Two years ago today I left my executive job and jumped with both feet into sweet freedom. I took a few months off to play in my flower garden and go to Italy and a Mediterranean cruise with my husband. And then calls started coming in for work, from coaching to speaking. “This is great”, I thought. In mid-December 2013, everything dried up for about two months. “I was a legend in my own mind,” thought I. And then it snowballed and I haven’t looked back. My website is beautiful, but it hasn’t been launched yet, because yours truly hasn’t written enough content for it. My former procrastinating ENFP self has returned with a vengeance. My former messy self also has blossomed once more, and my filing system tends to exist on my office floor.
I started seeing a personal trainer in August 2013. He’s helped me to lose 15 pounds and grow muscles I didn’t know I had. Sometimes they protest whenever I do anything approaching a squat. I feel great, even though wine is still my favourite libation.
My flower garden is my favourite earthly joy (a saying from 11th Century Wales). I get to play in it daily during the spring and summer, which is great given how short the season is here in the Canadian Prairies. Below is a picture of one of my garden containers beside a wonderful peace pole – part of the world peace project. (Thank you, Susan Siegmund, for introducing me to them.)
If I don’t have a deadline, I can choose to go out with friends or declutter (not sure why I love doing that, but I do) or hang out with my retired, zen husband. Each year, we choose a faraway place to visit. This year, it’s London, England, where I will be taking a course with Brené Brown, who wrote Daring Greatly, and whom I admire greatly :)
I’m taking a coaching supervision course with UK expert Edna Murdoch along with some peers in the U.S. I’m trying to write a book, and the words aren’t flowing, which baffled me at first. And then I read Hemingway’s quote, “Writing is easy. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed.” That’s about it, alright. But I am persisting…
In December 2014, we helped our 22-year-old autistic son to move into his own apartment. It was wrenching because he cried for six weeks. (His mom cried every time she left him.) We had an opportunity to move him into an apartment building that has many residents with intellectual disabilities. He has a social worker drop in on him once a week and the building supervisor is marvelous. Our 24-year-old son just started his first permanent job this spring and lives with a friend in an apartment. So the boys are launched, even though we help the younger one frequently.
I took a mindfulness course here at home and then went on a meditation retreat in May for five days with a friend who was kind enough to share a treasured experience with me. She is a follower of Russell Delman, who teaches mind-body-spirit work (meditation, higher consciousness, Feldenkrais movements). I loved it, even though some of the longer meditation ‘sits’ had me squirming. I now actually can meditate, and I have learned how to incorporate stillness into my life, including in traffic. My favourite way of being present remains gardening, where I am entranced by whatever is in front of me.
When my father had to have 25 radiation treatments in January, I flew to Montreal to take him to some of them and just hang out with him. I cry more and allow myself the luxury of emotion. I’m not in a boardroom anymore, so I can let ‘er rip. All those years of trying to be a repressed, together executive have vanished. Now I can just be me. Creative, chaotic and emotional. I finally quit fighting my authentic self. Aaaaah.
I’m learning how to say no to work that doesn’t feed my soul. At first, it was hard to decline any opportunities, because I didn’t know if more would come along. But the pipeline is steadily filling.
There are so many small joys in having the freedom earned from leaving the daily grind of going into an office.
I love my new life and feel intensely grateful. Now excuse me, I am off to the couch to play Scrabble with my husband and play with a purring cat.