How to Develop Risk Taking Skills

ADVENTUROUS THINKING IS A CHOICE

We have opportunities to take risks every day, to explore something or someone new, and to expand our concept of our current reality. As an entrepreneur for 20+ years, living in the gray zone of curious expectation is my norm. Even though I usually have clients booked about two weeks out, I do not worry about money.  By continuing to provide relevant and transformative services, I know from experience that the Universe will take care of me. Of course I also have an extensive savings system set up to ensure that I will be able to cover my bills. This combination of cultivating my gifts, continually reaching new audiences and trusting that the right clients will find me has allowed me to do what I love, confident that the money will follow.


Living in the gray area, or that place of not knowing, has a certain freedom, excitement and wonderment to it – if you can fight your resistance and fear.


OVERCOMING FEAR
What is fear really about? Fear is that place of not knowing what’s going to happen. Fear is that feeling that you are out of control. Fear is a concern that an outside force will somehow impact your reality.
In fact all of those things are true: we do not know what’s going to happen, we are not in control and outside forces can and will impact our reality on a regular basis. We are simply under the illusion that the secure job, insurance policy, dependable spouse or days spent at the gym will promise us health, wealth and security.
We can consciously cultivate flexibility in our bodies and minds.  This expansive nature will allow our bodies and minds to be responsive to the winds of change. Every day, we can cultivate our fluid consciousness by taking physical and mental steps towards receptivity and celebratory joy.

BECOMING MORE FLEXIBLE
What kind of steps can you take to expand your world? Think about the last time someone invited you to do something new or you encountered an idea that perhaps conflicted with what you already know. What was your initial reaction?
For many of us, our initial response is often a resounding NO! No to the new, no to the unknown, no to the unexpected plan, no to change. However, after some quiet time, a decent cup of coffee, and a stretching of the body and mind, we can revisit the ‘intruder’ and gradually allow it into our lives. Once we take the first step towards embracing that innovative concept, unknown friend or unexpected opportunity, we can usually wrap our minds around learning more.

In order to cultivate your experiential flexibility, consciously decide to learn something new, talk a stranger or explore an unknown food, event or podcast each day.

TOO BUSY SYNDROME
You may be saying, who has time for all that? I have to balance my job, my family, buying groceries, making dinner and running my house. I understand. I.m married and have a son, I run my own business, I exercise on a daily basis and I’m currently writing a book. So how can we find time to invite novel experiences into our lives?
Consciously. Actively. Gratefully.
Just this morning, wanting to exercise and learn something new, I walked for an hour in 26° Chicago weather and listened to a Roberto Blake podcast.  I recently discovered Roberto’s YouTube channel: Always Be Creating – Roberto Blake, which has 1000’s of videos about creativity, personal branding, scaling your products/services and living a successful and balanced life as a creative. For me, discovering Roberto’s site and his abundant resources was like winning the lottery!

Make a list of ways you can invite revitalizing content, people, or experiences into your life.

Decide today to begin chipping away at any notions or choices that may be limiting your possibilities.  Commit to a mindful practice of curating your day, your month, and your future.  Fight against resistance and any stagnant forces that might be holding you back.

You deserve to have a flexible, relaxing, and responsive reality that opens you up for creative empowerment and joy.  If you would like individual coaching or to participate in Women’s Empowerment Workshops that will give you tools and skills to:  EXPLORE, CREATE, MAP OUT and IMPLEMENT your plan, join us at www.ToolsForReinvention.com.

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Unearthing the Stories Within

live mic image

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but lately I’ve begun to feel invisible. At 53 years old, my natural brown hair has a funky flair to it. Due to tons of time at the gym and strict vegetarianism, I can still wear a swimsuit with pride.

Even so, for reasons I don’t understand, I go through entire days as a bystander.  It’s like I have become a trope – a cliche version of myself that even I don’t recognize.  To the external eye, I live the live the life of a suburban mom – driving a Jeep Compass, dropping my kid off at school, and spending my days writing a book on Experiments in Living in Starbucks.

