A 420 Reflection

Normal is a relative term. It really is. Think about it for a moment.  Your routine, your rhythm for your day is yours and yours alone.  It is your normal.

The values and situations you grew up with were normal when you were growing up with them.  You woke up, you had things happen, they were normal.  And the things that happened in your day were likely different than the things happening in your peers day.  Their breakfast routine or homework routine was different.

Take my son for example.  He is driven farther than anyone in his class to get to school and I am guessing he is among a minority if not alone in the fact that he often gets up at one household yet has breakfast and gets ready for school at another.  His normal is different than others in his class. As a 10 year old he is learning a lot of flexibility and gaining the ability to transition through situations pretty well.

It gets me thinking about my own normal growing up as I note the date on the calendar – April 20, 2017.  Known better in certain circles as a holiday called 420.

When I was growing up in California, it was the mid to late 70s and 80s, I graduated high school in 1992.  (Don’t hurt yourself doing the math – I am 42 as I type this article.)  Cheech and Chong were funny guys on the record player and 8 track.  There were funny smelling plants in the backyard we didn’t tell everyone about and in the den there was a red tray that I wasn’t to touch.  The water filled smelly piece with the black sticky residue was also off limits.

The sweet, slightly musky smell of weed permeated my childhood. It was normal.  I didn’t see it as a big deal, it was just there.  Large groups of people around me used it. It was just part of life.

The Red Ribbons showed up in my life a few years later and I remember seeing a display put up by the local sheriff with all kinds of illegal substances and thinking – hey, I know what that one is…

Around that time, the smell became not quite so constant.  If it was happening, I wasn’t seeing it. Why was never my business and I don’t know that I asked.  I don’t remember it being a big deal one way or another.

In high school I was offered some and thought – well yeah, why not?  It’s normal.  In fact, I am almost 100% sure weed was the reason I passed geometry. My junior year of high school I was “busted” smoking after a football game, in my cheer uniform with some football players.  I was horrified to be called into the dean’s office and interrogated.  They threatened to call the sheriff and I was horrified at what that could mean.  I was a good girl. Good girls don’t get the sheriff called on them.

When I got home that day, my mother was waiting and she was not mad at me. Not for trying it anyway.  She was mad at my judgement on timing and placement. She admitted it would be hypocrisy to condemn me for something that was not a foreign substance to her and that she didn’t believe was the worst thing I could be doing.  In addition to the on campus suspension I had been awarded, the temporary suspension from the cheer squad and suspicion of “narking” by my peers, I was grounded for a few weeks.

I didn’t smoke after that. I just didn’t.  It wasn’t a conscious decision to stop or a dislike or anything else.  What really happened was alcohol took over my life.

As an alcoholic I wanted the chaos and insanity and drama that alcohol brought that weed simply didn’t invite in my life.  With weed I passed geometry, with alcohol I failed health.  But by God, I committed to alcohol.  After all, alcohol was legal so why shouldn’t I overindulge and drink as much as I could?  And like an Iowan at a corn syrup…oops I mean corn, festival, I went for it.

For the next 10 years or so I let alcohol dominate me:  through a career in the military where I found many of my kind, through passing out while driving and waking up on the side of the road half collapsed out the driver’s door, through alcohol poisoning and lost memories, marriage and divorce, lost friendships, bad, bad choices and more.  So much more pain than I can describe, or that you want to hear.  Alcohol took me to dark, dark places.

I recovered 14 years and 2 days ago.  It used to be a huge, big deal.  Now I have a new life and the day itself isn’t as big a deal as the gratitude I have for the life I get to live now.

I am interested in this movement of the legalization of marijuana on so many levels:

  • There are so many medical benefits which I saw up close as I watched my aunt recover from breast cancer in a medically legal state.
  • I am intrigued by the vast amounts of information and misinformation out there. The fear based op-eds and the scientists and doctors coming out with more and more research.
  • The dollars gained in taxes in states like Colorado where medicinal and recreational can be purchased and the dollars spent on crime prevention and jails in states where it isn’t legal.
  • Watching Tommy Chong on Dancing with the Stars then reunited with Cheech Marin on stage right here in Iowa a while back was fascinating– a state where you can use cannabis oil to treat certain conditions but you can’t buy it here (note: you can buy CBD oil here), instead you have to trek it in from another legal state across illegal states and pray to whatever you believe in that you don’t get caught bringing medicine to a family member or loved one that experiences intense relief when using it.
  • As a glass blower I can’t help but be fascinated by those artists whose work largely heads into the weed market. Their creativity and artistry is mind blowing.  If you haven’t watched Degenerate Art on Netflix yet, queue it up.  And this 60 Second Docs piece on Robert Mickelson and his work will  blow your mind.

