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Karen M. Black
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A daughter's tale of truth, love and letting go

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An addictive spin on awakening, soulmates and past lives

The art of making life-changing decisions: are you ready to jump?

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
– Alan Wilson Watts

I've always had this restlessness inside. I've desired change and freedom in every form. Free to get up when I want, work the way I want. Freedom from corporate, it's rigid rules and hierarchies (though I did meet luvly people there).

As a work at home freelancer, I am living that life of freedom. Yet, it's also a life that connects me with people all over the world, and it's the kind of freedom that begins and ends in my heart.

To get here, I had to make some tough decisions in my life and follow through on them. I had to stare down my fear of change, and the emotional discomfort that goes along with it. I also had to embrace the unexpected, and hold my plans lightly.

Freedom, one decision at a time

“Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

I don't make decisions quickly or impulsively. I take my time (heavy Capricorn). So yes, sometimes before I'll take a big action, the pressure builds. Emotionally yes. Sometimes, through weaknesses in my health. Does this resonate for some of you?

Have you ever quit your job with nowhere to go? Ended a relationship with no one to run to? I've done both, more than once. Looking back, these weren't easy decisions, yet I felt so empowered after, so much stronger and clearer.

When did I know it was time to leap? Some people fall apart in tears when they're under pressure. I tend to get stronger and quieter, though I may live through weeks or months of paralyzing confusion beforehand.

I'm thinking now of a major relationship in my younger years, and how the end came about. I'm also thinking back to my very first writing job in my mid-20’s, serving a bully boss — which ultimately led me to the industry, where I've been ever since.

The awakened moment that's the precursor to change

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

In both cases, I remember a moment, where I was nudged into awareness that I had a choice. In that Awakened Moment, I was completely detached from any outcome or results that came after making the decision. I was prepared to face whatever came.

The decision to end a relationship came when I was visiting my boyfriend's home a few days before I broke it off. I thought: I'll be okay if I never saw this place again. Then later — when my boyfriend said “I love you” and I couldn't honestly say it back (and didn't), the change unraveled. After the brief chaos that followed... I ultimately felt relief.

I never did see his home or family again after having that “awakened” thought. And — I have been okay with that.

When I quit the job that led me to the Canadian benefits industry, I was working at a small telecommunication consulting firm. I was an assistant editor of their newsletter. The entire (small) office staff was attending a conference in California, and I was alone managing the office.

My tipping point was a controlling, bullying conversation with my boss, who was out of town. I became very calm, and within an hour, turned on the answering machine, left a message on his cell phone and left the office.

In this case, I gave no notice and I had no job to go to — and it was the right thing to do. (most of my bosses since have been great, by the way)

The signs of change — are you listening?

“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.”
– Aristotle

Before BIG CHANGE, there are always signs. Anxiety. Dread going in to the office. Dread seeing someone, or touching them. Getting sick more often. Other symptoms of anxiety. Excuses. Hopes that things will get better, often lasting for months.

Change is at once wanted and feared. Wanted, because our souls aren’t meant of stagnate: we are meant to grow. Feared, because change can be messy, unpredictable and emotionally uncomfortable.

The good news is that if you’re pondering change, and if you’ve done a good job honouring your heart in the past, the messiness is short and temporary, and you grow through the process.

Stay or go: you always have a choice

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them — that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
– Lao Tzu

Our souls desire change and growth, yet it's our decision whether or not to follow its whispers. We can choose to stay where we are. We can also choose other ways to moderate our emotions, including alcohol or pharmaceuticals.

We have the full option to put our soul's needs last, in favour of what's ‘normal’, ‘right’, or ‘safe’. We have the full option to use every ounce of energy we have to clamp down on our hearts.

However, if we clamp down on change habitually, long-term, the pressure will build and our choice may be taken away. A spouse leaves “all of a sudden”. You become ill or depressed. You're let go at work. A business collapses. You or a loved one has an accident. In rare and extreme cases, the soul has been so stuffed down, that it releases its inner confusion, by harming another.

Yet, we always have free will. We always have the option of remaining still. But for the soul which is truly ready to stretch beyond the life that currently confines it, our “clamping down” is only a delay tactic.

There's a tipping point to change

Two years ago, I thought I was done with corporate work. Thought I had made that change, been there, done that. I made some very difficult decisions around my entrepreneurial life. Lo and behold, a client re-appeared that I hadn't heard from in four years. Skilled, professional, and kind. We're working together on an enormous gem of a project.

What this is allowing me to do is have the monetary means to feed my creative life. And the truth is, I'm enjoying the intellectual challenge. I'm enjoying the relationships, the interactions, supporting good people in work we care about. And, I get to do it (mostly) at home: feeling free.

The place resistance goes

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
– Leo Tolstoy

Are you resisting change right now? Holding back taking a step you know would be good for you? Where are you holding on to something, rationalizing that this change you desire must happen in a certain way, at a certain time? Are you clamping down on your heart?

We're built to change, to grow, to experience. We've chosen to be here, at this time, with all of its complexities. Like children who dream to go on a roller coaster: once at the fairground, ticket bought: will you get on the ride?

The change that awaits you, may be unexpected. If an opportunity comes up that wasn't part of the “plan”, ask: does this feel right? Then proceed, and remain aware.

The choice is ours. Choosing constriction, however, may take more effort than choosing flow and expansion. To choose sameness, gives you more of the same. To choose the same with a new perspective: ahh, there's the breath.

We're here, living on earth for now. Tomorrow, that could change and you'll be called to express the art of making life-changing decisions. No – that's not right. Tomorrow: it will change.

Meaning of life articles for your heart. Created with love.

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