Warning: When the Old Way isn’t Working Anymore, Life May Kick You in the Jewels

When I first started this little space as a way to document the pursuit of my purpose, I figured I would have lots to talk about on a regular basis.

What I didn’t realize was that there would be large gaps of time where pretty much nothing is happening. Slight oversight, my friends. My apologies.

Well, I mean, things are happening, but I just wasn’t convinced you wanted these kinds of posts:

Hey gang! Still haven’t put my bra on and it’s around noon. Hustled this morning to get some posts up. They’re ok, nothing great. I could have done better, but there were a lot of dishes in the sink and it was driving me nuts! Emailed some important people, but no one’s emailing me back. No one ever emails me back. Feeling bored. I don’t have any funny or inspirational ideas. May get some groceries later – I’ll keep you all posted.

That just doesn’t seem like blog award winning material, you know?

I feel so desperate to move forward, but I have the sinking feeling I somehow ended up on a treadmill. Exhausted, but no farther than I started.

What really chaps my fluffy white buns is the redundancy of it all. Redundancy is like my bra’s underwire stabbing my side boob all day long and there’s nothing I can do about it. Acting out the same day to day tasks, putting forth mediocre creative effort and cruising along without the sensation of growth freaking kills, you guys!

redundancy

It’s not for lack of trying. For the past few months I’ve been working with a coach, generating new, fresh ideas and consuming so many inspirational books and websites, I’m sputtering out Maya Angelou quotes like I have Tourettes.

But, as I get my shizz together, tighten up my schedule and yank up my boot straps for hard work – BAM. I get sick. Real sick.

A couple months ago as I cracked my knuckles and pulled out my weekly organizer determined to take HooHas to the next level with my bare, desperate hands, suddenly – I felt a little off. Ten minutes later I had to lie on the couch. Ten minutes after that – I was shivering and convulsing with a 104 fever.

A 101 fever has you out on the coach whining for a Gatorade. A 104 fever has you talking in tongues and yelling out to family members that your dead great grandma is sitting on the nightstand and that, surprisingly, she still has that distracting nose wart in heaven.

The fever lasted 48 hours with no other symptoms and no explanation. This put me behind on conquering the world, of course – so I spent the next week just trying to survive the day to day tasks. I wasn’t creating – just treading.

Nothing gained. Just the grind. Nothing new. Just a fruitless frenzy.

After that kick in the jewels, I slowly started to get my bearings again and my enthusiasm for dominating the world with my bare, desperate hands.

The first day of kicking ass and taking names (I was going to start my day with yoga people – I was freaking serious!) – I woke up with one of my blinding migraines. It lasted four days. No joke – four entire days. I was able to take migraine medication, but instead of eliminating it – it was only taking the edge off for about 3 hours and I could only take it every 24 hours. So, in the morning when the meds kicked in I would quickly work with one eye slightly open until it started to come back about 2 hours later. Then I laid down and felt really, really sorry for myself.

Eventually, it went away. Again, it took awhile to catch up and I struggled to just get the day to day work done since I was so behind.

Finally – my moment had arrived. It was time for one of my favorite (and most expensive) conferences. I had my schedule planned to meet stellar people and handle some serious business. And when I got back from this inspirational trip?  Oh, it’s on like Donkey Kong Destiny!!

Except Destiny ended up being that friend that talks a big game, but then ends up sneaking out of the Bachelorette party at 8:30 pm without telling anybody.

The morning of my flight, I woke up with the migraine. Again. This time, I’m uncontrollably vomiting. Obviously I missed my flight and lost my investment. The migraine laid me out for a week. A WEEK!

I don’t share this for sympathy. I really am ok. We know the source of my migraines and we’re working towards finding solutions to eliminate or at least soften their blows in the future. My ailments are nothing compared to what many people face every single day.

I mention it because it was weird. Really weird. Every time I became motivated, spiritually pumped up and energetically jazzed, my body completely shut down. Like a switch – lights out.

I thought it was just bad luck and I was getting real sour about it.

I’ve talked before about shifting the “WHY ME?!” when we desperately call out to God for answers and adjusting it to a curious “Why me?” Seeking meaning and understanding rather than feeling hopeless. So I asked myself quietly, why is this happening? Why is life making it impossible to move forward?

A few days later, I spoke with my coach and explained what had been going on and even cried to her about my frustration.

She said, “Although it’s absolutely true that your illness is real, with real causes – they seem to happen every time you try to go back to the old way of doing things – the old hustle, the old pulling up your bootstraps. It seems to me, the old way isn’t working anymore and this is a sign you need to start doing things differently.

Cue 80s rock band:  Here I am! Rock me like a hurricane!

I think it’s “Rock you” but you get my point. Her message vibrated down to my toes.

The old way of doing things got me this far, but this is where the bus route ends. I’ve been ushered off at a place I’ve never been and every time I tried to get back on the bus, the doors closed right in my face.

It’s as if I’m being told, “If you want to get to the next, new level, you’ll need a new way of doing things. And, because I love you so much – I’m going to knock you on your butt every time you try running back to the familiar. Haven’t you figured it out by now? It’s a dead end, my love.”

This resonated so true I almost felt embarrassed for not seeing it myself. I’m stubborn. The only way to stop me when I have my mind set on something is to literally knock me out.