I think we as a society are headed into a new normal – maybe more like the childhood I remember even.  My family couldn’t have projected what they were preparing me for as I was exposed to all that I was exposed to, but as I see it today it is like seeing an old friend.  That moment your olfactory senses are tickled by a scent that brings back happy childhood memories, like gramma’s cookies might do for someone else.  Across the nation people are benefiting from the use of medical marijuana and of legal age adults are choosing the mellowing effects of weed over the chaos of alcohol.

It may not be for everyone, but neither is your anti-depressant or pain management pill.

When I think of the lifestyle I want, the life I want for my son, I pray that he never chooses to drink the way I did.  I hope and pray he didn’t inherit the disease that took me to places I never wanted to go, but signed a contract in blood with as I took those first sips.

What I want is for him to pursue life the way I have chosen – his own way. I want for him, and for everyone, to know that it is super cool to be you.  Just be you, not some expected version that needs to measure up against anything else.  I think as we move towards a more authentic state of being, it is natural to also move toward more natural products for our bodies.  Our bodies crave the new normal of natural, not the old normal of processed synthetic, toxic mind and body altering substances.

Whatever your normal is today, think about it.  Is it right for you?  Is it really, really right for you?  Are you informed on all sides of the issue you spout off about, vote on or endorse?  Do you know your own story and what works for you and what doesn’t?

It is time to live dangerously: define your normal, don’t let it be defined for you.

 

My first time on the big girl torch

My first big torch experience

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, help captive in Cedar Rapids, but willing to stay because her son anchors her in place and he is so totally worth it!  An expert in helping people across the globe prioritize their values and create a life centered on what they value most, allowing them to shed stress, overwhelm and the BS that can suck the soul from their daily lives.  Learn more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru 

I Almost Told my Coaching Career to F^& Off Last Night

This is a post about purpose.  It’s about how irritations are reflections of our own fears and insecurities and about the aha I got from the ridiculousness of self-exalted-look-at-me-gurus-without-substance when I looked in the mirror.  And I curse a lot in it…you’ve been warned.

Yep, I almost just hung it up and left the industry.  I was DONE being affiliated with a bunch of self-appointed inspirationalists [yes, I may have made up that word] and guides who still poison their bodies with shit food and post lives on social media promoting false affluence.

[Note:  I do know there are some true, real, amazing people out there doing good work, I have worked with them and proudly call them colleague.  I am not referring to them.  If you aren’t sure which group you are in for me….I’d honestly wonder why you’d care?  Does my opinion really matter? If it does, I’ll share my mirror. Read on.]

To put it lightly, I’ve been irritated by some stuff lately:

Memes full of spiritual platitudes…

Self-pronounced proud warrior posts about what a top notch (fill in the blank) someone is and how unique and awesome their ideas or products are…

Selfies of “look at how much farther I have to go with my weight loss or yoga pose or mediation or whatever” which is really just a plea for “LOOK AT ME”…

Perhaps I am just being a bitch, but some of this stuff I am seeing in my social media feeds makes me want to leave my profession.  How is showing me a picture of your ass or face or tri-cep or what-the-fuck ever, supposed to truly help me get off the couch and into the fired the fuck up energy I really need to move forward?    Especially when it is accompanied with words like “hubby says I look great but I know I still have work to do” or “it was hard to get here, but wow I feel good”…

I just feel annoyed. 

And I am also a bit (huge) of a snarky bitch on the inside and you are just hearing it right now.

I’ve come a long way.  And it wasn’t always pretty.  The path truly fucking sucked some days; other days I felt like the boss of the world.  The path still sucks some days while feeling gloriously golden others. That’s the nature of this super cool experience we call life.

