Leaps of Faith

In 2005 I bought a Subaru outback. It took me 5 months to find the right one! Strangely enough, various friends came out of the woodwork and spontaneously loaned me their vehicles while I searched and searched and searched for the perfect car. When I saw the navy blue station wagon, I finally knew it was the right one! I had been tempted to settle many times in the 5 months preceding my final decision but I continued to search because I knew the perfect car was still out there. What made me wait so long?

After 14 years of trusted and valued service, I recently replaced that car and bought another one. This time it took me only one day to make the decision. How was I able to make such a quick decision this go-round?

When I decided to train as an Energy Medicine Practitioner, there were those that let me know that I was doing something crazy. Even some family members shook their heads at my “hare-brained” scheme. I was risking “financial stability at an age when I should be retiring” and shrinking into older age. No way! Somehow I knew that this was the path I needed to follow even if it led to failure. I would deeply regret it if I didn’t go for it. As it turns out, it has led to great personal fulfillment and growth and become a new career. Rather than shrinking, I have expanded. The naysayers have become some of my biggest fans. What made me take that leap of faith?

A good friend of mine, A, was a single mother raising 2 boys in her late 40’s while she worked full time. One of her boys had life threatening health issues. She had already been to graduate school. Nevertheless, A had a dream of doing something that would improve the quality of life for those living in poverty in her urban area. When a small newspaper notice caught her eye, she decided to investigate. Despite having no idea how she would manage the additional financial burden and the resultant work/life balance, my friend went for it. It took a total of 9 years, but A completed her Doctorate of Public Health. She told me the “minute I learned something new, I put it to use”. Her gamble paid off in a big way not only for her but for the many people who benefited from her newfound knowledge and expertise. With all that had been on her plate, how did A make the decision to undertake an almost impossible task?

Our leaps of faith are not only about beginning something new but can also take the form of leaving behind what is working extremely well in our lives. B had a hugely successful business that attracted many clients, employed skilled teachers and service providers, and garnered much praise in social media. Yet B felt like it was time to do something else; create a new model for her offerings. Jumping into a new proposition had no guarantees it would match her previous success. Moving to a new location with a different model while exploring unproven methods was a big risk. She could lose it all. Still B felt she wanted, in fact, needed to try a new path. Despite all of the potential setbacks, B chose to move forward and let go of her past.

These urges to do something are not found only in mature individuals. All ages experience a sudden and often urgent impulse to act. Consider C. He was out riding his bicycle with his childhood friends, none of whom were older than 10. Each was daring the others to more and more daring tricks on their bikes. Finally one of C’s chums suggested riding down a long unused road that ended in a bridge spanning a small river. The quest was to jump from the bridge into the water from the still moving bike and swim to the other side of the river and retrieve the bike before anyone else completed the task. The venture was enthusiastically received. But C suddenly had a wave of cold fear move through his body and he knew that he had to convince his friends to not accept this challenge. He had no idea why but it was of paramount importance that he stop his chums in their tracks. 

The others called him a wimp and began laughing at him. C stuck to his guns and finally managed to convince his friends to turn around and go for ice cream instead. Later the boys learned that the bridge had collapsed into the river creating a mound of rumble. Had the boys continued on their mad venture, one or more would have had serious injuries as they went headlong towards the bridge and crashed into the river into the fragments of the bridge. Where did C’s premonition come from? 

Intuition; the ability to sense something ahead of time; the sense of knowing what the next step is; a strong hunch – what are these signals that suddenly appear that we know we can totally trust? It is as if we understand something clearly and immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. We can call this knowing an instinct, a gut feeling, a sixth sense, or a message. Whatever we call it, we have all had instances of it. The phone rings and we know who it at the other end. We meet a friend and his new date and somehow we know they will end up married. We make plans and, at the last moment, decide we shouldn’t go, to later find out we just missed being in an accident. We turn right instead of our routine left and suddenly find ourselves passing the perfect house we’ve been looking for.

Many experts posit that our leaps of faith are really the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, instantaneously bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind. We absorb clues to what might happen by processing tiny but telling facts through observation of non-verbal communication such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. But this doesn’t completely explain all of what our “inner voice” tells us. There are those that believe we are receiving information from a source outside of our physical bodies and brains, perhaps from a higher self or the collective unconscious. 

Regardless of our belief about where such messages come from, we may have discomfort with the idea of relying on our instincts. In our society, we have learned to believe that rationality prevails when making decisions. Yet most of us have, at some time or other, trusted an intuition and realized the benefit of having done so. Perhaps we need to revisit our belief around intuition. When that niggling in the back of your brain, funny feeling in the pit of your stomach, or sudden urge to change your plan next comes up, pay some attention to it and possibly act on it. It may be one of the best decisions of your life!