“This is not who I really am!” I want to shout to anybody who will listen, “I am more than my current life!”.

In an effort to take my written words to the stage, I sign up for Storytelling and Improvisation Classes.  I get vintage glasses and some funky overalls. I begin performing at open mics.  Just going out at night is an exciting diversion from my old life of shuttling my kid around and cooking dinner while listening to Marketplace.

Going to clubs alone, surrounded by strangers, I just want to be Victoria. I don’t tell people I am married and a mom.  These forays into my new world are like a beacon drawing me towards the not-so-distant future when my kid will leave for college.  My true self keeps calling me, waking me up at night, tugging on my shirt tails and begging to be heard.

Up until recently, I’d been stuck in this almost-done-parenting and getting-through-the winter mode. Comfort had become my main priority.  On any given day, my survivalist uniform was made up of: yoga pants, tank tops covered by hoodies, plastic/fleece-lined clogs, hip-hop head wraps around my Jewish Afro and a beaded choker.

Entire days would pass where my only interaction would be with a barista. On rare occasions, my teen son would grunt a one word response in my direction. Our conversations revolved around who would use the car and when, or how annoying it was that I was asking him yet another question. I found these conversations just as exhausting as he did.

My daily thoughts toggled between memories or themes I wanted to incorporate into my stories and how much I wanted to be done with parenting.

Looking at the calendar now, I see we have 5 more months until my son starts college.  5 months feels like an eternity.  Jumping off that cliff will be both terrifying and exhilarating.  Either way, I know I will discover iterations yet unknown in the process.

For now, stuck in that in-between space and ready to launch, all I can do is write, reflect, think and plan.  Tectonic plates are shifting – in my body, in my apartment and in my family.  New Victoria is begging for air time, as the threads connecting her to her previous identity slowly unravel and she emerges stronger than before.

I finally realize that the person I want to notice me is me. Walking onto the stage, I hold a live mic in my hand and begin the courageous journey of telling my story.

 

 

Stepping into Your Power

Perhaps you’ve been waking up early, driven by some nascent desire to weave your wisdom together into a legacy.  Who are you to have a “legacy”?  You are the culmination of all that you have seen, experienced, created and lived, that’s who.

If you find yourself drifting off, wondering about the purpose of your life so far and how you will incorporate this body of knowledge into your current reinvention, this article is for you.

Radical Shifting Undercurrents Lead to Synthesis

At 49, I learned how to drive a motorcycle and took it out into the mountains west of Seattle. Speeding down country roads at 60 mph, I began to see possibilities stretch out before me….

(Trust your visions for the future, even when they are in the embryo stage.)

At 50, I got the courage to enroll in writing classes and dedicated space for listening to my own voice. I began the process of writing my inspirational and practical articles about “Experiments in Living – Tools for Reinvention”. After moving to Chicago, I started the Midlife Reflections for Women Meet Up Group, which eventually grew to have 76 members and a vibrant community of evolving sisters.

Inspired by locker room chats with women in transition, one day I just posted my idea for a Meet Up group online.  Within 48 hours, 60 women had signed up! Like hanging on to the back of a dragonfly, I ran with the idea and discovered how to lead our growing group by osmosis.

(Listening to and trusting our intuition is a skill we can cultivate.)

At 51, I began to embrace my own empowerment and experience a new level of prosperity. After 20+ years as a Writer + Life/Career Coach, it hit me that I had literally coached 1000’s of clients on their journeys towards clarity, balance and synthesis.  I had (and have) a gift for helping clients unearth and move forward towards realizing their life’s work.

(Our true insights/abilities linger beneath the surface – we just have to “see” them.)

Now, at 53, after hearing how my pragmatic/soulful solutions inspire others and effect change, I feel called to teach large numbers of people how to integrate Creativity + Prosperity, Intuition + Logic. By creating the Tools for Reinvention – Experiments in Living Course,  I finally give voice to my late night ramblings.  I accept my role as a Pragmatic Mystic.

