THURSDAY, OCT. 13 — A mockingbird in a tree near the front door welcomed a gorgeous morning with an ecstatic song while a small plane overhead hummed backup. For days, my thoughts have been obsessed with a failed relationship, but the fever appeared to have past, and I stepped into the cool morning with other concerns.
My reserves are within $15 of the figure I set that would end my adventure, this quest for passion, purpose and authenticity, and trigger the search for a job, no matter how mundane.
That’s not what I want to do, of course, but it’s been a few years now. Refinancing has kept me going while I’ve developed projects and hacked away at the self-imposed obstacles to succeeding at self-employment. Based on the evidence, I’m not there yet.
But I may be close. I had a dream over the weekend in which I stood up to my raging, domineering father and forced him to back down, a first in this or any other world. The next morning, I got up and roughed out the first chapter of a book I’ve been wanting to write for years.
Monday, emotions over the relationship I wrote about last week peaked with a catharsis that led clear back to my mother. When I went back later to read last week’s blog, the charge I had on it was gone.
Also, I have several thousand dollars coming for work I’ve done in the past two months. That would move me back above the low-water mark, and just this morning I booked another job.
In other words, things appear to be shifting, and on that basis I can justify hanging in there a little longer. But this is where it gets tricky.
Up to this point, my motivation, my obsession, really, has been to clean up my act, and I think I have. What hasn’t shifted, what I still seem to lack, is a powerful drive to succeed like the one that fueled my father.
His motivation was easy to understand: he grew up in the Depression, failure and ruin all around him. I think it terrified him. In fact, I think it terrified his entire generation, and rightfully so — an enemy without uniform that could strike anywhere, any time.
My reaction to my father’s rigid, imperious manner and his demands – study hard, get good grades, etc. – was passive-aggressive: I did enough to get by, no more, and thus set a pattern for life.
But I was never really satisfied. I knew things weren’t quite right. I knew I could show up a lot better than I was, which probably explains why I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. It blossomed in Honolulu in the mid-’80s when an elderly Hawaiian lady became my spiritual teacher. And I have no doubt that it was that same energy that made me feel like I was going to explode if I didn’t leave CNN.com and do something meaningful with my life.
A layoff took care of my departure, and the work I’ve done since has been about reclaiming my power and being the person I was meant to be. But other than writing that chapter the other day, I can’t say I feel like I’ve reclaimed anything yet.
Meanwhile, trees bud, leaves form, fill out and begin to wither. Bills pile up, savings decline.
I awoke the night before last pondering the absurdity of my financial status, the lack of health insurance, the barren love life, and had a sudden impulse to grab something and smash things. Just whale away until I could neither stand nor lift my arms.
That’s the piece in me that’s angry, appalled and deeply frightened at what I’ve done. But the moment passed, as they always do, and I don’t know whether it’s denial or spiritual maturity.
Maybe it would be a good thing to go out in the woods and go wild, hammering rocks and trees and earth until I fall down in exhaustion. And then come home and refresh my memory as to why I’m doing this.
Maybe. But my hope is that whatever it is that never settled for the status quo and always knew I could do better is still active and will keep leading me in the right direction. Assuming, of course, that this is the right direction. I have another month – maybe two – to find out.
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