I lost the future for a bit, there. The past four years got me so tangled up in Trump’s antics and generally FREAKING OUT that when the pandemic hit, I burned my plans and sat down for A Very Long Time.
Every human interaction outside of the people I live with: canceled.
Every workshop or class or retreat I wanted to make or attend or hold this year: canceled.
My sense of knowing what tomorrow might hold: ABSOLUTELY GONE.
If you’ve lost the ability to plan for or sense the future: hi, hello, welcome. Me, too.
Between American politics and the pandemic, I’ve never had more trouble connecting to my own depths, desires, and needs.
In fact, I’m tempted to spend every waking moment flailing like Kermit and/or freaking out like Moira Rose.
This podcast episode is here to help you connect with your interior continent, ask deep-ass questions, and maybe even make some plans for your life and business in the coming months.
Before we dive in! One of the things that might help to keep you from drowning in your own life is actively creating structure, which is something I’ve taught extensively about on the podcast. Structure, rhythms, and routines are something we creative peeps fight against AND ALSO DESPERATELY NEED. These five podcast episodes are a highly condensed version of most everything I know about creating gorgeous, stable structures for your time and attention.
Listen to the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series now.
Now, let’s talk money fruits!
If you suspect that you’d like to do something in your business differently in a year or two, start planting the seeds for the new thing now.
Take the class, get the certification, scope out the cost of renting a studio; write down the workshop curriculum, start a wait list, ask past clients to do a dry run with you; schedule time to write the sales page, shoot the video, make the course, or get the images you’ll need to accompany the project.
I read somewhere that we overestimate what we can do in a single year and underestimate what we can do in five. Go with that, holding everything that may happen as loosely as possible.
What would you like to have made, in five years?
Who would you like to have worked with, interacted with, or made something with?
What would you be heartbroken to tell people you HAVEN’T done in five years?
To reach the ripening of the money fruits, plan for constant experimentation. Adjust accordingly.
Most people treat plans and planning as a once-and-done activity best suited for the start of the new year, not an exercise in continuous canceling, crossing out, and readjusting the sails.
That promotion didn’t work? Adjust.
You thought you’d be having a glorious day of sex, but instead you ended up holding your best friend in the vet’s ‘comfort room’ while a vet named Dr. Stark put her cat to sleep? Adjust.
You figured you’d have budgets, credit cards, and all things financial figured out by now? Adjust.
There’s no shame in adjusting.
If and when you really, truly believe that, you’ll move through your life far more swiftly and with much less guilt than ever before.
As you get used to both looking forward and adjusting the sails for today’s weather, you get more of a sense of spirit, intuition, deep knowing, or whatever you choose to call this phenomena.
You beat yourself up less for being human or for letting life happen to you.
You also let the reins go a bit more, since you’ll never be in charge of things like whether today is rainy, whether a pet is sick, whether your client will show up to that meeting, or whether you’re going to get food poisoning from that new restaurant.
As you adjust, with ever more subtle listening and precision, you’ll find the way through life that is distinctly yours.
Here’s a diary entry from 18 months ago, and it’s profoundly vulnerable to help you see the wrestling as it happens:
“It feels like the river is flowing in a different direction and that direction is away from California, at least for now. It feels fuzzy to think about — no longer OBVIOUSLY CALIFORNIA YES — since I looked at Portland and discovered that Philly has had both the same amount of rainy days and more rain than Portland in 2018. So, myth that I cannot live there: busted.
Also Portland is the same price as here, and 90 minutes from the ocean like here, and otherwise my people’s home, since you can drop shrooms and smoke weed and read books and make art and have fantastic food and go outside every minute that it’s not raining, minus the Philly attitude and general East-Coast go go go go go-ness.
That decision also feels a bit logical, though, like: how easy and relieving is it to give up on California, when clearly it’s something I’ve wanted since the moment I visited? But when I consider bigger things, like will I like the people of Laguna/Orange County? No. Do I like the traffic? No. Is there public transport? No. Does it cost 3-5 times more than here? Yes. BUT WILL I HAVE THE OCEAN? Yes.
