I know what it’s like to always be scraping for dimes. I know what it’s like to work so hard that making time for the things you love seems impossible.
In fact, that’s exactly why I do what I do now.
The thing is, a year ago, I experienced one of the toughest days, that lead to one of the toughest months of my life.
A colleague found a discrepancy in the way I was correcting tests, and I needed to do an audit on nearly 60 student essays in 2 days.
Reflecting back, I was scared and striving all the time. I didn’t even consider other options for providing for my family. And of course, I was doing it all for my son’s education. Martyr that I was, I’d do anything for that. Yet, I barely had time to spend with him.
Reading over all the tests, I did two 23 hour work days in a row, where I would set an alarm to sleep for one hour each night and then get back to work. The Thursday I got home, I crashed on the bed, proud and exhausted having made it once again. I’d been off my feet for all of five minutes, when my son (3-years-old) walked in the room with an empty bottle of cold medicine in his hand.
I’d been running scared for so long my worst nightmare had come to life. My husband was away on business, and I live in Colombia, so I was terrified of going to the emergency room alone. Spanish is my second language and I was afraid I wouldn’t understand the paperwork, or the procedure, or something and the stakes were higher than they’d ever been.
In the lobby of my building I explained what had happened, so the receptionist could help me get a taxi. Then stranger, who was collecting her mail, turned and told me she was a doctor.
I was so desperate that I grabbed her by the inside of her elbow and said, "Please don’t make me do this alone.”
We exchanged names in the taxi. We’re good friends to this day. I suppose its our first anniversary too.
That night I thought, "How did we get here? How did we end up in the hospital?”
But now, with a year’s worth of perspective, I think, "How could we not have ended up in the hospital?”
I was always afraid, and work was my coping mechanism. That was by no means I’d worked that hard. It probably wasn’t even the first time that year. And it was February.
Fear based thinking creates a downward spiral. Always. The more it dominates, the more precarious everything becomes.
I used to think fear was the opposite of safety. A Course in Miracles says it’s the opposite of love. I now see fear as the opposite of creativity and possibility.
It boxes us in and makes us so small that we think life has to be a certain way.
There are a million ways life could be in every moment, but it requires the exercise and practice of creativity.
At the time all this went down, my book coaching biz was a side gig. I had all of four clients, but more than anything, it wasn’t about time or money, it was a seed of hope. I needed a that seed of hope.
That night at the hospital, they pumped my son’s stomach. The doctora (my new best friend) was by my side every step of the way, and my son was so good. He really trusted us. As a parent, that’s what brings the lump to my throat.
The next day my boss gave me the day off, she was always very kind to me, and I took my son to a park where he climbed trees for hours and hours.
I wish I could say I changed after that day, but I didn’t. I continued to strive and work all hours for another two months.
It wasn’t until April that I had a Skype with Amy Doak (co-founder of the Writer’s Block) where she virtually shook me by the shoulders and told me it was time to leave. Cory Thompson was my coach at that time and supported me throughout the process.
I share this simpy to say, that we always think it’s the time or the money. I know that as much as the next guy. But it’s not. Where I live, people will work themselves ragged for a hundred dollars as readily as they’ll do it for a million. Both are equally fear driven.
All the miracles, all the synchronicities and all the change happens when you find even a pocket in your life for creativity. Despite everything.
We were never meant to strive like we do and there is another way.