Monday, August 29, 2011

Peeling Off The Layers

Written by Karen
Yosemite, California
A couple of blog entries ago, I talked about being a force and starting to get healthy one step at a time.  I’ve actually incorporated working out/being more active each day since then.  I ran – well, jogged, and slowly at that – for a mile at level 4 on the treadmill today.  I was ready to stop after minute 3, but kept going for the full fifteen minutes.  It’s funny.  This is something that I now want to do. I want to be as healthy as possible when I leave my current lifestyle in March and start another life chapter. I want to hit the ground running.  I’ve been pacing myself for some time here – just another day, just another week, just another month – and then we’ll be at our goal. And then life begins…our next chapter starts…and then….

But, now it’s different.  I don’t want to postpone life any longer. This feels good. Not just the sore muscles, but the bubbling enthusiasm that is filling me up right now: the future full of possibilities and opportunities; and, the present re-focus and awareness of who I am.   

I am actively appreciating life in the moment.  I am blessed to be alive now and moving towards a goal that I know is right for me, and hopefully for the both of us.  Not just some wishful thinking about change sometime in the distant future. But actively preparing, actively engaging, and actively loving life. Now.

Yosemite, California
I realize now that I haven’t felt alive and living in the moment for some time now. It’s funny. It’s like the unfortunate frog who finds itself in the slowly heating pot of water.  You don’t really notice that you’ve crossed the line from passion into routine, until you suddenly realize that your daily work experience has become a grind. When did that happen?  Long commute. Long and stressful work days. Long commute.  Again. When did my workweek start looking like the back of a shampoo bottle?  Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. Again.
It was a little scary to acknowledge that this position that I have held for the last six years has run its course.  With these awful economic times, it might have been a safer approach to keep my head down - ride out this economic malaise - and see how things look on the other side.  And then start making another career move.  

But for me, that’s not the right decision. I have enjoyed the opportunity, my colleagues and my accomplishments.  But, it is time for a change.  It’s time to move on. For me to stay longer in a position that has run its course would risk me becoming stagnant in a field that I enjoy and do well. 

So, maybe that is what Bill (the guy at the gym) was talking about, when he was saying that you can’t help others until you help yourself first.  There is a force – and it is life – and it is all about living in the moment.  It is being full of appreciation, gratitude and optimism.  It is being focused on the positive, my future, our future, our goals, but it is also about staying in the moment.  You don’t do anyone any favors if you check out of life.

Yosemite, California
I’m peeling off the layers of the protective veneer that have been built up over the past six years working here in the Silicon Valley.  And, it feels great!  It’s kinda’ like when you were a kid and you stayed out too long in the sun.  After the sunburn healed, your skin – at least my skin - started to peel.  I remember being so focused and so carefully pulling the strips of dead skin off my forearms.  It hurt a bit, but it felt so good to feel - and see - the dead skin coming off and the new skin exposed.  Rebirth.

Change is action-driven from the inside out.  I choose to actively embrace change, and not just passively wait for a predetermined time or event to eventually come. Change is coming. We are leaving in April 2012 on a one-way flight to begin our around-the-world exploration. Change is coming.  We are leaving behind our current lifestyle and all that is known and trade it in for the unknown. I will be ready and healthy enough for that change and able to fully embrace the force of life - and hit the ground running...    
“Now I don’t know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”  
                                                       Zhuangzi, Chinese Philosopher


David_SF said...

I think the future might possibly hold an invitation to your exploring your skills as a writer- the talent is there. Reading this posting was interesting in that it tied in the present feeling of optimisitic, of looking toward the future, the culmination of shedding those layers of "dead skin" that accumulate. And how easily they do! It reminds me of Thoreau, noting the ceaseless labors that people undertake; not necessarily bad, but being aware of those labors, of having the power to step back and observe. I can sense the excitement in your posting, of this new adventure, and it makes me feel excited too! It's great how the feelings are shared, it's like an open book, and the reader can really relate. I certainly can!

Observers of Life said...

Thanks David. That's pretty cool feedback. Grab your backpack and let's meet up somewhere!

moneyIQGuy said...

The importance of being in the moment is easy to acknowledge on a theoretical basis, but it sounds like we both share a tendency- perhaps shared by many people in modern society- to be too much inside our heads, looking towards the future. Working out *now*, living life to the fullest *now*, is something that I'm also trying to incorporate into my life; for the first time I'm starting to really appreciate this simple statement of truth, that of being in the moment, something that I've appreciated, in book-form, through the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, previously. Because...oftentimes the future is something that we can't control, but we can control our thoughts and our present reality.

MoneyIQ said...

There are so many aspects to this new journey that is so intriguing! You mentioned the inside-out aspect of change, that is, starting from the inside. Hearing this part of the process helps for me to much better understand you, feel connected to this story, and also makes me feel like I'm joining with you, in some way, in expanding life. I'd love to hear more of the external aspects that are involved regarding the process, however, such as the planning, and all the details to actually make something like this happen. Since, really, this is the ultimate to which most of us dream about: quitting our jobs, leaving the Rat Race, and being truly free.