I sat on my couch last night spewing my ire all over my ever patient partner who simply nods when I get like this and lets me get it out.  He then usually jumps in with some super supportive words like “it’s because they ARE all super fucking annoying and you are in a different place from them – that’s a good thing.”  I do love him for that…but my truth is, when shit irritates me…it is often because it is reflecting something back at me.

Hold on to your pants, shit’s about to get real people. I’m gonna tattle on me.  As I stared in to the abyss of my reflection, here is what came out:

If I’m going to be honest – and I generally think that’s a pretty damn good idea – what is irritating me is actually a fear for my own presentation of my mission.  I dislike the kinds of things I listed above because I want to avoid being perceived that way more than I want to avoid gaining 10 more pounds.  I’d gladly add 10 pounds to the scale and avoid being perceived as a super annoying, superficial, look at me and tell me I am amazing kind of person.

I want to just be real and tell you that you deserve a kick ass life.  If something in my life inspires your grab life by the balls energy – hell yeah!  Use it, let it inspire you.  But I’d rather help you find something in YOUR life to inspire you and leverage the hell out of awesome sauce energy already within you.

So when I find myself being irritated by this kind of spiritual platitude bullshit and self-indulgent crap, I have to look in the mirror and check out my own behavior and actions.  It’s a great reminder of my own value of authenticity and genuine desire to serve instead of simply being seen.

As a service business owner and leader, I have to sell, simply being seen isn’t enough.  I have to attract and retain clients or all I have is a monument to me and my idea.  I’m a terrible builder so any monument I tried to construct would be complete shite anyway. Let’s not taint our imaginations with that…to avoid that, I do have to tell you what my team and I can offer you.

In a sales class I recently taught, I heard myself saying that when we sell, we are solving a problem.  If the person talking to you doesn’t have the problem you can solve, they aren’t a client.  If they do have that problem, they may not select your solution for one reason or another.  But you do owe it to them to share the information and you owe it to yourself to discover more about the problem as you discuss.

Aha, a piece of the real is uncovered in my reflection. 

In the sales process, my goal is always to be true to me and to allow the client to be true to themselves.  So when I see people in my field promoting themselves over their solution, promoting their success without the reality of the obstacles that truly exist…I get irritated.  There are real problems and challenging situations out there that people deserve to find their way out of with real support. Glossing over it with a selfie and a fucking platitude never offered me a solution.

A solution is rooted in reality.  It is in hard work, self-actualization and a true desire to take action and invest your most precious resources of time, money and energy to keep evolving and growing into the person you know you can be, live the life you know is possible and to embrace today over someday.

How to Shift your Energy:

Next time you go to like a meme, comment “beautiful” on a selfie, or endorse a superficial call to action look within and ask yourself where it resonates.  How will it impact your life and how will you turn that inspiration into action?  How does that piece of “mmm that’s nice” help you?  What is the real message you are getting from it?

Maybe like me, there is actually a mirror in that moment giving you more than just that initial reaction.  Maybe it’s introspection and change time.

What I’ll be Doing:

I can tell you that from here, I am re-engaged in the vigilance of sharing relevant, helpful information with my community.  If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram look for the “so what?” in our posts, the inspired action offered and the investment you can make in becoming….REAL.

 

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, help captive in Cedar Rapids, but willing to stay because her son anchors her in place and he is so totally worth it!  An expert in helping people across the globe prioritize their values and create a life centered on what they value most, allowing them to shed stress, overwhelm and the BS that can suck the soul from our daily lives.  Learn more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru 

Aside

Are you Denying Your Love?

Do you have anything you LOVE to do and don’t?  Something you wish you could make time for and don’t?   You have lots of reasons why: work is busy, family is busy, you are tired, it’s expensive, you have to drive too far to do it, you don’t have the right supplies, the list could go on and on if I include all of the excuses I have heard from clients as to why they don’t do the things they love.

In those cases we are trading our soul for…what? 

In some cases, we can temporarily justify it.  We need to focus on our newborn children, a particularly demanding project at work, a family or financial crisis.  But those situations are temporary.  We trade our soul when we allow addiction to those short bursts of stress and they become habitual and then begin to feel easier than actually pursuing what we love. 

NOTE: If what you love is the constant drama of crisis, we aren’t going to go there. Go away, I don’t need that kind of crazy in my world – and truth be told, neither do you.

