Thank You Nora
For the past nine years, Nora Livesay has been the technical expert behind my website and this newsletter. Our collaboration has meant the world to me: working together we created something that I love. Working together, we also became friends. Thank you Nora, and best wishes for the future you are well on your way to creating.
Sometimes It Seems
“Sometimes it seems that a plan is a useful illusion until life figures out where you really should be headed.”
—David J. Wolpe
“Sometimes it seems as if one thing has nothing to do with another thing, but it does. The trick is to write it down. Not to figure it out. To write it down one vision at a time.”
—Burghild Nina Holzer
My life is blessed with people who call things to my attention—things like quotations, books, poems, articles, people, websites, blogs, and resources. Some of the things passed along to me are clearly related to my work, while other things are meant for me. All together, it ends up being an eclectic assortment of information and inspiration, a good mix of quirky, heartwarming, humorous, you-need-to-know-this stuff. Things often arrive with the message, “I thought of you when I saw this.” I genuinely appreciate these unexpected gifts which affirm my reach in the world; they are from people who know me and know what I’m about. It’s a delicious way to stay in touch.
The first quote above, by David J. Wolpe, came to me this way. Tom, my sweet friend and husband, brought it to my attention. He had just started reading the book Why Faith Matters and found this quote at the bottom of page one. It reminded him of something I would appreciate, and I do. I’ve been holding it in my awareness for the past few weeks, savoring it this way and that.
Not until I sat down, to begin writing The Front Page for this newsletter, did I realize that one of my favorite quotes, from the book A Walk Between Heaven And Earth by Burghild Nina Holzer, begins with the exact same words—Sometimes it seems. The second quote above is one I’ve effortlessly memorized through repeated use. Now it has a companion quote, and together they suggest an interesting listening-writing prompt: Sometimes it seems….
Without intending it, the prompt spontaneously opens for me. “Sometimes it seems that nothing is happening.” I hear the words clearly in my imagination and know: This is my current ongoing dilemma. But do I really want to go there now? I have work to do.
Truthfully, it’s what I’ve been feeling lately—nothing is happening—but I’m hesitant to admit it. On the surface, things are always happening and I’m always doing things. I make it a point to show up daily in my life. For me this is a given. But am I showing up for the things I’m here to do? And if I pay attention beneath the surface, what is this “nothing is happening”?
I’m aware of a pattern in my life: I make the best of things, and I’m good at it. This pattern shows itself in my natural optimism and my ability to see a situation from multiple perspectives. I can genuinely put a positive spin on anything that doesn’t split a heart in two. This is part of the gift of me, a clear-seeing soul who isn’t afraid to help others look—and see—what was, what is, and what could yet be. But when will I look into the “nothing is happening” within my own heart?
As I sit here in my office, writing these words, I feel the lump of truth rising in my throat and tears pooling. The “nothing is happening” is about the possible loss of my own dream, a dream I cherish and still love.
In the next several months, I’m facing a decision about the future of my own work. It might seem odd that in this economy, with so many unemployed people struggling to find work, a career counselor would be lacking clients. Those of you familiar with my work know that it’s not traditional career counseling.
My approach attracts those with deep longings, individuals who have time and an inclination to explore soulful questions about their life and work. From a spiritual perspective, they explore the essence of who they are, why they are here, and what makes them whole. It is also my passion: helping them to hear and trust their own knowing—to hear their heart speaking its own truth. I do this through clarifying conversations, Discovery Writing groups, and all of my work. I do this with joy and a heart spilling over. To me it’s like breathing, and there is no other work I would rather do. Sadly, from an economic perspective, the work I offer is not considered essential; it is seen by many as discretionary, more of a luxury.
It’s taken me months to admit—I’m at a place in my business where I’m not thriving. I need to stop pretending I have enough work. I’m here at the purple table writing, pursuing my vision, one I have faithfully loved. But I need to be asking myself: Is this still where I belong? Why is so little happening? Can I afford to do this? What will I do differently? And, my favorite question for clients, What would be truly helpful?
It would be helpful to feel your love and support as I grapple with my own uncertain future. A frightened, critical voice within scolds me for daring to reveal my dilemma and my vulnerability. But how can I be less truthful than you are when we work together?
In the spirit of my favorite quotation, I tried to write it down, not to figure it out.
“The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.”
— William Cowper
Sometimes It Seems was written in late July for the August newsletter, but posted months later than planned. I’d like to fill you in on what happened during those months.
My work flow in July and August was discouragingly slow—the slowest ever. In September and October things seemed to improve a bit.
Remember that I asked for your love and support? Well, I received it, even though my request was not online for you to read. I started to hear from clients and students who generously affirmed the work they have done with me. New clients and students began to contact me, acting on referrals they’d been given.
Over the summer, I experimented with offering Writing at The Purple Table. This allowed me to stay in touch and reconnect with more of you. It was a great experience, and I plan to continue these free monthly gatherings into 2012. See the Events Calendar page for details and join us if you’re interested.
I’m also asking for help. It’s not easy, but I’m doing it. If you see ways for me to work smarter or you have an idea for me to consider, I’d love to hear from you. Even if you don’t, I’d love to hear from you!
This fall I renewed my lease. I made the decision to continue the work I love, the work that is mine to do. I want love, not fear, to be the driving energy in my life. I’m clear about that, less clear about how it will all work out.