I'm on a career break to fulfill dreams and accelerate my spiritual shapeshifting into alignment with my true self. My true self is brave, creative, sensitive, loving, compassionate. It’s free, self-expressed, empowered and empowering. My true self lives in the world of abundance where miracles happen, not in the world of scarcity, fear, restlessness and confusion of the monkey mind. After traveling throughout Europe for four months, I felt I had reached a tipping point in my trajectory to live my truth. I was moving through my days with newfound lightness, drinking from the refreshing springs of intuition and creativity, plugged to a state of blissful flow. There was no absence of challenges, but there was a new way of managing them. I was reintroduced to the strength of feminine energy where there is space for rest, play, spontaneity, reflection and connection, both with self and others. A to-do list and old habits sabotaged my progress.
My career break was planned with a few themes, including Dolce far Niente, the “sweetness of doing nothing,” as coined by my ancestral Italians. Dolce was meant to cleanse me from the attachment to busyness, from a self-imposed obligation to feel productive. In need of structure, I defaulted to tackling a to-do list that soon grew from a few practical items (play tennis, write a blog post, buy groceries) to a mammoth of aspirational entries (mainly piles of online courses related to my gazillion interests). The list spiraled out of control when I joined an ill-timed career placement program, a “use it or lose it" benefit from my last job’s severance package. Though tremendously valuable for job seekers, all I could hear was the urgency in the recruiter’s voice ordering me to act now, for finding my next professional role could take many months. Triggered by fear, I had to play safe. Safe at that moment meant switching gears to job searching mode. Safe meant living in a scarcity mentality: don’t waste any time, for things can be hard. I was soon frantically re-writing my resumé, consuming hours of career search webinars and ferociously planning my next steps. For weeks I completely forgot that I am still on a career break.
Sucked in a vortex of performance over heart, my flowy, creative, feminine ways of being went offline. I let go of the yin and became all yang. My masculine self that thrives on efficiency, logic and action (“get shit done!”) took over in a monstrous rage. Even my mindfulness practices, such as journaling and meditation, became an obligation I needed to check off the list. The monkey mind blossomed on my imbalance and this time there was no corporate world to blame: I was feeding my gorilla with a plate full of my deliberate choices. To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with feminine or masculine energy. We carry both. They are vital forces that aid us through life, but when the measures are off the medicine becomes poison. To me, this overhaul of masculine energy left me feeling anxious, exhausted, depleted. The irony of feeling burnout during my career break is not lost on me.
I’m privileged enough to invest in an extraordinary life coach while living my career break. Quickly seeing through my misalignment, she instructed me to re-prioritize my to-do list, re-organizing my routine based on what felt good in my body at a given moment. Does the activity make me feel free, expansive, peaceful, happy? Then yes. Does it make me feel contracted, obligated, irritable? Then no.
With this mindset, decluttering my closet felt good in the moment. A la Marie Kondo, I thanked each piece of garment that no longer served me and donated one-quarter of my wardrobe to Goodwill. The effect on my health was immediate: I slept well for the first time in weeks.
In the moment, I accepted my husband’s invitation to join his tennis mates for lunch at an artisanal brewery. A few feet from our table, a little girl wearing a fancy, pink sparkly dress took off her shoes, walked through slippery pebbles and cheerily threw herself into a fountain located at the center of the beer garden, completely oblivious to the hundreds of guests around her. With refreshing cold water running over her face, her tiny eyes closed in the ecstasy of spontaneity, she was the sublime embodiment of feminine energy: playful, spontaneous, connected with her true self. Unafraid, unashamed and untethered, her happiness was so intoxicating that within moments other little girls joined her. They giggled in unison fluttering their arms in improvised dances, ballroom strides of soul alignment glittering with unfiltered joy, their innocence and divinity still whole. At our table, a tennis player personified the judgment of our harsh world: “there is nothing worse than a wet kid. Her parents should soon dry her off.” I felt sorry for the man because the little girl triggered parts of him that he doesn’t even know he neglects. Parts of him that dried up when life occurred. I have been that man so many times. In fact, we all have. Something happens in life and soon someone else’s values, priorities and world views become ours and we disconnect from our free-spirited nature.
For now, my to-do list will remain on probation. There will be a time in the coming months where I will have to deliberately call-in masculine energy to bring action to certain areas of my life. Now is a moment to continue nourishing my inner child, allowing her to dazzle in her six senses just like we marveled for months in the old continent. In this journey into soul alignment, she has full permission to wear her sparkly dress and drink from fountains where creativity, possibilities, abundance and freedom pour.
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