A tale of recovery: my path from traumatized to healer

I had lunch a few weeks ago with John, someone I’ve known for about 12 years but haven’t seen much in recent years. He commented that I am a very different person now from when he met me, and that would not be apparent to people who hadn’t known me that long.

When we met in 2004 (I think), I seemed troubled to him, and I was. John said that now, I appear to be happy and “like a fountain” (which I love), and he was curious about that.

Other people have said I’ve changed more than anyone they know. Well, that’s probably because I was starting from a more troubled place than most.

So I’m reviewing my path in search of insights to share. This is for you, John, and I know that some of you are interested in recovery from trauma, and some of you are interested in personal growth, so this is for you too. Continue reading

Reversing diabetes: Phyllis’ return to health. Part 2.

This is Part 2 in a series of posts telling the story of Phyllis and how she reversed Type 2 diabetes. Part 1 is here. If your reading time is limited, here is a summary.

To recap, Phyllis was working stressful 12-hour days with two-hour commutes each way. She wasn’t eating right. Her doctor told her she had a choice: be hospitalized or see an endocrinologist. She learned her A1C level was 10.2, putting her at high risk for serious complications…

Peace, Quiet, and Nature

Phyllis realized she had to do something differently. She knew she had to get away from food being such a comfort to offset the stress she was under.

She faced the stress first by giving a month’s notice and stepping away from her stressful job and commute.

She says now she was so sick back then, she couldn’t even think. Her body felt bad. Besides the diabetes, she had blood pressure issues, a heart murmur, and thyroid issues (Hashimoto’s, another autoimmune disease). Her memory declined. Continue reading

This blogger’s life…

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a catch-up post about what is going on in this blogging woman’s life. Rather than blogging about some topic, I thought I’d share a slice of my life. Meet the blogger, if you haven’t already.

Massage school, test, license. You probably know that in my pursuit of health and happiness, I enrolled in massage school last summer. Well, I finished my internship on February 10 and completed the paperwork and fee-paying the following week to get my transcript. Then I holed up with books to study for the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

I took the test on Feb. 25. It was very hard. I got to a place where I knew I’d done the best I could. There were maybe a dozen questions out of 160 that I was clueless on and quite a few more that required my best guesstimate.

I turned it in after 2 hours and 10 minutes (20 minutes short of the maximum time), and 5 minutes later learned I’d passed.

Whew and yay! I’ve been a good test-taker in the past, and it had been many years since I took a test of that sort, the GRE for grad school. It’s good to know I still got that mojo, and I sure don’t want to do that again. Immediately after getting the results, my mind began to let go of all that information. Damn, my brain was full! It’s still there in my unconscious mind, accessible when I need it.

I’ve applied for a Texas state license, and it will take a few weeks to get it. Then I become Mary Ann Reynolds, LMT. (If I wish, I can add NCTMB to that.)

I’m continuing to practice massage in my Spartan trailer. Have now done 168. It’s said that it takes 200 massages to really get your hands minimally educated in the art of massage. I’m counting toward that milestone, and then I won’t be keeping track any more.

Going back to work. Meanwhile, my savings are running very low. I’m going to do some contract technical writing for a few months to replenish my coffers and bankroll starting a full-time private bodywork/changework practice. I’ve been looking for a short-term contract job since January and am currently being considered for eight such jobs in the Austin area. It’s been slow hearing back, but finally, I’m online to start a short-term editing contract, possibly followed by a technical writing contract. Thank you, Universe.

I’ve really enjoyed this time of not having to go to work! Of learning and practicing massage being my work. I’m looking forward to the time when that’s all I do. When I asked myself the question of what kind of work would I love to do even if I didn’t get paid, healing touch came to mind. Of course, I will get paid for it, which makes it even juicier!

So even though I am going to back to technical writing for a few months, it’s temporary.

And while I am working as a technical writer, I’ll still be doing a few massages each week during evenings and weekends to keep in practice and segue into my right livelihood.

Getting sick. So… the stress of studying for and taking the test, being broke, and the slow job search took a toll. Add to that some emotional difficulties, and I got sick last week. It’s been up and down — not really ill, but not feeling like my usual buoyant, energetic, resilient self consistently. It’s been part emotional, part energetic, part physical, like a mild stomach virus coupled with a sea change in my life. Times of not being able to get warm enough, of belly aches and no appetite (I’ve lost a few pounds), of needing extra rest, taking naps, going to bed early — mixed with life as usual, running errands, spending the day with my daughter when she had surgery, going to dance.

