One Step at a Time

I’ve really been having a week of upheaval. There is the potential for all the basics in my life (work and home) in the next few months. I’m looking at moving across the country, and with that, through necessity, changing jobs – or at least changing what my current job is like.

On Tuesday I hit my limit with the unknown and feeling overwhelmed and, let’s face it, scared. Even though these changes are completely my own choice, and I know that I am being called to do them, it’s darn scary!

I am feeling called to move to upstate New York, and am planning a trip there in July to check it out. My goal is to make a decision by the end of July and move in August. Earlier this week I started planning my trip, and promptly became paralyzed by indecision. Which is not at all like me. I couldn’t decide whether to fly or drive. I couldn’t make myself fill out and turn in the vacation request at work. I spent hours online looking at AirBNB and driving routes and flight choices. And couldn’t decide a thing.

To top things off, there has been some drama at work in the past week that throws a wrench in the works of how I was planning my graceful exit there. Or if not a full exit, at least a transition to working remotely as a contract employee. And I was left feeling like everything in my life was up in the air and unknown.

Of course if I’m honest, that’s always true! I don’t have control over the majority of what happens in my life. But like most of us, I have carried that illusion of control with me for many years, and it feels just teensy bit (okay, a whole lot) uncomfortable when I run up against it. And I have been someone who has had an inner knowing of what I want to do and is very decisive, in general.

In the past 10 years I have made a lot of significant changes in my life, and have handled them with grace and ease. I’ve had friends remark on the courage it took to change careers, when to me it just felt like the logical next step for me. Similarly, when I sold my house a few years ago and decided to rent instead (in preparation for a move out of state or country at some unknown time in the future), friends told me how brave I was. And, once again, I knew deep in my heart that it was the right path for me, and although I had moments of sadness in leaving the home where I had raised my son, 95% of me was excited for the change.

So this feeling of being almost paralyzed by fear of the unknown is somewhat new to me.

A few things happened, and I had some reminders that helped me to regroup and calm down.

  • I let it all out. I had a couple of experiences at work that day that got me really worked up. I left work and got in my car and drove. I cried. I ranted. I swore (yes, this can sometime be helpful!). I raged. I got mad at other drivers. I yelled at my boss and co-worker. And within 15 minutes it was all out, and I felt a lot better.

My inclination is to stuff everything and not feel the yuck. But when I do that, I really can’t think straight, because there’s all that stuff in their trying to get out. I recently read a great book, Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins. The concepts were not new to me, but they were a great reminder that as we stuff our emotions rather than letting them flow through us, we create strife in our lives that manifests in many different ways.

So, I let go of all the anger, frustration and rage that had been building up inside me. No, it’s not all about what happened at work that day. But that situation was a catalyst to release more of what has built up over more than 50 years in this body.

  • Nothing is forever. Once I was calm, I could think straight. I remembered that no matter what decision I make, it’s not forever. If I don’t like the result, I can always make a different choice. I wasn’t going to let fear of making a mistake keep me from moving forward.
  • I only need to know the next step. Part of what was getting me so tied up in knots that I couldn’t move was not being able to know how everything will pan out.

Will my boss be agreeable to me working remotely? Will another employment option I have work out? How will I support myself? How will my cats deal with 5 days on the road when we move? Will I find a place I like to live?

As you can see, none of these questions have a thing to do with planning my trip to explore. But this is what was keeping me paralyzed. I couldn’t predict the future.

I was reminded of something profound that a friend said to me four years ago when I was in a similar state. I was planning a trip to Edinburgh with the idea of checking it out as a place I might like to live. I was going through all the same kinds of questions and getting myself pretty freaked out.

As I shared this with my wise friend, he said “You only need to know the next step.”

Well, duh! But how profound! I have used this wisdom from my friend many times in the past few years when I get myself in a tizzy over the future, and it has served me well. Thank you, Mark.

So, I got unstuck and booked my trip the next day. I still have a bit of trepidation about how the future will unfold, I suppose that’s only natural, even as I trust in Spirit to guide me. But I am no longer paralyzed and am moving forward.

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