We could very easily live in the most magical place on earth but spend every minute trying to earn enough to live there, which would defeat the purpose.
It feels like it’s all up in the air right now. And that’s hard. Like, weeping hard. Giving up on a dream is hard. Switching dreams is hard. Not knowing is hard.”
Letting your deep knowing drive the bus often boils down to paying constant attention to your energetic and emotional weather.
I could have pretended that California was still the dream — “Yah, we’re saving, just a few more years!” — and used it as a reason to stay in Pennsylvania for a lot longer. But instead, Bear and I had conversation after conversation about what it might mean to move to Portland, including how that would look on the job front, the mental health front, the friend front, the financial front, and the business front. We had lots and lots of discussions, and lots and lots of enjoying of the current home we’ve made together. Portland might not be the most magical thing that’s ever happened to us, or it might; all we know is that it’s the next step, and we’re taking it together.
Letting your deep knowing drive the bus means noticing when energy for a person, place, or project drops significantly, as well as noticing when you can’t wait to work on something new.
Sitting here 18 months in the future, I can assure you that Portland was NOT the best thing that ever happened to us.
Making the decision to move away from Portland was predicated upon a number of factors. These included the daily sightings of police drones, military transport, and police helicopters over our home; the increased presence of Proud Boys and other alt-right groups in the city; increasing isolation due to extended lockdown and my own fear of walking alone in the city for any reason; and mounting costs to remain in an overpriced, under-resourced shoebox of a home thousands of miles from those we held dear. (TL; DR, it fucking sucked.)
AND being in Portland helped us trust each other more deeply, rely on each other more heavily, see ourselves more clearly, and take in the scope of the personal and political work before us with absolutely outstanding clarity.
Sometimes you make two cross-country moves in a year, ’cause you’re following the deep knowing where it leads. Bear and I can both see that with the way 2020 went, we wouldn’t have survived the outside forces pressing on us in Philadelphia. His job would have crushed him, and I would have spiraled out of control because there wasn’t a money-making imperative to keep my feet on the earth.
In some ways Portland completely crushed us;
and in other ways it completely saved us.
That’s the bullshit of following your deep knowing:
It might crush you.
It might save you.
And it might do both simultaneously,
just so you remember you’re alive.
Some questions to help you follow your deep knowing:
Does that dream apply like it did yesterday?
Am I actively letting myself dream a different life than the one I imagined at age 8 (I drew a Kmart in my house so I’d never have to leave it for silly things like groceries or sunscreen), the one I imagined at 18 (I shall be a poet — in a houseboat — who lives on sunshine), or the one I imagined at 28 (I will be married…to this one dude…forever…and life will always suck…)?
Are there any places where my attitude has shifted, my energy has dropped, or my emotional landscape has changed dramatically? What might that mean?
Is there anywhere that my reality conflicts with that of my family, parents, partner, or peers? Am I willing to step into the wilderness that our differing beliefs will cause?
Are there any plans that should be put on hold for the sake of preserving my own health or maintaining my inner landscape?
Is there anywhere that I just have to be patient? (THIS IS THE WORST. WHY THE PATIENCE? WHYYYYYYY?)
If I would let spirit/intuition/deep knowing drive the bus — truly, all the way — what would I stop doing immediately?
Likewise, what would I start doing immediately?
I don’t have any easy answers, which is mostly why I try and help you listen — by asking good questions, by pushing breathwork on you at every turn (a free class awaits you here, give it a try!), and by reflecting your truest desires back to you when I see them dart past, like a bright fish flashing past in murky water.
You’re perfectly capable of listening closely, adjusting accordingly, and then giving up the control of your life’s big picture to what wants to be made.
The life you’ll end up with is probably not precisely what you planned at age 8, but I’ll wager that it’s a damn sight more fulfilling than having a Kmart in your basement. 😉