It’s the most exhilarating feeling to be in control of your passion and what you believe to be your destiny. It is also one of the most terrifying feelings I have ever had. To understand completely, you need to understand where I started.
I grew up incredibly independent. I had my first job at 13 working for Baskin Robbins in the small depot downtown area of my tiny town. I remember obtaining the permit on my own and coming home to get my mother to sign it. I told her I wanted to experience working and that I wanted to learn how to earn my own money. She signed the permit with no hesitation. While the other kids hung out around the depot, I worked. I had the fortunate experience of working alongside a good friend of mine and several months later, I had officially caught the work fever.
That was 21 years ago and I haven’t stopped working since. I have picked up many jobs since that time and have consistently managed to climb the corporate ladder without ever attending a traditional 4 year college. I worked hard for many companies and put my all into every job. I have never had a vacation. I have never felt my toes nestled in the sand of a country far away and I have never been able to let my work anxiety go long enough to actually enjoy my surroundings. The closest I have come to escape is while taking long hikes in some of the most incredibly beautiful places the Northwest has to offer. These long hikes allowed me to let go of my anxiety just long enough to stop and smell the flowers. Just long enough. After that, I would get home, the anxiety would resume and work was all I could think about and it consumed me. You see, when you sacrifice what most teenagers believe to be their development years working while others are playing, you become a machine. You forget to use your imagination. You forget how important it is to just let loose and be free. Your only concern is survival and that survival consists of working hard to ensure you have a roof over your head and food on the table. This was the only survival I deemed relevant. Until now.
Many of my friends are incredibly spiritual people. One thing I am proud of is my ability to connect with whom I believe to be some of the best people in the world. Some I met through work, others through my art and some just random encounters but overall I would say that I am fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful people. They constantly talk about being good to your spirit. They advise to take care of your core and to keep integrity as a sacred piece never to be given away. They also take about being “awake”.
For many years now I have understood the concept of awareness and being “awake”. I have learned a great deal about the law of attraction concept. I have read The Secret, The Alchemist and many other pieces of literature that discuss spirituality in a number of ways. Intellectually, I have absorbed this information and using my logic, can completely understand the message. At least, that’s what I thought.
Recently I lost my job. Not because my performance was poor and not because I rebelled against the system and did something wrong but because, well, it just wasn’t working out. At first I was frustrated. I had been slaving at my job. I was carrying out long hours and coming home with barely enough time to eat, sleep and rise to do it all again. While I loved what I was doing in theory, I didn’t love who I was working for and the corporate drama was wearing my soul thin. After years of working for corporate america where you are just a number in the game of employment, I was tired. And it showed.
After my frustration left me, I had a moment of staring up at the ceiling trying to access that inner voice we so often disregard. It was in that moment that I understood the message. It was my moment of being “awake”. My health is poor. My habits are not good ones to carry and my exhaustion is overwhelming. I was slowly dying for a paycheck. Each year that I was spending working incredibly hard for someone else, I was also working for me on the side. As a musician, many hours are spent trying to get yourself heard. There is much time absorbed in the creative process and that is just the beginning. There is also business to tend to. 9 to 5 for them and 5 to 9 for me. I was just existing. I had forgotten what living even meant. Suddenly, my 9 to 5 had just been removed from my plate and instead of the traditional feeling of fear from the past, I was actually happy. As I stared at the tiny specks of paint on my bedroom ceiling, I saw my destiny. It was so clear and so powerful that I am pretty sure 20 minutes went by and it felt like 30 seconds. I had prayed for a change. When I say pray, I don’t mean the type of prayer where I am kneeling on the ground speaking to God. No. I am talking about the kind of prayer where you are speaking to that inner voice in yourself. The kind of prayer just to you and only you. I had promised myself that I would listen. The very next day after my prayer, the company I was working for decided it was best to “part ways”. My prayer had been answered.
So what now you ask? I certainly asked myself that question the moment I was driving home with the good ol’ box of office toys that once sat on my desk now in the back of my car. What now indeed. Looking at that ceiling, I didn’t see the answer to that question in specific but I did know that I could not go back to doing what I have done all those times before. Not this time. The message was clear. I am not meant to work for someone else. I am meant to work for me. Those hours spent on a paycheck that means nothing but survival was killing me fast. It was time to re-evaluate what I was doing in my life and redefine what survival truly meant.
I have never cared much for material possessions. I don’t drive a fancy car although I very well could have purchased one. I don’t own a house and I certainly don’t care about fashion. I have always desired simple. I want good relationships and most of all, I want happiness. As I get older and time becomes more precious, I realize that I don’t want to spend anymore time being unhappy. We all hold the ability to invest our energy into ourselves and yet, we always seem to ignore that route to pursue the option painted for us. It is time that I paint my own picture. I am not sure where that road will lead. I am not sure where I will end up but I am sure that the journey I take will be one led by happiness. In order to achieve this, I need to conquer my fear. The path will not be easy and it will be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Breaking the machine pattern is proving to be difficult but remaining “awake” is proving to be quite easy.
The road ahead has my name on it. The road ahead is me. Glad to be awake.