Friday, February 22, 2013

Trying a new path

This week’s “heart advice” from Pema Chodron is particularly applicable for my week (funny how that always seems to happen!)

The three difficulties (or the three difficult practices) are:
   1.    to recognize your neurosis as neurosis,
   2.    then not to do the habitual thing, but
      to do something different to interrupt
      the neurotic habit, and
   3.    to make this practice a way of life.

This week I decided to make a major change in my life. I resigned from my job where I have been for the last 8 years. It was not a decision I arrived at lighty, as I have a very “perk” filled job - a lot of flexibility, great colleagues. But I wasn’t feeling challenged enough.  I needed more. If I stayed, it would be settling. And we all know Wonder Woman is not a settler!  So I found a position that offers more challenge and professional development opportunities. If you read between the lines, I left so I could have more work & a greater degree of difficulty - yikes!  

After resigning, a wave of anxiety took over. Fear of change. What if I made the wrong decision? What if I’m not yet strong enough to handle the stresses that come with the new job?  Am I a fool for leaving a safe place for the unknown?  There it is again: Uncertainty. And how do I respond: Anxiety.

Receiving Pema’s weekly advice email helped me to turn the situation around - rather than focusing on the fear side of uncertainty (which I always do & is a well trodden path for me to follow), I am practicing focusing on the strength it took to resign, the character it took to know I needed more, and the challenge ahead that will open up new doors and new possibilities.  

Every time the anxiety comes into my thoughts (just about every other minute), I simply think “anxiety, anxiety” and then let it go. Because it isn’t reality, it’s just the trodden path.

Another situation that triggered reoccuring anxiety came up with The Soccer Player. He is very “available”. He texts, he calls, he freaks me out!  I am drawn to emotionally unavailable, relationship adverse guys who present the challenge of proving my worthiness (i.e. repeating my “story line”).  So when someone is just “there”, I get uncomfortable. Rather than writing him off, I decided to acknowledge the anxiety of this unknown area and lean into the discomfort to see what happens when you choose a different path. I already knows what happens when you pursue the path of the unavailable guy (see the preceding 12 months of blog posts!).  I don’t know what happens when you lean into the discomfort and experience something new. I had a brief taste of it with The Runner when he was Superman for the first month we were together (until he revealed himself to be emotionally unavailable...good thing I recognized the unavailable nature as soon as it started peeping out and knew it was time to move on...but that’s history now).  End result: rather than pulling away from The Soccer Player (here’s the collective disbelief “wait, a good looking, British, ex-professional soccer player? What is she thinking??) -- I’ll see how this plays out (here’s the collective sign of relief)

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