This past Monday, I went to South Austin Community Acupuncture — my first time there — after a week of illness, to receive sliding scale treatment on short notice. (My regular acupuncturist whom I see every couple of months, Patrice, is rarely able to get me in quickly. They take walk-ins at SACA.)

It was awesome! After the intake and interview, I was led to a room with 9 sheet-covered recliners, dim lighting, and very low soothing music playing. The acupuncturist read my pulses and looked at my tongue. I rolled my pants up to my knees and pulled my shirt up a little. He put some needles in my legs and feet, also at my waistline and key points on my head. Then I just laid back and let the needles do their work.

After about 45 minutes, I felt great. My energy felt healthy and balanced again. The acupuncturist took the needles out, and I felt better than I had in days. That lasted for several days.

Emotional distress. It’s painful but here’s my best shot at being quick, accurate, and kind about my experience: I dated someone for a couple of months. I really, really liked him, and he did some things that shocked me. We broke up (he really scared me), and we tried to be friends (he scared me again).

I put our friendship on hold because I need friends whom I trust, who treat me well, who disclose what needs to be disclosed in a gentle, kind, and trustworthy manner.

I desire to move toward loving relationships with healthy, grown-up men and women. I desire to feel valued and emotionally/physically safe with those who surround me.

I have compassion for what I know of that he’s been through and respect his path toward a healthy life. I know it’s tough. I appreciate how much he did open to up me and all the great qualities he has. I’m grateful for the times we shared that were good. I hope I made a positive difference in his life. I wish him well.

Yesterday I saw a therapist/shaman/friend who worked with me on undoing these emotional disturbances. We did left eye/right eye/cross-hemisphere work using visualizations. We also did some classic NLP. It was  fun, amazing, and effective. We untriggered these disturbing memories. I also decided to learn to stop pointing and use my whole hand as an indicator instead.

This morning I was struggling to awaken, feeling really exhausted. I felt the presence of an angel loving me energetically. A visitation! It was so awesome and so welcome after the difficult emotions of dealing with this. Thank you, angel. Please come back!

Changes to blog. I’m interested in monetizing my work, having started and maintained this blog as a labor of love for free for over two years now and spent many, many, many hours on writing posts.

I’ve decided to join the Internet economy. I added a Donation button after seeing one on some other WP blogs. Why not? If something I share is worth something to you and you’d like to show that monetarily, it’s one way of reciprocating.

I also love your likes and comments and subscriptions!

Using my superpowers for good

You know that very famous quote from Marianne Williamson about how it’s not our darkness that we fear, it’s our light?

Well, here it is again:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

She is so brilliant.

For most of my life I’ve been afraid of my light. I’ve played small.

See, the thing is, I stayed in a job too long and picked up on the belief of others that good jobs are really hard to come by, that it was safer to stay where I was– until basically, something happened that brought me to a fork in the road, and I took the road less traveled. I quit a decent, stable, secure job seventeen months short of retiring and being able collect a pension.

My gut told me I needed to do something else.

A couple of months later, I decided to seek a contract job. I didn’t know how long it would take for my house to sell. I spent a day updating my resume, and the next day I responded to one ad, and before the day had ended, the recruiter who placed that ad called me about interviewing for the job.

So I interviewed and got the job. (And got a contract on my house right after that!)

Proof that if you have skills and a track record, you can find another job “even in this economy.” It just takes one yes.

That job ended at the beginning of June. I’ve been in massage school since the end of June, living on my savings. I was sort of looking for a part-time technical writer job. Part-time jobs in that field do exist, but they are few and far between.

Last week I decided to get serious: I updated my resume and made sure that each place it was posted had the same version with the same objective: part-time technical writing work.

The next morning I got a call from a recruiter about a part-time job at a very prestigious technology company.

Holy manifesting, Batman, I am powerful beyond measure. When I put a message out there, stuff happens.

I interviewed with a local team that was screening the job candidates. This team would be training me. The hiring manager was in San Jose and would do phone interviews with the top candidates submitted by the local team.