(From a seed to a forest, the process of listening to our inner callings and cultivating our visions is our “spiritual homework”.  Exploring our passions takes courage, but it is worth it.  Taking this Road Less Traveled can bring us unexpected joy, integration and satisfying, “full circle” moments.)

Freedom to experiment, evolve, grow, risk, climb, question and synthesize.

Do you have dreams that feel completely out of reach?  Do you ever wonder how you can go from your current iteration to a new version of your evolved self?  There are practical/creative tools that will help you access your innate gifts and incorporate them into a total reinvention.

 

Each experience in our lives leads us to the next.  The path to our futures has been laid before us.  All we have to do is show up and take the first step.

From Sidelines to Center Stage.

“In order to become leaders, we need to have faith in ourselves. We need to inspire people and share the confidence we have in our own abilities. We need to swallow our fears and begin to make decisions based on our visions and goals.” Sue Shellenbarger – The Breaking Point

In this moment, I give you permission to make your own mark on the world, to create the reality that you dream of living, and to unearth your true potential.  You may not feel that you need permission, but many of us do.  We are so responsible in our lives, after all.  The journey towards self exploration feels like something we should have done at some earlier point.

It is not too late.  In fact, it is exactly the right time.  The world needs to hear what you have to say about business, politics, health, philanthropy, the arts or your community,  Perhaps there is another topic or cause that reappears during your quiet reflection, when your family is fed, the bills are paid, and the kitchen sink is clean.

Stop.  Listen.  Engage.  Act.  

Today is the day to step into your power and unleash the dragon within.  Add your voice to the choir.  Don’t worry about the outcome or the long term implications.  Just trust in yourself and in the process.  Know that you are a seed about to grow into a forest.

Tools for Reinvention Course

 

 

 

 

 

Joy Ride

Vic on Gypsy Motorcycle

“There is no bad weather, just bad gear.” said by many Seattle-ites

Keeping this in mind, I put on my dark brown Frye Boots, heavy black sweat pants, two hoodies and a black army-navy surplus outer shell. I strap on my sparkly orange helmet and lined gloves, swing one leg over the leather seat and mount my Suzuki TS250X. It is a cold but sunny Sunday and I have a rare 6 hours free.

Sudden October winds almost push me off of Green Bay Road, and into the oncoming traffic, as yellow and orange leaves swirl down onto the road ahead of me. “All Things Considered” streams into my white earbuds, as I drive further and further north, away from my gorgeous but draining home.

“The Field Museum will sponsor a lecture about the shrinking bee population world-wide, and how this has affected pollination and reduced crop yields”, and then, “The Ebola virus has come to America and the implications are frightening,”

The silver gas tank warms the inside of my thighs as I speed up, hitting the open road. Mile by mile, I increase the distance between my body and mind and the city. Somebody, somewhere, has a wood stove or a fireplace working, and I peal through a short corridor of distant smoke.

“According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this winter in Chicago could be even colder than last, with record-breaking temperatures.”

I wonder why I always listen to NPR, a constant stream of words and ideas, many of them negative and fearful, and about things I can’t even control anyway.

Here it is early October, and just last night we had snow and freezing temperatures. It feels as if the city is standing on a precipice, staring down into a canyon of fear about the future: cold, broke, sick, under or unemployed, mad about government policies and spending, afraid of drive-by’s and concealed weapons and worried about saving up enough money for Christmas.

Hand on throttle, wind slipping in under my plastic face shield, loud noise of the engine drowning on the radio as I accelerate, I balance myself on the bike and speed off into the unknown, away from mini-malls, mail boxes with overdue bills and a sink full of dirty dishes.

On the bike, I am a solo traveler, an adventurer out for a weekend ride, a dark-clad image speeding through small towns and down country roads, a kind stranger who is up for anything.

