Upheaval part 2

This is a short blog post to say I probably won’t have a longer blog post this week. It’s moving week, which means a lot of last-minute packing, unpacking, arranging, and settling. Also lack of time to do other things, and no internet for a day or so. I’ll be back next week with a longer post, probably about our new place. Meanwhile, thanks for checking in.

Upheaval

As I write this, I’m preparing for a move to a new apartment. At the exact moment I’m writing this, I don’t know where that apartment will be.

It’s been a summer of changes and upheaval for me and my husband. I can’t speak for him, but for me, it’s been difficult and, at times, rather scary. We determined at the beginning of summer that we would have to move, and gave our landlord two months’ notice. But finding an apartment has proven more difficult than we’d expected. Staying here isn’t an option, because the landlord found a new tenant almost immediately, so we have to go somewhere. Right at this moment, though, we don’t know where.

This is a situation that in the not-so-distant past would have had me in full-blown panic mode. And, to be honest, I have had times of fear and panic. I am human, and no matter how much work I’ve done on myself or how much I trust the Universe to help me find the right place, I still feel scared sometimes.

Part of the story I tell myself is that I need to know what’s going to happen. Where I’m going to be. Who else is involved. All of those things. Although I can be flexible to some extent, I haven’t been particularly good at going with the flow, or at taking a leap of faith and seeing where it leads. That isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sometimes you need to take those leaps.

I’m reasonably sure that I’ve missed out on quite a bit in my life because of not being willing to take chances unless I have a pretty good idea of what will happen. That includes missing out on building River Flow Healing and A Story You Tell Yourself into amazing things that reach a lot of people. Reaching out and connecting with potential clients or with other practitioners requires a huge leap of faith, and it’s one I haven’t really taken.

If my husband had talked to me before giving notice to the landlord, we wouldn’t have given notice. I would have told him that we couldn’t do that without having another apartment lined up, and we would have ended up staying here. Not that this is a bad apartment, but there have been some unhappy times here as well as happy ones, and we don’t always get along well with our landlord and her family, who lives upstairs. It really is time for us to find someplace fresh, where we can start the next part of our lives.

I’ll admit I’ve felt pretty angry with my husband for giving notice on this apartment without talking to me. I still think he was wrong for not discussing it with me first, but what it’s shown me is that sometimes you really do have to take a leap and just trust that you’ll land in the best place for you.

Drawing a Blank

I sat here getting ready to write this blog post and realized I had no idea what to say.

And that’s okay.

I spend a lot of time feeling like I have to know everything that’s going to happen. I have to plan out what I’m going to post on my blog or write in the novel I’m working on. I have to know what my commute will be like, and the weather, and what I’ll be doing that day at work.

Except I don’t really need to know any of that. Except maybe the weather, because if it’s going to rain, it would be good to have an umbrella. And if it’s going to snow, I might have to freak out a little bit, because it’s July. Even in New England, it doesn’t usually snow in July.

So this time, instead of getting anxious and worried because I didn’t know what to type for this blog post, I just started typing about not knowing what I was going to type. Because even if it seems silly, or I feel like I’m just blathering, there is a point to this. And the point is that I don’t actually need to know. Some of my best writing–and, admittedly, worst–has occurred when I just put my fingers on the keyboard and see what comes out.

There are some things in life that it’s probably a good idea to plan in advance. At least have a guideline for. But you don’t have to do that with everything. Some things work out just fine even if you start without knowing where you’re going to end.

Like blog posts.

The Best-Laid Plans…

Sometimes no matter how carefully you plan something, it doesn’t work out that way. I’ve had a few examples of that in the past week.

On Saturday, I was planning to go to an event I’d been looking forward to. That morning, I decided it was time to rearrange a few things, partly so I could put a couple of pieces of furniture up for sale. The rearranging led to more rearranging, and then to cleaning, and then to packing up some books…and the next thing I knew, four hours had passed, the event had already started (and was an hour away, so I had no chance of getting there even to show up late), and I’d missed the opportunity.