On my mind lately has been my love of writing.  I love to write, love it.  Loved it since I was a child; starting my first “dear diary” entry around 3rd grade.  So why do I deny it?

I can pull any number of excuses from the list above and tell you why they’d work for me in case against writing. But that is all they are, excuses; and you know what they say excuses are like…

My commitment to me right now is to release the limits of excuses today.  I’m embracing my love of writing now.

Your Living Dangerously Challenge: 

I challenge you to consider what you love and deny yourself.  Go through your excuses one by one and ask yourself when they expire. Be bold, write them down and give them an expiration date.  Celebrate their expiration and launch yourself into your love with abandon.

Release Limits, Embrace Life, Live Dangerously

Jennifer Murphy is a coach, teacher, mentor and leader at No Limits Life where she partners with the closet creatives, aspiring adventurers, and repressed rebels to move beyond expected success to create the kind of fulfilling life they crave.  To learn more about Jennifer and her team visit www.nolimitslife.guru

 

 

 

Monday vs. The Livable Life

A woman threw herself in front of my car a few weeks ago, on a Monday.  She was clearly having a worse day than most.  So before you complain about another Monday, another terrible Monday, consider for a moment others actually truly struggle with the concept of life itself. 

Yep, you may not like your job.  Your spouse or partner may be annoying you.  Maybe your kids even grumped at you this morning.  But the concept of life being unlivable isn’t your jam; right? 

Not wanting to live is a different kind of dread.  I felt it about 13 years ago.  It was a Friday night and I was with a group of people with a shared interest in being better humans.  As I surveyed the room, I was screaming inside for help and unable to voice it.  I can’t recall ever feeling more alone in a crowded room.

I left and didn’t know where to go or what to do.  I was new in town, had no actual friends and few acquaintances.  I had quit drinking about a little more than a year prior and was wondering if it was worth it.  Why not drown my loneliness and despair in a moderately priced case of wine?  As I searched for a bar/liquor store/anywhere selling intoxicating beverages, I couldn’t find one – odd right?  I debated steering my truck into a telephone pole, but wasn’t confident the Silverado would sustain enough damage to end it all.  I kept driving.  Not knowing how, I found myself steering into another sanctuary where 3 people spent the next 2 hours listening to me cry, to my sorrow and self pity and they gave me not just a shoulder to cry on, but hope that I could engage in life.  I didn’t have to give up on it.  Up until I connected with them, I was in the energy of an unlivable life.  I had been working my ass off to be a better me and was more miserable than ever.  Leaving there, I was ready to keep going.

I went home to my 4 bedroom house – empty except my 2 dogs.  I crashed onto my bed fully clothed and my labs snuggled on either side of me.  Hours later I woke with the lights still blazing, the dogs watching me and a feeling of relief.  I had chosen life.

I have tough days.  I have days I wonder what on earth I am doing, why I should keep following this path and doubt spirit’s plan for me.  But I have never since wondered if life was livable.  I have never since felt the need to end it all.

Watching a young woman throw herself in front of my car reminded me of what felt like another person’s pain; as if from another life time.  She had half a dozen people around her corralling her back into where she needed to be, talking to her.  One grabbed her arm as she threw herself forward toward my car and pulled her back.  She had support – she simply needed to place herself in their care.

Sometimes we feel alone; we aren’t.  I am about to meet with my new coach for the first time.  A long time colleague, it is not a strangers meeting.  But it is a turning point for me.  I am not one to ask for help easily.  It takes a special effort to acknowledge the voice within demanding it.  But I have learned life is more than livable, it is limitless and to move to the next level, I need all the support I can find.

There are two morals to this story:

  1. Life is livable – your choice. 
  2. You are only as alone as you want to be.

Consider this the next time you find yourself complaining about a Monday or some other part of life that is livable if you adjust your attitude, choose a new energy and invite the right energies in to your life to play.

Jennifer Murphy is a coach, teacher, mentor and leader at No Limits Life where she partners with the closet creatives, aspiring adventurers, and repressed rebels to move beyond expected success to create the kind of fulfilling life they crave.  To learn more about Jennifer and her team visit www.nolimitslife.guru

The Zen of Now

“The Pure lotus growing in muddy water is a metaphor for enlightenment. The lotus arises from all its impediments.  It actually needs the impurity of the water for its nourishment.  In the same way, in our personal development, we can’t just work with what we like about ourselves.  We have to work with our muddy water.  We have to work with our problems and our hang ups because that’s where the action is.”  – Bernard Glassman, Instructions to the Cook

Lessons sometimes repeat themselves.  Ever felt like you are DONE learning something?  You might say something like, “I never want to feel that again! I know now!”  Or “wow, glad I learned that, never fool me again.” or perhaps in the area of personal growth you think, “well, I am certainly past that hang up”.