What’s your Message?

laptop iphone devices graphic (1)I did it. 95 hours later, after completing a “Design your Own Website” class at my local library, and breaking down 20 years of work as a teacher, writer, career coach and motivational speaker, I finally finished my website:

http://www.prosperitycareercoaching.com/

The process was exhausting, revealing and liberating. After actively listening to and coaching 100’s of clients on how to clarify and convey their Personal Brands and Messages, here’s what I know for sure:

WORDS ARE POWERFUL!
Strong messages stand out from the crowd!

Are you a…….
VISIONARY?
ENTREPRENEUR?
Soon to be – High School and College GRADUATE?
CAREER CHANGER?
MIDLIFE RE-INVENTOR?
Professional seeking WORK/LIFE BALANCE?
BUSINESS OWNER?

Fantastic! Prosperity Career Coaching offers a unique blend of Mindful Mentoring and Pragmatic Business Expertise.

If you are in a place where your story and life path are keeping you up at night – random thoughts at the end of your tongue searching for the clear message – let me know.

We will sit together over coffee or at our respective computers. I will listen while you do a “brain dump”, bringing the unconscious to the forefront. I will sort with you through the rubble and we will

FIND
YOUR
VOICE.

That is the first step to building the life/career/vision/body/health/prosperity you want.

Take the leap.
Connect: WordsmithVictoria@gmail.com

Civil Rights and the Future of America

 


“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

I would like to add “powerless”, “victimized”, “hopeless” and 100 other words to her empowering statement.  On this day when I see my beloved United States of America portrayed as a racist, xenophobic, heartless oligarchy in the international media, I am embarrassed to be an American.

I am a white woman married to a black man.  I have a bi-racial son.  As an English as a Second Language Teacher, I have worked with clients from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and Poland for the past 20 years.

Diversity is intertwined in the fabric of WHO I AM.

When I engage, connect, and unify with these sacred members of the human family, we transcend race, religion, country of origin, politics, education.  We find that place of familiarity, that sisterhood and brotherhood that is imminent, powerful, transformative.

Trump recently banned asylum for Syrian refugees for 90 days.  This makes me think of my Syrian clients and friends, their divided families and the possibility of loved ones abroad dying from violence, starvation, illness.

Trump’s supposed “Wall” will directly and indirectly impact the 100’s of Mexican factory workers who were part of my ESL classes on the South and West Sides of Chicago – their families, the Pilsen neighborhood, or their aged mother or father back home in Cuernavaca who is dependent on that monthly wire transfer.

These are not abstractions on Fox News – these are real people and real stories. Trump’s ridiculous policies will have financial, medical, educational and life threatening implications on these mothers, fathers, employees, students, voters and community members.

Working with this global population over the years, there have been hundreds of intense discussions of geopolitical issues.  In this context, I am often called upon to act as a cultural liaison and to “represent”.

BUT I

CAN

NOT

REPRESENT:

  • This administration.
  • These distorted “values” of divisiveness, isolationism, poverty consciousness (we have to protect US interests) and oppression of everyone who is not a white, male, conservative Christian.
  • This pervasive hatred and this narrow-minded view of our global reality.

I can not take this sitting down.  These impostors in the White House do not represent me or millions of other loving, conscious, intelligent American citizens.

THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL, so here’s what I will do:

I will love my neighbor.  I will yield to merging traffic.  I will say “thank you” to my Starbucks barista.  When the weather turns, I will once again sit outside of Barnes and Noble with my “Open Discourse – Weigh in on the State of the Nation” sign.  I will set up a card table and chairs and wait to see who sits down.  Then I will give each brave participant 5 minutes to share their thoughts – to vent or cry or celebrate.  This is how I can effect change in my own community.  This is how I can contribute to empowerment, hope and equality.

This is what democracy looks like.

The Importance of Storytelling

 

lifepath coaching image
The Journey Awaits

“Laptop open and hair pulled back, I sip on an Americano and act as a conduit for my clients.  Being present is a gift.  We all just want to be heard over the noise.”

First appointments are usually tentative, as we find commonalities, craft a path and map out goals. Subsequent sessions often involve hugs or tears, and delightful transformation.