One of the reasons for rearranging was that my husband and I had planned to move out of our current apartment but had then realized we would probably be better off staying put. Saturday morning, my husband contacted the landlord to let them know this. A few hours later, he heard back that they had already found a new tenant. We have no choice but to move.

Not so long ago, either of those would have sent me into anxiety mode. The two of them combined would probably have led to me having a full-blown panic attack. But I’ve learned a few things since then.

Sometimes the plans we have in mind aren’t the plans that are meant for us. They aren’t what our heart wants, or what the universe wants us to have. We might *think* they are, but that’s because we’re used to trying to control everything that happens in our lives, and we want to be the ones making the decisions.

We aren’t always right, though. In my case, rearranging and cleaning led to me being able to list one of the pieces of furniture I wanted to sell, and to me finding a couple of books and some papers I’d thought were gone. It also led to a lot less dust and a far less cluttered living room. It’s going to get cluttered again, this time with boxes, but at least right now there isn’t much clutter. And there’s a bit less to pack.

Moving… Until last fall, I wanted to move. We’d talked about it, and had planned to move out of here once my younger child left for college. The upstairs neighbors are often loud, the street outside is busy, and the acoustics here are weird so that sometimes it sounds like someone else is in the apartment when no one is. We had ended up staying because apartment hunting isn’t fun, and because we were still paying the same rent as when we moved here several years ago. And I had moved things around a bit so I wasn’t sitting where I can hear the neighbors most of the time, and wasn’t seeing cars and people going past the window.

But we’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my adult life, and part of me feels restless. This place has been a good home for us, and we’ve had happy times here as a family. But we’ve also had conflict and negative times, and maybe it’s time to leave that energy behind. We can make happy times in a new place, in the new chapter of our lives where the younger child isn’t with us most of the time because of school and seeing other family members, and the older child has moved out entirely and is now a stepparent. Maybe the rent being raised, which is what led to us initially deciding to move this time, and finding out the landlord has someone lined up to take the place, is the universe’s way of telling us it’s time to stir things up.

So I don’t mind having missed Saturday’s event. There will be others. And I don’t mind having to move. The packing and apartment hunting will be a bloody nuisance, especially since we only have a month, but in the long run it’s going to be an adventure that will put us someplace we haven’t been before. And maybe that will lead to even better things.

Sometimes the best plan you can have is to not have a plan, and just trust that you’re going to get where you need to be.

“What Do You Want?”

Recently I was talking with my close friend, who often acts as a mentor to me, and the conversation turned to my social life. My social life is an ongoing source of frustration for me, because I’m still building a social circle, and sometimes going to events or getting together with friends is difficult because of transportation issues or scheduling.

I told him I wished I had the social abilities he seems to have. Some days, he’s in contact with probably dozens of people, between face to face interactions, texting, phone calls, and various venues of online messaging. Setting aside the contacts that are related to his business, not his personal life, there are still well over a dozen social interactions in any of his days. I said I’m sometimes hard on myself because I don’t reach out to people, and I don’t take the time to message people online very often.

He said, “Before you worry about messaging, and instead of being hard on yourself, first you need to figure out if that’s really what you want. What do you want?”

Good question. As a holistic mentor, one of my roles in my clients’ lives is to help them figure out what they want, but sometimes I struggle to answer that question for myself. My brain tells me I “should” want to have friends, to keep in touch with people, to act a certain way online and in social situations… but are those things I really want? Or are they just the “shoulds” that people have fed to me in my life?

When you’re sure you want something in your life, but you hold back from going after it or procrastinate, or make excuses about why you aren’t doing it, ask yourself what you want. Because what you *think* you want might not actually be it.

Listen to Yourself

In January 2016, in the wake of David Bowie’s death, I posted the following on Facebook (there was more to it, but this was the most important bit):

“We all need to be unafraid to live our dreams. All of us can at least try. You might not reach your goal, but if you never even try, you’ll never have the chance. Let go of the “can’t” and “shouldn’t” and fear. Start now. Dare to shake the world.”