I made the cut.

Then I began to have doubts. I could not put my finger on why. It’s a good company and a good job, from all I know. But when I thought about actually doing the work, something inside me balked.

I bailed on the phone interview 10 minutes before it was to start. I’ve never done that before. I couldn’t give a coherent reason why, either. My body just gave me a very clear “no” signal. I didn’t want this job, and it seemed insane to go through with the interview knowing that.

The other parts of me besides this gut decision-maker weren’t entirely behind my action, either, and it took the rest of the day to integrate what I had done.

Part wondered if I was throwing my technical writing career away. Thirteen years. It’s been very good to me. I’ve found niches that I enjoy and am good at (that have to do with teaching people how to do things), but it just doesn’t feel satisfying to me any more.

Part said, “Maybe you need to work with a different kind of technology, such as medical technology.”

Part said, “It’s too hard to switch back into deep left-brain work while going to massage school three days a week.”

Part said, “Whew, even if you could have telecommuted from home after the initial training, you would still have had to drive 20-plus urban miles each way twice a week for the first few weeks to get trained. That is stressful. Good decision.”

Part said, “You are exactly on track, receiving training to do work that you love. You made loving your work your primary criteria. You cannot make exceptions and do work that you don’t love.”

Part said, “You are in-between, finding your way. Much is unknown, but you know it’s a path with heart. Trust it. Jobs may come that get you closer to where you want to be. It’s all an adventure anyway! Enjoy it and have fun.”

Part said, “Okay, now you know you can manifest. You have super powers. You must use them for good. Get centered and clear about your intentions. Allowing yourself to exist peacefully in the space of not knowing is the real challenge here. Your basic needs are met. You needn’t fear. You would be wise to meditate every day.”

And part said, “Your brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous self is unfolding! Enjoy the blossoming!”

Oh, yes, and the recruiter placed the other candidate she submitted who also made the cut. She said she appreciated my honesty, and it wasn’t a big deal. (I felt terrible about behaving like this, so those were welcome words.) The company got someone who really wanted the job, and I got…a new path.

Several hours later, all my parts had caught up with the decision-maker, and my own little private, personal drama became boring and a thing of the past. Next!

Massage, brainwaves, NLP, work, yoga, women in prison, Gurdjieffian book group, trailer, and more

Life is going pretty well. Knock wood, right?

I’m doing well in massage school. Got in some great practice on three people outside of school this past Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s practical exam. I have a major written test next week and then a week off. It’s hard to believe that I’m about halfway through!

Tomorrow it will be three months since I finished brainwave optimization. I am glad I did it. I feel more centered, my memory is better, and so is my focus. It’s been worth the expense, and I can still go back for individual sessions if I feel the need. It’s been helpful with juggling school/trailer/moving/remodeling/working and so on.

I’m looking forward to doing some gamma wave enhancement when my trainer Gigi Turner at NeuroBeginnings is ready and I have time.

Also, I can have a drink now! You are warned not to drink alcohol during the training and for three months afterward. Kinda makes me wonder what alcohol actually does to the brain. Any drinking I do will be very light — my alcohol tolerance is low.

I did an NLP session with a friend today and picked up a freelance writing/editing job for her website! This is my second recent website writing job. I love doing this for people who have created and are running their small businesses that make the world a better, healthier place, people who are living their passions. I’m looking for more work like that.

I posted my technical writing resume on Monster.com a couple of weeks ago. I’m looking to work 20 hours a week at most, flex-time and telecommuting preferred. Meanwhile, I’m open to doing freelance writing and editing, as well as more yoga and NLP coaching.

I’d love to teach yoga out of my trailer to individuals or small groups (up to 4 max). I’m putting this out there so if you know anyone in South Austin who’d like a small class with more personal attention, you can refer them to me.

I’m considering teaching a donation-only class on Saturday mornings until the weather gets cold. I plan to check out Searight Park in my neighborhood as a possible location. I have Sun Salutations on my mind!

I’ve been attending a weekly class in Anusara yoga at Castle Hill taught by Brigitte Edery or Liz Belile, both great teachers who stimulate and challenge the mind and body. It’s a natural segue from my Iyengar-based training. Love the attention to awareness.

