In high school we were asked to decide what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives.
In class we did aptitude tests to help us decide what programs to take in cegep and university. We were taught how to put together a resumé.
Meanwhile, I had found a book on my mother’s coffee table.
It had three subjects; aromatherapy, massage and yoga. I read the book systematically from cover to cover (as I read all my books – even cook books. ok. I’m weird).
I wanted to be a massage therapist. I wanted to be a yoga teacher!
But at the young age of 16, and during a time when these things just were not as mainstream as they are today, I had no idea where to even look for guidance on these career paths.
To top it all off I was in a private high school.
I didn’t exactly feel like these were choices that were acceptable by my peers or my teachers.
So I went into Business Administration.
I was told it would open doors for someone like me who (apparently) didn’t know where I wanted to go.
And that it did.
Over a decade of steady steps upwards, I found myself in a variety of jobs. Some more interesting than others. I worked as a receptionist at a non-profit organization. I was an Administrative Assistant. An IT Coordinator. I worked at large bank in IT, Finance, and HR headquarters. By the end of that career I was earning good money, had 4 weeks of paid vacation every year, got an annual bonus, had RSP’s, mutual funds, a pension plan, and I had purchased a condo.
I was successful!
Nonetheless, I was drawn to massage therapy.
I didn’t really know what I was going to do with a certification, but it fascinated me and the training was a deeply rich and moving experience. Much of my personal growth in my early 20s happened right there with that diverse group of people. I began to reflect more upon myself, and on how I was interacting with others.
But then I landed a comfortable corporate job.
With a regular pay check. Slowly, my massage days drifted into memory.
Around the time that my marriage was coming to its end, my satisfaction with my fancy cushy job began its end too. I had aspired continually throughout my career for a fancier title, and a bigger paycheck. It’s a sad trap that many get into within those environments. We want to see our personal worth reflected in the titles and responsibilities we have. We also get used to one pay scale and start to feel the squeeze that maybe a few more bucks could relieve. Whatever the case, I was caught in the race, and I found myself in what was supposed to be a promising new role for me at the bank – instead
I was miserable and bored.
I began leaving early to go to yoga. Taking longer lunches – to go to yoga.
I thought my disenchanted feeling about my job were related to the position. It wasn’t what I was told it would be. My boss wasn’t as awesome as I thought he’d be. So I applied for an even BIGGER position in a new department – and got it!
I fell flat on my face.
I was not motivated enough for the new level of responsibility I had just been granted. My eyes were constantly turning towards the things I was doing OUTSIDE of the office (like my yoga teacher training) and while I was there I was frustrated and discouraged.
It was noticed. I was given 3 months to find something else within the organization.
3 months came and went. I was no longer motivated to run the race.
I left my cushy job.
I began massaging again. I completed my yoga teacher training. I discovered I wasn’t too shabby at either of those things so I decided to run with it.
I pursued my dream of being a Massage Therapist and a Yoga Teacher!!!
The transition was really hard.
Like really REALLY hard. I had a mortgage. And debt. I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to make ends meet.
While I worried about money, the work came in. I taught at several yoga studios, gyms, and taught corporate classes. Some experiences were more joyful than others. Some ended poorly, some ended well, some I’m happy to say are still alive and well.
I opened a massage business. I closed it. It was far too much work for what I was now interested in doing with my time. Now I’m happy to work for someone else, to let her call the shots, and to come in and simply be present for my clients.
It’s been 2 1/2 years since that last day at the bank when I handed in my access card. When I packed away my suits and slipped into my yoga pants.
The changes just keep rolling.
My diet changed. My drinking habits changed. My exercise habits changed. My time management went through a drastic overhaul – I had never really needed to manage my own time as I was always on someone ELSE’S time!
Now I live for myself, I work for myself.
My SELF has come into focus.
I did this one slow step at a time. I’m still working on changes, too.
Now I don’t ever want to play the coulda-shoulda-woulda game. But there is a lesson in my experience.
If I had listened more closely to the call of my heart, back when I was a young woman, maybe a more direct path to this place would have been laid before me.
But then, I don’t know if that version of myself would have had all the depth of awareness and understanding that my experiences have given me. I may not have been as good of a teacher, as confident of a leader.
So we come back to this story, the one where it all just had to be this way.
It couldn’t have been any other way.
What we can learn from the past though, is how we want to take on the future.
If you were to stop and listen to the call of your heart right now, what would your heart be whispering?
What types of changes do you know, deep down in your gut, you are ready to take on?
Maybe it’s time to finally quit smoking. Maybe you too need a career change. Maybe it’s time you asked for that promotion. Maybe you’re ready to feel better in your body. Perhaps you see that the relationships in your life no longer serve you and it’s time to let go.
What might your story become?