In the area of personal growth that we often have layers to sort through when seeking the growth we crave.  We might deal with the superficial stuff and feel like we can declare victory.  We overcame the fear, or resistance or pattern.  And then we are confronted again with it!  What the <insert your favorite expletive> is going on?!  I mean seriously, we thought we evolved past this right? We think ourselves beyond the muddy water referred to in the quote, when in reality, we need to keep using the muddy water to grow.

Depending on your personality type an life’s circumstances, you may react a few different ways: depression, competition or acceptance.

Depression:  when you get own on yourself, letting your inner bully take over.  You beat yourself up and have a hard time wanting to keep pressing forward in your growth.  This could be temporary or long term – it depends on you. Here you are not using the muddy water – you have become the muddy water, abandoning your lotus energy.

Competition: your inner warrior bursts forth and refuses to accept defeat.  You battle the idea that you have more to grow, or that you somehow didn’t get it all the first run through.  A bit of denial can show up with the warrior, an impatience to simply be victorious.  Here you are trying to be all things: the water, the mud, the lotus, the sun…forcing all of them to do what you want.

Acceptance: where the Zen of Now kicks in.  In this energy you can be exactly where you are.  You acknowledge the growth you have achieved and don’t discount it, but also see with clarity the exact place you find yourself in: you see what is, not what you wish or want.  With acceptance, you allow all to contribute as it needs to in order to thrive.

In the Zen of Now you can work with what you have, what you are and see where you are in the universe.  In the Now there is no past and no future, you are the culmination of what has happened, using it to always be in the Now.

You have heard the stories and seen the action of fighters – they find their physical center and operate from there.  The physical power comes when they are most centered. any speaking of fighting from their center not just physically, but also spiritually and mentally.

I recently went through a prolonged period of low energy. I felt disconnected to things I was previously inspired by and I found myself continuing to reach back, alternating between the warrior and the depression modes of response to the lessons appearing.  It was super frustrating and I kept banging my head against a spiritual wall wondering what the heck I needed to do to shake it off.

Throughout this I kept being drawn to the concept of Zen.  Zen is simply Zen.  It is the current reality, just as it is.  I kept finding myself drawn to simply being: to enjoy the moment, to be where I was, to not fight what was happening, but to immerse in it.  I resisted on many an occasion.  I wanted things to be different.  I kept ignoring my in the moment intuition and then found myself regretting missed opportunities.

I found this sense of resistance shifting on my travels in July.  Our plans changed, they shifted around, we encountered delays and obstacles, things didn’t go as we have envisioned it.  But I found myself relaxing into the current reality and resisting it less and less as the month went on.

It had been easier to shift my energies away from home – the physical difference allowed me to see with more clarity what was happening with me and just be.  We followed our desires, allowed the  moments to happen, we didn’t plan much – even going so far as to book hotels on the fly as we traveled through Colorado.

I came back from our travels much more open and a couple of weeks later I really felt that sense of oppression lift.  Being able to find clarity sometimes requires us to step away physically in order to bring the mind back to the present – like a spiritual slap in the face.

I love to read and a few books showed up during this time you may enjoy experiencing as well.

The first is a short book of quotes, readings and stories, only 188 pages divided into 8 sections.  A good “flip to a page and get inspiration” kind of book I have found myself referring to it daily since it showed up in my life.  “The Wisdom of Zen” from One World of Wisdom is a great addition to your reading list.

The second is a book from Thich Nhat Hanh called “The Miracle of Mindfulness”  It’s focus is on the practice of meditation and truly focusing on where you are.  140 pages of wisdom, direction and ideas for focusing on your daily moments.

Wherever you are, be there right now.

 

 

How do you Define Living Dangerously?

 Take a moment and consider what feels most dangerous to you: is it physical, spiritual, intellectual or emotional in nature?