Next week I’m going with Keith Fail into the state prison in Lockhart to teach some basic NLP to women in prison, as part of Truth Be Told‘s Exploring Creativity program. We’ll teach triple description — first, second, and third position, like first, second, and third person in English class, only applying it to your real life. Perceptual flexibility is a fabulous skill to teach, and I’m looking forward to it.

I’m participating in a book group, reading Life in the Labyrinth, by E.J. Gold. This is my first foray into the Gurdjieffian lineage, not counting my longtime interest in the Enneagram. The group has been meeting for a while, and I’m honored to have been invited. We take turns reading aloud, covering a chapter a week, and enjoying some stimulating discussion.

I’ve signed up for a one-day workshop at Lauterstein-Conway later this month on cranio-sacral massage. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I received CST every month for 2-3 years from Nina Davis. It is a fascinating branch on the massage family tree.

Week after next, I’m trading two hours of Swedish massage, with all the extras, for a two-hour lomi lomi (Hawaiian style) massage with James Moore. Really looking forward to that! I haven’t had a lomi lomi massage yet but have read about the Hawaiian healers who have kept this art alive.

Last, the trailer. I’m working on finding the best weatherstripping for the aluminum jalousie windows — something that will last that I can buy in bulk for the 48 windows, which have had the old, melted weatherstripping painstakingly removed.

Then, I hope to replace the nonworking sliding glass doors at the entry with something that works and build an entry deck. I’ve been using the back door to come and go.

Oh, and I must share this! August 2011 was the hottest month in the hottest year on record in Austin. It was also my first full month of having AC in the trailer. Friends have been telling me about their outrageous electric bills — as much as $400.

My AC ran nearly all day every day in August. I worried about my bill being outrageous.

The August bill was $100. Whew! Jon Esquivel at Austin Star Services did a good job getting a good unit in this trailer. For that I am grateful.

Other tasks coming up include plumbing and wiring my shed for a washer and dryer, getting some good window coverings and installing them, and planting more trees and a fall garden with some edible landscaping.

I am really, really loving my life now and the direction it’s going. It’s scary to make a big change in direction like I did, and it is working out well. Knock wood!

Looking for a reason to quit your job?

Found this article — 10 More Reasons You Need to Quit Your Job Right Now! — in, you guessed it, Elephant Journal, and have been reading and clicking all the links. Very amusing, fresh, and insightful, James Altucher!

He busts the mortgage excuse, the I’ve-got-to-send-my-kids-to-college myth, and asks you to consider your boss, your coworkers, the actual work, the economy, fear, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life?, and the loss of creativity from sticking to a job you don’t really, really love for too long.

Everybody does what they need to do. I’m just sayin’, sometimes it’s time to leave. The life you save may be your own.

Excerpts from some of the links in the article follow. This one is about why owning your own home might not be so great:

Let’s spell out very clearly why the myth of homeownership became religion in the United States. It’s because corporations didn’t want their employees to have many job choices. So they encouraged them to own homes. So they can’t move away and get new jobs.

On how to be lucky:

All you need to do, minimally, is exercise enough to break a sweat for 10 minutes. So about 20-30 minutes worth of exercise a day. This is not to get “ripped” or “shredded”. But just to be healthy. You can’t be happy if you aren’t healthy. Also, spending this time helps your mind better deal with its daily anxieties. If you can breathe easy when your body is in pain then its easier to breathe during difficult situations.

If someone is a drag on me, I cut them out. If someone lifts me up, I bring them closer. Nobody is sacred here. When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face first. Family, friends, people I love – I always try to be there for them and help. But I don’t get close to anyone bringing me down. This rule can’t be broken. Energy leaks out of you if someone is draining you. And I never owe anyone an explanation. Explaining is draining.

I feel that most people don’t like the word “spiritual”. They think it means “god”. Or “religion”. But it doesn’t.  I don’t know what it means actually. But I feel like I have a spiritual practice when I do one of the following: [pray, meditate, be grateful, forgive, and study].

What to do if you get fired:

Find your “customers.” Treat yourself like a one-man business. Make a list of customers (i.e. places or people you might want to work with). Then come up with a list of 10 ideas for each customer/place you might want to work. Ideas that can make them money. This way you keep your idea muscle intact.  Don’t let your idea muscle atrophy! Pitch your ideas to that customer if you can. If you can’t, move onto the next customer.

