In my last blog I wrote that this is happy although it’s not a constant walk in the park. My coach gave me a picture that I like even better. She suggested that I am at a stage in my life right now where new spaces have opened up, I have entered a new room, and I don’t really know yet how everything works around here. It’s a very good picture because I am going through what feels like extreme mood shifts at the moment, which is the not knowing my way around here part. Sometimes I strike gold, and everything just works, sometimes … not so much.
After I wrote that last blog post, I felt so full of life and energy, that everything seemed to be humming. I recognized this feeling, it doesn’t feel like I am merely being euphoric, it feels like I am in the center of my being, like I am the most me I can be. Yet at this point, I am still not used to being so fully me. There’s still this part that doubts it, and that is basically just waiting for something to show up that it can interpret as proof that this isn’t real. Of course, when you’re waiting for something like that, it’ll show up. And then it’s easy to fall back into other old habits, like criticizing yourself, analyzing everything you’ve done „wrong“, how you could have prevented this, yadah yadah yadah …
This morning, when I was sitting with this question of when things had shifted yesterday, what caused it, what I should have done, and how I could get back to the top again today, it suddenly occurred to me that what I was doing was kind of like putting a kid in a corner for doing something wrong, and telling it that it has to make things right in order to be allowed out of that corner. Now I don’t have any kids but somehow I don’t believe that this parenting style actually works. So if I believe that, why on earth would I think this could work on me or anyone?!
Then I remembered what I do believe in: that the answer to getting out from under something is to get the right perspective on it. I returned to Irka’s analogy of me having entered a new room. And I remembered how I had answered her that I felt like I was taking my first steps on this planet, even though I know that technically I’m 34.
And there it was, the answer: when you learn how to walk as a kid, you don’t do it by analyzing what you do wrong when you fall. You learn how to walk by walking, and stubbornly insisting on doing so no matter how many times you fall. In fact, I feel like we should be celebrating our stumbling and falling to the ground a lot more. It means we’re walking, instead of sitting in a corner, too afraid to even try because we might not get it right the first time.
Here’s to walking and stumbling, to allowing ourselves to enjoy the highs of when we get it right, and to cheering ourselves on when we fall.
When I look around, I see plenty of people who are proof that it’s not only possible to combine love and success. I see that it is exactly the pursuit of their passion that is being rewarded. I am not talking about celebrities, I believe those are another story. I am talking about pioneers of happiness. I am talking about a woman building tiny houses and Hobbit Holes and renting them out via airbnb. I am talking about a family who turned their suburban backyard into an urban homestead where they sell their harvest, host classes and concerts. I am talking about opening our minds and creating our own sources of income instead of trying to pick from the menu of available jobs, and trying to fit in.
Don’t get me wrong: If you are happy with where you are, and that happens to be a career „off the menu“, then I am not saying that is wrong or less worthy! Remember, I am all about happiness these days. If your life makes you happy, you’re already where you need to be. It takes all kinds of people. It is those of us who cannot find our happiness in the available selection that need to start understanding that the fact that we will never be able to find it there does not mean there isn’t any happiness for us in the world. OK, I am obviously talking about myself here but I believe I am not the only one.
Here’s what I think: if you’re like me and your kind of happiness just doesn’t seem to be on the menu, the key to finding it is looking at what you feel is missing in the world. Stop waiting for someone else to fill in those blanks. That’s what you came for! I believe that we carry the blueprint for the place where we fit in within us. Why would we feel like there are things missing in this world if not to take on the task of filling in those missing pieces?
That was one of my biggest misunderstandings ever since I left the beaten path (school, university) and tried to find my place in the world: I kept trying to fit in, trying to find a work place where I’d be happy. I was always trying to be that person that I thought was needed. I either couldn’t make that work or if I did, it left me exhausted. I was at times deeply unhappy because I felt like I didn’t recognize myself in the world. I stayed at work places that didn’t feel right because I couldn’t see myself being happy anywhere else, either. I thought I was too picky, unwilling and/or unable to adjust. Until the thought occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t here to have someone else assign me a spot. Maybe I should create my own space.
This idea both fills me with relief and it terrifies me. I do not come from a line of entrepreneurs, I am used to doing as I am told. While that may have worked in school and at university, I find that it does not work anywhere else. At the end of the day, you eat the proverbial elephant one bite at a time. I believe that the way to start is by following happiness to see where it leads us. Since what makes us happy is highly personal and individual, that means entering uncharted territory. There may not even be a destination that is defined from the beginning of our exploration. However, there are those who are doing it already. Whenever we lose faith in our mission, we can turn to those pioneers of happiness. Not to do as they do but to get the encouragement and inspiration we need to for our own journey.