I’ve just done what was unexpectedly one of the hardest things of my adult life. “You weren’t made to sit here at a desk and do this job for the rest of your life, Melinda” a co-worker said, “Anyone who knows you knows THAT.” *
How do you tell the people you have worked with for 10 years that you are leaving this reputable organization, with good pay, exceptional benefits AND the best boss you could ever hope to have? To put it in the words of the same colleague (that same friend), “You’ve just got to rip off that band-aid.”
And now I’m telling you. Hi. Yes. I just handed in my resignation. It’s been coming for some time, taking longer and also moving much faster than I was prepared for.
It’s been almost as hard to tell the other people in my life, the people outside of work. I must be crazy, right? In this economy? With the number of people I’ve known who have been laid off from decent jobs or who stayed in miserable ones because they couldn’t find something better? I’m foolish. Or ungrateful. Or worse.**
There’s an insidious voice in my head. It seethes, “Who do you think you are?” I don’t remember the time before the voice existed, so I must have been quite young. I don’t remember a time when it didn’t stop me from doing, not everything – I’m nothing if not stubborn – but many things. The question in the last few years has grown more specific: “Who do you think YOU are, to do THIS work?” THIS work, being yoga, self-awareness, writing, teaching. I can’t stop the questions from coming and they do so with strategic timing, with subterfuge and sabotage. When I’m about to teach. When I am trying to hold my integrity in the job, while also making headway at the work I love. When I’m about share this news, that I’m quitting, with someone I deeply respect (My boss. My father.)
There is another voice though, softer and steadier, that has begun to counter this old familiar put-down. (Curiously, It’s MY voice.) This work isn’t about ME. It doesn’t matter who I think I am. When I do this work I am more present, for myself and others. I am more engaged in the living of my own life, in the MAKING of my life. I am more caring, more compassionate, more responsive. When I teach this work, I offer tools that help other people better manage their own struggles. It doesn’t matter who I THINK I am. What I have to offer isn’t mine anyway. I know this work has value because of what it has done in my own life. I know it has value because of the people who see the changes in me and ask me to teach them. I know it has value because I see it at work in my students, in my fellow practitioners and teachers. I see it in our relationships and our choices and the way that we address our frustratingly human imperfections. I see it in our tolerance for and enjoyment of our lives. This is not about me. It is so much bigger than me.
It will be another month or two before I am able to show up more consistently here in this space and in my other online haunts, and I’ll ask for your patience during that time while I close out this chapter – no, this is not a chapter, this has been a volume. 10 years is a full printed, signed edition. I do want to give you an idea of my plans for this space and how I see things shaping up. Expect to see posts in each of the following categories, with overlap between):
Self-Employment Stories: How I am growing into this new way of working and being. Like this post right here.
Personal Practice Notes: I have always learned the most from teachers that were willing to share the dirty details, stories of breakthroughs and slip-ups, the beautiful and the ordinary and the awful (and beautifully ordinary or beautifully awful). I’ve benefited from sharing my own stories, and I’ll do more of this.
Teaching: I’ll talk about yoga and other self-awareness techniques. I’ll share some of what I’ve learned, in hopes that it helps you too.
Self-Practice: Independent practice is the foundation of everything that I’m doing. I will talk about this a lot.
Conversations: Dialogue. I want to know what you think about practice (as it relates to yoga, or meditation, or… anything). I want to talk about where we get stuck in practice or in the creative process or in LIFE, and what gets us moving again. Also interviews. There will be more of these.
Musings/Essays: Whenever they come. Like this, one of my favorites from last year.
I welcome you to join me on this journey, whether you’ve been here since the days of purlingplans or whether I am a new face in your world. You’ll see more of me soon, and I hope to see more of you.
Signing off for now. With love, and hope.
*It feels good to be KNOWN
**I’m not sure what I expected, but clearly the voice was at work. I have received some of the warmest responses that I never dared to hope for. I’m blown over by the encouragement and support, and even more, the light in their eyes when they say it.