I have now been back for about seven days and have returned, at least on the surface, to my traditional daily life - running my company, booking clients, building up my future mental health organization, and working on some collaborative projects. It's not been all daily grind. I enjoyed a mini road trip and have gotten to spend time with loved ones, both of which made jumping back into "real" life much more inviting. Still, the abrupt change from my pensive days of writing and just letting life happen, to email, social media, and yearly financial planning can make it difficult to maintain the inner peace and the personal reflections that I discovered in Seattle.
I've taken it on as a personal challenge, this mixing of my selves - the busy business owner who is always on the go (and actually enjoys it) with the me that enjoys reflection and just letting life soak in. I can tell you, it's not easy. But it's also not as hard as I thought it might have been. I think that during those days in Seattle, a change came over me. Somehow, in my realizations, my confidence lifted a bit. It's by no means super high - I'm not sure if it ever will be, though I'd like for it to at least be average one day. But it's a start.
The first step was realizing that I need to focus my life on love and service to others. In doing so, I somehow began to push away the thoughts of the naysayers. I realized the path I need to take, and I have begun to understand that I can listen to those who see things differently and choose which of their goals align with mine, and which might be fine for them, but not for me. This said, I also have found an openness I hadn't experienced before. Certainly I'm a very open person in that I share personal details about my life and condition that others might not. But I also have a lot of walls up. A lot. I'm afraid of rejection, and being wrong, and failure, and a whole lot of similar things, so I tend to hold tight to my ideas and guard them with my life. Yet I'm starting to see that some things - I could even say many things - only sound like rejection or criticism or failure because I'm not open to them. For instance, if someone tells me something that I do that bothers them, or something I could change with my business, I can either see it as a criticism or I can be grateful that they care enough to try to point things out that I might not see yet want to adjust when I do. I can choose to see them as rejecting me or helping me. Now, sometimes it really is just plain out, unfair criticism. Often though, it's something much less severe. Ironically, in listening more intently to critique and criticism, I'm feeling less rejected and more confident.
I have a long way to go, and yet I'm feeling better every day. It does help that I have received a few potential opportunities for both work and help with my mental health projects. That keeps my confidence higher even on the rougher days. Still, I may not have pursued these opportunities further if I still had as many walls up and was still letting my life be guided by values that didn't coincide with mine. I plan to continue to blog about this portion of my life, this change I've discovered, in hopes that it will help or even inspire others. In the mean time, I suggest taking a few minutes every day to just be, and see what happens. Place no expectations on this experience - you can't try to feel "in the moment", or you're not. Just allow life to happen around you and to you, and see if you discover something you may not have otherwise.