Participating with gratitude and humility, I sit back and watch the rainbow of humanity cross my path at my “Starbucks office”.

Who do I work with and why do they come to me?

Engineers, CEO’s, accountants, teachers, lawyers, pharmacists, graphic designers, sound designers, construction workers and restaurant managers – all of whom want to: edit a resume or LinkedIn page, discover their “special sauce” or Personal Brand, reinvent themselves professionally or actualize entrepreneurial dreams.

At least these concrete tasks are what usually motivates clients to send me a text or email in response to one of my many online ads.

Students also seek out my consultation: high school students trying to write better papers, undergraduates applying for select graduate programs, and PhD candidates writing complex dissertations.

American and international geniuses from Europe, Asia and South America all show up, with carefully crafted documents and hopeful dreams of change for the future.

These are the demographic markers of the hundreds of people I have worked with for over 20 years, as a writing coach, editor, academic/business/life coach, content creator, and personal brand consultant. I have titles and my clients have titles, which bring us together and help propel our careers, but underneath it all is the PROCESS.

What I really DO, on a spiritual and “deep dive” level is hold out the metaphorical microphone to whoever is sitting in front of me – provide the time and space and silence and patience for them to FIND THEIR VOICE.

Putting words around:
memories-dreams-accomplishments-fears-realizations-stories-conclusions-assumptions-facts-theories. I hyphenated that list because that is what stream of consciousness feels like, one long, continuous idea that is like an audio loop in our MINDS, an undercurrent or theme that seems disconnected except that it wakes us up in the night and recurs in our journal entries. Pulling on our shirt tails like an insistent child that needs something.

So what I do is provide the container for my clients to finally slow down long enough to give that child a chance to be heard, to elaborate on that whim or to clearly spell out that conclusion. It is cathartic and rewarding and satisfying. Being heard. Realizing that you actually have something to say and that you matter.

Words are powerful. Clarity brings about change. Taking a mental sabbatical, whether for 2 hours or a year, gives us the opportunity to let go of the grocery list mentality and take a broader view of our lives.

This is the work of honing our vision, setting, re-setting and course correcting when our compass is off track. Assisting others in this clarification process is impactful and important work. My obsession with story-telling began as a kid. I remember listening to Studs Terkel on the radio, and reveling in how he drew out the oral histories of regular Americans. Now, at 52, I am blessed to have a calling that involves encouraging and assisting others to find their true north.

In the end – what else do we have to show for our time here on earth but our story, our message and the tribe we leave behind?

What is your story and how do you support your tribe in sharing theirs? I would feel honored if you could share your story or any other feedback with directly with me or with all of us – in the Comment Section below.

Getting Noticed

funky older women group


We all know that society treats women differently after a ‘certain age’. As younger women, many of us enjoyed the external validation that comes from turned heads, smiles or extra attention when we asked for assistance at stores. Even if we identify as feminists, it still feels good to go through your day like Marlo Thomas in ‘That Girl’! We may not even have realized how good this attention made us feel, until it was suddenly gone or reduced.

However, after about 50, there is often a feeling of invisibility around men, as if they don’t need or want to work for our attention any longer. Suddenly, we may have to wait longer at a counter to get help or go through an entire day with no banter with random men, like we had before. Continue reading “Getting Noticed”

Seattle to Chicago – Speeding Up and Slowing Down

imageAfter struggling to survive in the fourth most expensive city in the USA (Seattle) for the past 6 years, we finally decided to pack up our meager belongings and take the 2000 mile journey back to our hometown, Chicago. Chicago, where the average salary is closer to $40,000 a year vs $100,000 for an entry level engineer at Amazon. Chicago, where plumbers, gardeners, teachers, lawyers and Walmart workers all live on the same street. Chicago, where I can hear 5 languages when I enter the Harvest Time Foods family grocery store, including Spanish on the piped-in radio station.  Chicago, where I just experienced a glorious month of August, swimming in Lake Michigan and spending every day at the beach, reading fun novels and letting the sun heal me.