That day I did an inventory. What are all the things I’ve done and I’m currently doing now that isn’t working?

  • Waking up and hitting the ground running with uninspiring work, email and tasks? Check.
  • The more uninspiring the work, the more mindless feed scrolling reading pointless articles? Check.
  • Acting on bursts of motivation and productivity that often dwindles to nothing? Check.
  • My most important creative work gets procrastinated and written last minute? Check.
  • Constantly consume inspiration at all times and avoid being inspirational? Check.

Now it’s time to do the opposite.

  • Wake up calm. Have a quiet time. Pray, “How can I serve people today? How can I love them?” – then begin writing. Anything. If it’s what I believe I was born to do, it’s shocking how little I actually do it.
  • Stay off the Internet, which only distracts me from what I’m supposed to do. Write.
  • Don’t rely on bursts of motivation – rely on the discipline of creation. Dedicated writing, daily. Make my craft a habit. The air I breathe.
  • Last minute writing can sometimes produce something great – but it should never be the only writing. Again, my purpose is to write – not to respond to unimportant emails or spend copious amounts of time creating Pinterest friendly images. I am a writer. Protect this truth against all the bullcrap!
  • Inspiration is important. Inspiration without action is ridiculous. Work your craft. Let inspiration be the reward.

I don’t know if this shift will be instantly life changing or slow and gradual. It doesn’t matter. I trust the wisdom in it’s simplicity.

And so, a new way begins.

A new way means instead of feeling like victims to life’s circumstances – which can leave us powerless and hopeless – we instead see them as important messages letting us know we must take action in a different way.

That doesn’t mean we are always to blame for illnesses and accidents. Of course not. My migraines are because I’m extremely hormonally sensitive. But when the timing seems off or peculiar – when the deck appears to be stacked against us – what if we have the courage to realize it’s not stacked against us at all? Just the opposite – it’s a barricade that keeps us running the race on the right path. A race without barricades is total chaos.

I believe it was Rumi who said, “It’s rigged — everything, in your favor.

If we view life as being rigged in our favor, suddenly illnesses and seemingly impassable obstacles aren’t proof our dreams are impossible or that we are powerless victims of circumstance. Suddenly, it’s simply an SOS. A morse code, trying to tell us something. I step out from being a victim to someone ready to listen because I trust there is something important I need to learn.

But what if – what if – we’re just kidding ourselves and everything that happens in life is just random? What if my migraine was just the result of hormone spike and the frequent, peculiar timing wasn’t a spiritual message at all?

Well. So what?

I don’t believe that, but even if I did, I would much rather feel encouraged, positive and hopeful than in my bed feeling discouraged, negative and hopeless.

If we keep getting stuck, clearly we keep putting our feet in the same patch of quicksand. It’s not quitting, it’s quitting behaviors that aren’t working.

Are you resonating? Start doing the opposite. The unknown is always scary, but so is the alternative.

Redundancy.

You know what’s the real nightmare? Letting redundancy keep poking you in the side boob.

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9 Comments on “Warning: When the Old Way isn’t Working Anymore, Life May Kick You in the Jewels

  1. There’s this part of me that desperately wants to scream, “GET OUT OF MY HEAD ANNA!” & then there’s this other part that’s sobbing because someone gets it. To escape redundancy is true bravery….& most of the time it feels like stupidity but I think it must be worth it (that’s what I keep telling myself anyways). You’ve got this lady!

  2. You may have just provoked some heavy transcendental motivation for me, woman! Let’s call it an “AHA HOOHA” moment!

    An accidental Facebook click (ironically, with my side-boob while putting my phone in the usual holding spot) led me to your full post. The title intrigued me, then the article sucked me in fast. Feels like I’ve been on that same ride with health, monotony, and stagnation. That place where you know you haven’t given up, but it seems like you’d be in the same spot and fulfillment level even if you had.

    Sooo, I’d like to pull my foot out of that quicksand with you! Even if it means losing one or both of my favorite metaphorical shoes! Stupid habits that just make it harder.

    Thank you! You’re great, and I’m definitely a more dedicated reader of your witty wisdom.

    Now.. To find a goal.

  3. Gotta say, you had me at “underwire” and “sideboob”. Crazy how it takes something to literally knock us on our butts (again and again) before it finally clicks that this isn’t working. I love your breakdown of the new to do list. It gives that freedom for creativity, removes the distractions, and I can’t wait to hear what comes of this new method for you!
    I’ve been fighting burnout for the past few weeks, myself. I have a cause that rouses my passion daily but when it comes to the actual doing, the volunteering I’ve been finding I’m utterly exhausted and with little to give. Need more time to introspect and figure out what’s not working here.
    Thank you so much for sharing your own insights. It’s so helpful to shift to your own perspective and maybe learn something new from that lens. Have a lovely weekend, lady!

  4. Hi Anna! I had to read all of the blogs once I started. Love them, but ouch!!! Sure were stepping on my toes. It was almost like you were talking directly to me in each one. The blogs are awesome! Keep up the good work!

  5. You are so real! You has such a talent of putting my feelings into words 🙂 I’ve spent waaaaay too long right now reading your blog when I should be getting kids in bed, BUT I just wanted to tell you that I like your style. Nope, I like YOU and that’s even better 🙂

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