A day in the life of a ‘professional hyphenate’ : writer-speaker-interfaith minister-social worker-reiki master-volunteer- clown often leaves me feeling as if I am burning the candle at both ends, to such an extent that there is no more wax left. I imagine that anyone reading this can relate. Add to that my roles as single mom of 23 old son and you get the picture in vivid living color.
Recovering Type A personality, I joke that I am ‘functionally manic’. My friend Amy has described me as someone who “runs around with your hair on fire.”
What is it that drives me to such a point that slowing down feels like standing still? A desire to succeed, a compulsion to do rather than simply BE, a need to be center stage, a wanting to be necessary or even indispensable? What is my fear? When I examine it through my social worker’s lens, I see that if I don’t keep moving, I will stagnate….no, that’s not really it. More like ‘who am I if not all of these things I do and roles I play?’ Just an average, ordinary person making it day by day through a life that sometimes feels like equal parts pleasure and challenge.
A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as “a shift in perception.” I like that, because it implies that we have a choice, moment to moment, to see all of the experiences and people in our lives as opportunities for growth and blessing. When I shift my perception from what I expressed in the previous paragraph and see those things as simply mental constructs; monkey-mind chatter, to what is true, that regardless of what I may accomplish in any given day, I know that I am still worthy, still a Divine creation, as is everyone else. Then there is no need to scurry about. I can be in flow, in alignment, rather than in opposition to life and whatever events may occur in any given day. I can enjoy the pace of my creativity, rather than efforting through it, checking items off one by one as validation that I am a success. Several bonuses arise from that recognition. I notice that I am more at peace within myself and more inclined to interact lovingly with people. I can tell when I am on the verge of burn out when I experience ‘compassion fatigue’. I tell my co-workers that it feels as if my compassion meter is a quart low and I need a re-fill.
Opportunities arise to create from my heart’s desires when I am not blocking the flow with all of these ‘have to’s’. Rather, I look at my life and the tasks it takes to manage it as ‘get to’s’, like “Oh goody, I get to pay bills because that means that creditors trust me with their services and I have the wherewithal to satisfy my commitments.”
I invite you to slow the pace of your daily dance to a gliding waltz rather than a reggae beat for a bit, just to get a feel for what it is like. Some ideas that
re-charge my batteries include yoga, meditation, writing, listening to relaxing music, reading, receiving TLC, which sometimes includes massage or energy work, walking in nature, hugging a tree, hanging out with my favorite people or four-leggeds, napping and on occasion, indulging in small amounts of my drug of choice: chocolate. Nurture the man or woman in the mirror and reap the rewards in unlimited quantities.