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com

© 2019 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Recalibration

Recalibration. It can be the act of resetting goals, changing a message or purpose, or altering the way one operates. While recalibration can often be challenging, even painful, it can produce an opportunity to find new possibilities. It can last short-term or it may affect the rest of our lives. Recalibration can also be a response to mistreatment directed at us or at what is going on around us.

On a personal level, recently I woke up to a small disaster in the form of water on the cellar floor leaking from a 4 year old water heater. Seeing the water pouring out onto the cement floor was hard enough but knowing that a lot of my children and grandchildren’s belongings and mementos were getting wet was heart wrenching. My son’s childhood drawings and his collection of baseball and football cards and helmets were soaked and ruined. My daughter and son-in-law’s stock of artistic and politically activist t-shirts for their part-time business were mostly recoverable but some of the stock was beyond redemption. Toys and clothing being held as hand-me-downs from my current granddaughters for any future little beings were drenched.

Replacing the water heater was a short term challenge for me – I only had to reschedule clients for one day and reallocate funds to pay for the repair. But my son lost objects of remembrance that he had treasured and stored in my cellar in the hopes of retrieving in the future. Toys, t-shirts, and hand-me-downs have been brought to the dump. My son’s recalibration period will take longer than a day to process.

Sometimes recalibration involves rethinking how much we are able to do physically. Especially as we “evolve,” as a dear friend prefers to call the process of aging. In my own life, I recognize that I don’t have the physical stamina that I had when I was younger. In my many years as a professional dancer, I was worn out after 8+ hours in the dance studio but I was ready and willing to get up and do it all again the next day. Now, I doubt that I could do a full 8 hours in the dance studio any day of the week. Currently I’m satisfied if I work out 2 hours a day. At some point, I had to rethink where I wanted to apply my physical energy during each day. I still wanted to maintain physical fitness but I preferred to spend the bulk of my day practicing energy medicine on my clients and colleagues. The physical energy that such a practice utilizes has a higher priority these days for me.

Many of us learn the hard way that we need to make changes in our career path, in our companions, or in our lifestyle. When mental/emotional stress causes us to have a cardio event; when a sudden jarring and unexpected accident occurs; when a loved one passes; when we lose our job – these are times to revisit and recalibrate what is most important to us.

Six years ago I had both a best friend and a long term boyfriend. Unfortunately they really disliked each other. When I went on vacation with my best friend, the boyfriend would go out of his way to text many times a day, call at inconvenient times, and disparage our vacation plans. When I was home with the boyfriend, my best friend would barrage me with negative comments about my boyfriend’s actions. The one time I brought them together, they sniped at each other constantly. I felt like I was a mediator at a battle field. A zinging comment from one side was matched and anted up in a nastier comment from the other side. Clearly, I needed to do something about these two important people in my life.

With time and attention, what became apparent is that they both treated me in similar ways and that this was the basis of the problem. Since I was an easygoing person, both were invested in controlling me. It suddenly was obvious – it was me who needed to change! I needed to create better boundaries! I eventually ended both relationships, paving the way for more beneficial relationships. This period of recalibration took some time and entailed some emotional pain but I learned a great lesson.

I remember a waitressing job I had in my very early 20’s. The restaurant was brand new, and the owner was trying to boost her clientele. I obliged and began to talk the place up, urging many of my dancer and theatre friends to come to the restaurant. It worked! Business picked up over the next two weeks until the owner pulled me aside and fired me. Her reason? My friends weren’t the “kind of clientele” she wanted – they were too lively and she wanted quieter customers. Wham! Time for rethinking where I wanted to work and the kind of places I wanted to be associated with. I wasn’t too surprised when the restaurant went out of business about a month later.

When we are compelled to recalibrate, it often comes in the form of an opportunity to ask ourselves some searching questions. Perhaps we discover that there are new priorities in our lives? We may find that we have new options that align more closely with our heart’s desires. Possibly we can let go of some of our “shoulds,” and open up to more of our “wants.” Can we tailor our future in more constructive and beneficial ways? Do we have the chance to be more creative, to retune our thoughts and emotions, and to get to know ourselves on a deeper level?