Make a list of the people you’ve worked with over the past ten years that you are grateful you worked with. Email them and tell them why you were grateful you worked with them. Ask them sincerely how they are doing.

About being an entrepreneur:

 For me, being an “entrepreneur” doesn’t mean starting the next “Facebook”. Or even starting any business at all. It means finding the challenges you have in your life, and determining creative ways to overcome those challenges.

If you are offering a service, call it a product. Oracle did it. They claimed they had a database. But if you “bought” their database they would send in a team of consultants to help you “install” the database to fit your needs. In other words, for the first several years of their existence, they claimed to have a product but they really were a consulting company. Don’t forget this story. Products are valued higher than services.

Don’t listen to the doom and gloomers that are hogging the TV screen trying to tell you the world is over. They just want you to be scared so they can scoop up all the money.

A reader asks about self-actualizing

I received an email from a reader who found my blog inspirational and shared her story about the pull of coming alive. I in turn feel very inspired and want to share publicly
and answer some questions she poses, because if she is wondering, others are too. (I replied personally as well.)

This is the path of self-actualization. It’s the same thing as coming alive.

Dear MaryAnn,

About a year and a half ago, I felt like I was coming alive at last. I had been laid off from corporate America, had my mornings free to be physically active, and my afternoons free to write and volunteer. I spent a summer/fall in Chile to volunteer at a non-profit, where the highlight of my time was to befriend children at a school and teach them a lesson about the “red alimentaria”… the food web… in Spanish!  I then taught kids outdoor environmental education, and then spent the summer doing labwork in Alaska (I trained as a biochemist).  But after being away from my “field” for so long, fear kicked in, and I started worrying about income source, a “career”, and so on… and as you probably already know, feeding the wolf of fear leads one down paths that don’t contribute to feeling alive!
So, thank you for your inspirational blog, which reminded me that YES, I am OK to NOT want to stay in a new job (albeit it pays $65K/year) if selling life science research projects does not make me come alive!  And NO, I’m not “wrong” to feel this way. And YES, I AM grateful for all that I have, but at the same time, I don’t need to continue doing something that I think is draining me of life versus filling me with life.
My question that I hope you can provide some insight into is, what helped you determine what type of new work and income source you could pursue that is both life-inspiring and supports your needs?  I noticed the image of the trailer… when I taught kids for 5 months in Redding, CA, I learned that a trailer costs $8000, which would pay for itself in a year vs the $750/mo I am now spending in rent in the SF Bay Area.  Did you find a solution to reducing living expenses so that you were free to pursue work and activities that truly fulfilled you?

Thank you again for your inspiring words, and may you continue to live courageously! : )
-B
PS  Btw, I’m 33 soon to be 34 in June, no debt, some savings, and a bit on the conservative side…. though that is all relative b/c none of my friends have taken career breaks to travel and live/work non-career jobs like I did this past almost 2 yrs. But at the same time, I have not picked up and relocated to a new city jobless the way some folks whom I’ve met in my travels have.  Thanks again!  I’m thinking about training to be an environmental science teacher…. or a Breema practitioner (I actually only just learned about Breema but it sounds great!).

Well, I feel flattered and honored to hear from such an amazing person who received some inspiration from my blog. I have no doubt that B is on the path of really coming alive!

The path of self-actualization isn’t for everyone. Most people find it easier and much more comfortable to take that “path of least resistance” and stick with the corporate job, the 8-5, the insurance and benefits, the known.

There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what is right for you right now. It’s just that throughout history, some people have listened within to an urge to seek more life out of their life — to see the world, to pioneer something, to take a risk, to call their time their own, to be of service, to express themselves, to be their own boss, to listen to their body, to get to know themselves at a deeper level.

B’s first question asks what helped me determine the type of new work and income source I could pursue that is life-inspiring and can support my needs.

My answer is that I’m still figuring that out, but my new criteria for work is no longer just a paycheck, benefits, the potential for advancement. I want to do the kind of work that is so aligned with who I am and what I love doing that I would do it even if I didn’t get paid (and actually getting paid and making a decent living is icing on the cake).