Conventional wisdom would suggest all kinds of radical options.  As I have asked this question in workshops and discussions I have heard a few!   Things like:

skydiving

motorcycle racing

speaking in public

falling in love

climbing a mountain

swimming with sharks

parenting (that got a good giggle)

 

There were a ton of other physical risks that have come up in response to this question.  And yes, these things are risky…but if you notice, most people head right for the physical risks with the exception of falling in love.

These are easy answers – pick something with the potential to inflict bodily harm and we can all agree that it is dangerous.   Right?

Yes.

There is another way to think about it though and that is what I want to focus on.

The Art of Living Dangerously creates the path to you skydiving, moto title winning or swimming with sharks. This path fires your emotional, intellectual and spiritual body – more than your physical.   What if we think about living dangerously in these terms:

  • Being afraid and doing it anyway
  • Knowing there is more and going for it
  • Trying new things – taking the leap
  • Seeing new perspectives
  • Experiencing instead of Existing
  • Living by your values
  • Never settling
  • Transcending expectations
  • Having faith in limitless possibilities

Imagine you lived in opposition to any of those thoughts…let’s take “Having faith in limitless possibilities” first.  What would it mean if you have faith in limitless possibilities?  Consider an area of your life you feel stuck or trapped in, it could be anything from a relationship, a job, a volunteer commitment or a belief.

For example when I was wanting to become a life coach, I was very locked into the idea that I couldn’t leave my 6 figure job and the obligations it had created or my life would fall apart.  There were a lot of trapped and stuck attachments there:

  1. I had accumulated debt directly correlated to the amount of money I had: cars, houses, lines of credit, etc.
  2. I did enjoy my job and did well at it. I loved the people I worked with and generally enjoyed seeing them.  Yet I didn’t feel inspired by my job, I didn’t see how my role was really serving others in the way I wanted to.
  3. I had an idea of what people expected me to be and I was fearful of disappointing them.
  4. My family had become accustomed to my salary, my schedule and my life the way it impacted them; and I couldn’t let them be affected by my desires – they needed to always take first priority.

When my life coach suggested that it was possible for me to create the life I wanted if I dedicated myself to figuring out what it was, I resisted at first.  I was so focused on the narrow range of options I had decided were available that it was a good year of coaching with her before I was able to really open up to all of the things that could be if I allowed them into my life.

I had to do a few things to move past my self-created opposition to possibilities:

  1. I had to decide what an ideal day for me would look like.
  2. Sorting out what was important and what wasn’t to me then taking action to get free of what wasn’t.
  3. Realign my time to support what I wanted instead of what I felt like I “should be” doing.
  4. Starting to create that Ideal by pulling elements from it into the life I was living then.

On a daily basis I would ask myself “is this getting me closer or farther away from the life I truly want?” as I encountered challenges and opportunities.

I learned that not everything is worth the fight.

Over the next few weeks I will be tackling each of those Living Dangerously ideas as I prepare for my 2016 Art of Living Dangerously Creation Experience here in Cedar Rapids Iowa on September 9th and 10th.  You can take a look at the agenda here and then grab early bird registration before August 15th.

I hope you’ll stay tuned to this blog and follow the steps to both the idea of living dangerously and the way I overcame my opposition to it!

Jennifer Murphy is a coach, teacher, mentor and leader at No Limits Life where she partners with the closet creatives, aspiring adventurers, and repressed rebels to move beyond expected success to create the kind of fulfilling life they crave.  To learn more about Jennifer and her team visit www.nolimitslife.guru

The Interview by Don Marlette

What would the conversation consist of if the you you want to be interviewed the you were were or are right now?

I am a HUGE advocate for making choices and never looking back.  Much like driving down the road, the minute we start to look into the past, we often start to drive in circles and eventually crash.  My motto has become that of the 19th-century monk, Boniface Wimmer:  “Forward, forward.  Always forward!”

 I also believe that where you are now is always at the perfect time.  Every choice, decision and consequence we experience in life create a blend of experiences and attitudes, with their share of challenges to make us perfectly suitable to life at the present moment.  Even the work we feel an inner pull to follow in later life only makes sense with the bumps and bruises of our earlier self.

 With all that said, I am going to look back at my younger self, and pose some questions – complete with their answers from the less-experienced me.  What would it be like for me to coach my younger self?

