we continue to grow financially strained in more and more directions.  The tax return was not enough of a boost and other issues have emerged:  an old car, growing boys, health costs, the need to let loose, etc.

And while we are very blessed to have my husband’s teaching contract renewed (after extended unemployment), his choppy mid-life currents create additional uncertainty. Craving the comfort of security, I decide, yet again to take a part-time job in the classroom, and voila, exactly what I want appears in the newspaper.

This gives me pause and I wonder, is it really what I want?

What I want to know is this–Is it possible to stay inspired and flowing with my writing while giving out energy in the classroom?  Would education be a better fit than marketing to both coaching and YogaDance?  Are there other options?  Is there something that could provide stability of mind and finances to allow flow of heart and soul?

Thus I explore this exercise in gratitude for what has come as I endeavor to move forward–from inspiration rather than exasperation.

In typing these words, my computer freezes and has to be restarted and miraculously recovers all but this burning question:

CAN I OFFER MY GIFTS AS A TEACHER & COACH THROUGH THE ACT OF WRITING?

And to that I add this:

IS THERE SPACE FOR THAT IN OUR FAMILY, FINANCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY?  AND IF NOT, HOW CAN THAT BE MANAGED? IS THERE A WAY FOR ME TO GET AN “ADVANCE” CONTRACT ON SOME ASPECT OF MY WORK TO SUPPORT IT?

Addendum:

I have just been offered one day a week as a sub in the kindergarten for the rest of the year–solving my immediate need for income and stability.

Move aside marketing, come on writing.  Stay the course, Kelly.

One step at a time, let things come…

Stop waiting for your work to show you how good you are and let it simply be you–offering the gift that was given to you to give to others.

As Tama says,

Stand in the integrity of knowing you have something to offer.”

and this,

“It’s something you allow to happen, not make happen.”

and this,

“Start telling yourself that you’re doing it right for you. Start blessing what you are doing…  The more you listen to yourself, the more energy you’ll have…

Get in touch with inspiration… it will turn into action, choosing again, and again to stay with what you know, what you believe.

…and they’re not separate–inspiration and the practical

Take an instinctive path in this world

Stay with it moment and moment, keep listening and you’ll know what you’ll do.”

April 2009

(Exactly a year later, this challenge of balance presents itself again, click here for: the Sacred Act of Change.)

I’m Coming OUT!

“My boat struck something deep.  Nothing happened.  Sound, silence, waves.  Nothing happened, or perhaps everything has happened, and I’m sitting in the middle of my new life.”

~Juan Ramon Jimeniz

(Note: This is the first in an upcoming series on the path of finding my life’s purpose.  What was mistaken to be a straight line turned out to be a long spiral–spun inward.  What I lacked in wisdom, I made up for with determination 🙂

My earliest income was from handouts in the lobby of the Acme grocery store where I begged pennies to buy the bubble gum my grandmother refused me.

After that, it was sidewalk lemonaide sales which later grew into concession stands at backyard performances. Around that time, an adult purchasing tickets for himself and his children, suggested that I could be reported to the IRS for the amount of money I was raking in. This marked the end of my for profit events. Shortly after, I began hosting Muscular Dystrophy carnivals instead.

By 12 years old, I was employed outside the home–booked every evening of the week (a month ahead of time) as a babysitter.   I made 75 cents an hour, or a dollar for the Mormon families of 5 or more–and only lost one toddler while I was watching Magilla Gorilla and eating his peanutbutter graham crackers.

On the weekends, I continued my charity work, volunteering as a “candystriper”– a title that continually intrigues children.

When my family relocated from the mountains to the shore, my income opportunities expanded.  I trained as a waitress, a hostess, and finally a manager (where I worked more hours and made less money than my staff.)  I also did a follow up stint at the local hospital–in the morgue–but that’s another story.

In college, I mainly hit the books (and the parties) with some volunteering on the side.   I helped keep a basketball player on the courts (who insisted on paying me to do his papers,which I refused–even though he was twice my size);  I worked with a Korean exchange student in preparation for her LSATs (even though I knew nothing of the law), and I tutored a nun from Viet Nam in philosophy and religion (what were they thinking!)

After graduation, my boyfriend and I took off for Colorado where I taught skiing to little rich kids from Texas who had never seen snow but who within a week could ski better than me.

Upon our return to the East, I jumped into the career my father  paid for–actually, it was a stumble.  At the end of a uneventful day substituting as a PE teacher (which I did out of boredom and to cover my boyfriend’s spending habits), I stopped in at the office to half-heartedly inquire about a full-time position listed in the paper.

I was interviewed right there on the spot– in my sweats– and to my great dismay–hired later that evening.  I was devastated.  I didn’t want a real job. I loved it.

I taught blissfully (relatively) for seven years before becoming a teaching cliche.  I didn’t see it coming.  I didn’t even know what hit me.  Only now–ten years later–can I name it.

I burnt out.

And in that failing, I died to myself as an overachieving, over-performing, overproducing employee.  I’ve never been the same.

Now when people ask, I refer to myself as a “recovering teacher” (a term coined by a friend who also abandoned the profession.) But I fall off the wagon regularly.

I slink back,taking supportive roles in the field without the responsibility that strangled me–and without the creative expression and passion that keeps me alive–not to mention the dollars that pay the bills.

The decade, between ages 30 and 40,  is best described with a list of the part-time jobs I held while serving full-time in the most sublime: Motherhood.

Chapter One teacher (underpaid remedial instruction)
Day care provider
Babysitting (again!)
Ski instructor (again!)
Summer School Teacher
Non-profit facilitator of an educational project
Free lance writer
Non-profit administrator of a business project
Pizza Counter clerk
Video clerk
Preschool teaching assistant
Council on Aging Coordinator
Office work in a natural health clinic
Natural Living clerk at the Co-op grocery store
Writing tutor at college
Highschool English tutor
Preschool School Board and Parent Coordinator
Preschool long-term substitute
Mentor for preschool teachers
Community sing leader
Financial Organizer for personal needs
Volunteer Coordinator at school
Kindergarten teaching assistant

It has become clear to me that NOW is the time to RECLAIM some integration in my life– some passion, some direction, and some serious cash.

But where to turn?

I still love people, learning, cultures, food, children, elders–all of that which I dedicated myself to during my forty years of living. But most of it feels differently now that I’m a mother.

Teaching is out of the question because the gift of  parenting feels redundant after a day spent with other people’s children.

The demands of the restaurant industry doesn’t fit a family either.

I’m tired of coordinating or directing anything–family life meets that need more than enough.

The pizza and video clerk jobs did provide a nice kick-back and relax shift for me, but alas not income or passion producing.

Writing inspires me, but it’s not something I can fuel day in and day out.

I know that I need to be able plug into some outside energy current–at least part of the time. I need to be tied to other people, who are tied to something bigger than ourselves.  I want to do something that matters–but not something that matters so much that it turns me inside out.

This quest for my passion in my life’s work is not a life-threatening question, I know.  It’s not world peace, starvation, homelessness, or any of those biggies.

But it is my biggie, right now, and I feel lost.  I need to see the path, the stepping stones.  I need to know the way.  I need to know that there is a way— for me.

So, here I am, doing job number twenty-three on the part-time waiting-for-my-life-to-jump-start-again list. This incarnation ends in June, and by the end of the summer, I’d like to have begun my new life.

So, I’m putting it out there.  The Universe is on notice:

Kelly Salasin, Spring 2006

Not sure how to get started yourself?  Check out author Tama Kieves recent post, Your Alternative Career Search: Relax, Heal, and Play