I hand-copied that in calligraphy and taped it to the wall above my desk. It’s been there ever since.

And yet I haven’t really paid attention to it. I have dreams. River Flow Healing is one of them, though at the time I posted that, River Flow wasn’t even a glimmer of a thought. Singing is another. Continuing to write fiction and having a bigger audience.

I have a lot of dreams, and some of them, if I fulfill them, will shake the world in the sense of making a difference. Having an impact. That’s the main reason behind a lot of the things I do. I want to be out there to help others.

I’m really not helping anyone if I don’t listen to my own advice. Fear and “can’t” and “shouldn’t” have been constant companions for me. And that’s entirely on me. I’ve allowed those things to become my roadblocks, and it really needs to stop.

I might not get as far as I’d like with any of my dreams, but that doesn’t mean being so afraid of failing that I don’t even make the effort.

That post, when I put it on Facebook, started with me quoting the poem “Ode,” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. If you’ve ever seen the 1970s version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, you’re familiar with one line of that poem, quoted by Willy Wonka: “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” The first part of the poem ends with “We are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems.” (As best I can determine, the poem is not copyrighted. If anyone knows differently, please leave a comment.)

Whoever creates is a “mover and shaker of the world” if they aren’t afraid to be so. That’s where I’m falling flat: I’m afraid. It’s time to listen to myself….

Teaching

At Rites of Spring this year, I did a Level 1 Chios(R) Energy Healing workshop, as I mentioned a week or so ago. It was a great experience. I really enjoyed working with the eight students who attended. I felt confident about my teaching, and liked seeing the students understanding the concepts and feeling the energy flow for themselves.

That reminded me of how much I used to love teaching. I was a certified special education teacher years ago. I worked as a teacher, aide, or substitute over the course of about sixteen years, working in every public school grade level at one time or another. I got out of teaching because bureaucracy and paperwork were interfering with the reason I wanted to teach in the first place: working with students. I also moved from Maine to Massachusetts, and couldn’t get my certification transferred without going back to school to get an advanced degree, something I didn’t feel inclined to do.

I tried substitute teaching after I moved, because I didn’t need certification for that, but it was only about a month after I’d had major surgery. I wasn’t physically or mentally recovered enough to deal with a day of teaching, and the experience ended up being so negative I chose not to try again.

That was the last time I really taught anything. I’ve done informal “teaching” in that sometimes I end up educating people I know in person or online about certain things, but that’s been about it until the Chios workshop.

I loved teaching that. I loved seeing the excitement of my students as they learned and practiced the techniques. I’m already planning to offer the workshop again next year, and I can’t wait.

I want to teach more. And I’m planning to. I’m taking private Chios students now (see the Chios page for more info), and I’ll be offering the workshop through some area community ed programs. I’m also putting together an 8-week class using A Story You Tell Yourself, which I’m planning to do through community ed first and then maybe in other venues, including possibly online.

I’ve known since the River Flow part of my journey began that teaching and speaking were meant to be part of my path. I’m really excited to be figuring out how!

Recalculating…

I’ve been in a state of recalculation lately. You know how sometimes when you’re using your GPS and take a wrong turn, it says it’s recalculating? That’s where I’m at.

In my life, I’ve done a lot of things because other people told me I should, or I had to. Even if those things felt counterintuitive to me, I ignored the intuition and listened to the other people. This has often led to things not quite working out for me. I’ve spent inordinate amounts of time doing social media promotions that didn’t work because I half-assed them. Writing books that aren’t fun to read because my heart wasn’t in them. Taking classes out of which I got virtually nothing because they weren’t on subjects I really wanted to learn.

I’ve taken a lot of wrong turns.

But the cool thing about life is that when you take a wrong turn, you aren’t locked into continuing in that direction. You can recalculate and find a different route. If there’s too much construction on a road you’re driving down, you find an alternate way to get where you’re going. The same is true of life. If a route you’re taking to get to a goal doesn’t work for you, you find a way that *does* work.