 My history is rather involved, so here is a quick description to get you up to speed.  I became Catholic in high school, went off to college seminary then joined a monastery for four years.  I was sent to complete my Master’s degree, and then I left monastic life just before ordination.  After leaving the monastery, I chose to work as a full-time parish worship and music director.  At the time of this interview, I’m doing very well.  I’m well-known as a musician and composer, making a high salary, and I’m quite successful.

 May this interview be a teachable moment for me…and for you.

–Start Interview–

New Self:  Are you happy?

 Old Self:  Honestly, no way.  I dread coming into work each day.  This work has become an albatross on my back for years, stemming from when I started doing it.  You know, I really didn’t want to do this work to begin with, even though I’m becoming well-known for being good at it!  I just needed a job when I left the monastery, and this seemed like a good fit for what I could do.

I’ve felt nothing but frustration, even anger.  I don’t fit.  I don’t feel supported.  Everyone loves what I’m doing, but I hate it.  I get migraines before every rehearsal, and I rejoice on  the days when I’m sick and can’t come to work!  Quite frankly, I feel very disillusioned in all this, and I want out in the worst way.  The problem is that I feel trapped.  I don’t know what else I could possibly do. So I guess I’ll just keep plugging away, put up with the personalities and politics, and look forward to finally retiring.

 New:  It sounds like things aren’t what everyone thinks they are.  Truthfully, I can feel the frustration in your voice, the choices of your words, and even your hunched body posture.  You honestly don’t seem happy, so it’s good that you can be honest about that.

 You also sound like you’ve condemned yourself to this work out of a sense of entrapment.  You say there isn’t another way out of this.  That you are going to just put up with everything until you retire.  But from my end, I think when you retire, you are going to be one bitter old man!  You’re already there, in case you haven’t noticed.  You do know you’re going to die one day?  Is this how you want to be then?

 Old:  No way!  I’ve thought about that a couple of times.  I know that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I’m going to just get worse and worse, and I’m going to end up at my deathbed, wishing I had done something different.

 New:  Like what?

 Old:  I have no idea!  I just want to do something that gives me joy, that makes me happy, that helps me to spread that happiness to everyone else.  I guess I could entertain people, but that’s a hard life.  And it’s too late for me to go back for another degree and start over, though.  I’m married with two children already, so I can’t make time to do all that.  I can’t afford it.  That’s why I feel so trapped.

 New:  What do you like to do, though?

 Old:  I like to entertain people, like I said.  Of course, I also like to talk with people one on one.  I always liked doing that.  I guess I could say that I really like to help people.  That’s all I do here at the parish office: help the staff people with their own problems and stresses.  I usually know what’s on the mind and heart before they say anything, so it’s easier for me to get to the bottom of things.  They like it, and I feel so much more alive – really alive! – afterwards.  But, like I said, I can’t get another degree so I could do that for a living. 

New:  I noticed how you perked up just now.  Did you?  What’s holding you back from doing it – from helping people for a living?

 Old:  I told you already!  I don’t have the time or money to get another degree.  That’s why I’m still doing this job.  I can do it, and it pulls in the money.  True, I never see my family since I work seven days a week – even on vacation!  But that’s the sacrifice I have to make.  I don’t like it, but it’s all I can do.

 New:  Do you really believe that you can’t break out of this?  I don’t think it’s true.  You’ve got some talents you haven’t owned yet, like….

 Old:  Just stop there.  Those “talents” you’re talking about are wrong around here anyway.  No one will ever accept them.  It’s fine to entertain people with, but that’s it.  It doesn’t feed a family.  I can’t do that.

New:  So you’re just going to stay stuck…by choice?

Old:  I just don’t see any other way.  I’m stuck.  Period.

–End Interview–

 I would love to end this interview on a positive note, but it doesn’t.  I chose at the time to remain stuck, to refuse to think outside the box, to live a life of real misery.

 Living my dreams was not an option.  All that changed later, after a lot more suffering, anxiety and intense frustration.  I waited.

What about you?

Don Marlette is, among many other things, a member of the No Limits Life team.  His unique blend of psychic insight, mediumship and practical wisdom guide spiritual practitioners and everyday people through the perils of everyday getting by to build lives that feel like they are singing their heartsong.  Learn more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru