This afternoon as I was lying on the massage table of my friend Ruth Anne Wood, surrendering to her healing touch, while immersing in soothing music, I mentioned to her an ongoing issue I was having around career and financial matters. Ruth, who is also a kick-ass coach, and I have known each other for several decades, so she is familiar with the dynamics of my life. She has witnessed the roller coaster ride of emotions and experiences that have shaped the one writing these words. My pattern has been to hold many overlapping jobs, creating multiple streams of income. Not necessarily a bad thing, since I have various skillsets which I can apply to flill my bank account and keep creditors happy. The challenge has been that in order to allow the stream to continue flowing, I have had to keep paddling, with very little time to float. I have worked full time and part time/consulting jobs simultaneously. Over the years, I have been employed as an artists’ model, waitress, substance abuse prevention educator, crisis hotline worker, addictions counselor, organ donor educator, clown, massage and Reiki practitioner, support group facilitator, publisher, greeting card text writer for a major card company, lifeguard/coach/swim instructor, ice cream scooper, sex educator, workshop facilitator, PR person, radio host, practice patient for med students at a local teaching hospital, life coach, interfaith minister, book and magazine editor, author and journalist. My resume is at least three pages long and growing, since I keep adding to my repertoire. Since I have so many marketable skills, it seems a shame to let any of them go to waste.
Here’s the rub. I find myself in roller coaster ride mode. There was a time when I had consistent income when working in a highly stressful job as a social worker in an acute care psychiatric hospital for a dozen years and then for a year and three months when employed as a web content writer for a company that owns rehabs. Unfortunately, budget cuts necessitated layoffs. Since then, I have been patchworking together various writing, speaking and counseling gigs.
When exploring this with Ruth, she told me about an idea she had for a screenplay that involved a homeless woman who purchases all sorts of beautiful items, but has no place to house them or herself. Within short order, she finds a home, in part because she did the prep work by accruing things to put in it. Kind of like the concept, “I’ll see it when I believe it.” And so she did.
Ruth expressed that it would be the same thing for me. She suggested that I consider what ‘items,’ talents, gifts, trinkets, treasures and abilities I was collecting for my ‘home,’ and the ways in which I would decorate it so that it would be comfortable for me and welcoming for others who stepped across the threshold. She said that things needed to be well placed and not cluttered. I laughed as I told her about someone I had met when living in South Florida from 1990-1992. Her name was Pat Worth and she was an interior designer, with short cropped white hair and vibrantly hued flowing clothing; a colorful work of art herself. Pat specialized in helping people combine the contents of households as they shared space together. She used the onomatopoetic Yiddish word, ‘ungapatchka’ (oon-ga-paht-chka) which translates to cluttered and chaotic, messy and disorganized. There was a time when my life felt like that. When I was juggling a full time job and those overlapping part time jobs, I sometimes forgot appointments or double booked phone or Skype meetings. I call myself ‘professionally polyamorous, since I truly love all of the things I do to earn a living.
Ruth asked me which of them are my most favorite as she encouraged what every coach I have ever worked with suggested that I do…focus, focus, focus. I flinch when they say that, since it feels like asking which child someone loves best. Fortunately I have one son, so I don’t need to choose. I then brought to mind an image of a house with many rooms that represent my predominant skills of writing and speaking and the focal topic of relationships. Seems to me that everything in our lives connects with that; whether it is the one with ourselves, our families, friends, co-workers, animals, God, nature, our jobs and our health. I am gradually ‘placing’ these beloved objects where they would do the most good. My literal house is eclectically decorated, so the house of my inner world can be as well.
I much prefer it when my life and income are steady and stable and abundantly flowing. I know for certain that I am always well cared for. As sure as the sun is streaming through my half dome windows, the overhead fan is whirring, the chocolate brown carpet is beneath comfy dark brown sofa and loveseat and the angels, Buddhas, faeries, Goddess items, Tibetan prayer flags, drums, Native American artistry, books, and wall hangings grace the edifice that shelters my body, so too do the brilliantly shining ideas illuminate my mind.
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