I’m working on figuring out what works. I’ve already made some changes to this website to reflect some of the new direction. I’m no longer offering guided readings, other than at special events like psychic fairs (and then only if asked), because my heart wasn’t in them and I don’t feel that’s where my best skills lie. I’m good at them, and the readings I’ve done have helped people, but that isn’t part of the route I want to take for River Flow.

I’ve decided against some of the things I was planning to write, both nonfiction and fiction. I’ve reversed my decision about taking one of my pen names out of existence, and am focusing on promoting the few books still available under that name, as well as promoting the books available under my other name.

I’m trying really, really hard to get a grip on time management, which unfortunately is something about which I have a mental block. I want to push that block out of the way so I can stop rushing through things to make sure I get everything on my list completed, and stop spending time doing nonproductive things when I want to be productive.

It’s a work in progress. Life often is. But I’m thankful for the chance to step back from the wrong route and recalculate to find a better one.

Rites of Spring

I’m late with this post because it took me a bit longer than anticipated to get back into the swing of things after returning from the Rites of Spring retreat in western Massachusetts. I was originally planning to post this on Wednesday, but time really got away from me.

The event was awesome, though. Last year when I attended, I felt left out and disconnected right up until the closing ceremony, when all of a sudden–and too late–everything started to click into place. I had a hard time with that, because I wanted to enjoy it and make new friends, and I felt like I hadn’t.

I had, of course. Maybe not the way I’d wanted, but I did make friends from it, and those friends were there to welcome me when I arrived this year. The moment I walked through the gate, I felt like I was home. When I arrived at the dining hall for my shift checking meal bracelets, a job I had last year as well (everyone is given a color-coded bracelet indicating what meals, if any, they’re supposed to have in the dining hall), I felt as if I’d never left.

It was rainy and cold a lot of the time I was there. That made it considerably less pleasant, and it had a negative effect on my mood some of the time. Especially since the retreat is held at a summer camp, so most of the cabins don’t have heat, and neither do some of the shower houses and bathroom outbuildings. But for two days the sun was out and the temperature was up, and that was nice.

I did a Chios Level 1 workshop which had more attendees than I’d anticipated, and most of them seemed to get a lot out of the workshop. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them, and to doing another Level 1 workshop next year.

I came home tired, but happy and rested. I felt refreshed and recharged, and I’m definitely glad I went.

FEAR!

For the past month, I’ve been going through a lot of changes. There are so many things about me that aren’t horrible, but aren’t helpful. Things I would love to change, because changing them would give me a better life.

The biggest one of those is fear. I’m afraid of almost everything. Today I’m leaving for the Rites of Spring Pagan festival in western Massachusetts, and I’m afraid I won’t get to know anyone there. I’m afraid I’ll feel silly like I did last year. I’m afraid my partner, who is also going, will ignore me the entire time.

Irrational fears. Though the fear of feeling silly isn’t so irrational. I actually did feel that way last year, but that was also tied to fear. I was afraid other people would think I was silly or stupid, so I just didn’t do anything. I didn’t participate in the rituals or the singing (I didn’t even know the songs, though everyone else there seemed to), and I didn’t really talk to many people. Which was unfortunate, because they’re nice people and would have accepted me if I’d been willing to be accepted.

I’m learning to let go of those fears a little more every day. Fear keeps you from truly living. You just exist day to day, doing the things you know are safe and won’t cause problems, and you don’t risk anything. But not risking means not trying, and not trying means you’re stuck where you are. Not necessarily the way someone wants to live, but sometimes fear seems stronger than you, and you don’t know how to fight.

I’m learning to fight. And I’m going to Rites of Spring despite the fear, and keeping an open mind (unlike last year, I admit) that it will be better this year, and that I won’t be as afraid.

Which reminds me… since I’ll be at Rites of Spring, there won’t be a blog post on Saturday. Next Wednesday, hopefully I’ll be able to tell you how Rites was!