50. To Do, To Do: What Do I Do

I’ve been processing a lot and have a lot to capture so I am going to use the patented w2k format to try to keep me from rambling all over the place.

 

LIFE

I’ve been completely geeking out over my chickens. Good animal husbandry is no easy undertaking, and chickens are a practice in non-attachment. I lost one chicken right off the bat to the neighbor’s dog, then lost my favorite chicken to illness. She literally wasted away while I tried in vain to nurse her to health and spent $90 on vet bills and antibiotics. Plenty of people have pointed out that for $90 I could buy a lot of eggs. It’s the experience not the eggs. The chickens have been incredibly grounding and fun for me through this otherwise stressful period in my life. They are my little muse, daily reminding me how I want to create my life. A slow, simple life truly connected and in rhythm with nature. I am devouring books on chickens,  and devoting huge blocks of free time to improving my coop and the general environment as I learn what chickens need. It is pretty damn cute that Frances comes running over whenever she sees me, with the other girls—the omelet sisters—trailing behind her and all talking. Of course, they equate me with scratch, but hell, I’m charmed anyway. Tonight I went down to their coop and called, and in a few minutes I see them running across the field. I have a cat and chickens that come when I call.

 

HOME

My landlords came up from the city the weekend before last and we had a huge work day with five of us cleaning and pruning for summer. The place looks beautiful. I went to the annual plant sale at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and purchased all kinds of heirloom vegetables for my garden, which is nearly complete. Watering it and tending it as a center of my life—instead of something I don’t really have time for but try to squeeze in—feels so nurturing and healthy. I have this vision of creating a life where my work and life complement one another, (yes, a familiar theme), and I can truly picture how it could work. Internally, I waiver between the voice that says I’m an idealistic, unrealistic romantic, and the voice that says I’m talented and smart and can make anything work that I envision and want. I’m talking about bucking convention and believing in the power of my convictions—creating something that there isn’t a ready model for. That’s the bigger challenge than trying to make a living as a writer. I love that I haven’t even begun writing about “work” and already I’m answering my own questions.

 

SOUL

And I LOVE that I changed my name back to Nolker and Nolker it is going to stay. It makes me happy every time someone calls me “Nolker.” It just feels right.

 

 

BODY

This category goes hand-in-hand with soul. I’ve brought exercise from the fringes of my life to the center. I’m walking, without feeling guilty or stressed about the time it takes—and loving it. I’m practicing yoga. I’m moving! I allow each day to unfold with it’s own rhythm. I establish achievable priorities and expectations for any given day so that I can enjoy exercising, gardening, cooking, reading. I’m even sitting down and reading  in the middle of the day when the impulse strikes.

 

My horrendous experience with the pill that I shared in an earlier email was my wake up call that exercise and my health have to be a priority—no excuses. There is nothing more important.

 

I was invited by my former yoga teacher to attend a workshop a few weekends ago that I would like to propose leading all of you through during a retreat here sometime. It was yoga for your enneagram type and was incredibly enlightening. Especially during this transition in my life when I looking for meaning and insight to understand the past three years and make appropriate choices for the future.

 

After three intense, manic years of putting everything in my life on hold either because of money or time, I am finally paying attention to the things I’ve neglected. It had been almost three years since I had been to either a doctor or a dentist and my car was 10,000 miles overdue for its service.

 

RELATIONSHIP

I’m going through a rough patch with Jordan right now that I recognize is attributable to the stressful space each of us is going through individually. Open to outcome and not attached. This is my motto for everything and I am bringing it to this as well. I have no agenda, so where does the impulse come from that makes me want a definitive answer? I finally expressed my frustrations to Jordan so that dynamics that don’t work for me won’t forge into habits I am forced to live with or leave. I’ve come to recognize that the flight response is hard wired as part of my personality and I appreciate Jordan’s pragmatic, grounded response to our difficulties. No drama: I need that. On paper Jordan pencils out perfect in so many ways, and the places where our personality styles create friction, he sees as just that, and talks about tweaking and refinements while I am off in my head preparing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Like the chickens, I sense that learning to live with Jordan is good for me; that the universe sent me exactly what I need.

 

 

FINANCIAL

My tenants gave me notice, so with luck I will have my house on the market mid-June. I am so excited—on so many levels—for this chapter in my life to finally close. The stress and burden of carrying so much debt is an experience I don’t wish to repeat any time soon. I’m thankful for the lesson and grateful that I have a way out.

 

I filled a box with $1 coins and put it in my Feng Shui “money corner.” They’re a symbol to remind me that if I believe I can change my financial fortune with this new chapter, then I will.

 

 

WORK

People keep asking me what I do; and what am I going to do. All I feel myself wanting to answer is that I have chickens and a garden. Before I even describe my current decision matrix to you, I should take note of that.

 

I found another team to handle a site design and build for a former client who asked me to continue managing their project. I searched for awhile, discouraged, and then found this team. In that enthusiastic way of mine, I believed I had lucked out and found the holy grail. Within a couple of weeks, I was sobbing at my stupidity—my pathological blind spot that leads me to jump in without looking every time. Everything happens for a reason, and in this case the exercise has helped me identify what I don’t want to do and why. I got the chance to recognize that it’s not the team, but the work itself. I’m smart, I’m organized and I have a low tolerance for mediocrity. I don’t want to manage people or projects. I’m burnt out on all the urgent phone calls and emails and people looking to me to tell them what to do when they should be responsible for themselves.

 

I am increasingly excited about building a life around writing. After I sell my house, my needs and my monthly nut will be a fraction of my present bills—which  somehow I have been managing to meet month-to-month with little or no income. That change alone presents an opportunity. I am leaving this experience with a hot portfolio and a lot of business confidence.

 

Today, I went to lunch on a recruitment interview. When I emailed the CEO of one of our strategic partners to let her know that we were dissolving BFD, she called immediately and asked if she could take me to lunch. I went to the meeting certain I wasn’t interested, but willing to be open to outcome and not attached. It’s flattering to be recruited, (a new experience), and I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in entertaining a conversation. I had lunch with the new Executive VP of Sales and Marketing. We totally hit it off and I liked everything she said about the changes she had already installed and the vision of where she wanted to take the company. I liked her energy, was impressed with her experience and found myself seriously entertaining the idea. They don’t have a particular role in mind, just know that they want me and would let my identity be my role. Having been recently burned, I knew to curb my enthusiasm and go slowly. I’m sure the money would be great, but I realized I’m not motivated by money. What hooked me, and what got me with the other group, was the perceived opportunity to learn and grow under someone talented and experienced. Serendipity. As I was writing this check-in, my former contact from the company’s sales team called. I knew he was increasingly unhappy and right before he went on vacation I helped him craft his resume as a personal favor. The woman I had lunch with let him go, and knowing that we were acquaintances, offered a very compelling and reasoned explanation. I hadn’t spoken with my friend and when he called he didn’t know that I had been asked to lunch. I asked him if he felt relief at being free and he volunteered an interesting story and perspective. I can’t help but feel like the Universe is looking out for me. I’m thrilled for the confidence boost, but buyer beware. So I don’t need your help after all. Writing this has confirmed the answer for me. Pursue my dream and believe in it. As my Dad would say: don’t go swimming with one foot on the dock. If you’re going to go for it, go for it.