This morning, I woke up way too early and couldn’t go back to sleep. Insomnia isn’t a frequent visitor, thank God, but when she visits, I feel like something that accidentally got put into the dryer with the laundry. My brain starts flailing and banging around with no escape.
Why did she come this week? Because I have two kids in college, and two months ago in June, I quit my teaching job. But I waited until yesterday to finally turn in my keys to the high school, closing that door.
This morning, insomnia was not so gently screaming, “What have you DONE, you idiot?!?”
I’ve never been a particularly religious person though I have gone to church sporadically throughout my life. But sitting with my husband for months in the ICU in the fall of 2015 when he was so sick, watching the miracle of his healing, and getting through that whole trauma flung the door to trust wide open.
When we were in the middle of it, people would ask me, “How are you getting through this?” My answer was moment by moment. I had to live in the present moment because in the present moment, Gary was alive. I didn’t know what the next five minutes would bring, so I didn’t go there. I had to stay present and totally trusting.
But at 3:30 this morning, my brain was having no part of any of that “present moment/trust” BS. Instead, she wanted to know why I had thrown a perfectly good and stable job out the window for a total unknown?
I had to recall another of my lessons from the ICU – worry is merely making up a fantasy of something terrible happening, believing in the fantasy, and then having an emotional reaction to it.
Worry is insomnia’s bestie. I’ve unfriended them both, but they’re like trolls, hiding underneath bridges to scare me in the night. And in the darkness, all those fears seem so much bigger.
Until I can work my way to the flip side of the terror, which is joy. The excitement of letting go, and trusting that I’ll find my path.
I’ve known for awhile that it was time to leave the classroom, but it wasn’t until this spring, sitting with my dad, who had a strong and abiding faith as he faced the end of his life, that I got the courage to trust my gut and more so in God (or universe/source/whatever you call it), that moving forward now, into something new and different was the right decision.
Since I left school, my work days are undefined other than how I structure them, the complete opposite of teaching school in which every moment is planned.
Now my days are open for me to not only listen to my gut and my guidance but to also act on them (despite what insomnia chants at me in the early morning hours). And happily, it’s working. My days are full of website design work with amazing clients, and I’m also getting back to my own writing which feels amazing.
But more than anything, the best lesson is that if I trust, if I follow my guidance that comes from something bigger than me, when I’m not all wrapped up in ego and making decisions on my own, I’m shown one step at a time. I don’t know where each step will lead, and I’ve learned that I don’t need to. None of us do. The only thing we need is that little bit of trust to listen to those nudges inside and then take one step in that direction.
I’m sharing this not to encourage people to quit their jobs or to take a leap that they’re not ready for, but to take one step, a baby step, toward becoming who you are and what you want to do and trusting that that one baby step is perfectly safe.
For me, that step was picking up a pen five years ago and starting to write again. This was after I had a dream about it – yes, I’ve learned to embrace the woo-woo side of me.
It’s funny how the universe nudges us, but the fun really starts happening when we listen, trust that guidance, and take a step.
End note – posting this is HARD, way harder than I thought. My Dad was always the first to comment on these blog posts and my biggest fan when it came to my writing. Maybe that’s why I’m back after a LONG hiatus from this blog. He’s nudging me now. Love you Dad. And I’m missing you like crazy right now.