In Part 1, I talked about knowing something new was emerging in my work, but not being able to force it. I so appreciate all the responses you sent, both about your own path of discovery and what resonated in what I wrote.
And in the midst of this waiting and wondering about my work, my life rose up and demanded attention in a way it never had before.
My son developed a myriad of emotional and physical challenges that resisted conventional treatment and required constant re-evaluation and care.
As I dug in to writing my memoir, grief I had shoved away 25 years earlier erupted like a geyser, swept over me like a tsunami, and swamped me. It felt as if my 24-yearas old self took possession of my body, took over my thoughts, my guts, my tear ducts. The grief shook me like a dog with a toy, demanding that I face this old loss in a way I couldn’t back then. I developed rituals and practices for soothing myself in the middle of the night. I dug deep into learning about how to make peace, to move on from disappointment. I reassured those young and aching parts that yes, I would see myself to the other side of this chaos no matter how long it took. And it took a long time.
I felt alien to my own life. I no longer was sure I belonged in this house, in this town. I no longer felt myself in all the roles I played – wife, mother, business owner. l began to wonder “is this all there is?”, to question the choices I’d made, the paths I’d taken.
I turned 50.
Even as I felt forced to turn away from work and turn my attention to myself, I realized that I had long been aching to be a person who had a business. Not a business owner who tried to make time for a life around the edges of the next project, the next launch.
In the midst of my personal chaos, I kept working. Enjoying my calls and classes as a respite from the urgent demands of my own healing, my son’s journey, the shakiness of the life I was leading.
And the work I did with clients started to go deeper. Folks in my Mojo groups opened and softened more. Spoke with more vulnerability about the fears and doubts that erupted when it was time to present themselves to the world. I saw with new clarity the underlying energetics, the less obvious forces that shape how people see themselves, how they hold their work, the words, the phrases that they choose to express themselves.
Mojo participants started to talk more about how they were feeling more themselves, more clear, more confident and at ease, more motivated to step out into the world, in a way that went beyond being pleased or confident with the latest bit of copy they wrote.
In the Action Circle, we wrestled with the question of how to have a sane and sustainable business. How to be people first and business owners second. How to love ourselves even as we struggled to get everything we wanted done. How to let go of the ongoing and debilitating story that we are always, always, inevitably behind. Falling short of some imaginary mark we think we’re meant to have hit.
New private clients started to slip into my world unrelated to any outreach on my part.
A client who had a long history of mass market success who wanted to step into a new image, a new identity, a new way of sharing herself with the world.
A client with a long track record of professional performance contending with new life circumstances that reconfigured her availability for work, wanting to figure out how to stay true to herself and the vision of her work while honoring her new priorities and expanded desires.
A client who had developed successful programs and offers that didn’t match her true gifts and desires.
A client with a rapidly evolving body of work that we wanted to track as it continued to grow in depth and nuance as she grew her public following.
I had more and more conversations with private clients and in my groups about the ways their vision, their work, their way of stepping out in the world had been warped and colored by the stories they’d absorbed about how things had to be done. About the rules of online business and marketing they had so deeply ingrained. I started to see how incredibly hard it can be to stay true to yourself in spite of the noise of the world.
I saw more clearly that the way we write and speak about our work has very little to do with technique and everything to do with our capacity to fall in love with and embrace who we are and the body of work that wants to come through us. With finding the courage to step out and be that, do that, even when it flies in the face of what we are told is right or correct or valuable or acceptable. Of expanding our imagination to allow for a vision of getting to do the work we most want to do without compromise.
I started to experiment with a new way of starting with private clients: combining the True Spirit and True Wisdom work with Life Purpose Hand Analysis. To call in the picture of the most delicious way to express in the world without all the mind chatter about what is or could be possible or practical. And from that anchoring context to pick the current projects that were in line with that vision but also with their immediate constraints and needs.
The clients who did this started letting go of reams of shoulds and maybes so they were no longer so scattered and torn. Rediscovering and claiming what they were called to, not what they were resigned to do. Picking projects full of life and breath and challenge.
I got more clear with folks coming into Mojo that the work would provoke them, would trigger their greatest fears and self-doubt. I asked up front about their capacity to welcome and roll with that. Deep in the work, they came back to me telling stories of how deep currents were shifting, old stories had evaporated, how they’d liberated themselves from their habitual, small, safe expression. How their people, their audience, were responding differently even when they hadn’t changed any words out in the world.
I started to eliminate every practice and technique that no longer rang true. I let myself do less. Market less. Work fewer hours. Trust more.
Stay Tuned for Part 3 – where I talk about where I am now and where I see going.