For the last week, I have been participating in Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project 7-day at-home retreat (if you haven’t already joined the Open Heart Project, what a wonderful day to do so!). Each day, there have been practices, prompts, and contemplations. Today’s – the final one – was to bring the notion of starting fresh to each moment of the day.
Naturally, 1/1/2013 seems a perfect day to start fresh. Just breaking out the new calendar allows us wipe the proverbial slate clean, to begin again.
Beginning again this year has special significance for me. I was laid off from my job as of the last day of 2012 and now have the opportunity (and challenge) to determine what I really want to be when I grow up. Having taken that left turn at Albuquerque several years ago that led me deeper into medical writing beefed up my resume for sure, but also let some of my deeper passions whither – helping people, nutrition, cooking, and teaching.
Given the time I so longed for to contemplate my new direction, now I must ask myself some very difficult questions:
How do I want to feel about my career?
What unique talents do I have to share?
Can these things support me financially?
Even though I have relished the chance to take on this challenge, I’m scared – of failure, of mediocrity, of making the wrong decisions, of doing something marginal, self-indulgent, or unimportant. Some days I’m full of ideas of how I could cobble together a life replete with work that would benefit others as well as myself; other days I mentally curl into a ball and can’t consider the uncertainty that awaits me.
I nearly got a different full-time position that most certainly could have been considered “perfect” for me. However seductive it was to ride this roller coaster, it would have been someone else’s, and essentially I would have failed (or at least delayed the chance) to risk creating my own path where there is currently only wilderness.
As I contemplate starting fresh in this moment and onward, I am acutely aware of how much support I receive from my meditation practice. With each breath I remember my own basic goodness; a willingness to lean into the discomfort of uncertainty, impermanence, and groundlessness; compassion for all sentient beings; and a desire to be of benefit.