I want to spend my time doing what I want to do, not what someone else wants me to do. I want to follow my interests, fascinations, and passions. Or else why did God give them to me???

That seems to pretty much translate into becoming self-employed and to practicing some kind of profession. It’s starting to take shape and will combine several of my interests and allow me to pursue others. What I can tell you now is that it involves me working with others on improving their well-being, and getting results.

I should also mention that having my hand analyzed by Richard Unger of the International Institute of Hand Analysis helped me open my mind years ago to the possibility of living my life differently. Darn, I forgot to tell B that.

B, hope you’re reading this. He’s based in San Francisco. Go see him.

Also, I paid attention to my dreams and discussed them with friends.

Notice what you love doing. Notice what you are attracted to. Notice what fascinates you. What do you do now that makes you happy? What are you passionate about? Love, attraction, fascination, happiness, passion — these are about emotion, energy, direction, feeling alive, satisfaction, fulfillment. 

That’s where to start. And then if you like, start thinking about how you can combine what you love in a unique way.

B’s second question is whether I found a solution to reduced living expenses so I could be free to pursue work and activities that truly fulfill me.

Yes, I did find a solution based on my situation. I sold my home of 10 years in February. I loved it, but it was too much for me to keep up with, and the mortgage obligation had become an albatross. I wanted to free up some capital to pursue a big improvement in work and lifestyle even though I didn’t know what shape it would take. 

Maybe it was the fantasy of hitting the open road and exploring this beautiful country that first got me interested in trailers. I discovered Spartan trailers and discovered a rare Carousel for sale. I hoped it would still be for sale when I closed on my house. It was, and I bought it. It felt like the Universe really wanted me to have it!

It is big enough to live in year-round, like a one-bedroom apartment that you can move, and trailer park leases run month-to-month. I began freeing myself of stuff, and without planning to, I quit my “permanent” job when my gut told me it was the only course to take. I took a contract job doing the same kind of work for 3 months, and I can do that again if I need to.

I found a nice trailer park and will soon have it moved here. Then I’ll update it and move in. My monthly housing and utility costs will be one-third of what they were. That makes a difference — I can pursue the training I want, and I can do some work from my new home.

I know that I am very, very lucky to be able to do this. At the same time, I bought my house in 2000 with an eye to charm, location, and appreciation, so in a way, I created this option before I knew my life would take this turn.

Not everyone has a house to sell. I think reducing one’s living expenses is about being creative and knowing yourself, which are other aspects of coming alive. Usually housing is one’s biggest expense. You can rent a room in a house, share a house or apartment with roommates, couch surf, house-sit, buy a trailer, take work that includes room and board. You always have more resources than you think you do. If you feel stuck, seek a resourceful friend or a coach. Like you did, B, by emailing me!

Work is the area of life that can create the most happiness. See my recent post about right livelihood. We spend more waking time working than anything else, and work can have a sense of purpose and meaning to it.

Imagine what work/lifestyle is ideal for you. Dream big. Put no conditions on it. Then look at how you can get there incrementally. It’s a direction, not a destination. At each fork in the road, ask yourself, “Which is the happier choice? Which will take me closer to living the life I’m meant to live?” 

Good luck, B, and all you self-actualizers out there. I’d love to hear from you.

I’m ending this post with a quote from the Dalai Lama that helps put everything in perspective:

The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, “Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Right livelihood = happiness

Here’s a quote from Tricycle‘s Daily Dharma, which I thought was especially appropriate for those (including myself) who are going through major changes in regard to livelihood:

Happiness is primarily a matter of work that is fulfilling. There are many other factors, of course—a nice marriage or relationship, economic security, intellectual and artistic stimulation, and so on—but if the job is unsatisfactory, nothing else can really compensate.

The source is Robert Aitken, in Conceptions of Happiness. Click the link to read other Buddhist writers’ conceptions of happiness.

The message is crystal clear. Doing work you love is the most important ingredient in living a happy life.

It is never too late to remake your life.

It is never too late to be happy.

Job interview. Insights. Shared dreams.

Today I am feeling grateful for the job interview I had yesterday. I interviewed for a three-month contract job at a big technology company yesterday.

