Semi-retirement and following passions

I went down to the lake this morning with a cup of coffee. It waswp-1473004970418.jpg a beautiful clear morning – birds singing, fish jumping – and it was nice for about 10 minutes. Then the humidity started creating a sheen of moisture on me, so I went back inside. It gave me enough time to decide to write a blog post.

If you’ve been reading here, you know that I recently quit my job. I decided that I would call myself “semi-retired” rather than “unemployed”. After all, I am of an age when many retire, and I do have that 401k, although if I tried to just live off of that, it wouldn’t last long. Anyway, I’m not unemployed. I am picking up some part-time hours doing medical reviews from home.

So, what’s been happening with me since I made the big decision? How does one adjust to not having the boundaries of a 40-hour-week job, after years of arranging the rest of one’s life around that box? It’s mostly mental, I think. (pun intended!)

Day to day life is great. Robert and I continue to find ourselves compatible and happy together, which is such an amazing blessing. I’ve started going to yoga class four times a week, and spend regular quality time with my grandchildren. I love getting to eat at home, preparing simple meals of grains and fresh organic vegetables from the farmer’s market.

Then there is the following of my passion, what I really care about. I am an Ayurvedic Practitioner, and have the intention of introducing those who want better health to a new way of living. (and being paid for it!) There are simple changes in lifestyle that can make a huge difference, that can help with stress, anxiety, digestive and weight issues, insomnia, and overall health management. But I find that I am a bit of a procrastinator, a little stuck. I know that I have something of value to offer, and it is just a matter of finding the clients who want to be committed to making positive changes.

So I decided to get some help to move me in the right direction, and am taking a course with Brian Whetten called Selling by Giving. The premise is that it can “transform the way I relate to my fears and inner doubts, and shift from judging them as problems to seeing that they are reliable course indicators showing me that I am heading in the right direction.”

And I’m not finished being a student. I am studying Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling with New World Ayurveda. I’ve got skills and knowledge about how to make diet and lifestyle changes, but most people are resistant to change. So in this course, I’ll learn how to “help my clients understand what is truly at the root of their obstacles and have the inner transformational skills needed to permanently overcome those blocks.”  I need this for me, first, because I am as resistant to change as anyone I may try to help. Change always has to start with me!

Sounds like a lot when I put it on paper! And it is, but not too much. I’ve found time to paint, to take walks, to have wine with friends. In the midst of all these plans and possibilities, I remember that what matters most is this moment – am I being kind, compassionate, and loving to whomever is around me, and to myself?

Inspiration

I spent five days with an amazing and inspiring group of people.

As part of my studies with New World Ayurveda, I traveled to Portland, Maine to participate in the first of two Clinical Intensives. Since I enrolled in this course about a year ago,I have been learning how to “read” people through looking at them externally, through pulse diagnosis, and in other subtle ways. It was really neat to get together and practice on each other. There’s nothing better than getting together with a group of likeminded people to boost one’s confidence!

Getting to know my co-students, hearing their stories, becoming friends through the intimacy of sharing our stories – that was even better. I was amazed to meet so many who have already walked through their fear and are living their passion, inspiring me that I CAN DO THIS, to stop looking back and keep looking forward.  I made new friends who give of themselves to pursue what they love, caring for family or traveling long distances, and just keep doing what they love. They gave me much to think on.

wp-1460249516517.pngWhat kept coming up, as others practiced on me, is that I still have some issues from the past that aren’t resolved. I have generally thought of myself as stating my mind, not being afraid to say what I think, yet the subtle vibrations in my pulse said otherwise, and as it came up it resonated with me to the point of bringing tears. I realized that I am still finding my voice and learning to speak my truth.  Thus I write here, and paint, and seek  out the company of people who inspire me to go to the next level.

“At some point, if you’re fortunate, you’ll hit a wall of truth and wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. At that point you’ll feel highly motivated to find out what frees you and helps you to be kinder and more loving, less klesha driven and confused. At that point you’ll actually want to be present—present as you go through a door, present as you take a step, present as you wash your hands or wash a dish, present to being triggered, present to simmering, present to the ebb and flow of your emotions and thoughts. Day in and day out, you’ll find that you notice sooner when you’re hooked, and it will be easier to refrain. If you continue to do this, a kind of shedding happens—a shedding of old habits, a shedding of being run around by pleasure and pain, a shedding of being held hostage by worldly concerns.” ~ Pema Chodron

I am inspired to push through the next wall of fear, to not look back, to dream big, to trust my intuition, and to love MORE.

If you want to learn more about ayurveda, New World Ayurveda is offering an introductory course. Check it out!

Embracing Uncertainty

It’s been a year since I started writing here, and life is still, and always will be, uncertain. With each step I take, this becomes more apparent. It has always been that way, but when my approach to life was fear-based, manifested by attempting to be in control of things and other people, I didn’t appreciate it. And I was pretty unhappy.

That first post was about pushing through fear, because at that moment in my life I realized that everything had shifted. I was in a happy place, after having gone through many flaming walls. Since then, I’ve practiced what I preached and continued pushing through. Every time I do, it gets easier.

Not to say that I am all fearless and never doubt! I don’t think that struggle ever goes away! But once you start making decisions based on love and hope, fear becomes much smaller.

I have written posts from my heart struggles, posted pictures, used this forum for a travel diary, and whatever else came to mind. Through this last year, I’ve asked myself what I really want, what is my passion and my purpose? I have meditated regularly and I think it has helped with clarity of mind.

I made the decision, after facing a pretty big wall of fear, to study ayurveda with the goal of becoming an ayurvedic practitioner and eventually being able to quit my day job. I am now wrapping up the end of the first term of three terms, on track to finish the program in June of 2016. Through this time I have dealt with doubt – mostly doubting my abilities to “do this”! The nutrition part is the easiest to assimilate, but the pulse diagnosis and Jyotish astrology are stretching my limits! And then I delve in again, and get excited by the possibilities.

This week, I had another big moment of knowing that I have found my path. These moments come at unexpected times. I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of peace and joy that this is really it. My passion isn’t writing, or painting, or being a case manager, or anything else I have either done for  a living, or dabbled in.  My dharma, or purpose, is to help people be well, and I am being given the knowledge and tools I need to make a difference.

Looking forward to the next year, until June 2016 when I travel to Michigan for the final intensive, I see myself devoting greater amounts of time to study and practicing what I am learning. I have a big trip planned for October when I am finally realizing my dream of going to Maine to see the fall colors. I will watch with wonder as my granddaughter grows from babyhood to young childhood. I want to strengthen my connections with my children as they wander the maze of adulthood. I will dabble with paint, color mandalas, take lots of pictures, and dream, dream, dream!

Much has happened this last year, and I am excited about the year to come. Beyond that is a world of possibilities!

Me by the lake on a very windy day!
Me by the lake on a very windy day!

Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover other’s faults. Be like running water forgenerosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear. – Rumi