THE 2 CHOICES
Selling out can sometimes be difficult to spot until you’re knee-deep in the muck and mire of life. This is because it often sneaks up on us when we are at our most vulnerable. It can disguise itself as an opportunity, yet it lacks alignment with our individual moral compass that true opportunity cherishes.
My near miss with copping out came after I left my day job in order to pursue a writing career. I’d started my own errand business to make ends meet while working on that goal, but at first was struggling to piece together enough income to stay afloat. Right then, an “opportunity” arose for free rent for a month, and cheap rent after that.
The trade-off was that I’d have to give up my beloved pets, who were like family to me. I was faced with a hard choice. Initially, I said yes to free rent. And what happened was that I spiraled down into the quickest forming depression of my life. Its zealous arrival took my breath away.
That night I, who normally slept like a rock, was awake and full of angst for hours. I was in a sewage pit of despair. Finally giving up on getting any rest, I chose instead to observe my feelings to see where they would lead me. Within a minute of doing this, the crystal clear thought popped in my head: “You are selling out.” Of course, my next thought was that I don’t do that. I’m Ms. Idealist. I’m the one who left my job to be able to pursue my dreams, for Christ sake. Sell out, pshaw, NOT ME.
This defensiveness and temporarily unwillingness to admit that I’d lost faith in my abilities to provide for myself without turning my back on those I loved was a denial of my own power to overcome any obstacle along the way to fulfilling my purpose. It was a long-conditioned response, one that I’d worked hard to overcome, but which was nevertheless kicking my butt at the moment. I was giving up on the happy home I’d created because I saw my checkbook, and what I saw made me panic. Fear took over: fear of being homeless, of having a bad mark on my credit, and of being seen as a failure by my family.
Yet the depression pointed me to another reality that was running in a parallel line with my fear. It was the understanding that the only thing worse than my fear was giving in to it. This realization pushed me, with all the ferocity of a mouse at a cat show, to mutter a rather meek “help” to my Higher Power. That was all I could muster.
My Higher Power answered back with the exact trigger that reminded me of who I am: that chick who takes chances, who falls in love, who creates, and cares, who hustles to pay the bills and to fulfill her promises. In short, the one who pulls out from inside whatever power it takes to live with courage and conviction. Here was what happened within an hour of this prayer:
On my drive home, my mind was racing as I thought about facing all the tough decisions that had to be made in order to turn my financial woes into woohoos. In the midst of this emotional overload came a moment when every sound disappeared, including the noise in my brain. The world contracted. All that remained audible were the words that were coming through my car’s speakers:
“Bring on your wrecking ball…C’mon and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got, bring on your wrecking ball.”
It was Springsteen. And man, did he ever reawaken the inner rebel in me, the one being squished down under all that seemingly insurmountable terror. Fear, such a powerful force a minute prior, was steadily vanquished with each repetition of that refrain:
“…C’mon and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got, bring on your wrecking ball.”
So, I did as The Boss advised. I hit the pavement day in and day out to spread the word about my side business. I spent the last of my last of my meager funds on advertising. I ignored the few naysayers, instead choosing to focus on the many more who were willing to help. Most importantly, I made a Herculean effort to keep the faith, reading every inspirational meme I could get my hands on and praying like it was going out of style. I hustled, begged, and believed my way into enough work to be in the black.
THE 2 TAKEAWAYS
What I learned from narrowly avoiding selling out was twofold:
First: Purpose is multi-layered. We each must have experiences to draw from in order to understand our vast internal power and in order to create. Those experiences, the ones that seem like they have not one drop of our actual dream in them, do indeed. In my case, hustling for money may have seemed like it took away from time that could be spent on writing. In reality, it actually made me more connected to the author in myself. This was because getting creative about ways to make money naturally led to doing the same in my artistic life. Rather than detracting from each other, my financial prowess helped feed ideas to my pen.
Second: We can’t avoid being brought to the brink of ruin for a dream. Eventually, that line you drew in the sand to tell you when it’s time to stop trying to fulfill your purpose is going to be crossed. The Universe, or Higher Power, knows that this boundary is not helpful. It’s harmful. This is because it limits our Soul’s free will to overcome obstacles. For me, my line was not knowing where the money would come from for the next month’s bills. I’d always told myself I’d go back to my day job when this happened. But, I didn’t. Not selling out on those I loved helped strengthen my resolve to not sell out on my dream either. I found another way. My belief in my abilities had to undergo this seemingly harsh test, lest my faith be forever finite.
Pulling out the wrecking ball is the ultimate acknowledgment of the fact that we cannot be turned away from what we were made for.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: What seemingly “normal” efforts have you made in your life that in reality were your own wrecking ball actions?