As a person who has sat across a room from hundreds of people listening to their stories, I have acquired an antenna for and become somewhat of an expert of people’s facial expressions, body language, and emotions. Since quitting my job 6 weeks ago, I haven’t had an outlet for these skills. I have had some time on my hands and so, strangely enough, I wound up turning this skill to watching Mark Zuckerberg defended his company, Facebook at the Senate hearings. Observing his facial expressions has made me think about a lot of different things — everything from the complexity of company security systems to monopolies, to how incredibly busy and stressed he must be at this point in his life.
Watching these hearings, I have been reflecting upon my own life, and how “not” busy I am these days. My blank calendar, quiet home, dwindling texts and emails, and fewer obligations have forced me to reflect and learn more about myself and my life than I have in a long time. And in my reflection, I have felt a range of emotions; excited, scared, inspired and lost. From these realizations, I thought I would share with you some things I have learned — and I expect I will share a few more in the next week or two.
1. When in transition, reach out to others for wisdom and support. This is not a solo journey.
Through this transition, I have learned that people are inherently kind—truly kind—and want to help other people. I have reached out to complete strangers and people I have known for years in hopes that they may have some nugget of wisdom or insight on what my next steps should look like. I have talked to people in Dallas, Orlando, Portland, Omaha, Toronto, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, New York, and, of course, Bend, all in the vein of that they may hopefully help me uncover some truth towards my next steps in following my intuition. They have taken time out of their busy schedules to talk, listen, brainstorm, have coffee, laugh and cry about life, work, family, the earth, women, and life passions. I have been overwhelmed by the love and kindness I have received from people with nothing to gain but to help another human being on their quest to discover their next chapter in life. So, the next time you find yourself in transition, don’t be afraid to call people near and far for support and guidance.
2. Let your creativity be one of your guiding forces.
The Greeks believed that creativity came from a divine spirit and called it their creative spirits, Daemon. Socrates believed that his Daemon spoke to him and was his genius of sorts. Let us all learn from the Greeks wisdom and let your Daemon come through your own life. This may look like everything from painting, sketching, singing, or dancing. Or just sitting quietly and letting your mind wander to creative places to brainstorming big dreams and ideas. For some part of your day, let the shackles of life’s responsibilities and obligations dissolve and let your divine creative spirit come through to guide you.
3. Sit with an animal when you are scared or confused.
I have spent more time sitting on my couch in silence petting and holding my sweet Corgi. It has been my form of meditation, relaxation, and medication the past 6 weeks. When I am feeling anxious, scared, or asking myself, “What have I done?” I sit down on my old, stained, and child-loved couch with my dog and just receive some of her unconditional love and then I hear, “Molly it will all be okay, I promise.” Grab your pet or friends pet and feel how powerful being with an animal is soothing for the mind and soul. You gain so much peace and solace by sitting on your couch with a pet.
4. I have learned that I am continually on the journey of self-acceptance.
Yes, I am in my late 40’s and have realized that this time is forcing me to yet again peel away the layers of who I think I am to discover and accept who I really am. Instead of beating myself up about not wanting to stay in the same place, job, or situation, I am learning to accept that at the core of my being I am a searcher, a lover of reinvention, and as one of my wise guides called me, “Molly the explorer.” So when you are in any transition, listen deeply and notice intently what you love and let that be your guiding force to what you do. You are not one thing, you are many things, and I encourage you to allow yourself to indulge and let your psyche be filled with all of beautiful you. When you start to beat yourself up for who you are or are not, how you look or don’t look, or what you are doing or not doing, stop and tell yourself you are not those voices, you are immensely courageous to continue your journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
5. One of the healthiest core values in life is a connection to other human beings.
This I have learned for sure. I have had time to sit and think about life, and watch other people interact, and what I am learning for sure is that connection makes people feel more alive, seen, and heard. I am seeing this everywhere but where it was most prevalent was at my daughter’s 4th-grade teacher conference. She has been struggling academically and our family and her school have been working really hard to help her succeed. But it was at her teacher’s conference where I witnessed my daughter really feel connected. It was her lovely, kind and heartfelt teacher that looked her deep in her eyes and said, “Cora I know it has been hard for you this year, but I have witnessed you being so strong and not giving up in challenging situations.” My daughter’s whole body lit up and in that one moment of deep connection, she was rewarded for months of hard work. This is it, people, find a time to connect with someone every day. Be that a family member with a hug or giving a compliment to a total stranger — connect! It lightens the soul, strengthens the sense of community and belonging, and reminds us that the millions of us are really so deeply interconnected on this one planet.