The feedback I got from the placement agency connection afterward was that (1) I was the last person they talked to (always a good thing when interviewing because you’re fresh in their memory when they are making the hiring decision) and (2) they really liked me and my writing sample, concluding that I was capable of doing the work and would be a pleasure to work with. Apparently others they interviewed had the skills but not the attitude.

I hope to be offered this job.

My strategy during the interview was to understand their point of view and how I can do what they need to have done. I grasped it well: a custom software provider didn’t provide them with a user manual, and they needed this manual three months ago. This happens more often than it should, but that creates nice lucrative short-term job opportunities for technical writers like me.

So I step in, document what they’ve been able to figure out so far, and working with this big company’s IT department and the software developers in California, figure out and write procedures for how to do everything else.

This is how a Maximizer thinks:

  • I suggested that the user manual I write could be desirable to the software provider, and that they use that in future negotiations with the software provider.
  • This software provider might consider hiring me to work remotely and produce user manuals for their custom software solutions.
  • I might get a gig at this big technology company teaching lunchtime or after-work yoga. It’s a lot more fun than technical writing!

Will let you know what I hear!

~~~

I am grateful for insights, those little snippets of emerging knowledge that help me evolve. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my future work, refining my ideas about what I’ll do and the training I need.

Last night two alliterative words came to mind about the work I want to do with people. Blockages and beliefs.

You know the beautiful energy that infants, toddlers, and young children have, so open-hearted, present, playful, engaged, and full of life? We lose that — in essence, life teaches us that it’s not okay to be like that. We make painful trade-offs and then suppress the memories. These unconscious beliefs and blockages keep us in bondage, keep us from REALizing that our true nature is full of light, just like those beaming babies

I would like to help people recover that beautiful life-affirming energy in two ways: by learning the bodywork skills to help people release their blockages (because blockages are in the bodymind and often more accessible via the body) and working with people at the belief level to let go of beliefs that keep them in darkness and help them open up to life itself.

These two words, blockages and beliefs, are helping me identify the training I need to do the bodymindheartspirit work I want to do.

I’m thanking my bodymindheartspirit for letting those two words bubble up into my conscious mind.

~~~

I’m grateful for shared dreams. Yesterday I was introduced by a mutual friend to someone on Facebook who shares my interest in vintage trailers. I have ogled them online for months now. My new friend goes to the same websites I do and ogles the same trailers, plus ones I hadn’t considered!

A couple of days ago, I did an NLP session with a new friend, again someone I met on Facebook and looked forward to meeting in person. We had a nice long session over tea, with my cat curling up with each of us in turn.

From my perspective, we hit it off well. The rapport was good. I like this person and am learning a lot from working with him. I believe that I am helping him refine his thinking and hone his positive energy for moving in a whole new direction career-wise.

Here’s to two new friendships! Salud!

Having options is the antidote to anxiety, two offers on my house, three work possibilities

Monday night I didn’t sleep well. My mind was restless with anxiety about selling my house (the fat lady only sings when you actually close), finances, transitioning to new work, the uncertainties of the future.

I discovered that coming up with options is a great antidote to anxiety, and I am full of gratitude for making that connection. The antidote to anxiety is having options. I realized I could seek contract work (and indeed felt some urgency about doing so), and I also realized I could get a roommate (or two) in this nice old East Austin house while it’s on the market.

Today, Thursday, I am grateful that I have two offers on my house. Both of them are in the ballpark of what I’m asking. I feel good that one of them will come through.

I’ve had to come down twice on my asking price. It’s a buyer’s market, and buyers are skittish about interest rates and the economy.

My net will be less than I expected, and I don’t want to deplete my savings. I fear being broke, and the antidote is…having options.

So…Tuesday and Wednesday I spent time updating my resume and getting it to recruiters. It’s been six years since I’ve looked for work as a technical writer. A lot has changed. Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, Twitter: the social media didn’t exist. Some software has gone away — PageMaker, anyone? I felt like I could benefit from a crash course in writing a resume for today’s job market.

I needn’t have worried.

It was gratifying to hear this morning from a recruiter that I come across as a solid writer, and that she has three good possibilities for me, working three or six month contracts at three well-known technology companies as a technical writer.

I think contracting is the way to go for me, to have a good income and be able to take the training I want in between contracts!

I continue to draw people and myself toward more well-being as I transition to offering this joyful service full time, earning more than enough to live on.