I have done this journey before, always alone with my son Avante, packing up a truck full of stuff, attaching a tow dolly, driving the car onto it and hauling the entire load across mountains, deserts and lone stretches of road where “no services” signs bring up fears of breaking down on a 90 degree day far from a town. My husband Johnny always flew before us, setting up a job, a place, finding a community.

I have moved from Portland to Chicago, from Chicago to Seattle and now from Seattle back to Chicago, criss-crossing the country over a 10 year period of time, trying to find a home where all three of us (mom, dad and son) can find our way, make friends, learn, grow, prosper, and be healthy. If I could get back the expenses for gas, hotels, truck rentals, security deposits, and start up fees for utilities, we could have probably put it down on a house somewhere, set up shop,
built a home and a business and a life for ourselves…

But we didn’t. We were and are gypsies, acquirers of experience and friends and music and art and festivals and new foods and new languages. We are rich in memories and references, great at conversation and story telling, funny and vibrant and full of life. We have always done what we wanted to do and followed our bliss and up until now, this act of ‘living our right livelihood’ has made perfect sense.

Up until now. In about 30 days, I will have the honor of celebrating my 50th birthday, and this has brought up all sorts of questions about where a person is supposed to be at 50, what they should
have accomplished, what they should OWN and what this birthday means in a global/celestial sense. Lots of fun topics that used to keep me up at night before I enrolled in this 35,000 Calorie Challenge at my YMCA. I have to exercise, hard, for an hour a day, for 100 days straight. Today is day #10 and I have alternated with water aerobics and 10 mile bike rides, every other day. These days I sleep like a baby, out of exhaustion.

However, the questions still tug at me.

Who evaluates our success? Us or society? How much is enough to have earned, accomplished, experienced? Why are we satisfied with what we have at certain points, and woefully disappointed in our lot on other days? Especially when it is the same lot, the same job, the same apartment, the same family.

But it is not the same. I am new here, in my old/new city. Trying to find work and friends and sanctuary in a fast-paced world. Trying to fill my days with structure and purpose and productivity, whether it’s cooking for my family, working with a student or sculpting my body at the Y. Either way, I just want to feel at home in my skin, in my relationships, in my two-flat apartment with it’s wood floors and 1902 wainscoting trim around the ceilings. Waiting to exhale and hopefully stay put for a while – my spirit and pocketbook can’t endure much more change.

The Matriarch has Retired

As if thinking of a stranger, I remember the days of lovingly peeling potatoes, listening to world music and preparing dinner for my family of 3. Day after day, I created delicious entrees out of simple ingredients.  I loved borrowing cookbooks from the library, trying out recipes or bringing back old favorites along with the nostalgia that only food can evoke. I felt a certain humility, as if my role was to be the bringer of health – the one who thinks “what’s for dinner?” early on in the day. Maintaining the sacred, traditional custom of the family dinner, I felt confident that this act would keep our 13 year old off of drugs and out of some girl’s pants.

I prepared breakfast and lunch with the same reverence, standing on a support pad that chefs use, buying myself new dish towels and other sparky tools to keep my kitchen fresh and exciting. I would listen to NPR each morning, and my (unpaid) daily shift from 6-7am went something like this:

boil up water for rice and coffee/ make coffee to keep myself going while I do the other tasks/wash the dishes from the night before/wipe off the counters,so I can make room for breakfast/feel grateful that I’m doing this in a developed country, with electricity and running water/stare at the fridge/figure out what I can make them for lunch that will be

healthy
portable
cheap

“Mom, I need you to sign this paper that was due 3 days ago, and pay for something” my son would say, handing me a totally wrinkled field trip permission slip, a yearbook order form or some other paperwork that would demand mental focus and the writing of a check.

“Just leave it on the counter, I’ll get to it later. Out of the kitchen.” I’d grunt, in the nicest voice I could muster.