As an Energy Medicine Practitioner, I see clients every day who are doing just this type of introspection. Recalibrating their thoughts and emotions toward the people around them, their occupations, their marriages or partnerships, or themselves. If we are not aware of or are avoiding what is troubling us, then we cannot take steps to alter what is bothering us. Despite being sometimes heavy-going, sometimes agonizing, or more rarely pain-free, recalibration is a necessary part of growth. As my clients see more clearly what their actions and emotions are evoking in their lives, they are inspired to make new decisions about how they wish to live in the future.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

 

© 2018 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Goal Remains, The Path May Change

pathwayMore times than I like to admit, I have confused the path I am following for the goal that I want to reach. If a goal hasn’t been achieved by a specific method and/or timeframe, I sometimes can feel that I have failed. By labeling myself a failure, I can begin to believe that the goal is one I can never attain. Perhaps I’m not good enough, strong enough, or have the knowledge, skill, or fortitude to achieve it. I’m tempted to quit. More importantly, I assume that the goal must be changed or discarded.

 

For example, years ago, I developed something I called the “Moving Massage.” This massage was a 90 minute private session where I manipulated a client’s body in various ways to help them achieve increased flexibility, reduced anxiety, and renewed vitality to deepen the relaxation response. It wasn’t a regular massage and I didn’t use a massage table. I worked with my fully clothed client on a thick pad on the floor. It wasn’t purely dance, yoga, stretch, or Thai massage—it was a combination of everything I’d learned in my career as a dancer and movement instructor with added input from the somatic and therapeutic systems I had studied.

 

It was a blissful event! Part of the process involved letting the client lean into me in what I thought of as a loving “mother earth” embrace. Clients literally put their full weight into my arms as I sat on my heels, allowing them to feel supported and held as they completely released any tension in their bodies and minds. For the client the “Moving Massage” was very successful. For me, however, not so much.

 

My knees and thighs were exhausted by the end of the 90 minutes. Worse, I absorbed any negative emotions and energies that the client let go of. After each session, I had to rest and sometimes took 2 hour long naps to recover. Not a good business model! After 6 months of this work, I had to stop. I felt discouraged and abandoned my goal of using physical techniques to help adults find peace, balance, and relaxation on a mental/emotional/spiritual level.

 

Fortunately, I eventually realized that the goal itself was still a worthy one. It was the method that I had chosen that turned out to be an unsatisfactory way to achieve my goal. Somehow I had conflated the goal with the path.

 

maze-511151_960_720The path is not the goal. A simple but profound statement. One that I remind myself of often because I can easily confuse the two. Serial entrepreneurs know that failure is always part of the journey in creating new companies or organizations. A successful entrepreneur is able to let go of one method or route and explore other ways to get the job done. Perhaps the target market needs to be revised, the price point should be adjusted, or the product rethought. If the goal is a worthy one, it deserves another look at how it can be re-envisioned. Many more iterations may be needed before the goal can be attained.

 

Recently I found myself becoming discouraged by the low and inconsistent number of students at one of my class offerings. I had hung in there for over eight months through wild swings of attendance numbers. The vast majority of students loved the material and left the class feeling terrific in body, mind, and spirit. They let me know that the work was greatly appreciated. However, I still wasn’t getting consistent attendance nor were my classes filling up to capacity. I began to wonder if I was misguided in thinking such a class was a viable offering.

 

Fortunately, early one morning I heard a small clear voice in my head say, “Remember, the goal can stay the same but the plan to get there can alter.” Suddenly, I found myself flooded with new ideas and alternative ways to market, package, and label the class. I felt excited about the new possibilities that were emerging as I let go of the path I’d been following. I was re-imagining the work and its presentation. No longer discouraged, I was exhilarated! I felt free to improvise and to find a new method to achieve my goal. Allowing this transformation enabled me to let go of old strategies and reconnect with my goal in a less rigid way. And even if this wasn’t the final route to achieving my goal of consistent numbers of engaged students, I realized that I could always improvise again!

 

Permitting ourselves to change the pathway to achievement when necessary doesn’t negate our goals. To the contrary, it helps us to be more flexible and more creative. In fact, we can utilize this same concept in all areas of our lives—at home, in our relationships, and in our communities. If the weather doesn’t cooperate when we are planning an outdoor picnic we don’t have to call the whole thing off. Maybe someone’s garage or barn is big enough to house the picnic, and the impromptu venue change might just make the party more memorable.

 

We are, actually, all entrepreneurs—of our own lives. If we can remember that while goals remain the same, the paths to get there can change; we give ourselves the best opportunity of fulfilling our life’s dream.

 

 

© 2016 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

 

 

IMG_0195Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches Stretch/Energy and Jazz Dance classes and workshops. Email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com.  For more information, visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.