In the midst of a global pandemic, with uncertainty and anxiety raging, is it ridiculous and privileged to wonder what it takes to create work and a life you love? Or is that the most vital question we can ask right now?
I would argue the latter.
In times of crisis, we’re called to step into a new way of being in the world. Our priorities shift. We’re asked to take a stand for who we are and what really matters to us.
COVID as a catalyst.
Maybe you know someone who up and sold their house and moved to a new state. Or you have a friend suddenly going through a divorce or changing jobs; we’re all making different choices because of the pandemic – some big, some small.
Some changes feel forced upon us, others we initiate ourselves.
There’s no more mucking around, wasting your precious time in a life that feels too small or outdated for you.
Feeling overwhelmed as you strive towards goals that feel hollow may not be worth it anymore.
The toll it’s taking on you is even more heightened during times like these. If you’re anything like me, you take care of everyone else while ignoring your own needs so much that you collapse.
This is no longer acceptable or even doable. Things are falling apart.
Yes, people need you. Your boss, your family, the world. That has always been the case and will continue to be the case.
But we cannot live in a way that exhausts us or feels out of alignment any longer. We must each take a ruthless inventory of our lives and make choices that are more loyal to our needs, hopes and dreams.
Because everything feels so stark and heavy right now, it’s even more important that we do this.
When things fall apart, it’s painful yet empowering.
If you take the time to step back and tune into your deeper needs and longings, you can be intentional about how you put the pieces back together.
This is the work we are all being called to do at this time; To intentionally put our pieces back together to create a life that feels more true and loving.
We can whine. We can moan. We can complain. (I’ve done my fair share, sometimes it’s cathartic, mostly it’s unhelpful.)
We can be resentful, annoyed and judgmental (I do this several times a day on auto-pilot, just ask my husband.)
Or, we can be intentional. When we get off track and catch ourselves complaining or judging, we can steer our ship back on course by asking deeper questions like;
“What needs to fall away right now to make space for something better? What would it mean for us to really love? How can I nourish myself even more during this time so I have the energy to show up for the people who matter to me? What do I need to say ‘no’ to right now to protect myself and my energy?”
When I talk about creating work and a life you love, some people feel like it isn’t possible with all your competing demands. I understand, I feel that way myself sometimes. And yet, it’s exactly because of all the pressure many women feel to be all things to all people that we must cultivate a new way of being in the world.
We must take a stand for ourselves; our needs, our dreams and our true potential.
Cultivating a new way of being starts with asking questions.
“What old ways of being are no longer serving me and what would I like to cultivate instead?”
In her book When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd writes; “One way we coax the life of the new self is by living the questions that inhabit our dark night, by dwelling creatively with the unresolved inside us.”
Then she shares this quote by poet Rainer Maria Rilke;
“I beg you…to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
We’re trained to answer questions, to be certain. To know. Living with questions can be painful because we want things fixed, figured out, nailed down.
And yet life is a mystery filled with uncertainty.
We’re always being called to grow and transform, and this requires living in the unknown for a period as we shed the old, false self and come into a new, more true self.
Sue goes on to say; “There’s an art to living your questions. You peel them. You listen to them. You let them spawn new questions. You hold the unknowing inside. You linger with it instead of rushing into half-baked answers….You see, it’s the patient act of dwelling in the darkness of a question that eventually unravels the answer.”
We’re all in the dark tunnel of transformation right now, both individually and collectively. You get to choose what questions you ask, which will determine the path you take as you emerge from this tunnel.
What question do you want to live into right now?
The question I most want to live into right now is; “How can I take really good care of myself while fulfilling my greatest potential and showing up in love and compassion for those I care about the most?
I had a call with a venture capitalist last week who had this question written on his whiteboard;
“What would love have me do today?”
This is a powerful question to live into every day to stay aligned with what really matters.
The questions you ask determine the life you live.
So, what will it take for you to create work and a life you love? What do you most need right now? What question gets to the heart of everything for you?
Maybe your question is;
“How can I dance with change?”
“How can I feel closer to my partner/friends?”
“How can I feel safe and financially stable enough to change careers?”
“How can I step into the unknown with greater ease?”
“What do I need right now?”
We’d love to hear the question you most want to live into right now – please leave a comment and share it with us BELOW. It’s a joy to hear other people’s questions, and it will open new questions for each of us.
May you find the question whose answer you’ve been longing to live,
P.S. In case you missed it, we’re offering full and partial scholarships for a limited number of applicants to our upcoming Create Work You Love Program.