Scramble the eggs for breakfast/put toast in the toaster/check the rice/saute up some veg/sip the coffee/think about the world/prep the breakfast plates/throw out the half-eaten lunches from yesterday. (Wasted food and energy – try not to think about it, it’s already 6:45… and they have to leave soon.)

A quote I’d heard on NPR, “Women’s work contributes to an unacknowledged, un-paid labor force, supporting the nation but somehow not integrated into the Gross National Product.” lodged itself in my mind.

“Breakfast is ready” I’d pronounce, placing the steaming plates on our 50’s style metal table with the mis-matched chairs.

“Thanks” one of them would mutter, as they walked past me with thoughts of their day ahead, in that absent-minded way one would acknowledge to a waitress or a teen at the drive-through, who I now had a new appreciation for.

Passing a mirror, I would see my frizzy hair sticking out, the mascara from yesterday smudged below my eyes, and my paisley mumu hanging off of me in what used to be a funky way. Now I just looked dowdy. I’d think about my schedule and what I needed to prepare for that day’s clients, but there was no time for that now.

Next I’d whip through preparing their lunches, all the while trying to remember to sip my (now cold) coffee and prepare my 10 daily supplements. I did this same routine every day for years.

Then I turned 49 and

all

hell

broke

loose.

I began to ride the emotional and physical waves of shifting hormones. As if in a constant state of PMS, the filter which edited my thoughts and words felt like a thing of the past. Blown about by these peri-menopausal winds of change, my brassy and intrepid alter-ego made regular appearances. Acting like a sacrificial matriarch annoyed me.  My new self was protective of her energy, free of guilt and communicating with intense clarity.

A war had begun in my body, my mind and my apartment.

I fantasized about installing a time-clock on my kitchen wall, and punching in every time I was of service.

“Hey, guys, what if I started charging you for all of the tasks that I do each day?” I quipped one day at breakfast.

“Pretty funny baby.” my husband said. “You know we appreciate your cooking, your cleaning, and all the ways you show your love for us.”

We had been down this road many times before and his praise usually kept my restless spirit at bay for a while.  Only now I realized that thousands of “thank you’s” could not make up for my daily sacrifices. Before my massive shift, watching my child at a soccer game or noticing his clean outfits from afar could give me a feeling of satisfaction. Now I was tired of being a bystander.

The passage of time had become very top of mind.  The drive to express my ideas and cultivate my vision became louder and louder. It wasn’t about the cooking.  The act of crafting meals that my family quickly consumed in front of the TV symbolized  an endless waste of time that was preventing me from unearthing my gifts.

I equated each meal with a potential:

inspirational essay

thought provoking article

transformative book on experiments in living

I had this sudden drive to invest my energy into experiences and projects that had an actual outcome. Thinking like men had thought for centuries, I craved a sense of success and acknowledgment from the outside world.  My inner child was tugging at my shirt tails, begging for attention and a voice.

My un-edited anger seeped into other parts of our lives too. I began questioning the division of labor in our living space.

“Mom, where is my black Nike t-shirt?” my teen son demanded one busy morning at 6am, “I asked you to wash it last night!”

The indignant tone in his voice surprised me.

“Why is it MY responsibility to wash, dry and keep track of your clothes?” I said, thinking this was yet another watershed moment in our mother-son journey.

Empowered to flip the script, I went and bought 3 small matching hampers. From that day forward, each family member had to wash and dry their own laundry.

Revitalized after delegating the laundry responsibilities, I began dividing up other domestic chores I had unconsciously taken care of, as the woman of the house.

Realizing that the endless nature of housework had been consuming my spirit, I craved space to reflect on, quantify and clarify my own thoughts. To put it simply, I wanted to write.  I wanted to be alone.  I wanted to give my thoughts free reign and see where they would take me.

By giving myself permission to redefine my role as a wife and mother, I stepped into my power, unearthing unlimited reserves of energy and possibility.  Allocating time and attention on my process has enabled me to cultivate my emerging self while reinventing what it means to love others.