Triggers Are Mirrors

I am blessed to have a really awesome extended family. They are supportive, loving, kind, and funny (sometimes hilarious). Despite all the “weird” things about me – vegetarianism, unschooling, polyamory, and other unconventional choices – they not only accept me but seem to genuinely enjoy spending time with me.

This morning my Mom spontaneously invited me for a short road trip – or as she put it, “want to go to lunch today with a bunch of old people?” – and I jumped on board. Most of the time I set my own schedule, and weighing the things I’d planned to do today, I pushed them back a couple of hours and away we went. It was fun. I even get along with my Dad now, which wasn’t always the case in my younger years, when his teasing didn’t exactly line up with my sensitive nature.

When we left the restaurant, which had delicious food in large portions, we noticed a help-wanted sign and were joking about who in the group should apply. I said that the 12-year-old grandson who had tagged along could do it. Dad’s reply was, “well, you’re the one who needs a job.” Since we’d traveled a fair distance to get there, I replied that the gas money would eat up the wages, and that was that.

It was all in good fun. Still, that little comment got under my skin a bit, and took up residence in my mind. I’ve written about triggers before, and this obviously was one of mine.

“Sure, Dad, right, I need a job,” my most sarcastic internal voices belatedly (and silently) replied. “I have part-time work at the radio station, two unschooling teens, a business I’m building up gradually, and a writing career. That’s just what I need. That would be so helpful.”

I recalled how the day before, when going through a bunch of papers and de-cluttering, I came upon some words and images I’d cut out of magazines years ago, when I still worked full-time for someone else and the kids were rather young. I’d been making a vision board, and the things I was trying to encourage were ones I seemed to have no time for: writing, creativity, inspiration, being my own unique self. I had enough money to pay the bills, but not much room in my life for creative expression.

Then I looked at where I am now, and how my creativity is flourishing. I’ve fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a published author (twice!) and I’ve fallen in love with the writing life. I really just want to write and publish more books, and sell enough of them to make a good living.

Knowing that triggers are really mirrors that reflect back our own worries, I looked deeper. What part of me thinks I need (another) job? Umm, maybe the part that’s worrying because it’s nearing the end of the month and once again I’m not sure how we’ll pay all the bills that are due. Yeah, that. Dad sees that we struggle financially, and is responding in the way that he knows.

I take a deep breath. I realize we’ve always found a way before, and remember how my business is growing steadily. I receive royalty checks for my books – no, not big ones, yet, but they are increasing. I’ve recently integrated some paid work as a copy-editor into my repertoire, and that feeds my creative soul and my bank account. I’m on an upward spiral.

Reminding myself to breathe, I trust, I relax, and I focus on how I’m making steady progress. I am integrating the two paths of “making a living” and expressing my creativity. I’ve proven to myself that I can do each of these things, and now I’m learning to weave them together in my own way. I learn more about it every single day.

I know I can do it, whether anyone else does, or not. And that includes the doubting parts of myself.



Triggers Are Mirrors — 3 Comments

  1. I love this!! it hits close to my heart… as I am in similar situations with my photography….many fingers pointing me in directions that I ‘should’ go in but its really not resonating with my soul which is telling me to let this baby grow naturally and follow in its steps to see where it goes rather than trying to force things in a certain direction. I thank you… your words give me courage. THANK YOU

  2. Very close to my heart as well. I left a “paying job” (teaching) to come home and be with my kids. I take in some dollars watching other people’s kids part-time during the week, and that helps me feel like I’m “contributing”, but like you we do struggle financially. We set the vision for ourselves that we wanted to have more “carefree” lives, where 1 income could be enough for all of our financial needs. For my part, I want to focus more on healing myself inside and out. My husband wants to stay a part of the working world, but would like to find a scenario where he works about 30 hours a week and yet makes the kind of money we would feel comfortable with. He wants to feel productive and challenged, with opportunities to try new things.

    We are pooling our intentions together and with any luck, in our new land we’ll find what we’re looking for :)

  3. Thanks for the great comments! It seems like any “unconventional” choices lead to criticism and advice. Though to be fair, I think most people mean well and are trying to help. It does take courage to go in the face of commonly-held wisdom, but it can bring great rewards. You’re both brave women. Keep up the great work of being true to your own vision!

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